The legendary FORAD defenses held last week was the long awaited grand finale for each of the 6 teams of Multinational Corporate Finance from Professor Michael H. Moffett’s class. Yes, final exams are not over yet but with no doubt, the relief experienced after the end of defense was unfathomable!
So what is the big deal about FORAD defenses? The term sounds pretty intimidating…..given a free shot at guessing what it is, one will not rule out “confidential military” or “sophisticated legal” appearing in a long explanation of what it is. But then again we are in an international business school. So that can’t be it. Not to mention we have teams making a point to show their humorous sides by naming their teams Indopeans, 4RADMOFOS, The Nice guys, Urcaguary (a tough one to say) and a couple of others the memory fails to hold on to for too long.
Each team in the Multinational Corporate Finance class is required to make critical business decisions in a finance simulation game to run a multinational company for seven periods. During these periods, the market takes some serious jumps sending prices, exchange rates and oil prices tumbling and as a result students mumbling during their hours long meetings trying to figure out what to do next. The debates, questions, logic, sensitivity analysis, financial concepts and perhaps even some very skilled market guesses linger on students’ minds hours after group meetings are over. Occasionally, when in desperate situations, trying to predict Professor Moffett’s thought process was not out of boundaries for FORAD students. Ritually, teams march over to the pub on Tuesday evenings to find out the fate of their teams as a result of the previous period decisions. With the help of flash lights from mobiles, students squint their eyes and scrunch their foreheads to make sense of the numbers on the sheets of paper pinned against the wall to comprehend how they performed. Some leave the pub with a smile showcasing “one week of fame” while others can’t help but feel disappointed in seeing a miserable share price, especially if it starts becoming a routine!
Finally, after all the sweat and anxiety riding the FORAD roller coaster during the trimester, all teams get suited up to face a panel of judges for over an hour of slicing and dicing the tiniest detail of their decisions. The drilling is rather intense and leaves no room for answers not supported by fundamental knowledge and delivered using impeccable communication skills. The panel this trimester was represented by our accounting super stars; Professor Dale L. Davison (Dean of Faculty & Professor of Accounting) and Professor Janet Samuels (Assistant Professor of Accounting), Thunderbird alumni; Veselina Dinova, CFA and Thunderbird MBA graduate 2005, and off course, the finance expert with unlimited exciting stories and one who takes great pride in continuously improving the FORAD experience for Thunderbird students, Professor Michael H. Moffett . Rumors were that Professor Frank Tuzzolino made a guest appearance on the last defense held on Thursday night.
No pain, no gain. Greater value rewards for the price of hard and even painful work. As a finance students, many of us FORAD-ers can confidently say that it has been one of if not the best learning experiences in the course of our MBA. It will definitely be a memorable Thunderbird experience I will take with me along with the strong bond I have built with my team. I reflect upon the previous weeks and realize that I did not only understand multinational corporate finance better, but I also learned how to teach myself better.
And if any of you are curious as to what FORAD really means…..remember to stop by Professor Moffett’s office to get the full story or even better ask him when you take his class in Spring.