I love all 4 of my classes this quarter, but I want to bring your attention to this particular one – AMIS 824 Corporate Finance. This class is unique in many ways. To start off, in the introduction email Professor Dave Williams sent to the class, he specifically mentioned that we won’t be doing any journal entries, T-accounts, or cite FASB statements. But wait a second, I thought this is an accounting class??? (AMIS stands for Accounting & Management Information System)
Now that school’s been in session for about 2 weeks, I started to get a feel of what he means. Dave (he likes to be informal and prefers to be called by his first name instead of Professor Williams) usually starts the class by reading an article or two on the Wall Street Journal and discuss with the class the magnitude of the news and the effect/consequence/special meaning it has both to the accounting profession and the financial industry. Then we spend the remaining class period analyzing financial statements of various companies in a very fun and intuitive way. You might say, how is analyzing hundreds of pages of the 10-K fun?
Well, first of all we don’t look at the entire 10-K because Dave is environment-friendly and would like to save trees. Second, some day we look at just the income statement, another day we’ll look at the balance sheet followed by the statement of cash flow, or sometimes the combination of them. Then he’ll make the students think hard and fast what lies beneath the numbers. He asks questions like: why do you expect to see a high balance in the inventory account for so and so? What does it mean when you see cash outflows from PP&E every year? Is that a good thing or a bad thing and why? So far we’ve looked at the financial statements of Tootsie Roll, Hershey, GE, Southwest Airline, Whirlpool, Campbell’s Soup, 5/3 Bank, Amazon, J-Crew, American Eagle Outfitter, and Pacific Sun. Next week we’ll talk about revenue recognition and look at Microsoft’s financial statements. Microsoft!!! I’m getting excited just as I’m typing this.
Dave is ingenious in drawing the class’ attention. He tells jokes, makes fun of himself and sometimes his kids, and you can be sure that he’ll call you out (not to embarrass you, but all for good fun) if you say something silly without giving it some thought. He comes at you fast and furious and you better devote 120% of your attention to him if you don’t want to miss anything important (and the jokes). Starting this week I’m bringing a digital recorder to record the lecture so that I don’t have to take notes frantically. Lastly, I tried to imitate his style a little bit and be funny in front of the 211 students (I’m a TA) but so far to no avail.