Archive for case study

Professor Goldberg’s Financial Services Sector in the 21st Century: Final Case Presentations at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York

I had the pleasure of taking Professor Richard Goldberg’s course, Global Financial Services Sector in the 21st Century, during the fall semester of 2013. It was a valuable experience to learn from a 25-year Wall Street veteran who has covered the financial sector for international M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) and worked at various global banks.  Professor Goldberg is actively involved with the Columbia University community in general, and particularly with the IFEP concentration.

The  course  provided  a  framework  within  which students  could  evaluate  and  understand  the  global  financial services industry.  In class, we explored perspectives such as the current and future roles of the major financial services participants, key driver s influencing an industry that has always been characterized by significant change, and strategic challenges and opportunities facing today’s

financial services CEOs. That said, this course is tailored so that students with various backgrounds can follow and appreciate all of the materials read and discussed. The assigned readings were current, applicable to today’s financial markets, and focused on what was important.

 goldberg class

In particular, Professor Goldberg’s course taught how a SIPA student might look at global financial institutions from a different perspective, focusing more on global macroeconomic and political risk over just simple returns. For example, we learned about how regulatory changes in the capital markets could affect the global strategy of a financial institution, and how a supermarket  approach may  be  of  benefit  to  one  institution  but  a  boutique  approach  might  be  better  for  another,  depending  on  a  financial  institution’s strengths. Understanding the dynamics of policy and financial markets is a valuable proficiency that this course teaches.

Clearly, the guest speakers (from banks and asset managers) and the two presentations were the highlights of the course. For example: For the final case study, we divided our class into teams. Each group recommended specific strategies to senior management at Bank of America Merrill Lynch New York headquarters that could potentially strengthen the bank’s position in the financial markets. Senior executives provided feedback to all teams on how our suggestions would or would not be feasible in the current marketplace.

This live presentation to professionals was a unique experience, especially for students who have not worked much prior to attending SIPA. The skills acquired in this course will serve students well in several sectors; however, it’s tailored for careers in finance, banking, management consulting, and policy-making. I encourage students with various backgrounds to take Richard Goldberg’s course, because it teaches rich information, offers great opportunities, and is entertaining.

Posted by Andreas Maerki, MPA ’14, IFEP

Solution Providers Case Study Event

Irene Coffman from the Office of Career Services (OCS) in coordination with the Consulting and Finance Club at SIPA hosted Solution Providers, a boutique Management Consulting firm headquartered in Switzerland. The consultancy was founded in 1996 and has since grown to 160 professionals globally with offices in Switzerland, Germany, Singapore as well as the USA.  It officially opened an office in New York this year. Earlier in the semester Solution Providers hosted a well-attended information session about the firm, the professional opportunities and how policy students from SIPA may add great value by advising renowned international financial services companies that seek support in the whole process from working out strategies and realizing these operationally through technical implementation.

Solution Providers is looking for well rounded, curious, and intelligent Senior Consultants, who understand and are ready to advance their knowledge within Financial Services firms and how financial regulations and policy may impact the sector in order to serve the client best. As Daniel Zelkas (Senior Consultant) said, the “start-up” culture is a great opportunity for students with various backgrounds to get involved, contribute towards the firm’s success generally and in New York competition Maerki pic for blog

Solution Providers has organized similar “Case Study” events at other prestigious academic institutions locally and internationally to seek talent and last Monday at SIPA. After some refreshments and a short presentation about the team, the culture and the firm’s mission (Passion, Process, Progress), there were 4 teams with 5 students each gaining insights in the life of a management consultant by practicing their casing skills. Each team approached the case differently to manage the case that was number heavy and represented a typical challenging situation of gaining new business, by not neglecting the existing clients and by having a cost-efficient operation to support the firm’s growth.

Some groups divided the tasks immediately to quickly focus on specific areas and others discussed the issues as a whole team to get a good handle on the challenge the case study offered and potential solutions that may be recommended. Felix Gniza (Senior Consultant) mentioned that this case was from a real client; however slightly modified to make it manageable to be solved within 45 minutes and to follow compliance standards to assure confidentiality of the actual client’s identity. After an intense team work session and a 15 minutes break that was used to finalize the team’s presentations, each group made their case by identifying the issues that were discovered during the analysis of the case and the various recommendations that the students recommended to senior management, represented by the 4 Solution Providers professionals present. Ilya Usorov (Consultant) shared that this “case study” represented the actual process he and his fellow colleagues face to provide the best solution possible under a tight time schedule and with the information available.

The students experienced this challenge firsthand through the follow up questions posed by the consultants and other students to the presenting team; however the students appreciated the valuable learning experience and the feedback on what to emphasize on during the next time a case or actual client study is worked on. The official part of the 3 hour workshop was concluded by a general feedback from Ahrum Pak (Associate Consultant) and the aforementioned Solution Providers representatives. A casual commingling between the students and the Consultants followed, where business cards were swapped and future career plans were enhanced.

Please feel free to reach out to SIPA’s career office (OCS) or to me if you want to learn more about this case.

SIPA students and Solution Providers professionals after the presentations

SIPA students and Solution Providers professionals after the presentations

Posted by Andreas Maerki, MPA ’14, IFEP

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

Boiler Image