Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Fall Semester 2005 Mod B - Fixed Income Securities

As I wrote in my previous post, I was registered for the 2nd half of the Valuation & Analysis class, but after enduring Allen for 8 weeks, I dropped that class and signed up for a bonds class. Little did I know what that class would be like!

Fixed Income Securities

Fixed income was a really obscure class. I really didn't know what to expect. The teacher was Natalia Reisel. This was her very first class that she would teach at Cox. She had just graduated from Rutgers with a PhD in finance. We think she is from Russia because she talked with a little accent. She was also very soft-spoken. It was very difficult to understand her the first couple of classes. But by the end of the course, I could understand everything she said.

Whenever bonds were brought into the picture in other finance classes, all the relevant information was given. All you had to do was calculate the amount of debt a company had if they had issued bonds. I was half-expecting that this bonds class would be relatively easy. I was wrong. The bond market is huge and complex. It is a HUGE market, but in order to make a lot of money in that market, you must deal with HUGE quantities.

She lectured each week for about 90 minutes. The rest of the time was filled with groups doing a presentation on a case. There was one mid-term and one final. I did well on both. Our group project also went smoothly.

I don't remember a whole lot from that class. The one thing that I did learn was that I don't want to make a career out of working with bonds and fixed income securities.

I earned a B+ in this class.

Spring 2006 Update

Yesterday, I got most of the simulation problem done. There are three parts to it. I finished the first two parts. I plan on reviewing it today ... do a reality check to make sure it all makes sense. Then I have to figure out how to do the third part. It's a little more complex, so I'm not exactly sure how to do it.

I read the case for negotiations last night. The case is about a company named Harborco and it is wanting to build a huge port that will generate lots of revenue. Harborco has to get a licencse to build and to receive a license, it has to go before the Federal Licensing Agency (FLA). The FLA won't approve until at least 4 of the 6 parties involved agree upon the terms. The parties involved are Harborco, the environmentalists, the governor's office, some federal loan agency, another federal agency and the Union. I'm representing the governor's office. I put all the important issues and their point values in a spreadsheet. Judging by my BATNA and target points, I'm sitting pretty well. It will be practically impossible for me to go below my BATNA. All I have to do is work to get as many points as possible.

Quixote Update

The servants burned the books and then sealed up the library all the books were in. They figured that if Quixote wakes up, he'd go looking for the books in the library. If the library is gone, then they think Quixote's madness will leave too. When he wakes up, they lie to him and tell him some demon took his library away.

Quixote later hooks up with a farmer named Sancho Panza. They leave in the middle of the night and go on an adventure. Quixote promises Panza that he'd be a governor of an island if he helps Quixote. Panza isn't as crazy as Quixote, but he's still a little off his rocker.

They encounter the windmills. Quixote attacks the "giants" and gets injured. Then they come across a travelling party. In the party are a couple of monks and a lady who is travelling with her entourage. Quixote thinks the monks have kidnapped the lady. Panza sees them for who they are and says that this will be worse than the windmills! Quixote yells at the friars and then attacks them. One of them falls to the ground and then Panza runs up to him to take his clothes! He says that those are the spoils of war! For this, Panza gets a royal beating from the lady's entourage. Meanwhile Quixote is talking to the lady in the coach. One of her helpers gets in a word-fight with Quixote and then the two begin a sword-fight. The chapter ends there and that is where I left off last night.

I'm really enjoying this book!

Chess Update

And now for the chess update ... I played 4 games last night. Two blitz and two crazyhouse. I went 0-4! I simply sucked. The first two games were blitz. I played the same person both times. We entered the end game and I was up a pawn. I had two pawns against his one pawn on the kingside. I lost both pawns on the kingside, he advanced his one, queened him and then beat me soundly. I was dejected ... my blunder cost me the game. I rematched him. This time, we entered the endgame and I had my rooks and queen ready to blast away at his king. I overlooked that my king was locked away with no defense. I failed to notice this and he mated me. I was so dejected. So I played a couple of crazyhouse games. I got whooped both games. I went to bed depressed. I'm still bummed. Tonight, hopfully, I'll do better.

The 2/22/06 puzzle ... 27. ? Well, right off, I'd probably play 27. Rxg7 Bxg7 28. Qg4. Now that wouldn't work ... the black a6 rook would move to g6.

OK ... how about this. 27. Bh6 ... I don't know what would happen after that.

3rd try ... this is what I would do. 27. Ng7 Bxg7 28. Rxg7+ Kxg7 29. Qg4 ... but he can still place his rook at g6.

I don't know ...

The answer is 27. Rxg7 Bxg7 28. Qg8 Qxf5 29. Qxf5 ... OK! That makes sense now. I was thinking the rook would go to g6. But if he did that, I'd place the knight at h6+ which leaves the queen en prise. The games goes to 45 moves, but black eventually resigns.

Chess is a mental game. Not only do you really need a sound mind to play, but you also have to have confidence in the fact that you can see all the moves and make the best one. One thing that I need to work on (as last night shows) is thoroughness. I need to take my time and look at all the options for me as well as my opponent.

I think Dan Heisman said it one time ... something to the effect that you need to make every move as if your whole life and reputation depended upon it. That way, you'll ensure with a higher level of confidence that you are doing your best.

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