Even MBAs Need Instruction

I hired a new MBA graduate some years ago. He was positive and sincere, and he ran marathons. He was obviously not afraid of hard work and was well organized and disciplined.

On his second day, I called him in and asked him to put together a pro forma on a real estate project that we were looking into. He nodded and agreed and went back to his office to begin work. After a couple of days, I asked him how it was going. He looked up at me with a pained expression and said, “Quite honestly, I don’t know what a pro forma is.”

For me, a pro forma is a simple evaluation of the feasibility of a project or investment. It begins with determining the revenues that can be generated from the project, deducting all costs and expenses ...

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