Everyone is giving the Corporate Finance lecturer a hard time today

A room full of inquisitive and intelligent people will always have questions when being taught new concepts, and the MBA crowd is a pretty gregarious bunch. We’ve switched Corporate Finance lecturers for the second half of the course, and she’s never more than thirty seconds into an explanation before half a dozen people butt in with questions.

This is, of course, THE MOST ANNOYING THING IN THE WORLD.

Did Isaac Newton drop his quill formulating s=ut+(0.5*at^2), and switch to calculating the effects of sunlight and wind resistance on the bloody falling apple, before he’d pinned down the underlying simplicity of the concept? NO. The whole point here is to understand the THEORY first, clean and untouched, so you can recognise it through all the dirt of the real world that obscures it later. But nobody is getting this.

Can we – just TRY – absorbing the fucking THEORY first before complicating it with irrelevant fudge factors? Why is everybody trying to include the whole world in the model before gripping the basics? Are they really that much smarter than me? GET WITH THE PROGRAMME, PEOPLE.

Admittedly, some of it may be due to the previous lecturer’s Teutonic roots and the current one’s Italian heritage: there’s rather a difference in teaching styles. Accuracy and precision are an ingrained part of the German national character; among Italians they’re – er – perhaps not seen as quite so fundamental. Attention to detail on the lecture slides is more 1970s Lancia than BMW X5 (4 of 7 slides contain numerical errors.) But that’s not what’s causing the problem. The problem is Us.

And to pick one isolated example – let’s just say that when two Italians are talking from different perspectives, “Can I just finish my sentence” is something of a futile request.

What’s odd is that the concept being taught is, at heart, REALLY SIMPLE. It’s nowhere near as complicated as IRR or bond valuation; it’s more intuitive and real-world. This should be one of the easier lectures, yet it takes forever to get past each slide.

My colleagues are going through an exercise in MISSING THE FUCKING POINT here, and it’s exasperating. Or maybe – since I’m the one annoyed by it – the one who’s missing the point here is ME. Just wish I knew what that ‘point’ was.

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