Finance 1 – an MBA course at Said Business School

A core course taken in the first term
8 lectures
Examined by case study (12.5%), spreadsheet (12.5%) exercise and Exam (75%)

Pre-course thoughts
As I’ve commented earlier I suspect money is like gravity when it comes to business, it affects everything, so you’d better understand the basics. Sadly, money is measured in numbers which means it’s intimately tied to maths. As the son of a mathematician I know full well just how tricky numbers can be when they’re given the chance. Adding accounting to the mix just encourages them.

Mathematicians often describe what they do as ‘magic with numbers’, which I’ve always taken to mean distracting you with complex stuff while making something important disappear. This course is about learning where money should be, how it got there, and how to make it turn into other stuff (like more money). Finance is something I know very little about, but as I said, I don’t think I’ll get very far without learning these things.

Post course thoughts
This was the tough one. In terms of the material studied, the complexity and the depth of the ideas involved nothing else came close. If anything the approach to this summed up the SBS outlook on things – it’s no good knowing about the tools unless you understand how they work.

That’s why the lecture in fourth week started ‘pay attention, we’ve got three nobel prize-winning theories to get through today – it was heavy lifting all the way. Those who’d done finance before were ok with the implementation stuff, NPV theory, beta,options pricing and such, but things like the origin of the Capital Asset Pricing model were brutal, especially for the folks like me who aren’t used to this kind of thing.

I got there in the end though, many late nights slogging through the question sets got me there. It was tough stuff, but I know it, plenty of people don’t, and that’s why I’m here.