Babson’s brilliant financial course

John Osbon - November 29, 2011

I was privileged earlier this week to be a guest lecturer in Professor Erik Sirri’s class at the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. Professor Sirri is unique, to my knowledge, in offering a course called Personal Financial Management for first-year MBAs at top schools.  Wow, do I wish that course were offered back in the day at Columbia! Here’s why…

I’m a fan

First, I must disclose that I am a big fan of Babson. Back when I did a lot of MBA hiring for Wall Street banks, the Babson candidates always stood out. Yes, they were smart, motivated, and ambitious like all the other candidates. What set them apart was their practical, real-world sense. They just seemed more “with it” and well prepared to make good, reasoned decisions. Perhaps it’s Babson’s entrepreneurial emphasis, having captured the #1 ranking in entrepreneurship for 18 straight years.

I also taught at Babson briefly as an adjunct professor in the graduate business school, covering capital markets. That was both a lot of fun and extremely challenging. It increased my respect for the professors there tremendously. Teaching is far harder than it looks.

Anyway, I like Babson, have recommended it to students, and have written letters of recommendation for applicants. Babson just named a new Chairman of the Board, Joe Winn, and its future looks bright.

Every MBA should take this course

Professor Sirri’s course description begins: “Business professionals, while skilled in their area of professional expertise, often lack the skills to negotiate the retail financial landscape, including management of their own personal finances. The knowledge gap is serious because financial decisions about savings and investment made early in one’s career can have a substantial effect on wealth and risk in later years.”

In a word: Amen!

Making the connection between core financial theories and one’s own personal financial planning and investment is a challenge that many smart graduates from great programs struggle with. In my own career I’ve known not just entrepreneurs but many financial professionals at top firms who consistently made terrible decisions with their own finances and investments, especially in the area of managing risk.

Professor Sirri has hit the nail on the head with this course, connecting the dots between theory and practice, with emphasis on the real-world personal finance issues graduates will face in their own lives. By organizing the course around key personal finance topics, he gets students thinking about their own situations and priorities, not just the theories that may be on the final exam.  What better way to start using an MBA than with this course, and with yourself as the example!

Thanks for having me

I was impressed with the students in this class. They asked smart questions and showed insights that will serve them well as they build their own personal empires.

We talked for a bit about how to build a net worth of $5 million by retirement. Most of the class felt that $10 million was a much better goal. I like the way they think.

My thanks to Professor Sirri for the opportunity to be part of this superlative course.  I think he is on to something big.

 

 



This article may include forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements (including words such as “believe,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “may,” “will,” “should,” and “expect”). Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Various factors could cause actual results or performance to differ materially from those discussed in such forward-looking statements.

Nothing in this article is intended to be or should be construed as individualized investment advice. All content is of a general nature. Individual investors should consult their investment adviser, accountant, and/or attorney for specifically tailored advice.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Disclaimer

  • This communication may include forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements (including words such as “believe,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “may,” “will,” “should,” and “expect”). Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Various factors could cause actual results or performance to differ materially from those discussed in such forward-looking statements.”
  • “Historical performance is not indicative of future results. The investment return will fluctuate with market conditions.
  • Past performance is not indicative of any specific investment or future results. Views regarding the economy, securities markets or other specialized areas, like all predictors of future events, cannot be guaranteed to be accurate and may result in economic loss to the investor.
  • Investment strategies, philosophies, allocations and holdings are subject to change without prior notice.
  • This communication is intended to provide general information only and should not be construed as an offer of specifically tailored individualized advice.
  • While the Adviser believes the outside data sources cited to be credible, it has not independently verified the correctness of any of their inputs or calculations and, therefore, does not warranty the accuracy of any third-party sources or information.
  • Adviser does not endorse the statements, services or performance of any third-party vendor.
  • Unless stated otherwise, any mention of specific securities or investments is for hypothetical and illustrative purposes only. Adviser’s clients may or may not hold the securities discussed in their portfolios. Adviser makes no representations that any of the securities discussed have been or will be profitable.