double-spaced printed pages (plus appendices and a title page) and will be
stapled once in the upper left hand corner. (No report covers, please.) The appropriate style is that of an
executive brief prepared for the chief executive officer — clear, concise, to the point, devoid of unnecessary
background material; but nevertheless, complete, self-contained, logically consistent and well-supported
with technical appendices. Your assumptions must be listed and justified, either in the text or in the first
Executive briefs are written in a style that is quite different from academic term papers. By far the
most significant difference is that executive briefs must be self-contained. That is, the reader should
never be forced to interrupt his/her reading of the paper. If the reader must refer to an attached
appendix to follow (or completely understand) your executive brief, then the paper is not self-
contained. In many cases you will include one or more spreadsheets as appendices. Generally, only
summary data from these spreadsheets will be of immediate interest to the CEO. These summary data
should be presented as exhibits in the body of the paper. Exhibits should generally be either short
tables or graphs and should indicate the source of the data (appendix or external source).
The purpose of technical appendices is to provide the detail necessary to validate the important results
presented in your brief. Thus, from the reader’s viewpoint, the appendices are reference material
(optional). If you are having difficulty visualizing what is meant by self-contained, ask yourself this
question. Would the development and the important results and conclusions of my analysis be
completely understandable to a high-level executive if the appendices were removed?
Although the appendices may, or may not, be examined by the executive reading your report, they are very
important for the purpose of validating your analysis. The CEO will usually have his or her technical staff go
over your analysis in detail. It is very important that the models contained in your spreadsheets be well
documented. Use variable names wherever possible. For example, SALES IN YEAR 1 is much more
understandable than B3. Have sufficient notes in the body of each appendix to explain the assumptions and the
calculations contained therein. What is being done in this spreadsheet? What should the reader be told to help
understand the model developed here?
Spreadsheet analysis is an essential part of this course. You are always expected to use sensitivity
and/or scenario analysis to test the robustness of your results to variations in the critical assumptions
underlying your analysis.