The two major independent case assignments (Midterm and Final) include a Staff Analysis (SA) and a set of prepared Case Exhibits (CE).



Content Guidelines

Staff Analysis – The two major independent case assignments (Midterm and Final) include a Staff Analysis (SA) and a set of prepared Case Exhibits (CE). The Staff Analysis is a 5 – 6 page document that provides a thorough discussion of the problem confronting the firm and the potential solutions available. The goal of this document is to prepare a comprehensive analysis of the issue for the firm’s decision-makers.


The Staff Analysis contains three components (major headings):

1.      Statement of the Problem - Provide a robust overview of the problem confronting the organization and identify the firm’s major decision alternatives. State the problem in such a way that it is clear you are addressing the firm’s primary problem. The Case Summary document that you prepare for class provides the basic content for the Statement of the Problem.


2.      Discussion - Provide a discussion of the main considerations and the alternative decisions to be evaluated. The presentation of alternative arguments serves to strengthen your analyses. Specific quantitative data, qualitative support, and summary financial analyses must be included in this section.


3.      Recommendation - Propose a solution that appropriately and effectively addresses the company’s problem. A definitive, well-reasoned recommendation regarding the issue must be made (i.e., “waffling” is unacceptable). Reiterate the salient numbers that support your proposed solution.


Any principles of finance that you apply must be explained, and all pertinent numbers must be referenced by citing specific Case Exhibits. You must convince the decision-makers that you have analyzed a problem that requires their attention and that your recommendation is the best alternative for addressing the issue.


Supporting Case Exhibits and References – The supporting Case Exhibits include tables, graphs, diagrams, and spreadsheets that support the Staff Analysis. Exhibits that you prepare (often based on those in the case) are referenced with letters (Exhibit A, B, C, etc.) to distinguish them from the textbook exhibits, which are referenced with numbers (Exhibit 1, 2, 3, etc.). The prepared exhibits (maximum of 6) do not count as part of the 5 – 6 page requirement for the Staff Analysis.

  • The case analyses do not require footnotes or bibliographies. If you use a direct quotation from the case you may attribute it as: “---------“ (XYZ case, p. xxx). If you use an outside source, you must ask permission and include a complete citation to avoid plagiarism.
  • It is unnecessary to include textbook exhibits in the set of Case Exhibits submitted with your paper. The textbook exhibits may be referenced merely by citing the specific exhibit number in your Staff Analysis (e.g., Exhibit 1, 2, 3, etc.).


General –As an analyst (or consultant) for the company, you must provide new insights into the issue, without simply repeating what your audience already knows. It is important to reiterate the basic facts/circumstances about the company; however, do not “rehash” the background of the firm or its principals.

Cases will be graded on accuracy in identifying the primary problem, the quality and comprehensiveness of your analyses, the effectiveness of your recommendation, and the clarity of your written expression. Your discussion/analysis must reflect a sound grasp of financial theory and its well-reasoned application to the issue.


Formatting Guidelines


Paper Heading: Staff Analysis [centered, bold]


Major Heading: Statement of the Problem [Left-hand justified, bold]

  • 1 or 2 paragraphs to introduce the analyses
  • Incorporate the information from a Case Summary
    • Case perspective and background
    • Primary problem and precipitating issues
    • Decision alternatives
    • Analysis and methodologies (toolkit)


Major Heading: Discussion [Left-hand justified, bold]

  • 4 - 5 pages to conduct the analyses
  • Briefly discuss the background of the problem to introduce the subsequent analyses.
    • Focus on the issues, not the individuals or principals in the case.
    • Do not overly reiterate information that is well known to the decision maker(s).
  • Fully discuss the specific decision alternatives under consideration.
    • Address the important suggested questions (prompt) for the case.
    • Present a balanced discussion of the issues that underlie each alternative.
  • Include detailed quantitative/qualitative support for all discussion and analyses.
    • Financial/numerical data must be discussed in the body of the Discussion.
    • Financial/numerical data must be referenced by citing specific Case Exhibits.
  • Define/explain key theoretical and financial concepts that are pertinent to the discussion.
    • Cite specific theories to support your analyses, where appropriate.

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