GCS Consulting: Should Corporate or Personal Interests Come First? Net Present Value (NPV) / MBA Resources

Introduction to Net Present Value (NPV) - What is Net Present Value (NPV) ? How it impacts financial decisions regarding project management?

NPV solution for GCS Consulting: Should Corporate or Personal Interests Come First? case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. GCS Consulting: Should Corporate or Personal Interests Come First? case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Surinder Batra, Sandeep Puri. The GCS Consulting: Should Corporate or Personal Interests Come First? (referred as “Gcs Consulting” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Strategy & Execution. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, .

The net present value (NPV) of an investment proposal is the present value of the proposal’s net cash flows less the proposal’s initial cash outflow. If a project’s NPV is greater than or equal to zero, the project should be accepted.

NPV = Present Value of Future Cash Flows LESS Project’s Initial Investment

Case Description of GCS Consulting: Should Corporate or Personal Interests Come First? Case Study

In recent years, the critical function of expanding GCS Consulting's information technology consulting business had lost priority as the managing director of the firm was increasingly preoccupied with World Bank engagements as an IT consultant. He was aware of the immense potential in new areas of consulting and changing business models. However, he was also conscious of the investment of time, effort and finances that would be required on his part to strengthen GCS's marketing activities and build up a team of professionals well versed in newly emerging consulting areas such as social media, mobile, analytics and cloud computing. Should he promote GCS or move ahead as an individual IT consultant? Surinder Batra is affiliated with Institute of Management Technology. Sandeep Puri is affiliated with Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad.

Case Authors : Surinder Batra, Sandeep Puri

Topic : Strategy & Execution

Related Areas :

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for GCS Consulting: Should Corporate or Personal Interests Come First? Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10001900) -10001900 - -
Year 1 3458310 -6543590 3458310 0.9434 3262557
Year 2 3961625 -2581965 7419935 0.89 3525832
Year 3 3965733 1383768 11385668 0.8396 3329706
Year 4 3240518 4624286 14626186 0.7921 2566794
TOTAL 14626186 12684888

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2682988

In isolation the NPV number doesn't mean much but put in right context then it is one of the best method to evaluate project returns. In this article we will cover -

Different methods of capital budgeting

What is NPV & Formula of NPV,
How it is calculated,
How to use NPV number for project evaluation, and
Scenario Planning given risks and management priorities.

Capital Budgeting Approaches

Methods of Capital Budgeting

There are four types of capital budgeting techniques that are widely used in the corporate world –

1. Profitability Index
2. Net Present Value
3. Payback Period
4. Internal Rate of Return

Apart from the Payback period method which is an additive method, rest of the methods are based on Discounted Cash Flow technique. Even though cash flow can be calculated based on the nature of the project, for the simplicity of the article we are assuming that all the expected cash flows are realized at the end of the year.

Discounted Cash Flow approaches provide a more objective basis for evaluating and selecting investment projects. They take into consideration both –

1. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Gcs Consulting have higher preference for cash returns over 4-5 years rather than 10-15 years given the nature of the volatility in the industry.
2. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Gcs Consulting shareholders have preference for diversified projects investment rather than prospective high income from a single capital intensive project.

Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of GCS Consulting: Should Corporate or Personal Interests Come First?

NPV = Net Cash In Flowt1 / (1+r)t1 + Net Cash In Flowt2 / (1+r)t2 + … Net Cash In Flowtn / (1+r)tn
Less Net Cash Out Flowt0 / (1+r)t0

Where t = time period, in this case year 1, year 2 and so on.
r = discount rate or return that could be earned using other safe proposition such as fixed deposit or treasury bond rate. Net Cash In Flow – What the firm will get each year.
Net Cash Out Flow – What the firm needs to invest initially in the project.

Step 1 – Understand the nature of the project and calculate cash flow for each year.
Step 2 – Discount those cash flow based on the discount rate.
Step 3 – Add all the discounted cash flow.
Step 4 – Selection of the project

Why Strategy & Execution Managers need to know Financial Tools such as Net Present Value (NPV)?

In our daily workplace we often come across people and colleagues who are just focused on their core competency and targets they have to deliver. For example marketing managers at Gcs Consulting often design programs whose objective is to drive brand awareness and customer reach. But how that 30 point increase in brand awareness or 10 point increase in customer touch points will result into shareholders’ value is not specified.

To overcome such scenarios managers at Gcs Consulting needs to not only know the financial aspect of project management but also needs to have tools to integrate them into part of the project development and monitoring plan.

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 15%

After working through various assumptions we reached a conclusion that risk is far higher than 6%. In a reasonably stable industry with weak competition - 15% discount rate can be a good benchmark.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 15 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10001900) -10001900 - -
Year 1 3458310 -6543590 3458310 0.8696 3007226
Year 2 3961625 -2581965 7419935 0.7561 2995558
Year 3 3965733 1383768 11385668 0.6575 2607534
Year 4 3240518 4624286 14626186 0.5718 1852777
TOTAL 10463094

The Net NPV after 4 years is 461194

(10463094 - 10001900 )

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 20%

If the risk component is high in the industry then we should go for a higher hurdle rate / discount rate of 20%.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 20 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10001900) -10001900 - -
Year 1 3458310 -6543590 3458310 0.8333 2881925
Year 2 3961625 -2581965 7419935 0.6944 2751128
Year 3 3965733 1383768 11385668 0.5787 2294984
Year 4 3240518 4624286 14626186 0.4823 1562750
TOTAL 9490788

The Net NPV after 4 years is -511112

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9490788 - 10001900 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Gcs Consulting to discount cash flow at lower discount rates such as 15%.

Acceptance Criteria of a Project based on NPV

Simplest Approach – If the investment project of Gcs Consulting has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Gcs Consulting can ACCEPT the project, otherwise they can reject the project. This means that project will deliver higher returns over the period of time than any alternate investment strategy.

In theory if the required rate of return or discount rate is chosen correctly by finance managers at Gcs Consulting, then the stock price of the Gcs Consulting should change by same amount of the NPV. In real world we know that share price also reflects various other factors that can be related to both macro and micro environment.

In the same vein – accepting the project with zero NPV should result in stagnant share price. Finance managers use discount rates as a measure of risk components in the project execution process.

Sensitivity Analysis

Project selection is often a far more complex decision than just choosing it based on the NPV number. Finance managers at Gcs Consulting should conduct a sensitivity analysis to better understand not only the inherent risk of the projects but also how those risks can be either factored in or mitigated during the project execution. Sensitivity analysis helps in –

What will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

What are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

What are the uncertainties surrounding the project Initial Cash Outlay (ICO’s). ICO’s often have several different components such as land, machinery, building, and other equipment.

Some of the assumptions while using the Discounted Cash Flow Methods –

Projects are assumed to be Mutually Exclusive – This is seldom the came in modern day giant organizations where projects are often inter-related and rejecting a project solely based on NPV can result in sunk cost from a related project.

Independent projects have independent cash flows – As explained in the marketing project – though the project may look independent but in reality it is not as the brand awareness project can be closely associated with the spending on sales promotions and product specific advertising.

References & Further Readings

Surinder Batra, Sandeep Puri (2018), "GCS Consulting: Should Corporate or Personal Interests Come First? Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.