I need to categorically state that numbers are a nightmare only for me and do not represent the opinion of my peers. Now that the formalities are out of the way, let us cut to the chase. At the beginning of the term, Professor Narendra Rao told us that the term would be concluding with all the groups presenting (with power point…phew!) an analysis of 3 publically listed companies and their performance over the last 5 years and to predict the path ahead. This includes the entire jazz of current ratios, inventory turn over, debt, Dupont analysis, bankruptcy models and a lot more corporate financing jargon.
For once, we were given adequate time to complete the presentation, a luxury we never get in a one year MBA course. Needless to say, we did not disappoint. People were pulling out numbers left right and center. Abbreviations, calculations, formula that even the best in the industry would have forgotten. Now, I being more of a marketing person am more comfortable with the good old BCG matrix and other marketing tools than with the ever so important balance sheet. The skeptic in me obviously thought people were making all these numbers up. ( I later did a round of googling…and was proven wrong…these are real numbers) And all I saw was my peers have extensively scrutinized every company to a point that would have made a coroner performing an autopsy proud. Every detail was up there on the board. There was the odd group who unfortunately let the numbers speak and gave into the general optimism that is going about the economy these days, and quite confidently (and mathematically) proved that organizations that have become household names were going bankrupt. The end was near…for all of us. Armageddon cometh!
The last time I saw so many numbers together, at one place, was inside the Clark’s Tables we used back in school. And someone who isn’t too comfortable with anything more than simple addition, seeing slides loaded with numbers, left me feeling dazed and bamboozled. For many of us, the lack of sleep from the previous week and the fatigue led us to become John Nash and see numbers actually pop-out of the screen and make sense. I guess this is the after effect of low sleep and staring at numbers and balance sheets all night long. With full credit to everyone, the only ‘smart’ question I was able to come up with was, ‘Could you please explain how this company goes through the cannibalization cycle?’ That’s marketing for you…. Please forgive me.