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2019-2020: Full-Time MBA


The Scenario
In a document outlining details of the proposed £12 billion Sainsbury’s and
Asda merger1, the benefits to suppliers was argued as follows:

“We believe our combination provides an opportunity for suppliers, particularly

our small and medium-sized suppliers and farmers. Our small and medium-
sized suppliers are critical to Sainsbury’s and Asda offering new and
distinctive products, which are highly valued by our customers. Sourcing from
small suppliers and farmers will remain at the heart of our offer” (p.7).

Whilst the parties of the proposed merger saw the deal as potentially
beneficial to suppliers, representatives from the industry held a different view
with some describing it as potentially detrimental to suppliers.

The Outcome
Following an extensive inquiry, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
blocked the merger arguing that it would “lead to increased prices in stores,
online and at many petrol stations across the UK” 2

asda, 25th April 2019

Your Brief
Part (a)
On successful completion of your MBA at Ulster University Business School,
you have recently joined the management team of Bramley Foods, a small UK
company which grows and sells Bramley apples. Knowing that you have
some knowledge of accounting and finance, your boss has asked you to
conduct an analysis of whether or not Bramley Foods should enter into a
business arrangement with Sainsbury’s plc as a supplier of the Ripe and
Ready range. Your boss has suggested that your analysis, which should be
presented in REPORT FORMAT, should focus on the financial performance
and position of Sainsbury’s plc over the last four years using data from the
‘Annual Report and Financial Statements 2017’ (containing data for the year
ended February 2016 and 2017) and the ‘Annual Report and Financial
Statements 2019’ (containing data for the year ended February 2018 and

Part (b)
Your boss has also asked you to consider how the various management
accounting/financial management techniques which you have studied as part
of your MBA programme are currently being used within Sainsbury’s to help
them manage their business. Your boss has asked you to report on two such
techniques. You should draw on any evidence from the Annual Reports
and Financial Statements plus any other documents produced by Sainsbury’s
to substantiate your discussion.

Word format and limit Typescript, Arial font, size 12, double line
of Report: spacing

Maximum 3,500 words (excluding appendices).

Please identify the group number on the front

page of the report and state the number of
words in your report, both including and
excluding appendices.

See below (page 5) for further suggested

guidance on possible structure of your report.

Please note the following:
1. All materials used in the preparation of your analysis should be
clearly referenced using the Harvard style3 (for example, reference
to academic articles, books, newspaper articles or analyst reports).
2. All ratio definitions and assumptions made in your report should be
stated clearly.
3. Please provide the ratio definitions and workings in an Appendix.
4. Marks will be awarded for:
a. evidence of independent research carried out, particularly in
the context of the external and internal context discussion;
b. the calculation and appropriate interpretation of relevant
financial ratios;
c. the conclusions reached.



In addition to the above, each group member is required to complete and

submit an individual learning log. The aim of the learning log is to require
members of the group to:
 reflect on their contribution to the group component of the assignment
and what they have learnt about themselves as a result;
 consider how the group assignment has facilitated their understanding
of accounting and finance as a subject area;
 reflect on how their knowledge of accounting and finance might
contribute to their performance in the workplace.


Deadline: Friday 10th January 2020 (Week 12)

Submission: To be submitted to:

Electronic Copy To be submitted to Blackboard ‘Turnitin

Assignment’ by 10th January 2020 by 4pm

Student Feedback: Formative feedback regarding progress, problems

encountered and approaches to the assignment
will be provided to students on a weekly basis
during the first six weeks of the module.

Summative feedback – the marked assignment will

be returned to students in week 1 of the second
semester. Both written and oral feedback
regarding the standard of work submitted will be

* Moon, P. and Bates, K., (1993), “Core analysis in strategic performance

appraisal”, Management Accounting Research, Vol 4, pp.139-152.

September 2019

Guidelines – Suggested Report Format
Accounting and Finance: Assignment
Group Component

Executive summary
This section should summarise the objective of the report, how you went
about your analysis, your main findings and any key recommendations/issues
that your report has identified.

This section should summarize the remit of the project and how the analysis
has been conducted.

Main body of the report

CORE Analysis
A significant part of your report will be devoted to undertaking an analysis of
Sainsbury’s plc using the CORE analysis:

 Context (C)
 Overview (O)
 Ratios (R)
 Evaluation (E)
 You should use appendices to include the detailed ratios, definitions,
workings etc.

Management Accounting and Financial Management Techniques

This section should provide a discussion of the management accounting and
financial management techniques that are currently in use in Sainsbury’s plc
to help them manage their business. You should draw on any relevant
evidence from the Annual Reports and Financial Statements to substantiate
your discussion.

This section should contain the definitions for all ratios calculated and the
detailed ratio calculations.

This section should contain a list of all references (in alphabetical order) that
you have specifically referred to in your assignment. Please ensure that all
references are referenced using the Harvard style 4


Full-Time MBA - Accounting and Finance
Individual Learning Log: Individual Component

To be maintained individually by each student in the group during the

semester and SUMITTED with the group assignment.

