Fall Courses

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I planned to take only 3.5 courses in the Fall. My hope was that with this approach, I won’t be stretched too thin, and I’d have time for important parts of the business school experience like connecting with my classmates. I ended up taking 3 courses instead of 3.5, but I still felt overwhelmed! Why? Well, one of my classes (Financial Decisions) felt like 2 classes rolled up into one so I was back to taking 4 courses again. 😦 Furthermore, I still had to attend to my other responsibilities at Kellogg like leading the Africa Business Club, and driving logistics for the Kellogg Tech. Conference.

While I was – once again – unable to dive deep into my coursework, I really loved my second fall quarter at Kellogg as my extracurricular activities really helped me to better understand and develop my leadership abilities. This is a part of the business school experience that I initially underestimated, but have come to really really appreciate.

The classes that I took last Fall are as follows:

1. Strategy and Organization: This is the second strategy class I’ve taken at Kellogg; the first was my Business Strategy core class. The best part of this class was definitely the professor, Niko Matouschek. All you have to do is spend a few minutes with this guy and you can tell that he’s incredibly smart. How can you tell? I’m not really sure. Maybe it’s his high energy level, his insightful responses to questions, or the fact that he frequently wears white long sleeved shirts with the sleeves rolled up… 🙂
Something else I really liked about this course was the content. The course teaches simple but powerful frameworks for analyzing how compensation (monetary and otherwise) can be used to motivate workers, and how to think through the rationale for a merger or acquisition, and decide if it makes sense or not. I wasn’t sure if I would be needing any of this knowledge in the short term, but it’s surprising how often I’ve found myself using frameworks from this class to analyze everyday issues.

2. Financial Decisions: Financial Decisions, or Fin D, is meant to be some sort of Finance capstone class that allows you to utilize the financial concepts learnt in Finance I and Finance II. On average, we had to analyze two cases per week, and this usually included building a financial model and then writing a report on our analyses. The good part of the class was that I had an awesome team and we worked really well together. The not so good part was that I found the pace of the class to be too fast, and so I didn’t learn as much as would have if I’d taken the time to really dive deep into most of the cases.
If I had to do Fin D all over again, I’d go through this online training course before stepping into my first Fin D class. It’s a little pricey, and I’m not affiliated with Training the Street in any way, but I can tell you that the content is definitely worth it. I’m actually going through it right now and even after Fin D, I still find it to be very helpful.

3. International Finance: As always, I saved the best for last. International Finance was a lucky find for me. A friend of mine who graduated last year recommended the class to me and although the professor is a rockstar, I was able to get the class for 1 bid point! The International Finance course at Kellogg consists of two main parts: broccoli and dessert. (Stay with me okay? 🙂 ) Broccoli refers to international finance concepts such as hedging foreign transactions with forwards and options, and figuring out if a currency is overvalued or undervalued. Broccoli honestly wasn’t very exciting stuff. However, it did give me some tools and techniques for identifying and managing foreign exchange risk. Dessert on the other hand was simply awesome! It was about one of my favorite things in the world: economic history. (yes I’m nerdy that way 🙂 ) Professor Rebelo is really an expert on the world’s major economies, and he told such amazing stories that we really got sucked in, and learnt a lot about other parts of the world that we weren’t necessarily familiar with. While most classes were usually a mix of broccoli and dessert, my favorite classes were all dessert!

So what’s next? Studying abroad at IE Business School in Madrid, Spain! I guess I have to take some classes at IE Business School to maintain my student status, but my focus during my time in Madrid will definitely not be my business school courses. I want to chill, make new friends, and see Europe! 🙂

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