Writing in Business and Economics Courses

Written communication is an essential skill for success in your coursework in the Martin V. Smith School of Business & Economics. In addition, your proficiency in writing has a direct application in the business world. The goal of business and economics writing is to communicate information, ideas, analyses, and arguments to an identified audience in a clear and concise manner. In some cases the audience is internal (employees of the organization) and in other cases external (suppliers, customers, shareholders, potential investors, etc.) Business and economics writing often carries financial consequences. Therefore, your precise use of vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and punctuation is imperative.

Types of Writing Assignments

Here are some brief descriptions of the types of writing you may encounter in your Business and Economics courses:

  • Research Paper
  • Business Plan
  • Marketing Plan
  • Case Study Analysis
  • PowerPoint Presentation
  • Marketing Copy
  • General Business Correspondence

Research Paper

Successful students and professionals effectively select, process, connect, and analyze information. In your research papers, it is extremely important to organize and present your thoughts in a way that clearly establishes (1) a hierarchy of primary and secondary arguments, and (2) cause-effect relationships. Good research papers establish the appropriate connections and explain what happened, why it happened, and how it happened. Students should support their facts, analysis, connections, and explanations with theory, charts, graphs, and other appropriate visual models. The main message of the paper should be clear, as well as the hypothesis and arguments that convey the message. Organization and structure are critical.

Business Plan

A Business Plan is a written document that outlines the potential for success of a business venture. The document includes the venture’s mission, goals, environment, competitors, market potential, and specific plans for finance, marketing, operations, and human resources. A business plan can serve different purposes. For instance, it can be used applying for a loan, persuading potential investors, or seeking government grants. An executive summary (abstract) should specifically address the interests of the intended audience.

Marketing Plan

A Marketing Plan is a written document that outlines the marketing strategy and tactics to achieve the overall business goals described in the Business Plan. A Marketing plan describes how you will create your offering (product), how you will price the offering, how you will communicate your message (promotion) to users of the offering, and how you will get the products into the customer’s hands (distribution).

Case Study Analysis

In a Case Study, students analyze and research a business or some aspect of a business. Professors may provide different frameworks for the analysis: SWOT, PEST, Porter’s five forces, etc. Students describe the challenges, risks, and limitations of the parties in the Case Study and propose solutions supported by data.

PowerPoint Presentation

PowerPoint is a valuable communication tool widely used in business. Excellent presentations are usually defined by the interaction, the clarity, and the enthusiasm of the presenter. Text should be carefully crafted to be clear and concise.

Marketing Copy

Think of the flyers, posters, and ads that surround you. They all incorporate marketing copy. This writing style is an art in itself. The big difference from the previous business style is that your audience is the end consumer. For this reason, this writing requires a “journalist” mindset. Avoid technicalities and make the language accessible to your audience. Creative, short, and snappy wording characterize this type of writing.

General Business Correspondence

In your work life, you will communicate with others on a regular basis through emails, text messages, business letters, resumes, and memos. The writing skills you perfect in your course work will be reflected in these communications.

Effective Writing in Business

Successful business professionals routinely select, process, connect, analyze information, and make cogent recommendations. Developing your skill takes practice. Your business and economics instructors will require you to draft documents used in a typical business setting. Your goal is to communicate factual information to a particular audience with words that express exactly what you intend to communicate and leave little chance for confusion in the mind of the reader. You must distill complicated material into simple, straightforward language. Good business writing is clear, concise, and exact. An effective writer considers the intended audience, and adopts the style and tone most appropriate to the reader. A good writer avoids using unusual words and communicates in a polite manner especially when delivering sensitive or negative news. Writing style and tone can range from formal (research papers) to informal (business correspondence.) A good writer never leaves their message open to interpretation by different readers.

Advice on Writing in Business

People judge us by the quality of our writing. The MVS School of Business & Economics believes that the development of effective written communication skills is a key to your success. Good writing skills result from practice and attention to detail. It is part of the “job” of being a college student to take advantage of all of the opportunities available at CSU Channel Islands to bring your writing proficiency up to high standards.

Here is some basic writing advice: always make the time to edit and revise your writing; use verbs in the active voice and present tense; use personal nouns; attribute any work that is not yours to its source. You may find it helpful to use the following four (4) steps in producing good writing:

  • Pre-Writing: generate ideas and begin to organize your thinking;
  • Drafting: turn your ideas into sentences and paragraphs, focusing on content rather than grammar and punctuation;
  • Revising: look at your work objectively, organize your thoughts, look at transitions, use clear thinking, and construct logical arguments;
  • Proofreading: review your work for typographical, spelling, and miscellaneous errors.

Finally, your work is ready to send, distribute, and/or publish.

Citing Sources

The CSU Channel Islands policy regarding Academic Dishonesty (SP02-01) describes students’ responsibilities for citing sources. If you quote, paraphrase, summarize, or otherwise refer to the work of another person, you must cite sources using either parenthetical citations or footnotes. In business and economics courses, students usually use APA (American Psychological Association) style citations; however, your professors may indicate other styles of citation.