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Spring Term

Posted by: Tansu
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As bad as the financial crisis was for the global economy and for the MIF students in particular, spring term showed me that it was also a great teaching and learning opportunity. Most of our classes had cases of “what went wrong” stories, or explanations of how problems could have been fixed.

Spring term was probably more hectic than the winter term for me due to many reasons. First, spring term is shorter than the winter term (I think it’s 13 weeks vs. 10, I might be wrong) since it is assumed that students will have a speed-up curve to adapt to the pace of the program in the beginning. Second, job hunting, interviewing, etc takes time. This will go on perhaps at a faster pace for those that haven’t secured a position yet in the next term. Third is the MIF project. This is really a great opportunity to tap into the expertise of academics at LBS and mix it up with industry experience. If you choose a topic you like, and study your topic well, it is possible to make an impact on your career and perhaps spark some ideas that can turn into an academic journal article at some point. It helps to choose a topic that is current and well debated. We chose to analyze the relationship of several macro indicators to recession periods and I am already seeing the results at work.

The best part of Spring term was that students get to choose all courses they take, no mandatory courses. I am in the Quant and Investment Management tracks, so I took Fixed Income, Options & Futures, Behavioral Finance, and Equity Investment Management. This would not be the right venue to make comments on individual courses and professors that teach the courses but let me assure you that I was happy with all of them. Seasoned professors have lecture notes that are well contained and much better than any textbook I’ve seen. New professors were putting in so much effort into designing their courses and making them better that you had no choice but follow them.

My only advice for future students would be to thoroughly search the courses before you make a decision on which course to take. Some courses have names that could be misleading, or there might be overlap between two courses that you have not realized prior to courses starting. Another issue is the number of courses you are taking. I tried to balance the “soft” (i.e., more reading, more cases) and “hard” (number crunching) courses best as I could, and took 4 courses while the normal load is 3 electives per semester although 4 is permitted. Taking 4 courses is doable, but definitely demanding. Do it only if you really like the courses you are taking. It definitely takes a toll on your social life, especially if you are also working part time.

Now summer term starts next week, and I hope to contribute more to this blog as my biggest stress factor as a full time student no longer exists.

Best,
Tansu

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