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Overview

Monday 6-9 PM in spring 2022.

MBA INTA-GB-2307 specializations:

Undergrad MULT-UB-0057 concentrations:

Undergrad minor: Entertainment, Media, and Technology (EMT)

Undergrad track: Management Consulting

I have a tech and business background. This course and the Business Drivers course use the same analytical framework (about 25% of the course). However, this course focuses only on tech companies. A few students have taken both courses and found them to be valuable.

We illustrate a streamlined and structured framework to analyze the business drivers of forty tech companies. This framework helps us understand their narrative, drill into their financial statements, and assess competitive advantage.

The analysis proceeds as follows:

  1. We apply the Six-Pack Framework for top-down and comprehensive analysis of financial statements to extract six key valuation inputs – Size, Growth, Margins, Asset intensity, Business risk, and Financial risk.
  2. We analyze how these inputs depend upon a company’s strategy by computing the Competitive Advantage Score that ranks competitive drivers and scores strategic strength per those drivers.

This broad exposure will expand your tech horizons and enable you to foresee challenges and opportunities due to changing competition, technology, and the economy. The framework and the perspective will sharpen your ability to lead value creation as a tech entrepreneur or executive or to understand value creation as an investor, banker, analyst, or consultant.

Takeaways

This course teaches the following skills to finance as well as non-finance majors:

  1. Understand the broad themes that drive value creation in the Tech Industry.
  2. Six-pack Analytical Framework (SPF): Identify and extract the six key valuation inputs – Size, Growth, Margins, Asset intensity, Business risk, and Financial risk.
  3. Competitive Advantage Score (CAS): Link these six key inputs to the choice and execution of a company’s strategy by identifying, weighing, and scoring competitive drivers.
  4. Broaden your tech business horizons and raise your Tech Business IQ: Expand your strategic horizons by examining how a wide range of tech companies create shareholder value so that you can grow your tech business in new dimensions.

Materials

Attendance and penalty for missing classes

Requiring attendance is necessary for several reasons. First, many of you misjudge how much you miss out on learning when you miss classes. It is difficult to catch up once you miss a class. Watching a video (if available) is inadequate as it is cognitively far inferior to paying attention in a classroom. Second, less than 25% of the students who miss a class watch the video (if available). As a result, they are lost in subsequent classes, which provides wrong signals to me as an instructor. Third, there is diminished classroom interaction and poorer quality of class discussion if you are absent. Fourth, you do not get enough feedback if you do not work through the questions I pose in class. Fifth, I lose the feedback on how much you are learning with fewer questions in class.

The policy below will be in effect only after the add/drop period.

Without mandatory attendance, as much as half the class can be absent. Therefore, though I dislike doing this, I penalize absences. I understand that there are valid reasons for absences. If you anticipate being absent for good reasons, please email me well in advance. You can enter "Excused" on the attendance sheet described below to avoid the penalty if I approve. If you miss a class due to emergencies and cannot tell me in advance, do not panic. Take care of the emergency first and then email me. I will permit you to change the "absent" to "excused." But, if you miss a class without a valid reason, there is a penalty, as shown below.

For sections meeting in 150-190 minute sessions, you would lose one grade (A to A-, A- to B+, B+ to B, B to B-, and so on) for EVERY missed session unless you were explicitly excused via email. Thus, if you miss two class sessions, you would lose two grades, and so on.

For sections meeting in 75-80 minute sessions, you would lose one grade (A to A-, A- to B+, B+ to B, B to B-, and so on) for EVERY TWO missed sessions unless you were explicitly excused via email. Thus, if you miss four class sessions, you would lose two grades, and so on.

Please sit in the same seat in every class and display your name tags. After entering the class, please mark yourself present in the first 20 minutes in the OneDrive sheet (link posted on OneDrive after the add/drop period is over.) You will be marked absent if you are more than 20 minutes late unless it is because of factors beyond your control (traffic, subway, interviews running late). You will also be marked absent if you leave the class early unless you have my permission or get it afterward. You will get an F in the course if you are caught cheating on the attendance sheet.

Grading

Help and Office

Prerequisites and expectations

Prerequisite: Any student who has taken the Core financial accounting course can take this course.

Please take this course if you expect the following:

Please do NOT take this course if you expect the following:

System requirements

How this course differs from existing courses

Strategy

We will illustrate the application of frameworks you have learned in your strategy courses to a wide array of companies and industries.

