Complexity and simplicity — all at the same time

Erin Aselas, TMMBA Student

Last Saturday was the first day of the second quarter. As usual we had two classes and I was struck by the polar opposite lessons I learned in each class.

In the first class, I was awed by how complicated global economics can be and how it really takes a formal education to start to even scratch the surface of understanding it. I kept thinking how my family loves to debate the economy and identify who’s to blame for today’s crisis, where it all began, etc. But now I know it is not that simple. In fact, I don’t even know why the lay person even tries to understand the economy — the cable news networks dumb it down so much that they just make you feel like you know what’s going on, but you really don’t. We talked about 57 (OK I’m probably exaggerating) different economic indicators and how they all tell a slightly different story. It was so complex and humbling.

My second class was corporate finance. Now here I had the opposite experience. I used to think that financial reports were so complex that you would need a ton of expertise to even begin to figure out what is going on with a company’s financial situation. However, I have learned that in the course of a quarter I can really start to take a look “under the hood” of a company and really “get” what is happening. It is all coming together and at times seems pretty simple. If you just learn the tools to analysis, you can apply it to most financial situations and glean valuable info. It’s pretty exciting that in three short months I am already experiencing “break-throughs.” Which I think is saying a lot considering my liberal arts background.