Electing Electives in the Fisher MAcc Program

I’ve said this previously, but one of the coolest aspects of the MAcc program is the option to take electives … lots of electives.  Under the new semester requirements, you’ll take 31 semester hours of courses.  Of those, only 10 semester hours are core requirements!  You do the math…okay, okay I’ll do it for you…that leaves 21 semester hours of electives!!  Sarah asked what some of my favorite electives have been, and I’m more than happy to elaborate on my experience!

Last quarter, I took a course on Entrepreneurial Finance.  This was an awesome course that combined both the soft and hard aspects of starting a company.  We looked at valuations…how to determine appropriate cash flows, how to select a discount rate, what assumptions are valid for future growth, etc.  However, we also spent a lot of time discussing whether or not a given entrepreneur was the right person for the business – did they have an appropriate background and education, were they plugged in to the right circles, and was their personality and motivation matched to the task at hand?  The course was case based, so each of the scenarios we looked at involved real companies.  And Professor Berk Sensoy was excellent – I’d highly recommend this class (and Professor Sensoy).

This quarter, I’m taking all electives.  While it’s early, I’ve enjoyed each of them and will tell you what I can…I can give you an update on these courses later on in the quarter though!  I’ve got Accounting for Mergers and Acquisitions, Real Estate Finance, and Logistics Management on my plate for the quarter.  I’m trying to be well balanced here!

Accounting for Mergers and Acquisitions:  First of all, Professor Dave Williams is teaching this course.  He was our professor for a core course taken in the fall, so I knew before signing up that this course would be awesome.  Dave does a great job teaching the concepts, and makes going to class fun by analyzing transactions and firms using phrases such as “hey in the hall” (satisfactory performance) and “kick in the butt” (poor performance).  Back to the class though – we’ve had some interesting discussions on why mergers and acquisitions might be attractive for both parent and target companies.  We’ve looked at goodwill and goodwill impairment, as well as how this touchy subject has evolved over time.  The best part of the course?  If a merger/acquisition is happening real time, we talk about it in class!

Real Estate Finance:  This course is taught by Professor Izhak Ben-David, who is clearly passionate about real estate.  He’s discussed his research with us, which proved his interest and dedication to the topic.  So far we’ve just talked about valuation of real estate.  I’m a little bit biased because I have always been fascinated with real estate, and it’s an area I plan to invest in (specifically the residential rental market).  We’ve looked at valuations in the rental markets – both commercial and residential.

Logistics Management:  I am taking logistics management with Professor Michael Knemeyer.  I feel like a broken record here, but wow is this dude is passionate about logistics!  You know that UPS commercial “We Love Logistics”?  I’m thinking UPS just followed Professor Knemeyer around for inspiration.  Anyways, on to the course.  We’re going to learn about logistics, but Professor Knemeyer is setting up the course in some very interesting ways to help us really understand logistics management.  There is a simulation called LINKS that puts you in charge of making decisions for an imaginary firm.  You analyze all aspects of the firm, but it boils down to managing your supply chain in a competitive, dynamic environment that pits your firm against your peer’s firm.  He’s also set up an “Individualized Learning Project”, which gives me the opportunity to study the logistics (current and future trends, best practices, etc) of THE COFFEE INDUSTRY!!!  This project gives you a lot of freedom to learn about specific industries you’re interested in.

So – I hope I’ve helped, Sarah!  I’ll answer your question about leadership opportunities in another post.  Good luck picking your electives!  There is a lot to choose from, but I can assure you – you can’t make a wrong decision.

The Fisher MAcc program has a LOT of electives. Be ready to make some choices!