Monday; 16.11.10- Corporate Finance- Lecture 1: This week, we started with the 5th subject of Term1. We now have the fundamentals of Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting firmly in our heads. So it is time to apply our knowledge to gain insights into the major financial decisions firms are faced with and into the methods and tools that firms use to solve these problems. So, it is quite a journey into the world of Capital Budgeting, financial statement analysis, the valuation of securities, working capital Management as well as financing and capital structure decisions. The teaching methodology is a combination of in-class lectures and group-sessions, where we work through case-studies of companies. Last week, we walked through the case of a specialty consumer products company that was subject to a takeover a few years back and whether or not it managed to achieve its financial, social and product-related objectives as per its mission statement.
Wednesday was the start of the final subject in Term1- Economics. The basic message, delivered in various modes was that ‘An open economy has unparalleled benefits’. Quotas, barriers to trade, may have their place to protect fledgling industries and the like; however these are tricky measures to implement. The human mind is a strange one, and once you give someone a benefit, its hard to take it away. The in-class discussion made me ponder about the former license raj in India, the prevailing quota-system in several sectors and the current debate against opening up Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). For sure, India is doing admirably well in the world; but we still have a lot of ground to cover before we can be proud of an inclusive economy.
Wednesday was also the day of German classes. This time, we had to wrestle with the Subjunctive (Konjunktiv-II). It is used to denote politeness, a suggestion/a recommendation and hypothetical situations. For e.g.’ If I were born in Alaska, I would drink hot chocolate all day long. ‘ Now, when I was learning English, I hardly remember studying this in Grammar-class. For sure, Ms. Jacinta would not be pleased were she reading this post, but honestly, I don’t remember. Initially, I used to take ages to form a half-decent sentence in German. You see, there was a reason why. I had to consider the following: The case of the sentence, the gender of the nouns in question, the endings for the adjectives and whether or not I had to use Singular/ Plural. The end-result was that by the time I had the sentence formed, the other person had already moved on to the next topic. And then it dawned on me, I just had to start speaking. So my advice to all those of you who are studying German is to ‘Just start speaking the language‘. Try and get the grammar right over time. Till then, as long as you make yourself understood, you shouldn’t be worrying.
Which reminds me of the 2 Soft-skill courses we had these past weeks- one on Networking and the other on helping us write better CVs. Both of these were absolutely essential and I can safely say that I can now network better and position myself better in the competitive world. The bottom-line in both these workshops, was to just be yourself, not underplay your achievements, be aware of where you might need help and voice yourself in a firm, confident and professional manner. Simple things, but its nice to be reminded of them, every once in a while.
And finally we had the privilege of attending the annual ‘Mannheim Business Forum’ on Friday. This time, the President of a leading international company elaborated on their journey in the world market during the past hundred years or so. What stayed with me:
- Successful companies are those where the company’s core values and its culture are embedded into every employee’s DNA and are not just a fancy page on the company’s website.
- Successful companies are those where consistency is key and where the oft-used ‘Customer delight’ is a reality that is lived every single day.
- Where integrity is of paramount importance and is never compromised upon
- Where innovation is critical to get ahead of competition and all employees are encouraged to be entrepreneurial
- And finally, where ‘common sense’ rules.
As I continue on this journey with MBS, I continue to be amazed at the wealth of opportunities in the world; only if one would look for them and the sheer variety of things that we, as humanity offer to the world.
Post the session, we had a great networking session, where we met several of our alumni and employees of the company. Post the conference, some of us hopped into the local bar, where it was loads of fun, as always. Some of the classmates had exercised their vocal chords the day before at the local Irish pub; I think they were preparing for the next Social event of the class – ‘Karaoke night‘, although they deny it, haha. The ‘Karaoke event’ takes place in a week, so I suppose I should get back to some more singing practice, haha and also prepare for our Corporate Finance lecture tomorrow.
Wishing you a great week ahead!