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Example Heading 1
Answered

Example Heading 2

Task:

To perform an in depth financial analysis (quantitative and qualitative) of a member of the S&P 400 mid cap pool.  Each student will select one company to research from the instructor provided list.  This project should reflect detailed financial analysis including ratio and trend analysis.  Remember that you are an MBA student.    Be sure that your research and presentation reflect that standing.

Structure of the report with approximate (approximate means just that) page length for each section - Please use 1.5 line spacing.

For the purpose of this case I want you to wear the hat of a reasonably new financial analyst that is preparing a report for a team that will evaluate whether or not the company should be included in the firm’s investment portfolio that it recommends to clients.  Your primary focus is on the quantitative financial performance of the firm both historical and prospective for the next 3 – 5 years.  In order to perform the quantitative part of the analysis (especially the forecast part) you need to perform some basic research on the economy, the industry, and the firm.

Introduction – The following is true for every professional report that you write.  Introduce the purpose of the report to the reader.  Help the reader out with an efficient introduction.  I estimate about 1/3 of a page.  Why is this report important?  Surprisingly many students forget to identify the company being analyzed until about page 2 of the report.  

State of the Economy  (in the broadest sense) –  Identify key economic and societal factors that have had and or will have a significant influence on the firm’s industry and the firm itself.  Set the tone for the economic and social environment in which the firm will operate.   Remember that 2020 is a significant election year.   The President, The House, and over 1/2 the Senate. Approximately 1/2  page.  

Primary Industry for the firm – Identify key industry characteristics that will influence the firm’s financial performance moving forward.  Approximately 1/2 page.

The section needs to provide commentary related to the current and prospective economic prospects for the industry as well as for the firm.  The student will likely include primary market segments, product lines, opportunities, threats, etc..  I don't have an exact format in mind but as the reader, I want to leave this section with reasonable insight into the nature of the industry and influences on the firm.

Another Example Heading 2

Company Specific Focus - This section provides a more specific review of the firm from a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat) perspective.  I want to leave this section (as the reader) with a reasonably insightful view on the business environment for the firm (cover the past several years and the upcoming years.  Consider conditions and events that will set the tone for the firm's financial performance over the next 3 - 5 years.  Target length  1 - 1.5 pages.

Summary Financial Statements, Ratio Presentation, and related commentary - Summarize the firm’s Balance Sheets, Income Statements, and Statements of Cash Flows for the past three years in an Excel spreadsheet.  I'm not looking for each line item from the firm's SEC filed financial statements .......... I want reasonable detail.  You will present the three years of trend data for each firm and with the help of the Excel, model calculate selected key financial ratios and quantitative trends.  The model should calculate a minimum of six ratios for you.  You will complete a one page Excel schedule for the firm and an additional Excel schedule that is used to present - side by side selected ratio findings.  Likely in the 2 page range.  I’ve provided a sample that you can use as a guide but you can certainly prepare your own from scratch.  Every firm is different so you need to use MBA level thought to develop your firm’s required level of detail.  

Financial Analysis Commentary - Based upon your findings from the trend and ratio analysis I want you to comment on the strengths and weaknesses that you perceive in the firm.  Your analysis should link your financial calculations to your firm specific commentary on (SWOT) and your broader industry analysis.  Your analysis in this section sets up your final conclusion.  Target length for this section is 1 - 2 pages.

Conclusion - I'd like you to prepare a very effective conclusion that clearly delivers your findings about the attractiveness of the firm as an investment over the next 3 – 5 years.

Total expected length of this case study, with 1.5 spacing, is approximately 7 pages . This means I'm not looking for 5 pages and I'm not looking for 9 pages.

Part of your skill development is to ascertain the information that should find its way into the report and which information to exclude.  The reports of most students have the following weaknesses:

(1) An ineffective introduction and conclusion.

(2) Not nearly quantitative enough.  Too general in nature.

(3) In adequate referencing.  I don’t require an exact format but you need to be consistent in using whatever format you select.  MLA, APA, and Chicago are the normal styles used.  If you lack these skills, do the research and build strength.  We will not devote class time to this.

(4) Not enough reflection on the linkages between the qualitative information and the quantitative outcomes.  Integrating the economy, the industry, and the firm.

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