- Finance: as I already said, and Martha and Patxi wrote the same, Joao Cocco is a great teacher. He manages to teach at a very high level and fast pace and at the same time entertain and engage everyone. Finance continues to be my favourite class. This week we did mergers and acquisitions and analysed many newspaper articles on deals and discussed why share prices of acquirers, targets and competitors in the same industry moved the way they moved. Especially helpful for the hundreds of classmates applying for Investment Banking jobs!
- Decision and Risk analysis: so far we have not done much new but refreshed the statistics pre-course (which I waived), but it seems it will be mainly about using excel and building models, which I find very useful. The teacher is energetic and cheerful, so the class is entertaining.
- Discovering Entrepreneurial Opportunities: We do what the name suggests, try to find opportunities for new product development. In our first class we had a visit from an entrepreneur whose business failed and we discussed the case of his start-up and he shared his experience of the liquidation of his business. The teacher is also very good and senior.
- Managing Organisational Behaviour: I cannot comment much on the class or faculty as of yet because we spent most of the class watching a video. It was about Nick Leeson, the guy who traded Barings Bank into bankruptcy. I found the documentary fascinating. The link to MOB was to discuss what was wrong in the organisation to enable such a massive fraud to happen.
- Marketing: this maybe one of the more disappointing classes. Unfortunately in some core courses (same last term) the programme office has assigned us very junior teachers, and unfortunately sometimes people with PhDs from Harvard or MIT aren't necessarily great teachers. Especially with fluffy topics I find experience is key. Chicago GSB has an advertisement saying "Our full-time MBA faculty is the same as for the Executive MBA" and I wish it was the same for London Business School. But it's not.
In addition to those classes, summer jobs are on everyone's mind! On Thursday, Morgan Stanley hosted a lovely and delicious dinner for 20 female MBAs and they came with ~ 10 female Managing Directors from all divisions. They were great, charismatic women, we had lovely dinner and lots of wine and were laughing a lot, I don't think we ever talked about finance or investment banking, it was more about getting to know each other and also seeing how they managed to have kids and be MDs (all of them had children). It was a great evening and very inspiring. I also met a woman who is head of equity derivatives and has a degree in international politics like me. So we had a nice chat about how to leverage political insights for a career in trading.
Yesterday, I had my first interview with a hedge fund and got an interesting brainteaser: company A and company T both have oil fields, company T has one in Texas and company A has one under the arctic ocean. Both have a market capitalization of $1bn. Who has more barrels of oil in the field? Then: okay, where is the price of oil? Let's assume tomorrow the price of oil jumps from 50 to 100, whose market cap will rise more? It was quite fun and I solved them quickly, so it was no problem.
Then they asked if I could do DCF and LBO modelling, and they also gave me some questions like "ok, assume I have a company with an EBITDA of 10 and sales of 100 and CAPEX of 5, make some assumptions and tell me how you would value the company in your head? I tried the lazy way of saying I would just assume an EBITDA multiple and multiply it by the EBITDA :-), but then they still pressed for the DCF valuation, as expected.
I liked the experience and it was very good practice for the upcoming sales & trading interviews (only 1 week to go!). The question that always knocks me out is when they ask if I have ever invested money. The truth is that I never had a any money left, or when I was younger I did but I didn't really know about investments. As soon as I had $1,000 saved I would just go on a long holiday, spend it all and come back home and start saving again. But I don't think it makes sense to hastily start trading FX or whatever just so I can claim in interviews that I have done that. I hope it is okay. Not everybody has experience investing in their twenties, right?