Project Fear and Brexit

It’s been a little over four months since the United Kingdom shocked most of the world—including most of their own population—by systematically deciding as a nation and declaring its intention to withdraw from the European Union (EU). This event, commonly known as “Brexit”, occurred June of this year and continues to affect the lives of millions.

Most people seem to think that the underlying current that led to the Brexit decision started only this year or even just within the recent decade. The truth, however, is that the motions that lay the foundation for Brexit was planted well over 40 years ago.

It was the year of 1973. Charles de Gaulle had resigned as president of France and soon after the UK had finally managed to join the European Economic Community (EEC). As early as the year after, the Labour Party under the leadership of Harold Wilson contested the October 1974 election with the aim to renegotiate the UK’s terms of membership to the EEC and hold a referendum to discuss whether or not they should remain with the EEC.

In 1975, there was a referendum held to determine if the UK was to stay with the EEC. At the time, mainstream press was very vocal about its support about the continuing membership with the EEC. Regardless of this, the ruling Labour Party had divisive opinions within its ranks that resulted in a vote of 2:1 in favor of withdrawal. The cabinet, as a whole, was split between those in favor of pro-European and anti-European ministers, Wilson decided to suspend the constitutional convention of Cabinet collective responsibility and allowed ministers to flagrantly discuss their side in public. On June of that year, a constituency was asked to vote yes or no on the issue. Only the Shetland Islands and the Outer Hebrides voted no. As such, the UK effectively stayed with the EEC.

The yearly elections saw the ebb and sway regarding the support for a pro-European sentiments and a rise in Eurosceptic views. This is primarily due to fear mongering and culling the intrinsic cultural concerns that the generations between the 80’s and latter 90’s. The platitude of targeting the fears and alarm of the constituents eventually led to the concept of “Project Fear”.

Project Fear has been used to refer to the flagrant interjections of pessimism and appeal for a focus toward the main perceived negative outcomes of a political decision. It was also used during the Scottish National Party and supporters of Scottish Independence; those that firmly opposed the Better Together campaign of 2014. This tactic was later maintained before, during, and even after the 2016 UK referendum on European Union (EU) membership.

Boris Johnson, the former Mayor of London—and a pillar of the Leave campaign, was quite rabid in his insistence that the pro-EU (otherwise known as Remain) were making use of scare tactics and falsehoods to terrify the populace into believing that staying with the EU would be in their best interest. He even began to preach that the campaign to stay in the EU itself was Project Fear.

Conversely, there are people from both sides of the camp that have dismissing the label of “Project Fear” and aim to present it as a positive reality check rather than a disrupting and negative force. All of it came to a head and now the consequences of the Leave vote have started to trickle in. Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that Article 50 will be effective by the end of March 2017.

Article 50 refers to the fiftieth article of the Treaty on European Union which sets the process for the exit of countries from the EU. Until this article is invoked, the UK continues to remain a member of the EU. Even in the interim, “Project Fear” seems to be alive and well.

This case pertained to the uncertainty surrounding the future of Collier College’s undergraduate accounting program.  Accounting is Collier’s largest major and, due to various audit engagements, membership with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is required.  Collier has just received notice that AICPA is adding an additional 30 credit hour requirement to maintain their accreditation.  The underlying problem is that, due to Collier’s small size, it is heavily dependent upon revenue generated from tuition.  With approximately 25% of their graduates being accounting majors, having to drop the AICPA accounting program would severely hurt the college’s financial position and local reputation.  The dean of Collier’s School of Business, Dr. Peter Leonard, has contemplated some solutions to the issue.  Among these solutions are waiting to see what develops, adding 30 undergraduate credits to the existing curriculum, establishing an “articulation agreement” with another local school, and packaging the students’ fifth year with a graduate degree.  He is uncertain, however, of how much support these options will have among the students, and whether or not the college has the ability or resources to successfully implement them.  Since the new AICPA requirements will go into effect in six years and will directly affect the incoming class two years from the present date, this case ultimately calls for a high-risk strategic decision.


Task 1:           List and explain all possible alternatives you considered

Alternatives Considered:


  • Lobby against the new AICPA requirement
  • Wait to see if the new AICPA requirement actually develops
  • Add a 5th year to the undergraduate accounting program
  • Form an articulation agreement with another local college
  • Package a 5th year with a graduate program (receive Bachelors and Graduate degree at end of 5th year)
  • Merge some classes together and allow them to count for more credit hours
  • Have students take an additional accounting lab each semester to cover the new requirements.


