In Case studies
Harvard Business School

This exercise serves to help students understand the proper role and use of costs in a firm’s pricing decisions. The exercise is designed such that the learning of students evolves across a classroom session, starting from understanding which costs are relevant when setting the price of a product, progressing to a discussion on the wisdom or otherwise of the traditional “cost-plus” approach to pricing, and ending with a demonstration of how to leverage cost information to construct an iso-profit curve—which, in turn, serves as a useful benchmark to assess possible price changes. These topics emerge as the result of hands-on calculations, where students make recommendations based on the data provided in the exercise, and in-class discussion, where students defend their preferred course of action and reflect on the biases and heuristics that may lead managers to misuse costs in pricing decisions.