Berkeley Finance Conference

Bankers, investors and VC’s, Oh MY!

Friday was the 3rd annual Berkeley Finance Conference, the only student run Finance Conference on the West Coast. Over 170 participants (from all over the country) and volunteers filled the campus for the 10 hour event.
Being student run, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved (and dodge the $30 admission fee). I was responsible for the Green Room (where the panelists hung out before their talks) and the finances. It was quite rewarding watching how much everyone enjoyed the event.
The featured speaker was Mark Zanoli, who works at J.P. Morgan, my previous employer. He had a very interesting take on the recovery and the recent surge in M&A activity.
I loved it so much that I am co-chairing next years event. Hope to see you there…


One down, two to go

Our cohort just finished the Organizational Behavior final. Now we only have Microeconomics and Statistics left before we all hop on the bus to the secret location for a fabulous end-of-semester party (thanks to the second-years for organizing!) and then meet back on campus early Thursday morning for the Haas career management conference.

The weather in Berkeley over the past week has been pretty disappointing. On the other hand, that definitely made studying easier. Just note, if you are coming for a campus visit this week, don’t forget to bring a warm jacket and an umbrella.

I also wanted to use this opportunity to shamelessly promote two of the many upcoming conferences at Haas:
DMEC’s Play Conference – October 27th, 2007 (Blog)
Haas Finance Conference November 9th, 2007


A Berkeley Moment

Several protesters are holding up in the oaks outside Memorial Stadium (across from Haas), hoping to prevent UC Berkeley from removing several oaks for a new athletic facility and parking lot. A fellow student was overheard saying “Dude… I’ve finally had my Berkeley moment.” I do hope there’s a way to have it all.

On a lighter note, my Marketing Plan and Corp Fi final are off my plate. On to the next set of projects. Not too fast, though… I have a HaasWeek celebratory dinner tomorrow night and the MBAA Holiday Party on Saturday.

I was a bit hesitant signing up for Corporate Finance. It seemed beyond my scope, seeing how the Coast Guard doesn’t regularly issue debt or equity, but I figured it would be good to learn. Boy was I right, but who knew valuing debt for an unconstrained firm (amortization table people!), cranking out a European call option by hand with the Black-Scholes formula, or discussing violations of Modigliani-Miller assumptions would be so interesting? (Or that I’d be blogging about it?)

I’m not surprised, however, that someone did a Marketing Plan on Playboy (and submitted it all wrapped in plastic). Bet the research was tough on that one.

Oh, did I mention GOLD won the Big Games? Just checking.

—Colin C.


Too… much… going… on….

It’s my fault, don’t get me wrong. I tried to do too much this semester, especially as of late when I realized that I wasn’t participating in many social activities this semester. One TNAG, one Consumption Function, one HaasWeek event, one Football game, one tailgate & after party. So sad.

At the start of the semester we in Corporate Finance asked to move the exam up to December 7th so we could start our break earlier. We all figured we’d have plenty of time to study and complete our other projects. Boy was I wrong. I’m still cranking out my Brand Management Plan and have yet to review Corporate Finance for the final tomorrow, never mind the other assignments due next week.

Had I not taken half a day out of Saturday to attend the alumni tailgate and Big Game, I would have been done. I didn’t even hang for the crazy after-parties. But you need to balance the academics with some social. Folks always seem to remind me that I don’t attend many social events (see my photo on page 4 of the last issue of Haasweek). There’s a lot going on between academics, social, career, and life… and it requires balance.

I guess that’s one of the key lessons you learn at Haas. It isn’t all about work… you need to take time out for yourself. Work-life balance, I think they call it.

In the meanwhile, today (and the early morning hours of tomorrow) will be a busy day.

—Colin C.


The transition is underway. Elections are on-going, bidding for classes has begun, successors are being chosen for clubs. First years are eager to be the big guns on campus and drill down the internships; second years are looking at jobs, snow, and our last classes.

Academically, I’m now starting to focus on my final projects. For New Product Development, I’m designing Project Runway design challenges with Meghna (post below) based on course lessons and conducting a post-mortem on a company started by a fellow classmate; developing a marketing plan for Audi in my Brand Management class; preparing for a Corporate Finance final involving bond covenants, taxes, and asymmetric information; and focusing on an unknown Service Strategy case for the final, having just completed my American Express Interactive case presentation last night. (Hence the delay in blog.)

Socially, I’m looking forward to snow in Tahoe, winter parties, winter break and more time in my schedule next year.

Right now, I’ve got to focus on homework due later today.

—Colin C.


It’s mid-term time for second years, and finals for first years.

The BofA forum this morning was absolutely empty; the usual buzz of first year study groups conspicuously absent once the undergrads departed for class. Once I turned off the volume of the ever-present CNN plasma, there was absolute silence as well. The first years finish up finals and focus on career this week (as noted below).

For second years, this is a busy week as well. Mid-terms are next week, so this week is prep and project completion. Brand Management brand audit is due on the 24th; finish Corporate Finance problem sets and sample mid-term in preparation for the real mid-term on the 24th and complete a case due the 19th; Service Strategy take-home mid-term case given tonight and due on, yup, the 24th; and incremental individual assignments in New Product Development due on various days.

To top it off, I’m headed to yet another wedding in Santa Barbara this weekend (is it number 4 or 6 this semester? I’ve lost track), so my weekend is shot.

It’s at times like this when I’m glad I’m a sponsored student and don’t have to worry about the career hunt. I have more time for class work.

On the flip-side, countless companies are again on campus and interviews are in full-swing. For some, the summer test-drive (a.k.a. internship) was successful and yielded a job offer. For others, it was successful by showing the absence of person-job/career path/company/culture fit; these lucky ones get a second shot. To have that opportunity… Hopefully when I retire from the Coast Guard they’ll hook me up with a job.

As for now, I better get to work. There’s a lot to do.

—Colin C.