Empowerment Day – Finance

By, Gloria Liu

It is Friday October 3rd and, Thunderbird Finance Association (TFA) has provided two sessions for those who are seeking a career in finance. The first one, is Introduction to Bloomberg, given by TFA members, and the second one is Financial Statement Analysis given by professor Rankine. I attended both of these sessions, and found them quite revealing, so here is my spill.


Bloomberg Introduction – getting serious about finance


During the first session, TFA gave us baby steps on how to use the Bloomberg Terminal. Since a good understanding of this powerful hardware is considered a must in the industry, I highly recommend all finance students to practice with the Terminal at IBIC. Below is a recap of the Q&A TFA had about the Terminal during the session for your better understanding of this system?


  • What is the Bloomberg Terminal?

The Bloomberg Terminal is a computer system that enables finance and other industry professionals to access the Bloomberg Professional service. Users can monitor and analyze new real-time financial market data and place trades on the electronic trading platform.


  • What can I do with the Bloomberg Terminal?

A lot. Whether you are doing a course project, conducting company research, seeking job opportunities, or networking with significant people, Bloomberg has a lot of reliable information and data for you. For example, if you are interested in Apple Inc., you can find its financial ratios, its sales information in various product lines (IPod, IPhone, IPad) and various countries and regions.


  • How do I gain access to the Bloomberg Terminal?

Fortunately for Thunderbird students, we can access this powerful tool via IBIC. The Bloomberg Terminal room is besides the Writing Center and you just need to sign up first.


  • How do I get familiar with the Bloomberg Terminal?

Well, practice makes perfection. A good start is to go through training videos on Bloomberg, which takes about two hours, and then test yourself by taking a mini online test, which takes about thirty minutes.


Financial Statement Analysis – in 10 minutes


During this session, professor Rankine talked about the strategy on how to read a financial statement in 10 minutes, using White Wave Foods Company (WWAV) as an example. His strategy takes 4 steps that he has discussed in his regular accounting classes.  Here they are:


  • Read about the company’s strategy.
  • Read income statement
  • Read balance sheet
  • Read cash flow statement


Beyond that, professor Rankine also gave some advice regarding job search and interview preparation.  These were his main points.


  • Blue ocean strategy. Prof. Rankine recommended several growing industries where more promotion and opportunities are possible: energy, cloud computing, and healthcare, among others.
  • Analyst report. For a finance guy, reading analyst report is necessary if you want to differentiate yourself in an interview. Yahoo! Finance is a good way to look for such information.
  • ‘Tell me something I don’t know’. This kind of interview question is tough but effective in differentiating candidates. Successful interviewees usually read through the company’s financial statement as well as those of their competitors’, and find problems that the company is facing, and gives solutions.


At the end of the day, I found finance full of exciting challenges.  This was a successful event.

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