BUSX 301 Writing Assignment #1 Business Communication Evaluation 

The purpose of this assignment is to assess your business communication & research skills.

Scenario

United Health Group (UNH) is reviewing how it does business in the current volatile market.  You are a junior analyst for the company, tasked with contributing a portion of a competitive analysis. You have been asked to draft a comparative financial analysis report that evaluates UNH against a competitor and proves which company is performing better than the other.  This task is an opportunity for you to showcase your competency in research, analysis, writing, and public speaking.

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You must submit a short report memorandum to the company CEO and make an oral presentation at the company strategy meeting, explaining which of the two companies is the financially stronger.   In addition, for each financial metric analyzed, explain the reason for the company’s performance, and provide support for your reasoning.

The following five key financial metrics must be use in your analysis:

  • Stock price – 1 year, 6 month, Intra-day (Use on or about May 2, 2017 as the present date)
    • Calculate stock price growth for both companies using percentage change and then compare it
  • Revenue (over the last three full-years)
    • Calculate revenue growth for both companies using percentage change and then compare it
  • P/E Ratio – Price to Earnings Ratio — can show whether a company is over or undervalued
    • Compare the PE ratio for each company and/or the industry standard
  • Net Income (over the last three full-years)
    • Calculate net income growth for both companies using percentage change and then compare it
  • EPS — Earnings Per Share – can show a company’s profitability for investors
    • Compare EPS for each company

To begin, you will need to research UNH’s financial statements. You can find this information on the company website, company 10K Report or on a number of Cook library databases, e.g. LexisNexis Academic, NASDAQ.com or Yahoo Finance.  Next, you will need to research one of UNH’s competitors across the same five metrics and compare its performance with UNH.

Part I – Written Evaluation

You will need to draft a report memorandum that succinctly compares the financial strength of both companies.
Your report should answer several key questions:

  • What was your rationale for selecting the competitor to serve as a measure for the analysis?
  • What did you learn from the comparison of these companies?
  • What is the significance of each index to your comparison?

This will require you to use some of the basic principles of business writing:

  • Proper memorandum format
  • Proper addressee (research the name of the CEO)
  • Proper use of sources using APA format
  • Include an introductory statement that foreshadows or “sells” the main idea
  • Use deductive structure, using strong topic sentences and supporting data
  • Condense information using tables, charts, graphs and bulleted points when appropriate
  • Use well developed headings
  • Use chunked paragraphs
  • Use transitions efficiently

Business Writing Criteria

When you present your information, I will be evaluating your ability to write clearly and succinctly. In other words, get to the point. What is the most important information? I should be able to scan your document and pick out key information quickly and efficiently. If I cannot skim the document in under two minutes and get my key questions answered, then you did not do your job. Additionally, this document must contain clean and well-proofread content (error-free prose). Careless and errant errors in your LOCs (grammar, spelling, punctuation, and word choice) will result in a deduction in your grade.

Part II – Presentation Evaluation

The second part of this evaluation focuses on your public speaking ability. As a young company analyst, you are required to give a 90-second presentation on your comparative analysis to the corporate strategy meeting. You must provide 2-3 PowerPoint slides as a visual aide. You must identify the wants and needs of your audience, so for this evaluation you will be presenting to the CEO of United Health Group (UNH) (ably played by your instructor). As such, I strongly recommend that you research your audience before presenting. Additionally, professionalism will play a big part in your role, so you need to think about what it means to be professional.

Presentation Criteria

For your presentation you will be evaluated by a number of criteria:

  • Strong Introduction
  • Professionalism
  • Organization of information
  • Citation of relevant sources
  • Conciseness of information
  • Relationship between content and visual aides
  • Closing that includes next steps.
  • General public speaking skills

Course: BUSX 301 Business Communications
School: Towson University

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