Writing a thesis brings thoughts into the real world. Writing in a consistent format provides structure and discipline to the thinking process. A thesis is a key takeaway, conclusion, implication or insight that would be reached or inferred based on factors that are explicitly stated and supported in the thesis. I learned how to write a thesis from my mentor and friend Mark Lipacis while I was learning to be an Equity Research Analyst.

The thesis has two parts – horizontal logic and vertical logic. The key takeaway portion of the thesis is horizontal logic, which provides a clear and concise statement connecting together the underlying factors supporting the thesis.

The key takeaway is followed by a small number (ideally three) of bullets. These bullets together comprise the vertical logic. Each bullet describes how an underlying factor supports the key takeaway.

Writing a thesis is a disciplined process. The discipline is to strictly exclude anything that doesn’t directly support the key takeaway or one of its vertical logic bullets.

Writing a thesis is also an iterative process. After writing the vertical logic bullets, it is good to check whether the key takeaway needs to be updated to be fully consistent with the bullets. Likewise the bullets can be tightened up to ensure they fit the key takeaway.

A well written thesis is clear, concise and impactful. It is the ultimate expression of a solid thought process. As your thinking evolves, your thesis should be updated, until it either becomes invalidated or consensus.


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