Management

Write a paper responding to one of the following prompts:

Paper 1

For the final paper, discuss the actions of the main characters in the film. What were their motivations? Their options? How did their “world view” influence their decision-making? Do you agree with their choices or not, and why? Analyze their predicament and discuss the merits of their actions.

Paper 2

For this paper, discuss how the decisions made by the main characters influence the “real world.” What did their actions do to the other Wall Street firms? How did they influence domestic and global financial markets? What effect did they have on the valuations of other securities? How did they influence lending, mortgages, and retirement accounts? And finally, what effect did they have on capital allocation and formation?

Group

You can write the paper in a group. There is no limit to the size of the group, and you can work with students from other sections of 306. When you post your paper to Blackboard, list everyone in the group on the top of the first page. Also, each member of the group must post a copy of the (same) paper to Blackboard.

Characters

  • Sam Rogers, Investment Floor Head (Kevin Spacey)
  • Will Emerson, Head of Trading (Paul Bettany)
  • John Tuld, CEO and Chairman of the Board (Jeremy Irons)
  • Peter Sullivan, Senior Risk Analyst (Zachary Quinto)
  • Seth Bregman, Junior Risk Analyst (Penn Badgley)
  • Jared Cohen, Investment Division Head (Simon Baker)
  • Eric Dale, Former Head of Risk Management (Stanley Tucci)
  • Sarah Robertson, Chief Risk Management Officer (Demi Moore)
  • Ramesh Shah, Legal Counsel (Aasif Mandvi)

Reviews

“…relentless in its honesty and shrewd in its insights and techniques… an extraordinary feat of filmmaking”
—A. O. Scott, New York Times

“Margin Call is one of the strongest American films of the year and easily the best Wall Street movie ever made.”
—David Denby, New Yorker

“… this confident, crisply made piece of work does an expert job of bringing us inside the inner sanctum of a top Wall Street investment bank…”
—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Margin Call “takes place over a 36-hour period at a large Wall Street investment bank and highlights the initial stages of the financial crisis of 2007-2008… Although the film does not depict any real Wall Street firm, or similar corporate action during the 2008 financial crisis, Goldman Sachs similarly moved early to hedge and reduce its position in mortgage-backed securities, at the urging of two employees. Other firms like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns found themselves similarly and catastrophically over-leveraged in mortgage-backed securities. They scrambled, ultimately unsuccessfully, to manage the financial and public panic that ensued when their problems became apparent and the global financial markets plunged as a result.” (Margin Call (film))

MLA Formatting

Your paper must follow MLA format. The simplest solution is to use the Margin Call (Template).

Source: Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

General Guidelines

  • Use standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  • Double-space and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). The font size should be 12 pt.
  • Set the margins to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin.

Formatting the First Page

  • In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date. Be sure to double-space.
  • Double space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization)—not in all capital letters.
  • Double space between the title and the first line of the text.
  • Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin.

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