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Ratios Tell a Story—2001
Haskins, Mark E. Case C-2162 / Published August 6, 2002 / 4 pages.
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Financial ratios and common-size balance sheets for 13 "mystery" companies are provided. Students then match each mystery company's data to 1 of the 13 industries provided. In the process, students learn how to calculate a number of basic financial ratios; craft a story about the distinctive aspects of a company's business by interpreting balance sheets; hypothesize how some of their basic understandings of an industry would be reflected in certain financial metrics; and propose a match of a column of metrics to an industry, and present their rationale to classmates. The case also provides an opportunity to discuss an organizing framework for the focal ratios, to present the concepts of financial leverage and a DuPont ratio deconstruction, and to introduce students to some of the published sources for industry metrics. This is an appropriate single class assignment for an introductory MBA-level financial accounting course.




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  • Overview

    Financial ratios and common-size balance sheets for 13 "mystery" companies are provided. Students then match each mystery company's data to 1 of the 13 industries provided. In the process, students learn how to calculate a number of basic financial ratios; craft a story about the distinctive aspects of a company's business by interpreting balance sheets; hypothesize how some of their basic understandings of an industry would be reflected in certain financial metrics; and propose a match of a column of metrics to an industry, and present their rationale to classmates. The case also provides an opportunity to discuss an organizing framework for the focal ratios, to present the concepts of financial leverage and a DuPont ratio deconstruction, and to introduce students to some of the published sources for industry metrics. This is an appropriate single class assignment for an introductory MBA-level financial accounting course.

  • Learning Objectives