Student Name: _________________

Group: __________________

1. Details of time spent and nature of individual activities undertaken by

YOU outside the group.

2. Individual reflections on the group assessment process:

a) your contribution to the group effort

b) what you learnt from working in a group

c) how well the group functioned

3. Please discuss how the group assignment has:

a) facilitated your understanding of accounting and finance in the

context of your employment (if applicable).

b) how you anticipate the knowledge you have gained from the
module will help you in your future employment.

4. Please provide details of any free-riding problems which occurred in
the group? If applicable, how were these problems dealt with and was a
satisfactory conclusion reached?

5. Peer review of group members

Assume that each member of your group is awarded 100% for their effective
contribution to the group assignment. With this in mind, please indicate what
contribution EACH MEMBER of the group ACTUALLY MADE using the range

Names of group members Contribution to the

group assignment

10% 10% 10% 15% 25%
Classification Knowledge and Understanding Knowledge and Understanding Analysis and Interpretation Calculations Analysis and Interpretation

Very high level of Can use a large range of Very high level of
Exceptional knowledge and Exceptional knowledge and competence in analysing techniques appropriately competence in analysing
conceptual understanding of conceptual understanding of and interpreting complex or and demonstrates and interpreting complex or
complex and/or specialised complex and/or specialised incomplete data and in innovation and creativity in incomplete data and in
Distinction 70 – 100
principles and concepts and the principles and concepts and the communicating the complex and unpredictable communicating the outcome
development and advancement development and advancement outcome situations
of ideas and practice of ideas and practice

Competent in analysing and Uses techniques effectively Competent in analysing and

interpreting complex or and demonstrates interpreting complex or
Wide knowledge and depth of Wide knowledge and depth of incomplete data and in innovation and creativity in incomplete data and in
understanding of complex and/or understanding of complex and/or communicating the complex situations communicating the outcome
Commendation 60 – 69 specialised principles and specialised principles and outcome
concepts and the development of concepts and the development of
ideas and practice ideas and practice

Reasonably competent in Uses techniques effectively Reasonably competent in

Appropriate knowledge and Appropriate knowledge and analysing and interpreting and demonstrates some analysing and interpreting
depth of understanding of key depth of understanding of key complex or incomplete data innovation or creativity in complex or incomplete data
Pass 50 – 59 principles and concepts with principles and concepts with and in communicating the complex situations and in communicating the
some understanding of their some understanding of their outcome outcome
development in practice development in practice

Limited ability to analyse Some errors in techniques Limited ability to analyse

Basic knowledge and depth of Basic knowledge and depth of and/or interpret complex or used, work lacks innovation and/or interpret complex or
45 – 49 understanding of key principles understanding of key principles incomplete data and in or creativity, reliance on incomplete data and in
and concepts only and concepts only communicating the routine procedures communicating the outcome
Little or no analysis and Many errors in techniques Little or no analysis and
Limited and/or superficial Limited and/or superficial interpretation of complex used, no innovation or interpretation of complex
Fail 31 – 44 knowledge of key principles and knowledge of key principles and data, poor presentation of creativity shown, reliance data, poor presentation of
concepts concepts results on routine procedures results

No analysis or interpretation Inability to use techniques, No analysis or interpretation
Virtually devoid of any evidence Virtually devoid of any evidence of complex data, poor or routine procedures have of complex data, poor or
Fail 0 – 30 very poor presentation of errors very poor presentation of
of knowledge and understanding of knowledge and understanding
results results


Evidence of Reading Referencing and Presentation, Grammar and
Classification % Range ACCOUNTING/FINANCIAL
MANAGEMENT Bibliography Spelling

Exceptional knowledge and

conceptual understanding of Outstanding, well-directed
complex and/or specialised Extensive evidence of
Outstanding referencing and presentation, logically and
Distinction 70 – 100 principles and concepts and integrating supplementary
the development and bibliography coherently structured, using correct
advancement of ideas and grammar, spelling and citation.

Wide knowledge and depth of

understanding of complex Evidence of extensive Excellent presentation, logically
and/or specialised principles Comprehensive referencing
Commendation 60 – 69 and concepts and the
reading of supplementary structured, using correct grammar
and bibliography
development of ideas and sources and citation

Appropriate knowledge and

depth of understanding of key Orderly presentation, clear structure
Evidence of reading Adequate referencing and
Pass 50 – 59 principles and concepts with and acceptable grammar and
some understanding of their supplementary sources bibliography
development in practice

Basic knowledge and depth Adequate presentation and
Limited evidence of Limited referencing and
Fail (marginal) 45 – 49 of understanding of key structure, grammar, spelling and
principles and concepts only reading bibliography

Limited and/or superficial

Minimal evidence of Inadequate referencing and Poor presentation and structure,
Fail 31 – 44 knowledge of key principles
and concepts reading bibliography grammar, spelling and citation

Virtually devoid of any

Little or no evidence of Inadequate referencing and Inadequate presentation, structure,
Fail 0 – 30 evidence of knowledge and
understanding reading bibliography grammar, spelling and citation