Alex Lew









By Alex Lew

“Firms and Markets”

The last 3 weeks have been overwhelming. Classes were getting more intense with assignment deadlines nearing. MBA candidates rushed to complete their valuation models for a fictional Waitrose acquisition case. It was a common sight to see both poets and quants work together to evaluation the acquisition of a wine business in Africa. Students debated the choice of discount rates, proxies for risk free rate and risk premium. I thought these assignments were also a test for students to decide if an investment related career was suitable. Many were happy to deal with the ambiguities of the case and some thrived in these challenges. It was clear that some of these difficult assignments design by the Saïd Business School helped students decide their future career.

We had more than one assignment. The second was an industry report – an assignment under the course “Firms and Markets”. I thoroughly enjoyed topics in the Firms and Markets course. Specially, game theories and auctions market caught my attention. They were complex, but at the same time, had a lot of realistic applications. The lecturer led the class to discuss the applications of auctions for 3G networks. I felt the lectures could be more technical – more mathematical instead of qualitative.

One of our key worries was the global economy. As we speak, oil prices have fallen below historical low since 2009. MBA candidates are aware of the implications. First, oil is a lead demand that is required in most manufacturing and service activities. Second, low oil prices will affect the investment decisions of oil majors. Their decision to slow down capital expenditure will have a significant downstream impact on the equipment manufacturers and vessel leasing firms. Global order books will slow. Third, sluggish economic growth will definitely impact the job market.

For this reason, MBA candidates in Saïd Business School are not taking employment for granted. One way is to take internships more seriously. Another way to mitigate the risk is to consider lowering expectations and to prioritise getting into the right industry instead of the dream company first. The career services team has also been mindful of the slowdown. The office has provided lectures to help students ramp up on job search via social media avenues.

We will have exams in 4 weeks. As Michaelmas term draws to an end, we are grateful for the experience in the first term. We were also grateful for the many opportunities to apply our academic knowledge hands on, through valuation projects and industry reports.

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