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Homework answers / question archive / MBA 6211 Team Project ©Steven P

MBA 6211 Team Project ©Steven P

Business

MBA 6211 Team Project

©Steven P. Coy, PhD 2016. All rights reserved. 

 

Introduction

Your MBA team has been hired as contract consultants by a large institutional investor to analyze the decision making process of a single firm.  Your team of four students will analyze a company from the list of companies shown on the accompanying document on the course website (the list contains a selection of companies ranked from 100-500 on the Fortune 500 list of publicly traded companies). This assignment has two parts: (1) You will perform a detailed analysis of at least four major decisions that your subject firm made in the last five years (two of these must come from the last two years); and (2) You will make time series and/or causal model forecasts of closing stock price and earnings of your subject firm for end of the next quarter using publicly available data.

This is not a strategy, marketing, or a finance project. Although you will consider all of the traditional functions of the firm in your analysis, the focus of the project is the quality of managerial decision making of the organization and how this affects your projected performance of the firm.

This project has three main deliverables: (1) 10-15 page report; (2) 10 slide PowerPoint presentation with annotations (scripted as if you were going to give a presentation to your client); and (3) an Excel spreadsheet containing all of your forecasting analysis. These deliverables are due in the penultimate (second to last) class.

This project will require a significant amount of research to provide a basis for your decision making and forecasting analysis. All statements, recommendations, and conclusions that you make in this project must be supported by facts and your analytical results. Although your belief about the quality of a particular decision, the reliability of your forecasts, and your subject firm’s future are inevitably going to reflect your opinions, all of the arguments that you use to justify your opinions must be based on facts and analytical results. Your professors will not view favorably statements in your report or PowerPoint that are vague, lofty, illogical or unsupported. 

 

Subject Firm

You will select your firm from the Project Companies spreadsheet, which accompanies this assignment on the course website. Your selected firm must come from this list, and it must be unique to the class. Once you have selected your firm, you are required to post a message on the Team Project discussion board stating that you have reserved a particular firm. Rules: The first team who selects a firm and notifies the class has the rights to that firm. No team may reserve more than one firm nor may they cancel a reservation once it is made (so make sure you want to work on that firm before you commit). If two or more teams reserve a single firm, then the first team who posts a reservation for that firm has the rights to that firm. Other teams who reserved the firm later must choose another firm. It is your responsibility to verify that the company you are reserving has not been reserved already. Last, if you have already reserved a company, you should ensure that no other team mistakenly reserves the same company that you have reserved. Please check the reservations frequently and notify your professor promptly if you notice that someone reserved your previously reserved firm.

 

General Project Requirements and Deliverables

Suggested Length: 10-15 pages double spaced not including work cited page and appendices, 11-12 point font, 1” margins.

Citations: Use APA style for citations and work cited.

Style: For an entire list of style and formatting requirements, please read the Assignment Style Guide, which is located in the File Cabinet on the course website.

Deliverables: On or before the due date, one student from each team will submit a Word document containing the project report on the Turnitin link, which is available on the Term Project page. This same student will also post a zip file to the Final Project Dropbox. This zip file will contain the report Word document, the Excel spreadsheet, the annotated PowerPoint presentation, and a one page document that contains a description of the contribution that every individual on the team made to the qualitative and quantitative analysis, preparation of exhibits, and the writing of the report and PowerPoint slides (see Contribution Template on course website).

Late Assignments will be accepted, but they will be subject to a significant escalating penalty. See the Late Assignments Policy in section 14 of the syllabus for more details.

 

Project Outline and Specific Requirements

Title Page

This page must contain the title of your report and an alphabetical listing of team members. Executive Summary

In this one to two page section, you will provide an encapsulated discussion of your findings. When writing the summary, you should assume that your principle client may not read anything else in the report.  So, the summary should be concise, thorough, and specific. Note, although bullets are helpful in an executive summary, they should be used sparingly.

Introduction

In the introduction, you should describe the company you selected and provide a brief outline of what you will cover in the report.

Decision Making Process Analysis

In this section, you will identify at least four major decisions that your subject firm made in the last five years. Two of these decisions must have been made in the past two years. These decisions must have been announced in the firm’s 10K or 10Q report, a corporate press release, or earnings call. In your analysis, you will provide the context of each decision, the antecedents to the decision, available alternatives, the decision, and any outcomes from the decision that have been publicized. Finally, you will evaluate the quality of each decision using the various decision theoretic concepts and best practices that you have learned in the course. You are encouraged to seek authoritative media reports about each decision (e.g., Newspapers, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Business Week etc.). Use sources in an appropriate manner as described in the Assignment Style Guide.

 

Earnings and Stock Price Forecasts

You will make earnings and stock price forecasts for the end of the upcoming quarter using publicly available data. You may use causal regression models, seasonal models, and/or time series models of one sort or another depending on what your analysis reveals is the best approach. Your data set must include at least the last 40 quarters. You are encouraged to assemble other publicly available data that will help you make a good causal forecast. Leading economic indicators from the federal government (see spreadsheet examples in the learning modules) are typically useful for this purpose. Other industry-specific data may also be available depending on the industry. Make sure that you build in a time lag for any causal variables since we must assume that the latest statistic will not be available until the latest quarterly earnings or stock price is available.

