Mystic Monk Case

Topics: Coffee, Carmelites, Revenue Pages: 8 (4629 words) Published: September 16, 2014

Crafting & Executing Strategy 18th Edition


Mystic Monk Coffee



his 4-page case requires that students consider the future direction of a monastery located in Clark, Wyoming and evaluate the vision, strategy, and business model of the monk’s fledgling coffee business. As the case unfolds, students will learn of Father Daniel Mary’s vision to build a new Mount Carmel in the Rocky Mountains and transform the small brotherhood of 13 monks living in a small home used as makeshift rectory into a 500-acre monastery that would include accommodations for 30 monks, a Gothic church, a convent for Carmelite nuns, a retreat center for lay visitors, and a hermitage. Father Daniel Mary had identified a nearby ranch for sale that met the requirements of his vision perfectly, but its listing price of $8.9 million presented a financial obstacle to creating a place of prayer, worship, and solitude in the Rockies. Father Daniel Mary hoped to fund the purchase of the ranch through charitable contributions to the monastery and through the profits of its Mystic Monk coffee business, which had earned nearly $75,000 during its first year of operation.

Suggestions for Using the Case
This case was written as a leadoff case and was carefully crafted by the case author to require students to draw upon most all of the concepts discussed in Chapters 1 and 2 to sufficiently prepare for a class discussion of the case. The case involves issues relating to mission, vision, objectives, strategy, business models, and decisive strategic leadership; the need for an action plan is obvious—these are the very things one looks for in a good leadoff case. And the nature of the case virtually guarantees the stimulating kind of class discussion one needs to get the course off on the right foot.

We think Mystic Monk Coffee (MMC) is an excellent leadoff case for the course (other good choices are Whole Foods Market in 2010 and The O-Fold Innovation—all of which require that students draw upon the material covered in Chapters 1 and 2). The unusual topic of the business ventures of cloistered monks, student familiarity with the coffee industry, and the very close connection between the case and the material in Chapters 1 and 2 make this an especially good leadoff case. You may want to consider covering Chapter 1 in your first day’s lecture, Chapter 2 on your second day’s lecture, and then assigning Mystic Monk Coffee for class discussion on Day 3. You may wish to use your classroom access to a computer and projector to allow students to view the artist’s rendering of the proposed monastery before beginning your discussion of the case. The impressive drawings can be found at We suggest use of a teaching plan that focuses on Father Daniel Mary’s strategic vision for the monastery and its coffee operations and Mystic Monk Coffee’s strategy and business model. Of course, there is the opportunity for students to make recommendations regarding the strategic issues confronting the monastery and its coffee venture.

The assignment questions and teaching outline presented in upcoming sections of this TN reflect our thinking about how to conduct the class discussion of the Mystic Monk Coffee case.




Case 1 Teaching Note Mystic Monk Coffee

It is really very difficult to have an insightful and constructive class discussion of the Mystic Monk Coffee case unless students have not only read the case but also conscientiously worked their way through a set of wellconceived study questions before they come to class. In our classes, we expect students to bring their notes to the study questions to use/refer to in responding to the questions that we pose. Students often find having a set of study questions is useful in helping them prepare oral team presentations and written case assignments—in addition to whatever directive questions you supply for these assignments. To...
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