Saturday, July 18, 2009

So I'm studying for the PRM4 Exam

One of the case studies concerns WorldCom. When I finished reading it, I was left wondering if this was a WorldCom that operated in some other country with which I am not familiar. The case study is by Dennis Moberg of Santa Clara University and Edward Romar of University of Massachusetts at Boston (yes, I'm calling them out; willful blindness this blatant goes beyond the pale and needs to be exposed publicly). Here are some of the highlights...

WorldCom is just another case of failed corporate governance, accounting abuses, and outright greed. But none of these other companies had senior executives as colorful and likable as Bernie Ebbers.

No palace in a gated community, no stable of racehorses or multi-million dollar yacht to show for the telecommunications giant he created; only debts and red ink - results some consider inevitable given his unflagging enthusiasm and entrepreneurial flair.

Personally, Bernie is a hard guy not to like.

All this would be just another story of a successful growth strategy if it weren't for one significant business reality - mergers and acquisitions, especially large ones, present significant managerial challenges.

All this was put in jeopardy when, in 2000, the government refused to allow WorldCom's acquisition of Sprint.

I'm sorry. I'm really confused. According to wikipedia, the story of WorldCom and Bernie Ebbers includes the following facts, not one of which is mentioned in the PRM case study.

Beginning in 1999 and continuing through May 2002, the company used fraudulent accounting methods to mask its declining earnings by painting a false picture of financial growth and profitability to prop up the price of WorldCom’s stock.

It was estimated that the company's total assets had been inflated by around $11 billion.

Bernie Ebbers was found guilty of all charges and convicted of fraud, conspiracy and filing false documents with regulators.

Shame on PRMIA. This case study is a disgrace and should be pulled from their syllabus.

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