I could tell you that I am looking for content and that I am flexible on format, but I am sure that you still want to get a sense of typical formatting. There is no one format that will work for everyone. You might find it worthwile keeping these general suggestions in mind while writing the report:

  1. An integrated report works better than separate reports for each firm. By an intergrated report, I mean having all the companies discussed, by section, rather than having five or six company reports bound together. For instance, analyze the risk profiles and parameters for all of the companies in your group under a risk and return section.
  2. Do not rehash what should be common knowledge. Thus, describing the regression procedure for estimating betas is not necessary, but explaining why your firms have the betas that you do is necessary.
  3. Use tables to summarize data and findings. Since the analysis is paralleled across the companies, you might find it useful (and I definitely will) if you start each section with a table that summarizes your findings for that section across the companies in your group.
  4. The questions, both in the main section and in the help manual, are designed to guide you through the project. You can alter the sequence and choose the presentation format that works best for you.
  5. Do not include the data sources that you used for your report (such as the Bloomberg pages or annual reports. If you are including your spreadsheet output, attach only the output pages and not the input pages.)
  6. Be brief. I would like your final report to be 20 pages or less (you can have appendices on additional pages), if you have five or fewer companies in your group. If you are a group of more than five, you can add 2 pages for each additional company to the limit; thus, with 7 companies, the page limit expands to 24 pages.
  7. Establish a narrative for your company: Remember that while each part of the project deals with a different aspect of corporate finance, you are still looking at one company. Your overarching objective in this project is to give me a cohesive and consistent narrative that describes your firm, as it stands today: what it does well, what it does badly and what it needs to change. If you want to get a sense of what a narrative for a company looks like, take a look at this blog post that I had on Petrobras. The narrative is not pretty but it reflected what I thought about the company.

Perhaps the best way to get a sense of format is to look at other project reports. You can begin with my sample analysis of Disney, using the numbers from the lecture notes and then move on to samples from previous year's projects. They are in pdf format, and you need Adobe Acrobat to read them. They illustrate the diversity of the companies analyzed and the way in which different groups answered the same questions. You will notice different formats, different structures and different writing styles.

  1. An Analysis of the Travel Industry
  2. An Analysis of the Beverage Industry
  3. An Analysis of the Healthcare Industry
  4. An Analysis of Entertainment Companies
  5. An Analysis of Food Companies