Top 3 Alternatives for Development / Explanation:


  1. Package a 5th year with a graduate program – This alternative would require all undergraduate accounting majors to complete their Bachelor’s degree in five years instead of the traditional four years. However, with this program these students would be receiving two degrees simultaneously, as they would earn a Masters of Accounting upon completion of their 5th year.  To make this alternative possible, the additional 30 undergraduate credits required by the AICPA would be met with rigorous, graduate level courses that are comparable to the curriculum of schools offering a Masters of Accounting.   Thus, the course learning objectives that pertain to the 30 extra credits would be developed to satisfy AICPA’s requirements, as well as the caliber of graduate level coursework.
  1. Form an articulation agreement with another local college – This alternative would involve setting up a transfer program with a local college that offers courses satisfying AICPA’s additional 30 credits. If this alternative was implemented, undergraduate accounting students from Collier College would have to take a 5th year of courses at the partnered institution, or would have to double up on classes and take heavy course loads at both Collier and the school with the articulation agreement.  In either case, all of the additional 30 credits for the AICPA accreditation would be taken at an institution other than Collier College.
  1. Merge some classes together and allow them to count for more credit hours – This alternative suggests that Collier College will combine the learning objectives of several courses and allow students to take a few, all-encompassing, courses. Doing so will allow a student to earn more credits by taking the same amount of classes that he/she usually takes.  By merging similar classes and awarding more credit hours, these class sessions will have to be offered for a longer period of time.  For example, these classes may have to meet 2-3 times a week for 2.5 – 3 hours at a time, rather than 2-3 times a week for 1 – 1.5 hours at a time.  In implementing this alternative, it is likely that Collier College will have to hire professors holding a PhD since most graduate level courses are taught by instructors with this level of education.


Task 2:           Indicate all possible consequences of each alternative


Alternative: Pros: Cons:
5th Year Grad Program ·       Meets the AICPA requirements

·       Students can earn a graduate degree in 1 year (their 5th year) as opposed to the traditional 2 years offered at other institutions.

·       Collier College will experience an increase in expenses with the hiring of professors holding PhDs.

·       With more classes being taught, capacity and scheduling become problems (may need more classrooms and more time slots for classes to be offered).

·       In order to be competitive and offer a valid Masters’ Degree, Collier may have to obtain accreditation for their graduate program.

·       Student housing may pose a problem for 5th year students.

Articulation Agreement ·       Meets requirements of the AICPA

·       Don’t need to hire more professors

·       Partnering with another college may result in more opportunities or more awareness for Collier

·       Don’t need to increase class room capacity or change class scheduling for the additional 30 credits

·       Students may not want to go to another college

·       If Collier can’t offer the new courses at their campus, some students may apply elsewhere for undergrad too.

·       Collier’s reputation may decline


Merging Classes ·       Meets requirements for the AICPA

·       No 5th year is needed

·       Classes are weighted heavier for your degree, so if you get a bad grade it has a lot of impact on your GPA.

·       Tuition will increase to cover the addition of new material and learning

·       May have to hire professors that can teach the new requirements for AICPA

·       May have conflict with room scheduling

·       Class time would have to be longer for the merged courses


Task 3:           Indicate why you selected to pursue your chosen alternative


We have chosen to pursue the alternative of packaging a 5th year with a graduate program.  We selected this option for a few different reasons.  Primarily, we feel that this choice is the most appealing and beneficial to the students.  Collier students are unlikely to favor a five year Bachelor’s program because they may feel as though they are falling behind of other students who are receiving a graduate degree by that point.  Furthermore, students who are at Collier and really love the college may not want to take courses at another institution, or transfer out.  Although these students will have to pay tuition for a 5th year, it is probable that the cost for the extra year will not amount to the expense these students would incur if they received their Masters of Accounting in two years at another institution.  The option we chose is also one of the most feasible for Collier College.  Prospective accounting students looking at Collier may decide not to apply if they can earn a Bachelor’s degree in four years at another institution.  Although packaging a 5th year with a Masters of Accounting may be expensive for Collier (increase in faculty, classroom capacity, accreditation expense, etc), it will help to draw in more students.  With accounting being the largest major at Collier, the college cannot afford to lose out on this pool of applicants and the revenue from their tuition.  Being able to earn two degrees in just five years will increase the competitiveness of Collier College, and give it an advantage over other institutions that offer a Masters of Accounting in two years instead of one.  Thus, it is likely that adding a 5th year graduate program in accounting will bring more prestige and recognition to Collier College.


