A couple of weeks of my last semester are gone already and it by now I have some first impressions about the courses I am taking. On the one hand, I can preliminary say that I am rather excited about them; on the flipside, it seems like it is gonna be a little bit more work than I wished for my very last semester as a student.
Brand strategy: a famous marketing course at Stern taught by Scott Galloway, a former entrepreneur and current hedge fund guy. Maybe you have heard of him because his fund is trying to get a few board seats at The New York Times. I remember some friends last year telling me about this course and how nervous they felt in class. I know now what they meant. Galloway is cocky and self confident and he thinks he is a hot shot (and I think he is). He will challenge you in class and put you on the spot if necessary. He has told us today that he will cold call during next class about the “brand identity model”. If we do not know the answers he will kick us out of class. It is not a joke. He may be a little scary but I feel like these kinds of professors are necessary. Not everything works in his class, and in more classes than it would be desired anything you say seems to work.
Restructuring firms and industries: a general corporate finance course, focused on conflicts of interests between shareholders and managers in a variety of fields such as excess cash flow or M&A. This course, taught by Professor Yermack, is a Stern classic. A good way for us foreigners to learn a bit about US corporate history. Yermack is a great storyteller and a little dorky, in my view. He does the work. And I suspect that by the time I finish this course I will have a bunch of his interesting quotes (e.g. “Warren Buffet has just been lucky outperforming the market every single year for the last 52 years”).
New venture financing: a course on venture capital and entrepreneurship. I just had my first two sessions today. Professor Ljungqvist seems to be a nice guy and I liked the way he taught today. It’s gonna be kind of too much work, though. I am just concerned about whether the course will add value to the Foundations of Entrepreneurship course that I took last semester.
Movie marketing and exhibition: a course to enjoy. Our prof. Reed Martin, a former WB guy and media consultant is such a character. Super entertaining and fun. He seems to be hung up on red bull! I will learn some key aspects of the industry and definitely I will get to know a bunch of “must see” movies. The one that I took away from yesterday’s class was “Juno”. The idea of writing a marketing plan for my favorite movie sounds like a great term assignment.
Collaboration, conflict and negotiation: I am taking this course because people have recommended me. I am a little bit skeptical about actually learning to negotiate. Is it possible to learn to ride a bike by taking a course? I doubt it. You need to practice. We will be practicing in class and hopefully I will take something useful out of it.
Private equity and investment banking in media: first session shall take place tomorrow. Hopefully I will improve my quant skills. The professors are two bankers with a long track record. We’ll see.
Now it is time to chill a bit. I am gonna finish watching “There will be blood”. I have seen part of it already and I was not super excited. But it is one of those “must” for this year.