Finance and Consulting Week

The word that would probably best describe this week is wisdom. And I chose this word mostly to describe the fact that the companies that we have been in contact with in the past days are well established organizations, which have been around for a long period of time and have a long history of doing business in their area. But for me it seemed like the operations of some of these companies are quite complex and I would personally need more time to understand them.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy some of the events we had this week. Zenith Management was maybe the best experience. More than anything else the speakers told us their life stories and how their career in the finance world developed. Several lessons I heard from our speakers: put things into perspective (how does A compare to B), have other objectives besides getting rich or maki g other people richer and set metrics according to your objectives. In a way, it seemed to me that they know exactly how to achieve their objectives and deliver the desired returns to their investors.

In the same note I enjoyed the visit to General Atlantic, where the story we’ve heard was more or less of a similar nature, perhaps with slightly more financial details included. One interesting thing I learned here is that it is worth investing in the consumer sector, especially in developing countries, where the consumers have more purchasing power. Also, according to our speaker, the “hot sectors” to invest in now are healthcare and education.

One common theme that appeared in both presentations mentioned above was ethics. Both companies underlined the importance of not breaking the ethics code. Their argument was mostly related to the fact that the risks that you are exposing yourself to can be far higher than the returns. Moreover, the impact on society is a negative one.

Last but not least, I was quite impressed by Rudin Management, a real estate company that decided to get ahead of their competitors and enter the area of smart buildings. Together with this Italian firm they developed a platform that helps them track the data sent by all the sensors they install in their buildings. To put it into their words, they built operating systems for buildings, which allow them to communicate. More than seeking to be ahead of their competitors, Rudin Management is enjoying two important advantages for their choice: cost efficiency (the data helps them to make cost savings) and providing a higher degree of safety for their customers, which becomes a highly important unique selling proposition. Once again, I am happy to see another company that understands and uses the power of data!

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