Financial statement analysis (FSA)

The focus of my course is on a broad financial overview of industries, not on a detailed analysis of financial statements. The latter is reserved for the FSA course.

Modeling

We will not build any financial statement models in the course. However, you will use excel for certain assignments — basic knowledge of excel is sufficient. This course will help you understand how to extract inputs for valuation models by reading financial statements.

Valuation

We will discuss value drivers, but we will not discuss valuation theory or build valuation models.

The Six Pack

The course highlights how and why businesses differ along the six key drivers listed below:

  1. Size
  2. Growth
  3. Margins
  4. Volume or net asset turnover
  5. Business risk
  6. Financial risk

1. Size

How do we measure size? Market cap, sales, assets, or the number of employees? What are the merits or demerits of each metric? Is the industry fragmented, or do a few large firms dominate it? What are the reasons for such patterns? For example, how do economies of scale and scope affect the distribution of sizes? What role do network externalities play in industry consolidation? How do the bigger firms differ from smaller firms in the industry? How does size affect risk and return?

2. Growth

What are the drivers of growth? How does growth affect the business model of a company? How does growth affect the financing of a company? What do we know about the rate at which a wider market adopts an innovation?

3. Margins

What are the major components of costs as a percentage of sales? What are the drivers of margins? For example, is the margin driven by pricing power, conversion efficiency, or purchasing power?  Is the success driven by R&D, efficient production, or effective marketing? How do the margins change as a company matures? How do companies offset low margins with high volumes and vice versa? How does that affect its hiring and management practices?

4. Volume or net asset turnover

How asset-intensive is the business model? Does it create barriers to entry? What risks does it create? How does it affect the financing needs of the companies in that industry? Are the revenue-generating assets listed on the balance sheet?

5. Business risk

How does the extent of fixed costs, i.e., operating leverage, affect the company? Does the operating leverage lead to ruinous price competition in a down cycle? Which costs are fixed in the short-run versus the long-run? How does a company mitigate the risks arising from fixed costs?

Is the business cyclical? What do we know about business cycles? What risks do they create? How does fiscal and budgetary policy change in response to business cycles? How does that affect the business we are trying to understand? Is its business model sustainable enough to survive the downturn of a business cycle? Can and how does a company mitigate the risk of down cycles? How does cyclicality affect the financing of a company?

Is the business regulated? Why? What aspects of regulation must it manage to be successful? How does that affect risk?

6. Financial risk

How much financial leverage do companies in the industry have? Is there a wide variation? How have the business risk, industry cycle, corporate performance, and financial policy affected the leverage? What types of debt do the companies have? How does leverage change over the life cycle of a company? Why do industries differ in their borrowing costs? What is the company’s credit rating? How have the business risk and the extent of leverage affected the borrowing costs? How has debt structuring affected the interest rate?

Companies

The schedule depends on the number of teams, which depends on the number of students in class. The following list should give you an idea of what will be covered. The exact details will be provided via a spreadsheet on OneDrive.

# Industry Companies
1 Overview
  • How do tech companies differ from other commercial and industrial companies
2 Chips and components
  • Intel
  • Advanced Micro Devices
  • Broadcom (Avago)
  • Micron
  • Qualcomm
  • NVIDIA
  • Texas Instruments
  • Samsung
3 Personal hardware
  • Apple
  • [Samsung: Included above]
  • Panasonic
  • Motorola
  • Foxconn
  • HP
  • Lenovo
4

Enterprise hardware and cloud

  • Cisco
  • IBM
  • Canon
  • EMC
  • Amazon
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • VMWare
5 Packaged software and gaming
  • Microsoft
  • Adobe
  • Intuit
  • Electronic Arts
  • Activision
6

Enterprise software

  • Oracle
  • SAP
  • IBM
  • Salesforce
7

Software consulting

  • Accenture
  • Infosys
  • Cap Gemini
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Computer Sciences Corporation
8

Telecommunications

  • AT&T
  • Verizon
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • CenturyLink
  • China Mobile
  • Softbank
  • Level 3 Communications
9

Social media and

advertising-based revenues

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Tencent
  • Google
  • Baidu
10

Fintech

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Paypal
  • ADP
  • Lending Club
11

E-Commerce

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Alibaba
  • Booking
12

Upcoming Companies

[This will change each semester.]

  • GoDaddy
  • Fitbit
  • Square
  • Match Group
  • GrubHub