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Organization of the Managerial Finance course - CEMBA 2018

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Warsaw, June 18th, 2018








Subject: Organization of the Managerial Finance course

Dear Sirs,

At first, we would like to thank you for superb organization of the Polish edition of Canadian Executive MBA (hereinafter referred to as the “CEMBA”), and express our gratitude for providing us with possibility to participate in this top ranked program here in Poland.

Regardless of the above and our overall very positive opinion about CEMBA program, we would like to raise one issue and bring it forward for your consideration. This issue concerns organization of the Corporate Finance course, and to be more precise: length of this course in relation to scope of material covered within its period, as well as the form of the exams (referring to their duration).

Please note that we are aware of the fact, that it is meant to be the most difficult course during CEMBA program, and that we are supposed to put much bigger effort in it than in case of other courses, and yes we were informed at the beginning that overall CEMBA is though and challenging undertaking, but our question is, whether this simply did not go too far in case of Managerial Finance course?

Managerial Finance course is designed to last for four weeks (exactly 29 days), and within that time we are supposed to cover material from over 1000 pages long book, complete 7 assignments consisting of ~114 marked case studies and participate in 10 days of on-site classes. For some of us (or in fact, majority of us) it is a first time in our lives when we acquaint ourselves with corporate finance and financial mathematics, therefore on average we need one hour to go through one case study. As you may calculate, it takes pretty much time.

As you are well aware, all of us are working in a full time and not everybody can take one moth off to devote him/her-self to the Managerial Finance course in 100%. We understand that not everybody must receive grade A from this course, but we would expect that C+ in absolutely in range, when student takes one week off to prepare themselves to mid-term exam (what is not a case here). Also, we are fully aware that intentions are good, that this is simply for our own good, to teach us more, to leave us better prepared and be more competitive on the market, what we appreciate a lot, however we feel that intentions are far away from the actual result. Please ask yourself how much would you remember after quick read of over 1000 page book, with no time to repeat the material? We are adult and responsible people therefore we put huge amount of effort to complete this course, but please be aware that everything has its limits. We feel that one of these two aspects is way off from the reality, it is either the scope of material that we are supposed to cover, or the length of Managerial Finance course.

Moreover, we would like to ask you for explanation, what is the reasoning behind giving us so little time to take exams from this course? For the mid-term exam we were given 90 minutes for 20 shorter, and 2 long questions composing of 3-5 subsections. Approximately, as we were informed by professor, we had 3 minutes for a question (including subsections of the longer questions). We wonder why it was organized this way? Was it to prepare us to real life situations when we will have to analyze NPV of the project and take decision about its realization within 3 minutes? Do you believe that such situation will take place in a real life? Our feeling is that this amount of time did not give us time to think, check our reasoning, and therefore show our understanding of the topic. Please explain to us what would have happened if we would be given 180 minutes for this exam instead of 90 minutes, too many people would score positive, or even good mark? We would be very concerned, if this would be the reason behind such way of organizing this exam, as this is not an approach we would like to see towards us from highly respected educational institution.

Once again, we would like to underline, that for most of us this a first adventure with financial mathematics, therefore we need to have time to absorb this rather complicated knowledge, and time think what we are being asked to do during exam. Finally, please note, that during submission to CEMBA program nobody checked our level of knowledge from this area, on the contrary, when asked about financial / mathematics related courses we were assured that people with no financial or mathematic background are able to complete this course. To be honest, we are very concerned about this today.

At the end we would like to clearly underline that this is not an accusation towards Professor Stangeland, who in our opinion is a great expert and great teacher, always perfectly prepared to run the classes. Our only concerns are “technical” aspects of this course (its length in relation to scope of the material covered, and duration of the exams).

To conclude if we look at our current situation from the distance, we may compare it to the business environment. There is a market for people who are looking for a place or a specific offering that would help them improve their positions and themselves. There is also a provider of the offering - CEMBA. By accepting and joining the CEMBA program, we became your clients, and from that perspective, we can assess the offer, to start a discussion, and to give you our feedback. Our goal is to help you improve your offer and maintain the close fit with our needs and desires. We believe that our cooperation should be based on a two-side discussion. This is how recognized universities are working nowadays, and this is how we would like to proceed in this concrete matter.

As an immediate solution supporting actual group with passing Managerial Finance on the level of an amount of work students done, we ask for:

  • Official information about the percentage of students failing the mid-term and the final exam, the percentage of students failing the remedial exam in last five years;
  • A strong support with positive result of the CEMBA leadership to obtain on of below:
    • decreased number of questions during an exam with 25% with maintaining same assignments difficulty and time for an exam as originally planned;
    • double time for final exam with maintaining number and difficulty of assignments as originally planned;
  • A strong support with positive result of the CEMBA leadership of giving an opportunity for students who wish to do so, to retake the mid-term exam, based on a changed level of time or number of assignments;
  • A strong support with positive result of the CEMBA leadership of maintaining difficulty of assignments given during an exam to the level of exercises discussed during classes;
  • A strong support with positive result of the CEMBA leadership to support remedial exam on the same complexity as mid-term and final exam;
  • A positive response from the CEMBA leadership for an application of none additional fee for each student who will take Managerial Finance course next year (if that student attended all classes, filled in all assignments and took all exams – midterm, final and remedial)

In the same time, in the interest of future students of the CEMBA Program, we ask for:

  • A deep analysis of the content of the course and the material covered, with a possibility to extend the course over additional weekends, if needed;
  • Reflection on the effective purpose of the courses and their examinations; we believe the program is intended to teach us practical content that we can apply in our professional lives, not to test our ability to automatically solve problems in Excel, with no reflection.

We believe that in most aspects both CEMBA’s Board and our goals are the same, that is to uphold good name of the program, therefore we would not want organization of his one course to overshadow our overall very positive opinion about the CEMBA program.

Kind regards,

Students of Warsaw CEMBA (Cohorts: XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV)

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