SWOT Analysis

You will choose a company to analyze. The analysis will include a detailed SWOT analysis, a complete financial analysis covering three years of financial statements, and an intrinsic common stock value. You will need to make recommendations on what the company is doing well and/or what it can do to improve its sales, profitability, etc.

For your term research project you are to choose a corporation and compose a thorough analysis of between 18 and 25 pages. The paper should be typed, double-spaced, have standard 1” margins and be printed in a 12 point font. You can use MLA, APA, or citation style you choose. Let me be clear, it is unacceptable to copy and paste large bodies of text into your paper or to even change just a few words here and there. I will be utilizing TurnItIn software to check for plagiarism. Tables, graphs, charts, spreadsheets, etc. can either be inserted into the body of the paper of displayed as an exhibit at the end of the paper with references to the specific exhibit within the body of the paper. You should use a MINIMUM of 5 references for your paper making sure to cite them properly. Please keep in mind that I am not looking for 18 to 25 pages of tables, graphs, and charts. Use common sense…especially when inserting a large diagram. If you want to include pictures, graphs, and charts but are worried that they are too large, insert them as in an exhibit at the end of the paper and reference them in the text. Financial ratios and intrinsic stock values will be calculated using Excel and will be turned in on Canvas. The spreadsheet should be well-organized and clearly labeled.

Your chosen corporation can be a local, regional, national or international firm. However, make sure that you choose a firm for which there is at least five years of publicly available data. Thus, I would strongly suggest choosing a large corporation that is both widely and publicly traded.

In your analysis you will provide information about the market(s) in which your chosen company operates, the history of its operations, and detailed financial data and ratios. You will also calculate the intrinsic stock price for the company using either some of the techniques we cover in class or other methods you find during your research. You MUST use at least TWO methodologies and compare your findings. Your analysis will conclude with a section about whether you recommend a buy or sell.

The final version should be set up as a research paper with the following sequence (these pages are additional to the required body of 18 to 25 pages):

Cover page with your names, course number, your instructor, date, subject and a brief statement that you (and you alone) produced the paper and all references are mentioned.

Executive Summary (max. three-fourths page in Bold)

Table of Contents

References

The following websites are just two of many that provide good explanations of SWOT analysis and methodology:

• Quick MBA SWOT Strategy

• Rapid BI SWOT Analysis

It is important that you start the project with a detailed introduction of your company/institution of choice. Remember that you need to familiarize yourself with the subject of your project in order to make recommendations for a buy or sell rating. Research the company thoroughly to get a good feel for its business and environment.

Strengths In your SWOT Analysis you should think about the factors that work in favor of your company/ institution. You will need to consider the company/institution’s management, market segment, product/service, income statement, balance sheet, and whether your company/institution is a low cost business, strongest player, innovator, etc.

Give your own opinion of what the company is doing right and how that can move the company forward. You should work this out with the strongest factor getting the most attention and then work down the chain to the least significant advantage.

Weaknesses In the next section of your SWOT Analysis you should think about the factors that weaken the company/institution. You will want consider the company/institution’s management, market segment, product/service, balance sheet, and whether the company/institution is a high cost/low profit business, weakest player, non-innovative, etc.

What have you found that the company is doing wrong…in your opinion? How will that influence the company going forward? What changes can be made to improve the weak parts of the company/institution?

Opportunities As part of your SWOT Analysis you should start working on the opportunities the company has to expand its markets and sales. It is important that you work through this section by researching the market thoroughly.

Opportunities to consider might include something like introducing a new product/service or exploring a new market. Can the company’s products/services be improved to achieve higher profit margins? Can the company become the most efficient and dominating company in its sector? Will outsourcing help the company?

Threats In this section of your SWOT Analysis you should consider the problems the company’s product/ service might face in the future: legal, new product development, product/service obsolescence, low profit margins, political, competition, management, etc. Plan to spend time examining and discussing the most significant threat(s) to the company. Explain your choice of the biggest hurdle for the institution in your project. Be specific in your choice and clearly explain the reasons why this threat may hurt the company’s business going forward.

Financial Analysis

Your financial analysis will include at least three years of data. You will use the financial ratios covered in class in addition to others you feel are useful in analyzing the financial condition of the company. You do NOT have to calculate the ratios by hand. They should be readily available on many internet sites but be careful in switching from site to site as some sites calculate ratios differently.

In addition to the past three years of financial data, you will forecast the next year’s income statement and balance sheet and resulting ratios. You should also calculate the firm’s intrinsic value. You may provide a summary of your calculations in the write-up and leave the details to the spreadsheet.

You will compare your chosen company’s ratios to industry averages and also look for positive and negative trends.

Conclusion Your analysis will conclude with a section about whether the company under study is a buy or sell.

Before you submit your final project, make sure everything is complete and that all required pages are attached.

Remember that this paper and any future papers you write (especially those for your employers) are a reflection of you and your abilities.

Financial ratios and intrinsic stock values must be submitted to me using a well-organized, clearly labeled spreadsheet.

Information for the course project may be found on Murray State Lib Guide for the project.

I will also provide you with a helpful library guide regarding how to research your company. Do not hesitate to contact the librarian if you need help getting started or have questions along the way.

Please keep in mind that this is a finance course and that while a thorough SWOT analysis is required, the focus of the paper should be on the financial analysis.

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