The core of the week was the business case study competition, which we spent most of each day working on. We played the role of consultants, advising a major fund about the performance of its investments. We had to think about not only about the mechanics of how financial investments work but also about the strategy of how one investment business keeps up with another in terms of AUM--assets under management and how many people with investable money are actually choosing to come to you. My group had some really good synergy. I was really proud of us. We divided tasks out really well and played to our strengths while acknowledging our weaknesses. We in the end finished third place out of sixteen groups in the compeition, which actually did not surprise me. I may write more later about what I learned in this group work about principles of successful synergy and work flow, but I have to pack for my flight soon.
A personal project of mine was to wake up early in the morning (usually about 4 or 5 am) to go to the Bloomberg terminal in the MBA room and finish the 8 hour Bloomberg terminal certification course. I'm really glad I did it; never learning how to use Bloomberg was one of my biggest regrets about BYU, although I did graduate with a business minor in the end. I will say that: BYU's nonprofit management minor pretty much gave me all the key components of an undergraduate business school experience, without conveying any of the actual prestige of having a full business degree. I'm able to hold my own in this master's program, partly because of what I learned at the BYU Marriott School of Business. I remember in particular the day I learned how to pull up a company's annual reports and financial statements on the internet and dig through it to pull out key, relevant data. I remember pulling up Abercrombie's financials, and being like, "woah, I'm a businesss student!" At Georgetown, my group's use of the hedge fund's annual reports and letters to its shareholders was one of the things the judges found most impressive.
I do want to briefly say some kind words about my two closest friends in the program, Ryan and Amelia, pictured below with me. While I feel really happy that I've developed a reasonable diversity of friendships with the 80-some people in the program, these are the two people that I especially click with the most. Ryan is a really smart guy from Boston who at the moment is very passionate about cryptocurrency. Sometimes he posts articles about bitcoin and ethereum and I actually open them and read the whole thing but come out none the wiser, haha. But the parts that I do understand let me see that he is an extremely talented, motivated individual who rides the wave of innovation very well and is going places some day. Amelia is an equally smart gal from Florida. She works in mid-level management for a major US corporation and seems really talented at what she does. She gets to travel a lot for her job and I think this is her second masters degree. I learn so much from her diversity of experiences and from her drive and ambition. Her group actually won the case study competition, first place, a fact of which honestly I am not surprised.
As I prepare to fly out and return back to Utah, I feel inspired to continue working on getting better and chasing a better life. But I also feel proud of the changes and improvements I have made already. Hoya saxa! Cheers for good things to come.