Notes: 

  • If a quarterly earnings report becomes available during the session (e.g., Q4 reports are published before the end of POT 1 in the fall), assume that you are forecasting from the end of the previous quarter and assume that the recently published report was unknown to you.
  • Effort is important here. Students who create an effective causal model will earn far more points than a team that uses a three period moving average.
  • Your Excel file should include all of your significant trials, and your report should provide a detailed explanation of what you did and why to arrive at the models that you selected.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Based on your decision-making analysis and your forecasts, provide a set of recommendations to your client. In particular, recommend whether they should consider your subject firm to be a good investment risk based on your forecasts and decision-making analysis. Support all of your recommendations with facts from your analysis. Do not skimp here. After all, teams who provide weak recommendations and/or analysis will be unlikely to be rehired by the client. Remember that this is not a finance, marketing, or strategy project. So, your recommendations should focus primarily on the decision-making analysis and forecasts that you made.

Work Cited Page

See format section below.

Appendices

Place any exhibits here that are greater than one page in size.

Project Ancillaries

Excel Spreadsheet: This single file must be well labeled and easy to read. Remember that your professors must grade a total of about 80 reports in one week. If we can’t find critical analysis, it won’t count.

PowerPoint presentation: This document must summarize your report and analysis. Use the notes window to annotate your presentation as if you were going to present this report to your client.

 

Report Format and Acceptable Use of References

Use the outline provided above to structure your report. Use a commonly used font such as Times New Roman, Ariel, or Calibri for your text font. Please use 11-12 point font for your text and one-inch margins. Use paragraph form and liberal use of headings and subheadings. All exhibits in your report must be referenced in the text and adequately explained. Please see the Assignment Style Guide, in the File Cabinet for more details.

Proofread your report! Reports that have grammar, syntax, usage, or related problems will be heavily penalized.

Your report will require considerable research to complete. The UHD library contains numerous collections and databases that will help you complete the project. In addition, you are welcome to use web browsers to obtain material from authoritative sources. Most blogs, Wikipedia and other lesstrustworthy sources will not be acceptable for this project. Please check with your professor if you have questions about the acceptability of a particular source.

When using sources, paraphrase where possible or quote if necessary. Cite all sources. All facts, paraphrased passages, and quotations must have an in-text citations. All cited material must be listed on the Work Cited page. Use APA format for your citations and work cited page. All Internet sources must include a usable link. See Assignment Style Guide in the File Cabinet for more details.

Please note that Turnitin is very effective at identifying plagiarism. Students who commit egregious plagiarism on this assignment will receive a zero on the project, they will be written up according to university policy, and they will likely fail the course. 

 

Project Evaluation

The table below shows how the project will be evaluated. Most individual student scores will reflect team scores. However, if the professor determines that a student or students did not contribute sufficiently to a team’s deliverables, their individual scores will be reduced. For this reason, I urge you to retain evidence of all of your contributions to team activities until after you have seen your final grade in the course. Specifically, you should retain all project documents, drafts, and spreadsheets that you contributed as well as any communications that you made with your teammates.

 

Executive Summary

10

Introduction

5

Decision-making analysis 

40

Earnings and Stock Price Forecasts

10

Conclusions and Recommendations

10

Excel Spreadsheet Analysis

40

PowerPoint presentation

20

Presentation, grammar etc.

15

Total

150

 

Suggestions for Completing the Decision Analysis Process Portion of your Team Project

 

After reading the project and beginning research on your subject company, you are probably wondering how you should analyze the decisions. You may not realize it, but you have already learned a lot about decision making that you can apply to this problem. Consider the suggested analytical process below.

  1. For each decision, identify as much information as you can. This will probably require multiple sources. Make sure to cite your sources both in-text and on the work cited page!
  2. Using the data that you found for the decision, try to build a decision timeline. This chronology of events will help you with your analysis.
  3. Consider the following in your analysis:
    1. Inputs and Outcomes
    2. Multiple objectives
    3. History of similar decisions. For, example, was this an escalating commitment?
    4. Identify any internal or external challenges.
    5. What were the complexities surrounding the decision?
    6. What aspects of the problem were uncertain?
    7. What were the political issues? Were their competing viewpoints in the organization?
    8. In what ways was management rationality bounded? Given the advantage of hindsight, what subsequent events did management foresee or fail to foresee? 
    9. Did management fall into one or more decision traps? Did you determine that the decision was biased in some way?
  4. Diagram the decision similarly to the format used by Staw in his Escalation of Commitment paper. That is, identify the major factors in the decision, and then identify the attributes of the problem that were major influences. Obviously, unless the decision is an escalating commitment, your decision model will be different, but Staw’s analytical framework is applicable, to some extent, to any decision.
  5. Based on your analysis, was this a good decision? Did it have a good outcome? What should management have done differently given the information that was available at the time?

 

 

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