Most of the decisions of analysts, consultants, entrepreneurs, investors and managers require us to look ahead and assess an uncertain future. In this class, you will learn a differentiated approach to decision making that will help you consider the fundamentals of enterprises and how to link these fundamentals to underlying measures, which in turn will help you make better investment or management decisions. Students who have taken this course often comment on how it has transformed their thinking and understanding of companies. It also serves as a useful “capstone” to the MBA program as we draw on what was taught in most core courses.
In developing this line of reasoning and performing the analysis, we consider how to think about a new business as well as a publicly traded company. Having considered the basic building blocks, we next examine how the business resources and activities are translated into financial statements (whether for an early stage or public company) and consider what we learn from financial statements. We consider the extensive information increasingly available from outside sources, including various websites as well as Bloomberg and CapIQ. We also consider how certain accounting measures and practices impact the measures of the key elements of the business.
Focusing on the future, we take a different approach to many topics/concepts that are covered in various ways in other financial statement analysis, earnings quality, and security analysis and valuation classes. Many students take this course as well as other seemingly similar courses, and we have never received any feedback that the coverage in this course is redundant, irrespective of the other courses taken by students.
We will focus on understanding how entities create or destroy value for various stakeholders and what it would take to change this, how to consider uncertainty more explicitly in plans, and whether this fundamental value is reflected in the price or not (for entities that it applies to).
We will also take some time each week to address any topics that are in the financial press that bear on the subjects and the approach.
Roy Bernard Kester and T.W. Byrnes Professor of Accounting and Auditing
Shiva Rajgopal is the Kester and Byrnes Professor of Accounting and Auditing at Columbia Business School. He has also been a faculty member at the Duke University, Emory University and the University of Washington. Professor Rajgopal’s research interests span financial reporting, earnings quality, fraud, executive compensation and corporate culture. His research is frequently cited in the popular press, including...