Brooklyn Business Analysis

Brooklyn Business Analysis

Rachel Raskin

Business/ School of Professional Studies

ACC 1201 – Principles of Accounting II

Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity

The class will be divided into groups of 4-5 students. Each group will choose a Brooklyn based company from the list provided and develop a research paper about the company. Groups will also present their findings in a 15 minute presentation at the end of the semester. The research paper must address the following issues:

– Discuss the business, the industry and the history of the company’s formation. What type of business entity was it formed as (corporation, partnership, LLC, etc.)? What are the benefits of having chosen that specific entity? What business challenges did the founders face when launching the company? What accounting challenges did the founders face when the business was first established? How did they or how might have they dealt with these challenges?
– How has the location in Brooklyn aided or inspired the formation of the business? If the business is still in Brooklyn (such as Maker Bot, Etsy, Gotham Greens, Vice Media, or Brooklyn Brewery) visit its headquarters. Try to arrange a meeting with its employees and ask relevant questions to help you in your research. If you choose Pfizer or Domino Foods, the Brooklyn Historical Society has a wealth of primary sources on these companies.
– Find a similar company in the same industry and if the chosen Brooklyn based company is not public, make sure the second one is a public company that has filed a 10-K with the SEC. Provide a description and history of this business. Compare it to the similar business discussed that was formed in Brooklyn. What similarities do the two companies have and what are the differences?
– Analyze the financial statements of the chosen public company. Perform vertical, horizontal and ratio analysis and discuss how the business stands in comparison to its competitors and the industry. Access the financial statements through the SEC’s EDGAR filing system. All other articles and data should be accessed through Morningstar.

Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

I would like students to be able to analyze a company’s position based on its financial statements. They should gain an understanding of how to research a company using reliable sources such as the Morningstar Market Research platform and SEC filing system. Ultimately, my goal is for the students to be able to connect their research about the company with the financial statement assessment they perform and put forth a comprehensive and original analysis. I would like them to step out of their comfort zone to work in a group, visit the business site directly to ask employee’s questions, and be able to convey all their findings in a professional presentation.

Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

This is a term project. I dedicate twenty minutes a week for the groups to discuss their progress in class. Most of the work is done outside of class.

Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

Prior to starting the activity I will cover the main concepts students will need to complete the project. Mainly, how to perform financial statement analysis and the characteristics of various forms of business entities. I will also introduce the students to the databases they will need in order to conduct the research.
Students will be instructed to post two drafts of the project to our class’ Open Lab site for my review prior to the final submission. They will be encouraged to use our Open Lab site as a place for group discussions regarding the assignment.

Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

I use a points rubric based on the AACU’s Critical Thinking Value Rubric.

Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?

Overall, this project was a great learning experience for the students. The challenges the students had were making connections between the financial analysis and the context/current state of the company. To address this issue in advance, next semester I will have the students scaffold their work over a few drafts of the paper, leading to the final product.
I think the students liked working in excel to perform a complete financial analysis. They enjoyed the opportunity to apply many concepts learned in class. They also were surprised at how many companies were created right around City Tech and were pleased to know of all the potential career opportunities at these businesses. All students dressed in business attire to present their research to the class. I believe this gave them a sense of pride in their work.

Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.

Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab

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