Task 4:           Explain the steps you will take to develop the selected alternative


  1. Increase Collier’s faculty by hiring teachers with a PhD that can teach graduate level accounting courses.
  2. Add the new courses required by AICPA and ensure that their learning objectives are rigorous enough to equate the class to an introductory graduate level course.
  3. Increase accounting students’ 5th year of tuition to account for increase in expenses and graduate degree. Contact alumni and look for more scholarships or grants to offer students with their financial aid packages.
  4. Research accreditations for graduate colleges offering a Masters of Accounting. Apply for prestigious accreditations if Collier’s curriculum meets the requirements.
  5. Meet with staff and faculty representing all of Collier’s majors to organize an evening schedule that can accommodate the new accounting courses.
  6. Accept outside applicants to the new graduate program if their undergraduate curriculum has been deemed comparable to Collier College’s, their overall GPA for accounting courses has been a 3.2 or better, and they performed acceptably on any graduate school entrance exams (i.e. CPA exam, GRE, GMAT, etc).
  7. Allow Collier’s current undergraduate accounting students into this new program if their overall GPA for accounting courses is a 3.2 or better, and their all-encompassing GPA is a 3.0 or better.


Task 5:           Forecast what you expect the selected alternative to accomplish in five years

Although five years is a short period of time, with successful implementation we expect the new program to:

  1. Have provided at least one graduating class holding both a Bachelors of Accounting and a Masters of Accounting.
  2. Have provided Collier College with an increase in enrollment and tuition dollars.
  3. Encourage prospective accounting students to look closer at applying to Collier due to the time efficiency and benefits offered by the 5th year graduate program.
  4. Have increased the number of faculty at Collier that hold doctorate degrees.
  5. Offer more scheduling flexibility for students taking the new courses. This is likely to result from an increase in faculty applying for positions at Collier, and from the working out of initial program kinks.
  6. Have built up the college’s reputation and prestige to the point where more guest speakers are asking to visit the campus, and more organizations are offering Collier’s accounting students internships / positions.


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Presently MetLife’s employees are required to participate in training courses allowing them to learn about the company and its expectations. With adequate training, mistakes are less likely to occur and employees are better able to learn the requirements and responsibilities of their job.  Without good communication outstanding performance is often not rewarded adequately and weak performance are tolerated for too long (Benmosche, 2007, p.4).  The future challenges for MetLife are likely to stem from weakness in control.  Management officers are leaders of change and always need to remain disciplined in maintaining employee performance. The communication between employees and management is important so priorities are clearly established and objectives are appropriately focused.  To remain viable with competitors it is MetLife’s responsibility to stay current with the latest technologies to keep customers up to date.  MetLife considers performance management to be an important business initiative. MetLife’s performance management team sets goals and development plans, intermittently coaching and conducting year-end performance reviews (Benmosche, 2007, p.4). Senior managers are responsible for discussing and consistently setting implementation guidelines for employees.  In relation to its customers it is MetLife’s duty to provide appropriate insurance and shape personal relationships. As a top insurance provider MetLife is responsible for overcoming challenges and insuring the trust of current and future customers.

There are many internal and external factors affecting the effectiveness and efficiency of MetLife.  In 1992 there were internal factors such as the commission on different insurance policies, control and monitoring within the company and management which played a large part in influencing MetLife’s wrongdoing.  External factors like the ease of deceiving nurses, competition among regional companies, and weak government regulation also greatly influenced MetLife.

When an employee of an insurance agency thinks about which types of insurance policies he plans on selling to his customers, it is only logical to believe that his first question will be about the amount he makes in commission on each type of policy.  MetLife’s whole-life insurance policy had a 55% commission, while its annuity had only a 2% commission (Hartley, ch. 21).  Obviously, this was a problem because employees wanted to sell more of the whole-life insurance policy in order to receive a higher commission.

In a company that pays employees based on commission, it would make sense to have some sort of control or monitoring system to make sure employees are doing their jobs efficiently and effectively; MetLife had a faulty system of control.  The marketing department of MetLife had been promoting the fake retirement plan under the orders of Rick Urso.  The legal department, put in charge of monitoring the marketing department, noticed that many of the forms of marketing that were being used by the employees were not legal.  The legal department warned the marketers that there were possible illegalities with their sales practices, but took no corrective action to fix the problem.

MetLife’s lopsided commission setup and its lack of control over its marketing department were two internal factors that affected the company.  External factors also played a role in influencing MetLife.  More people purchase annuities than whole-life insurance policies because there are more people that are single or without dependants than those who are married or have dependants.  The employees of MetLife figured out a way to sell more of the whole-life insurance policies; they turned to the nurses.

Nursing is a very strenuous and mentally draining job, and death is a daily occurrence. Because of their constant exposure to death, many nurses can be easily convinced of a need for economic security.  MetLife took full advantage of this opportunity by referring to its employees as “nursing representatives” and marketing a whole-life insurance policy disguised as a retirement plan.  MetLife sold a sizeable number of policies to the nurses convincing them it was a retirement plan, even though it was actually a whole-life insurance policy.  As MetLife’s revenues increased, Rick Urso’s budget increased, resulting in the ability to market insurance across the nation.  Urso promoted the deceptive selling behaviors of his employees because of its great success, and MetLife’s profits increased dramatically as the company began selling policies in 37 states.

