I had my first classes this week since graduating from UPS more than 4 years ago. It was certainly weird to be back in the classroom, taking notes and looking over a syllabus again, but I am really excited about the opportunity this time around. There’s nothing like having to go to work to make you excited for school!
I am enrolled at the Berlin School of Economics and Law in the Master of Science in Finance program. The program lasts three semesters with an optional internship for a fourth semester. The final semester contains one course: writing a thesis. The first semester, which I just started this week consists of four courses: Econometrics, Financial Economics, Corporate Finance, and Corporate Financial Theory. Each class has one four hour lecture session each week until late January of next year when we will have exams, which constitute 100% of the grade.
As you might expect from a Masters program, the Professors take a very “hands off” approach to teaching. They leave it up to us students to do most of the work, providing us with only their lectures, reading lists and information on exams. Very little hands-on teaching is involved, although all the professors made sure to provide their contact information and office hours and made a point of saying do not hesitate to approach them if you are unsure of the material. Two of the professors also scheduled social events for us to meet up and have a beer after class next week… now that’s an assignment I can handle!
I can already tell my favorite class will be Financial Economics. Much of our reading list for that class consists of articles that are very relevant to the current Euro crisis, which is ubiquitous over here on the news. The hardest class will be Econometrics; our professor has a PHD in theoretic physics so it’s safe to say that course will be fairly math intensive.
One thing that I like about this program is all my fellow students (there are 36 of us) take all the same classes together. That has made it fairly easy to get to know people. I am the only American in the program but it has been fun to get to know some of the other students from around the world. So far, I have made friends from Italy, France, Lithuania, Russia, Bulgaria, China, Canada, Uzbekistan and of course Germany. Everyone is really nice and they seem to have similar thoughts and opinions as me about the professors and the program in general so that is very comforting. It is nice to feel like part of a group, especially when given a daunting task, which on its outset, this Master Program certainly seems to be.