Investments with Pattarake Sarajoti

February 24, 2013

During this final hexamester of the first year here at Sasin we were able to pick our own courses from a total of 7 courses offered. Most people picked 2 courses, and some combined it with the course Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) as a third course, but I also had 60,000 baht of spare money lying around and no interest in GIM, so why not pick 3 normal courses? As long as there is no overlap in classes you can register for as many courses as you want. To make sure I would not overreach this last period I made sure the third course would not be too difficult, and with a background in economics and investing the course Investments with assistant professor Pattarake Sarajoti would fit the bill perfectly.

Pick whatever you like as long as you pay for the credits and show up enough times to write the exam.

Pick whatever you like as long as you pay for the credits and show up enough times to write the exam.

As you could expect with a course with this name we mostly covered the financial markets and the basics of portfolio construction. Most of the concepts were quite easy; for example we covered simple put and call options but never went into vega, theta, or rho, and their effects on in-the-money and out-of-the-money options. Implied volatility was mentioned for a couple of minutes, but unfortunately we never reached the volatility smiles and smirks.

One book and a lot of handouts...

One book and a lot of handouts…

Besides a final exam, which counted for 50%, we also had three smaller quizzes with multiple choice questions, a presentation on a fictive Investment Policy Statement (think CFA level III at a very basic level), and three interim write-ups that needed to be done as a group. All together the smaller assignments during the course made up half your grade, something that came quite in handy when I was sitting with the final exam in front of me questioning if I had missed something during class or I just had trouble understanding what was being asked. I guess that sometimes things get harder when they are simplified because all the things you already know cannot be applied anymore and all of a sudden you need to calculate the value of an option in a world where the stock can only go up or down with 50%.

Pattarake Sarajoti teaching at Sasin

Pattarake Sarajoti teaching at Sasin

This course did make me realize I have to make a clear decision for myself what exactly I want to get out of this MBA. On one hand I am probably going to try to keep working in the investment management industry when I am done here at Sasin, so investment related courses will show my dedication to the subject and build my foundation only stronger; while on the other hand I am not learning much from investment related courses while I still have to shove out 60,000 baht per course. In that case I would be better off picking courses in areas I do not know much about yet so I can gain some new insights and broaden my horizon further. Luckily there are some months of holidays to ponder this dilemma.

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