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Guide to the Site

As the material on this site accumulates and the users become more diverse, both in their backgrounds and what they are looking for, I have struggled with how best to organize and present the material.

  1. How is the site structured and what is in each section?
  2. Where do I start?
  3. Where do I find information on a specific topic and what do I do when I cannot find something?
  4. What are the rules on using information that I find on the site?
  5. Who do I report errors on the site to?

Structure of the Site

The site is structured around nine basic sections.

  1. The background section includes an overall glossary of finance terms, a more detailed glossary of financial ratios and measures and primers on statistics, accounting and present value. It is a good place to start if you are new to finance.
  2. The topic section breaks the material on the site down by three major topic areas - corporate finance, valuation and portfolio management. Within each of these topical areas, you will find links to my books, papers, classes and other material on the subject.
  3. The book section lists my corporate finance, valuation and portfolio management books, with links to the websites that support these books.
  4. The class section lists the classes that I teach both at the MBA and Executive MBA levels, and the supporting material (overheads, exams, webcasts etc.) for each class.
  5. The data section contains the datasets that I maintain for US and foreign companies on a variety of relevant variables. You can also download the raw data on individual companies here.
  6. The spreadsheet section lists all of the spreadsheets that you can download and use to your heart's content.
  7. The research/papers section includes working papers and publications that I have on a variety of topics. While many of these writings have found their way into my books, the latest listings will give you previews of what I am working on right now.
  8. The seminar section lists the seminars that I have done over time, with links to the presentations that I have used at each one. It also has a list of upcoming seminars in different parts of the world. The final section lists the webcasts that are available for my classes and some outside seminars.
  9. The webcast section includes all my MBA class webcasts as well as other webcasts of presentations that I have done over time.

You can also click here to get to a site map that you can use to navigate the site.

Where do I start?

The answer really depends upon why you are on the site in the first place.

  1. If you are looking for data: The place to go is the updated data page. I have estimated industry averages for a number of financial and market varaibles on this page for US, European, Japanese and Emerging Market companies. If you want to look at the raw data, you can download individual company data for all companies from this page. I have also attempted to provide some historical perspective with archived data going back about 5 years for US companies and 2-3 years for non-US companies.
  2. If you want to download a spreadsheet: If you are looking for a spreadsheet to do a corporate financial analysis (project analysis, optimal capital structure, dividend policy) or a valuation of a mature, high growth or money losing firm, you should try the spreadsheets page. The spreadsheets are not supposed to be black boxes. So, please do make sure that you feel comfortable with what is being done within the spreadsheets before you use them. And feel free to modify or adapt these spreadsheets...
  3. If you want to get information on a specific topic: I would try the research/papers page first. This is where I usually highlight topics that I find interesting. After a few iterations and comments, they invariably become chapters in my books. These are not conventional research papers but practitioner thought pieces.
  4. If you want to take a class: You can follow either the corporate finance or valuation class that I teach at Stern on your own. The lectures notes for the classes can be downloaded, the webcasts of the classes are accessible and you can even take the quizzes and exams if you are so inclined.
  5. If you are looking to download powerpoint presentations: If you are an instructor, looking to download the powerpoint presentations for books or topics, you will find yourself confronted with a request for a password and a username. Please contact me by email and I will give you both.
  6. If you want to just browse: Click on topics or books and roam through the site. Perhaps, something interesting will catch your eye.
  7. If you are a novice to finance and valuation: I would suggest that you strart with the background page, where you will find primers on accounting, statistics and finance as well as introductions to each of the three topics - corporate finance, valuation and portfolio management - around which this site is built. Once you have familiarized yourself with the topics, you can try to use the webcasts for the MBA classes on my site to see if you can build on your knowledge.
  8. If you want to get a question answered: I hope you find the answer somewhere on the site but even if you do not, you can email me your question. As long as it is not too involved, I will try to answer it.

Where do I find XXXX and what do I do if I cannot find it?

It depends on what you are looking for. You can try two starting points. One is the search box on the home page; it is not the most efficient search engine in the world, but it does reasonably well on individual topics. The other is in the extended glossary. I have tried to provide the links that you need from within the glossary. I usually update the data online at least twice a year for US companies and once a year for non-US companies. If you do not find the data, you can ask me and I can let you know whether the data is available or not, and if not, why not....

Rules on using data and spreadsheets

This is an open site with very few rules. I have no problem with your use of any of the informatiion on this site but I will only ask two things of you. The first is that you do not try to commercially exploit the data on this site by turning around and selling it; I know that you would never even contemplate doing this but it has been done before. You have every right to use the data or spreadsheets that you find here as part of your regular occupation or research. The second is that you acknowledge the parentage when you used the data from this site. However, I fully understand if you want to use some insight or data item to impress a friend, colleague or boss... If it does impress them, act like it is your own.. If you it does not impress, you can blame me.

Errors and Missing Links

If you see errors or missing links on this web site, please do let me know. I hope that you will forgive me, if I do not fix the errors instantaneously. Some errors are more complicated and difficult to fix than others.