Week #8; Halfway There!

The halfway point turned out to be very symbolic this semester. A couple of major decisions were made this week indicating an established level of confidence and security in our new environments.

Concentrations

The major event for this week and in fact, a major landmark for the entire program was the official selection of our concentration. The Frankfurt School offers four concentrations within the Pre-Experience Masters of Finance program including:

  • Risk Management
  • Capital Markets
  • Corporate Finance
  • Financial Accounting & Advisory

Between these four options, it’s fairly easy to narrow it down to two. The first two listed are much more math based than the second two; either you enjoy and have an aptitude for statistics, formulas and financial engineering or you don’t. From there, I’ll do as brief a rundown as possibly on my understanding and personal opinion of the differences between the programs.

Risk Management is perhaps the most narrow of all the concentrations because it doesn’t really prepare students for a career in any field outside of risk management. The field itself can be as diverse as you want it to be because every company and government must manage it’s risk, so you can work anywhere in the world if you like. However, risk management is either something you like or you don’t so not many people seriously consider the concentration and those that do are pretty likely to end up picking it.

The next related concentration is Capital Markets. This field contains all of the students wanting to work in financial engineering (working with and building complicated trading and modeling formulas) as well as many of the people wanting to do a more traditional “Wall Street”type finance career. The students that come from this program have many opportunities available to them and they possess a strong quantitative background that will help them succeed in many careers.

Arguably the most general of all the concentrations is Corporate Finance. Many of the students who are not sure of their end goal but know that their strengths lie more toward soft skills choose this concentration. This program provides students with a general but thorough overview of finance as a whole, with direct applicability to corporate ventures. There’s also a slight lean towards banking so many students interested in that choose this concentration.

Finally, we come to Financial Accounting and Advisory. From the long conversations I’ve had with both faculty and students in this concentration, the name of this concentration is in dire need of a revision as there really isn’t much accounting in the concentration at all. This concentration is both narrow and broad in its educational scope. On one hand, it’s intent is to prepare students for careers in financial consulting and advisory but the way they go about doing so leaves room for many different career applications. This concentration has also been said to be the most theoretical.

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I thought this graphic was helpful to give you all an idea of how these concentrations fit into my general education. (Courtesy of the Frankfurt School.)

So now that I have given you a pretty thorough explanation of my understanding of the concentrations, I’m guessing you’re all wondering which I picked. I ended up applying for the Financial Accounting and Advisory concentration. One of the biggest factors in my decision was the overall emphasis on theoretical knowledge which I personally thrive on (I  feel like a pretty big minority in that aspect).

Another huge factor in my decision was talking with current students who overwhelmingly agreed that this concentration allowed for much more free time out of class to pursue other ventures. This was critical for one of the lovely ladies I spoke with who was in the process of applying to PhD programs. She said, and others agreed, that it would have been nearly impossible to craft a world class application during the semester in the other programs. Being that I am highly considering a PhD and that I plan to put a lot of extra time and start early on my Masters Thesis, the extra time is a big plus.

Finally, if do not pursue a PhD and decide to just enter the workforce after my Masters, one of the fields I am interested in (and perhaps the field I am most suited for in personality) is consulting/advisory. This career path often ends later in life with large CFO and CEO positions which has been my “selling point” end goal in scholarships and admission essays for as long as I can remember.

Ambassador

The other big event from this week was that I officially signed up to be an ambassador for the Frankfurt School. This means that I am in a pool of students the school will consider to send to different conferences across Europe and the world to represent the university. Another huge bullet in the job description is to act as a guide to school visitors whether they be prospective students or guest-lecture industry officials.

I’m very excited for the opportunity to represent my school. For those of you who don’t know me personally, one of the biggest elements to my personality is the desire to teach and guide and my ability to speak freely and passionately. These two combine into a sort-of born ambassador personality which can be easily seen over my entire lifetime of chosen extracurriculars and leadership positions. I pulled the gem below out of the archives as an example of my lifelong gravitation towards ambassador-type positions.

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Circa 2010: Giving a speech in a rodeo queen pageant competition.

Doctor Strange

This week of tough decisions and responsibilities culminated in the premier of Doctor Strange. I am such a Marvel junkie and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is my number one obsession in life. Naturally, this makes me a mess at premiers but at least being in Europe now means that I get all the Marvel premiers two week before the USA.

The movie was fantastic and I would insist that you see it in 3D. It’s a movie about dimensions, realities and perspective so the 3D affects are actually an integral part of the storytelling versus a cool effect expected of blockbuster superhero movies. The icing on the cake was when I realized my theater was selling the “collector” popcorn bucket and drink cup which I gladly forked out entirely too much money for (actually, in all honesty, it wasn’t as big of a markup here as in the US).

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Yes I do use the (1 liter) cup regularly and yes it is hilarious to pour copious amounts of wine into it to freak everyone out.

That concludes the halfway point of my first semester in my Masters of Finance program at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. Overall that makes me one eighth of the way finished with the entire program which is just mind boggling to me. I’m excited to see how the other half goes and what plans I end up making and being able to see come to fruition for the winter break.


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