I have had this picture for a while and hadn’t posted it. This is the graduate final exam f

I have had this picture for a while and hadn’t posted it. This is the graduate final exam for the Fall semester of Burkenroad Reports. If you look in the upper left hand corner of the picture, you can see Wil Donaldson.

hmm…Burkenroad Reports. Burkenroad Reports is one of the most rigorous courses you can take at the bschool. Students take the role of an Equity Analyst following one of 40 companies and are charged with writing a 25-35 page report on that publically traded company. The report culminates with a student determined one-year price target that is derived through the use of models build from the student’s forecasts (for two years quarterly and 8 years yearly) of each line item on the company’s balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement and statement of stockholders equity. Additionally, students spend a day visiting with the company upper management (usually the CFO and/or CEO) and picking management’s brains to get guidance for either the financial or fundamental analysis of the company.

The company’s followed are traditionally of the Mid and Small Cap variety with a few micro-cap companies thrown in. All companies are domiciled in what is considered the “deep south”, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida. The majority of the companies followed are in the Energy industry (ranging from upstream to midstream to downstream) with a few Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS), banks, and other companies thrown in for fun (like Pool Corporation, the largest supplier of pool related equipment in the US, or Rollins Inc, one of the largest pest and rodent “removal” companies in the USA).

The analysts are split into teams of 3/4/5 and chose a company to work on, under the guidance of an Investment Research Manager (IRM). The IRMs are students who have taken the course before and have a good grasp of the material and are the first point of contact for each analyst group. The IRMs also attend the company site-visits with the analysts. Each IRM is usually working with two teams at a time. The Associate Director’s of Research (of which I am one of two) are charged with maintaining the integrity of the reports, grading, and providing constructive criticism for each of the analyst teams.

The course is taught by three professors. Professor Peter Ricchiuti is the main professor and runs through most of the things that students will deal with in the class. Professor Pamela Shaw is in charge teaching and assisting the analysts with their excel models and all of the accounting and forecasting that is done for the report. Professor Leslie Baker is the writing instructor who ensures that all reports are written correctly and employs business writing standards.

As an analyst in the program, you learn an IMMENSE amount about Equity analysis; both on a fundamental (Peer analysis, Industry analysis, Shareholder analysis, Financial ratios analysis…) and a financial (Discounted Cash Flow Analysis, use of Multiples) basis.The pace of the course is fast and the workload is intense. But that is the way things are in the real world…only you do all of the work by yourself, not in a team of 3/4/5 people. Each final Burkenroad Report is read by 20,000-30,000 investors in the United States.

Each year, Burkenroad Reports holds an annual conference where 30-40 of the companies that we follow (as well as companies we may be following in the future) give their investor presentations and hold Q&A sessions. The conference is attended by approximately 700 investors from across the United States, as we are sometimes the only analysts that follow the particular company. This year, our conference will be on April 24th at the Chateau Bourbon Hotel in downtown New Orleans from 8am until 1pm. For more information (and links to completed reports) please visit www.burkenroad.org.

-Mr. Price