Crystal Ball 2013

2 01 2013

I’m not much of a prophet (if I was, my portfolio would be considerably larger), but I’m going to go out on a limb and make some predictions regarding 2013. Come January 1st 2014, you all have a right to heckle me for being so terribly wrong. (This should have gone up yesterday, but I’d just flown back from HCMC and didn’t feel like writing.)

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CFA Exam Day Arrives

1 12 2012

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The big day finally came. Was I prepared? No. I’d forgotten about three quarters of the formulas and ratios I’d tried to memorize. I still don’t quite “get” fixed income trading, or technical analysis. My head swam as I tried to keep my sigmas and betas straight.

 

I’ll be lucky if I break into the top cohort of failures, let alone pass. Better luck in June, I suppose.

 

But most importantly, I learned something today, something that has nothing to do with financial analysis, economics, or remembering the difference between accounting for amortization and depletion, or Chebyshev’s inequality and the Sharpe ratio.

 

I got a taste – a tiny one – of what it feels like to be a Chinese student.

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Shanghai Entrepreneurs: Shaun Rein

6 11 2012

“The key to building a great company is finding great people.”

Shaun Rein, Managing Director of the China Market Research Group (CMR), has built a controversial reputation and a competitive consulting firm in China. CMR, despite being only seven years old and led by a man in his early thirties with no prior consulting experience, manages to beat top international consulting firms like Bain and McKinsey for due diligence and market research projects in China. The company has become recognized for it’s street-level expertise and thorough (if sometimes contrarian) approach to a frequently opaque and baffling market.

I first interviewed Rein last winter, when he was promoting his book, The End of Cheap China (you can view the interview here). This time I visited him in his office overlooking Lujiazui Park in Pudong, where we sat down for a conversation about his experiences as an entrepreneur in Shanghai, developing a consulting practice, and the ins and outs of doing business in China. Read the rest of this entry »





China Doesn’t Want You

2 11 2012

To my fellow Hult students, and anyone else in a business program who aspires to come to China:

It’s not easy here.

Bloomberg Businessweek’s article “Looking to Get Ahead? China Doesn’t Want You” summarizes just how difficult it can be for aspiring entrepreneurs and young professionals in China, from non-Chinese backgrounds. Between legal hurdles, linguistic challenges, the saturation of most Chinese markets, the slowing economy, and a general anti-foreign prejudice, China can be a hard place to “make it”, and many MBAs and MBA students who came here expecting to become investment bankers, expat managers, or run a start-up straight out of the gate are often disappointed.

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Auditing your Time

30 10 2012

I’ve got a problem.

In one month, I’m scheduled to take the Chartered Financial Analyst Level 1 exam. In case you’re not familiar with them, the CFA exams are reputed to be the most difficult exams in the finance field, requiring a mastery of a vast amount of material across several disciplines, including:

-Accounting & Financial Statement Analysis

-Economics

-Securities (Equity and Fixed Income)

-Portfolio Management

-Derivatives

-Options

-Technical Analysis

-Quantitative Analysis

-Alternative Investments

-Ethics

… and a dozen things I’m sure I’m forgetting.

The pass rate is around 40%.

I’m only halfway through the curriculum.

It’s time for an audit… a time audit.

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Seven Rotations – October 10th, 2012

10 10 2012

(Seven Rotations is my “week in review”/narrative link dump. I’m going to try to post it every Wednesday- we’ll see how that goes.)

National Day break? What National Day break? While others tried to get out of Shanghai; I decided to stay in- after all, it seems like a bad idea to travel when a billion other people have the same idea. (EXPAT PROTIP: If you want to travel during a holiday, leave the country.)

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