We had 1.5 hours of a Finance mid-term quiz this evening. It wasn’t insanely difficult but it made me realise that I needed to understand the concepts properly, above all. And it’s a little bit ironic to call this mid-terms when we only have 2 more weeks of school before our exams start.
It is crazy how we have classes up to the last Friday, and then the next Monday we have exams. All the more it is important to understand as much as you can during classes, then during groupwork, because you will not have much time left to try understanding them again!
From my perception, most classmates seem to be doing fine. Obviously the ones who are flying high at the moment are those already with a business, finance, economics background. The next group that picks up quickly are the Engineers. I would add computer scientists as well. Basically anyone who’s done quant-related stuff in school and at work.
Yours truly? Well … let’s say my arts-oriented background is starting to show. In the office, there would be someone else doing the financial work. I was more interested in managing new media projects and coming up with new ideas, not ploughing through the details. At the most I’d manage my projects’ budgets and forecasting, but even then there was someone else making the final adjustments. So this has been an eye-opener for me and obviously I am learning a lot more than my classmates who’ve done all this before. On the bright side, I am definitely getting my full 50,000 euros’ worth!
The pace at INSEAD is like a Formula 1 racetrack. Can you imagine that in just our 6th finance lesson (with our 1st lesson starting from scratch) we’ve learnt to do company valuations? And in two months we’d have completed Financial Accounting (next term we’re doing Managerial Accounting). Likewise, this term we’re completing Microeconomics and next term we move to Macroeconomics.
I told my auditor friend, who has worked in one of the big firms, that we were squeezing what she learnt into 2+2 months. She said we were probably covering very basic stuff. I told her, “Well, we’ve had to prepare cash flows, T-accounts, Income Statement and Balance Sheet!” She looked surprised. Of course we’re given the facts in case format but have to lay out everything and get our hands dirty with numbers.
If anything, I will probably use my newly-acquired knowledge to read financial statements so I know if my investments are headed in the right direction. I will probably look at my investments and bank and credit card rates more carefully. Beyond that? I don’t foresee a future in finance (though my ever-encouraging group mates chimed in, “You never know!”) but I will do what I can do understand everything and pass the exam.