Week one with focus on innovation, entrepreneurship, co-working spaces, incubators, accelerators opened a whole new word for me. I have heard about these spaces before but had little understanding about its functioning. Now, I understand better how start-ups try to innovate. The third weeks topic – sustainability- will be extremely relevant given the impacts of human activities onto our environment. While this field offers many opportunities, it is less relevant when it comes to my career choice. Second weeks topic- finance- sounds the least exciting , yet it is the one I was awaiting the most. This is due to the fact that I am planning to focus my career onto corporate finance where I could combine my legal knowledge and experience with the newly acquired knowledge of finance.
Week 2 spent with investors, consultants and managers of large companies was useful from many perspectives. We have complemented our knowledge of finance, we have learned about different strategies funds are using when investing, we have got tips how to build our careers and the future of the industry has been assessed.
First, we have complemented our knowledge. Most of the information about current regulations and the current state of the industry was not very new, but the different perspectives of managers of different types of funds were interesting. What has surprised me in Paul Toldalgi´s (BTAPartners, LLC) presentation was, that hedge funds are moving towards non liquid investment- real estate, timber. As hedge funds are seeking Alfa, I thought that these kinds of investment don’t fit well the profiles of hedge funds.
Second, we were presented the different strategies funds use when investing. The difference in strategies was well demonstrated in the presentations of General Atlantic and Zephir Management. The giant General Atlantic trying to make his team work efficiently, focusing on large investments and the much smaller Zephir Management trying to find niches other investors fail to see. Managers from both companies were very opened explaining their criteria when selecting the investment. These insights exceeded those that could be easily acquired from literature and will be very helpful in my future career.
Third, we have got useful advices for building our career. These advices reinforced my belief, that even if someone wanted to work in a smaller company or set up his own, it is very useful if he/she works first for a mayor company where he/she acquires important skills and knowledge. None of the funds presenting this week acquires fresh graduates, they are looking for people with developed expertise in the industry. There was only one contradicting presentation suggesting to start working on our own ASAP. I believe that in industries such as finance, deep knowledge is needed, therefore experience before starting an own business is a must. I especially liked the part of Zephir Management´s presentation, where the danger of hubris was emphasized several times. We were advised not to be fooled by randomness, and therefore we should separate luck from skills.
Four, the future of the industry was assessed. The dark picture painted by one of the presenters was very upsetting. While I disagreed on some points of the presentation it made me think a lot, and made me want to research the trends in finance more extensively. This would help me select a career which I would not only like, but which will be relevant in the future as well
To conclude, the second week´s presentations have definitely helped me to better understand the financial industry, what would definitely help me when deciding about my future career.