In this session, we started by looking at two time-weighed cash flow returns, the NPV and IRR. We then looked at three tools for dealing with uncertainty: payback, where you try to get your initial investment back as quickly as possible, what if analysis, where the key is to keep it focused on key variables, and simulations, where you input distributions for key variables rather than single inputs. WUltimately, though, you have to be willing to live with making mistakes, if you are faced with uncertainty. I also mentioned Edward Tufte’s book on the visual display of information. If you are interested, you can find a copy here:
It is a great book! I also talked about Crystal Ball in class. You have access to it as a student at Stern, at least on the school computers. You can also download a free, full-featured trial version from Oracle:
The only bad news is that it is available only for the PC. As a Mac user, I have to open my Mac as a PC (which kills me) and use Office for Windows (which kills me even more, since I don’t know any of the neat short cuts or where things are in the tool bar).

I also promised you a primer on statistical distributions for using Crystal Ball more sensibly and you can find them here:
We then turned our attention to analyzing a project in equity terms, using a Vale iron ore mine in Canada and in the process faced the question of whether we should hedge risk either at the output or input levels. If you found the risk hedging question we talked about in class this morning interesting or worth thinking about, here is a paper (actually a chapter in a book on risk that I have) that you may find useful:
Post Class Test:
Post Class Test Solution:


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