The SMF program has a pre-term and seven core courses in the autumn semester. At the beginning of pre-term, we were assigned teams that we would be working with for the entire pre-term and all the core courses. We were put in teams on the basis of a variety of factors like academic background, work experience, gender, and race. My team has four students including me. One student has completed all three CFA levels and has work experience, the other two have done their undergraduate degree in finance, and I, as you know from my first post, did my undergraduate degree in math. We have different expertise and ways to contribute to the team. Sometimes, one of us will take the lead on an assignment and the other will work on citations and proofreading. We've been working together only for a month or so, but I've been able to learn so much from them in terms of academics but also in terms of soft skills.

In my opinion, the assignment that brought us together as a team, was the first assignment in our Financial Software Applications class, an industry and a company analysis. The first half of this course, is focusing on Bloomberg, while the second half will be on Excel.

The first task for this assignment was to choose an industry from the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) sectors. We then, had to research about the industry, and look at the trends, patterns, market share, etc. After that, we had to choose the company (in that industry) who we believed would be the strongest over the next twelve months, and perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. Lastly, we had to compile a report with our analysis of the industry and company. There were two caveats to this assignment - we could only use Bloomberg as our source, and we were not given a page limit for the report. If we wanted to look up some information about the industry's market share or if we wanted to look at Pepsi's latest news, we had to use Bloomberg. What this really means is we spent hours and hours in the Bloomberg Lab in Mason Hall.

Bloomberg terminal

Bloomberg terminals

The industry we chose was Beverages in the Consumer Staples sector. We took about nine hours over three days to conduct research on this industry, look at key players in and outside of the U.S, and notice where this industry is moving towards. After that, we "discussed" which company was the strongest according to the data we had on us. We then moved on to actually writing the report that had no page limit. We took about seven hours to do so. Two members started on it during the day, and the third member and I, completed it by the early hours of the next day. And finally, we worked on the presentation we had to give in class (two teams present on every assignment and we were the "lucky ones" to present on the first). Overall, we spent about twenty hours on this assignment, no big deal.

When we were first informed that our teams were going to be the same for the whole semester, I said to myself, "we're either going to love each other or really not like each other." I'm glad to realize that after spending so much time with my team over the past couple of days, I'm not going to "really not like" them.

P.S. If anyone was wondering, Coca-Cola was our choice!