Guarantees for the if in Life,” implies that people no longer have to worry about the unknown in their lives. This is one of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company’s (MetLife’s) campaign slogans suggesting that they can provide for customers. Currently MetLife ranks as the one of the countries top insurance companies. It has had a long history of public and customer service since its start in 1863, when a group of New York businessmen came together to begin the leadership of MetLife. From the start is has dealt with leadership and trust issues and was not until 1879 that a successful plan, organization, leader, and control materialized. Over the past century MetLife has emerged as a global force in the areas of group and personal insurance, pensions, and investments. Even in the midst of success MetLife has struggled to hold together its company in a way that is ethical. There have been moments of doubt and some unflattering “if” statements about the sales and marketing practices of MetLife. In 1992 internal investigations showed the deception in the selling techniques of employees in the Southeast Region of MetLife. This deception and unethical workmanship had the potential to destroy the 129 year history of the Organization. Although MetLife’s decisions prior to the publicity of the crisis in 1992 were poor, they took necessary action and have made great strides to right wrongs and strengthen the Company and provide for customers.
MetLife has set long and short-term goals and function off of a vision of building “financial freedom for everyone” with an emphasis on customers and their needs. MetLife has faced many challenges in the past years that they have overcome. Even in the beginning MetLife had to adapt and adjust surviving for awhile on the profits of contract work. Eventually its first effective president emerged; Joseph F. Knapp set into action insurance programs based on an English model that drew in industries and workingmen. This first challenge promoted the establishment of MetLife’s commitment to success. Not only have they overcome challenges from their past but also still face and consider future challenges which they may be faced with.

MetLife is a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to millions of individual and institutional customers throughout the United States and it is its responsibility to meet both its customer’s needs and wants. A misrepresentation and deliberate falsification of information destroys the trust and reputation of MetLife. One of the greatest challenges MetLife overcame was allegations brought against the Company in 1993 after an internal investigation of the Tampa office. The Tampa office, consisting of 120 reps, 7 sales managers, and 30 administrators was previously known as one of the Company’s most profitable offices. The claim was brought against MetLife and Rick Urso, the branch manager, due to its employees’ sales practice and misrepresentation of its insurance policies and the unethical use of calling its employees “nursing representatives.” There had been questions of Urso’s pre-approach letters and terminology of “nursing representatives” in a 1990 audit, but in the end nothing but praise for high sales was taken from the investigation.

Trust is defined as “the belief in the integrity, character and ability of a leader” and as an insurance company MetLife failed to demonstrate this. The challenges MetLife had to overcome were not only ethically based but also forced them to regain trust from prior customers. Trust became a challenge for MetLife due to inadequate representation of the insurance they were selling. Management faced these challenges with a positive attitude and through hard work and determination were able to overcome them. MetLife has made improvements within its management department to now include training for future employees preventing the occurrence of future problems.

Carnival Cruises

Cruise vacationing was the fastest-growing segment of the leisure-travel industry in North America.  It’s estimated that in 1970, about 500,000 passengers embarked on cruises; that number in 2004 has grown to more than 10 million passengers.  Whereas in the past ships were meant for business travel, today, ships were meant for pleasure-cruising.  Ships offered a variety of activities and entertainment to its guests – casinos, bars, cabaret acts, pools, shuffleboard, bingo, etc.  Luxury cruises offered educational enrichment programs, spas, sports bars, and more.

The Carnival Corporation was launched in 1972 as a company that promoted “fun ships.”  The cruises would provide the aforementioned activities and entertainment as well as other amenities in order to create an amazing customer experience that would not be soon forgotten. Carnival consisted of 12 cruise lines and 75 different ships, which targeted each American market segment and Europe as well.  Carnival cruises typically carried more than 60,000 passengers at a time.

Carnival’s information systems group was made up of 320 employees, charged with enabling technology on the ships (a point of sale system and a property management system).  The POS system allowed staff members to ring up sales in the various ship outlets that guests could use to make purchases, such as bars, shops, the photo gallery, etc.  This consisted of a graphical user interface which permitted employees to choose items to be charged, accept special company forms of payment (Sign and Sail cards), and to post charges to a guest’s on-board account.  Because of this, guests could enjoy themselves without paying for anything until the day before debarkation.

Carnival is trying to figure out how to leverage its very strong brand to gain a more competitive position in the market place, commanding higher margins.  The ships are almost always full and the guests are always satisfied, so the company needs to decide what it can do to improve customer loyalty.  Lastly, due to the two information systems currently in use, Carnival has a tremendous amount of information at its disposal, such as customer purchasing data.  Carnival needs to figure out how it can use that information to better understand its customer and tailor cruises to meet their needs; this would hopefully lead to a profit.