Archived Information for Spring 2011 Class
Start early. Writing a Wikinvest article, and writing it well, is harder than you thought.
The deadlines serve as cut-off points.
Revisions you make after the cut-off points will not be considered for grading purpose.
However, many students continued to maintain and improve their wiki articles even after the deadlines
Because a wiki article demonstrate one's overall finance skill set to potential employers.
Each student will participate in three Wikinvest articles.
Each team must complete two Wikinvest articles.
Entry #1: 03/04/2011 (i.e. before the Spring Break)
Entry #2: 04/27/2011 (i.e. last class)
Each student must complete one article of his/her own, in addition to the two team articles.
Deadline: 04/29/2011 (i.e. the Friday after last class)
How can I find a stock that hasn't been spoken for?
Wikinvest has a "Wanted Companies" list for stocks that haven't been covered.
You are more likely to find an open spot among the small-cap stocks in the Russell 2000 index
The list is not exhaustive, and may not be up to date.
Double check availability by typing the stock's ticker or name into Wikinvest's search box
Read my Powerpoint slides on how to write a good Wikinvest article and where to gather information.
The structure/outline is just a suggestive example.
Your ultimate goal is not just completing a school assignment.
But creating an article that can inform potential investors about a company.
Do whatever you believe necessary to achieve that goal. Think from a reader's perspective.
Every section in your article is not equally important.
For example, by definition the business overview section tends to be shorter than other sections, as "overview" literally means summary.
On the other hand, the ostensibly simple term "SWOT" is broadly inclusive and can turn out to be a long and hard journey.
The relative importance of each section varies from company to company.
Make your own judgment and write more on what you believe is more important for the company you cover.
What I know for sure is that every section in your entry will not turn out to be of equal length
In some industries, competitive advantages (e.g. barriers to entry, economies of scale) are deciding factors.
There, companies focus on formulating strategies to manage and reinforce their advantages.
In other industries, the playing field is relatively level, and companies concentrate their efforts on becoming more efficient than competitors.
For some companies, differentiation and marketing activities are the key to success;
For others, more efficient supply chain management and cost control may be their winning tactics.
Human resources: the successes of some companies may depend on a small group of key personnel
Some companies are dominated by a controlling founder or a charismatic leader (e.g. Steve Jobs at Apple Inc., Michael Dell at Dell Inc.)
There, analyzing its leader is as important as a company's operations.
In some other companies, even an idiot can run them and the leaders are irrelevant.
Some companies rely heavily on a famous designer (Tom Ford at Gucci), a sales person with extensive business contacts, a spokesperson (Tiger Woods for Nike Golf), or a star (LaBron James at Cleveland Cav).
Even the loyalest talents can be hired away by competitors, if the price is high enough.
Length does not equal quality.
A well organized and informative piece is better than a 100-page data dump.
Grading is relative (to other teams).
How much effort your team decides to put into the assignment really depends on your goal and expectation.
You can always monitor the other teams' progresses at http://www.fi414.com/choosing-stocks
Where to find information:
Company "Investors Relations" web sites
Every publicly-listed company's web site has a dedicated "Investor Relations" section
It is a treasury of relevant information and your recommended starting point
Company annual reports and quarterly reports
Annual reports are called 10-K
Quarterly reports are called 10-Q
They can be obtained for free at company websites or SEC data site EDGAR.
In EDGAR, search for companies by their stock tickers.
Transcripts, presentation slides and webcast of conference calls and analysts meetings
Usually available in "Investor Relations" section
Management may give some "color" on the abstract numbers to help you understand their business operations.
Major newspaper (use Google News)
Google Search. Internet search is powerful. Use it
Check the Resources section of this site for useful financial information resources on the Internet.
How good is good enough?
Unlike school exams in which a perfect score can be obtained once you give a correct answer, a Wikinvest artucke can always be improved.
I am not going to impose a word limit or page limit on your Wikinvest articles.
In fact, I intentionally encourage an "arm race"
Grading is based on your relative performance vs. other teams.
You get a higher score by doing better than your classmates and other teams.
Other teams can view your progress in real time and catch up if they wish.
Quantity does not equal quality.
A well-organized, concise piece is certainly better than a 100-page information-dump.
Do whatever you it takes to make your article the best on Wikinvest.
Most Wikinvest articles are written by volunteers, usually amateurs, during their free time.
I don't consider you as volunteers.
You are professionals and you have four months to work on your assignments.
Your work must be significantly deeper and rigorous in analysis and better in quality.
Wikinvest is a collaborative editing platform.
Allowing teammates to work together simultaneously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Wikinvest iPhone and Android apps allow you to track your team and other teams' progress in real time, any time.
The MSU Writing Center provides one to one consulting to review and improve your writing skills.
The service is free.
They also specialize on digital media writing.
You should make the best use out of this free service.
Unlike in the Stock Pitch Competition, you are allowed to cover financial, commodity, or utility stocks.
Your entries must be new.
That is, an entry's "Summary" section must be empty before you take over.
Wikinvest has automatically pre-filled the Data and News sections.
You will work on the Summary section only.
It's fine if the article is almost empty
Some Wikinvest articles have less than 10 lines of text in the "Summary" section.
Maybe someone started but then abandoned them.
They are considered new for this assignment's purpose.
In order to prove that you are the actual authors of a Wikinvest entry:
In your Wikinvest user profile, please provide enough info for me to identify you as one of my students
e.g. write "FI 414" in the profile page.
You don't necessarily need to use your real names.
However, if you're an excellent finance writer, why don't you want your potential employers to know about your talents?
A popular Wikinvest entry attracts hundreds of views a week.
And a typical reader is an investment professional.
Some of them may be potential employers.
Follow the Writing Guidelines of Wikinvest.
I won't teach you how to edit in Wikinvest. Read the Help section of the site. Most students become proficient in it within 10 minutes.
Plagiarism is easily spotted in collaborated editing platforms such as Wikinvest.