**Four Reasons Professors Ask Students To Use The Free Excel Student Template**

1. Professors ask students to use the template because the template enables students to focus their time and effort on gathering and evaluating data and information in performing a strategic management case analysis – rather than students spending significant time drawing circles and vectors and multiplying weights times ratings etc. Using the template enables students to focus on the “thinking” aspects of the project rather than the “mechanics” aspects. The template for example does not assign weights and ratings in matrices; the template does not do the evaluating and prioritizing for students. The template simply takes the “mechanics” off the shoulders of students, so they can focus on the “thinking” in developing a clear strategic plan.

2. Professors ask students to use the template because the template gives students excellent experience using Excel in a practical setting. The template was designed, developed, and copyrighted by Forest using Excel. Many business jobs require proficiency in Excel. Using the template helps students become proficient in Excel, which is an excellent skill to have in seeking a job in business.

3. Professors ask students to use the template because the template provides a single, consistent platform for professors to interact with all their strategic management students using the same tool. Professor-student interaction is an important AACSB Assurance of Learning variable. The template enables professors to more effectively interact with students, thus meeting a key Assurance of Learning objective in teaching.

4. Professors ask students to use the template because the template enables students to gain experience using practical strategic planning software. An earlier version of this template in the business world was named CheckMATE that was widely used by many businesses to actually do strategic planning.

**Twelve**** Reasons Students Like Using The Free Excel Student Template**

- The template saves students’ time, on average saving a student about 30 hours in preparing their strategic management case analysis. Students can use the “saved time” for actually doing research on their company and its industry, collecting and assimilating that information, so they can develop and submit an excellent project.
- The template enables students to avoid mistakes in math calculations, plotting points, drawing graphs, so they can stay on track without errors.
- The template enables students to develop professional looking charts, graphs, and matrices as needed for an excellent grade on their project.
- The template enables students to follow the correct process in formulating and implementing strategies. By following the steps sequentially presented in the template, students can submit a more comprehensive strategic plan for their assigned case company.
- The template develops both existing and projected financial ratios, so students can showcase especially relevant financial information.
- The template places firms in BCG and IE portfolio matrices, so students can focus on the “thinking rather than the mechanics” of portfolio analysis.
- The template enables students to examine many different scenarios for using debt vs stock vs some combination of debt/stock to raise needed capital for their assigned case company. For example, students can quickly assess whether a 10-90, 20-80, or 30-70 combination of debt vs stock in an EPS-EBIT analysis would yield the highest EPS for financing. Students can also easily examine different amounts of capital to be raised under various scenarios or even examine how various EBIT ranges would change their EPS projections.
- The template enables students to vary weights and ratings in matrices and instantly to see the resultant impact on total weighted scores. This feature of the template enables students to efficiently determine the appropriate values to assign for the relative importance of factors being considered in formulating strategies.
- The template allows for easy sharing of information among student team members.
- The template provides a financial statement “template” so students can more easily develop projected financial statements to reveal the expected impact of their recommendations.
- The template provides a perceptual map “template” so students can assist the market or product positioning of their project firm vs rival firms along key criteria.
- Using the template enables students to indicate on their resume that they have experience using actual Excel-based strategic planning software. Most strategic management students are nearing graduation and in the job market.