High Volatility – Welcome Back to University

Claudio Loderer student blog
With this student blog I will take you on my learning journey during the next months. And in this first post I will explain to you the connection between my study start and a risk curve with high volatility.

Doing this EMBA is far from my comfort zone. I don’t have a finance background – in fact I originally studied social work. In my job as a member of the Executive Board of the Swiss Cancer League, I am responsible for the development of services and projects for people affected by cancer, for the implementation of our strategy and for personnel management. As a donation-financed NGO, fundraising is one of our major challenges.

In short, each of my tasks is closely related to financial figures and strategic management. So, I assumed that the Rochester Bern EMBA would fill exactly those gaps that I am still missing for comprehensive management. The international reference is like the icing on the cake.

At some point the decision was made: Yes, I would do the EMBA program. Yes, despite (or because of?) a at least  100% job. Yes, despite 5 children. Yes, even without a background in finance. My decision was supported by my great boss (“yes, you absolutely have to do this”), by my children (“we are proud of you”), by my husband who also works at least 100% (“we will manage somehow”). And yet, before the start, there were feelings of insecurity, nervousness, fear of failure. And the question: Are you completely crazy?

After six weeks, 8 lecture days, countless slides and chapters read, homework graded, group work and a mid-term exam, I can give the following interim conclusion:

My personal learning curve is steep. My fears of not finding my place among “bankers and economists” were unfounded (in fact the class is very heterogeneous and the bankers are nice and helpful :-)). My emotional situation resembles a curve with high volatility (cf. Prof. Loderer, 2023, “Valuation”, “Risk Definition”, p.10).

Risk Management student blog
Risk Management

The peaks of this curve are:

  • the learning atmosphere and class are fantastic
  • the professors are highly qualified, offer varied lessons and excellent teaching materials
  • I can calculate annuities and perpetuities (hah!)
  • the diverse backgrounds of my colleagues in terms of professional as well as life experience are an enormous enrichment

The Lows are:

  • I despair in front of slides with line-long formulas
  • the evenings and weekends are too short
  • my lack of sleep is comparable to when I had very young twins
  • I voluntarily put myself in exam situations and have feelings I experienced a very long time ago

Overall, I can already say that the decision was worthwhile and I can use what I learn in my everyday work. I realize that the challenge is satisfying and the pinch of student life is a welcome highlight in addition to my job and family life. There’s more to come – I’ll keep you posted on our RoBe learning journey!