Choose a publicly traded company. Perhaps the teacher compiles a list of some of the most obvious suspects to make it easy. Perhaps I could even provide the teacher with such a list. Using that company’s investor relations page as well as EDGAR for SEC filings (as well as any other Google research the student may like to incorporate), have the student produce a bull or bear case for that company’s stock based on their research. The student must at least use the company’s investor relations page and EDGAR and source information from both. The presentation should consist of no more than 8 slides and focus on the following:
- What does this company do?
- How does this company make money?
- Who is leading this company?
- What kind of market opportunity does this company have?
- What kind of competitive advantage (if any) does this company have?
- Are there switching costs?
- Are there barriers to entry?
- Is there pricing power?
- Run this business through the Porter’s Five Forces model.
- Is this company in good financial shape? Why or why not?
- Do you think this would be a good or bad investment? Why or why not?
For this exercise we will assume the company is fairly valued by the market today. There is no need to go into the weeds on valuation work as it is nuanced and subjective and not the ultimate point of the exercise. There are lessons from this exercise that extend well beyond investing including:
- Learning about business;
- Learning basic financial concepts and measures;
- Evaluating leadership;
- Learning about competitive forces within a given market;
- Public speaking skills;
- Assembling a concise and clear presentation;
- Building research skills.
After all is said and done all of the decisions can be tracked based on the call for whatever period of time makes sense. Perhaps a full year or even more based on what year the students are when they do the project. The bottom line is this is real life stuff that could serve as a way to teach students a multitude of real-life concepts that they will more than likely encounter as they grow older. And of course, maybe it results in a few more investors along the way.
Keep calm, Fool on and hit ‘em with the Hein.