Company paper analysis: Using the analytical tools each of you will learn, each student will prepare an analysis of a public company. The company will be evaluated from the perspective of both fixed income securities (e.g., would you buy the bonds in the medium to long-term?) and equity securities (e.g., would you buy or sell the stock in the medium to long-term?).
Approaches to the analysis should include:
ü Current state of the financial health of the company
ü Trends in the financial health over recent years and potentially into the future
ü Comparison of the subject company with competitors and/or industry sector
ü Analysis of the subject company’s industry sector
o Relative strengths or weaknesses
o Factors affecting the industry such as product, technical innovation, regulation, economic cycles, etc.
ü Assessing the company’s position within the industry context
o Is it a leader?
o Does it have a clear advantage vis a vis other industry participants?
o Is it subject to extreme competition or pricing pressure?
The company chosen is at your discretion, but should not be so complex or one for which the information is not readily available that makes it more difficult than necessary. Students should pick a subject company outside his/her usual frame of reference. For example, if a student is employed in the technology sector, he/she should choose a company in another industry, such as food. In my experience, retail companies make the best selection.
The company paper analysis should not exceed 8 to 10 pages, double spaced using font 12 or 14. The page limit does not include the cover page and exhibits. Please number each page.
The company paper analysis will be due at the beginning of class #14 on April 26th. The paper is to be submitted both in printed copy and electronically (via e:mail). You can submit your paper earlier than class #14 on April 26th.
The company paper analysis is to be prepared using the APA writing style and guideline for references format. The paper must contain a bibliography and all direct quotations and data sources must be properly cited. The Department uses the APA style as it lends itself well to both reading the paper and understanding references without being cumbersome as some other styles. Students can download the student style guide from the American Psychological Association website http://www.apastyle.org/elecref.html or you can purchase the APA style guide from the Bookstore. There is even a help disk that can be purchased that will step the student through the process as you write your paper, if you desire a more “personal assistance”.
The company paper analysis is considered to be a research paper. Remember that work that you use from other authors MUST be referenced. Since it is assumed that you are not an authority on the topic that you are writing, it is expected that this paper is an overview of many different sources of information. These sources must be credited to the author using the APA format. This is your paper and not the cut and paste of someone else’s work. The internet has led to a false sense of what research is all about. Those new to research tend to think that it means spending an afternoon surfing the internet and then an afternoon cutting from the material available. Keep in mind the internet is (1) not quality oriented (some information is good and some is bad – the internet does not know the difference) and (2) the internet is Not the sole source of research. In particular, sources such as Wikipedia are the works of individual submitters which are not reviewed for accuracy, etc. Therefore, these sources are not reliable and should not be used in academic research papers. Keep in mind that the Boston University Library, as well as your local, state, and national (US Library of Congress) libraries has extensive on-line services. Please use them.
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