Posted on: March 28, 2016
At KIAMS we prepare our students to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving financial world – Professor Ashok Patil
The 20th century has witnessed several financial crashes – the Wall Street crash of 1929, the Oil crisis of 1973/4, Black Monday of 1987, the Asian Crisis of 1997, the Dotcom crash of 2001- all of which have not only shaped regulator and investor perspectives but also taught India several lessons. Lessons which become especially relevant in the way modules on finance are taught in institutions.
“The innovative mortgage-based securities pulled many investors into the American housing market, which then crashed, causing the Subprime crisis of 2008. Although the Indian economy did not feel the tremors of this crisis partly due to India’s limited exposure to the global financial market, nevertheless its stock market collapsed, trade deficit widened, exports declined, and currency depreciated. Seven years have gone by and economies are still struggling to recover from the shock,” explains Professor Ashok Patil.
Rigorous and extensive financial applications to real life situations have thus become essential to frame concepts in the real world. Professor Patil agrees, “The models that look very attractive and feasible in the classroom seem to fail in the real world; they lack in incorporating all the market behaviour. Therefore, economists are refocusing their attention from ‘macro-economic views’ to ‘finance views’.”
While it is true that the complexity of new and innovative financial products have made it extremely difficult for policy makers to understand unprecedented market behaviour, this has thrown many challenges at academicians and economists. “They now have to relook at their quiver of concepts,” says Professor Patil adding that at KIAMS “we have been preparing our students to face these challenges.”
The Institute’s courses thus cover predictive modelling, risk management and corporate valuation while exposing students to live markets through various projects. “However, our focus now is not on mere ‘model building’, we moved to ‘scenario building’ post the economic turmoil. This new approach of scenario building makes our students better equipped to meet the new challenges of our rapidly changing world,” says Professor Patil. The Institute also has plans to include ‘live projects’ in relevant fields as part of its academic offer in order to give students “a first-hand experience of an uncertain world. Therefore, case studies that have shaped academic understanding are regularly administered. These case studies help shape a student’s analytical thinking.”
The Institute conducts various academic games, role plays, group discussions, debates, virtual trading and quizzes during the delivery of the courses to enhance a student’s understanding of concepts. Students are also encouraged to participate in seminars, conferences and enroll in online courses. Many students undertake NCFM certification courses and Diplomas in Banking and Finance to improve their knowledge in the Financial Markets and Banking sector. “We also encourage students to write research papers with faculty members,” adds Professor Patil.
“Our finance faculty brings a very rich experience from the industry and the faculty members bring live case studies to the classroom from the financial world. Although the focus is on preparation of the concepts through these live case studies, faculty members also bring their individual experiences to the class,” explains Professor Patil. Many visiting faculty members come to KIAMS with a rich experience in specific finance sectors. This helps students to be able to relate the concepts taught in class to particular applications in industry.
The ‘open-door-policy’ followed by KIAMS means that students are free to walk in to faculty cabins whenever they are free – in fact interaction between faculty and students can happen anywhere on campus. “Faculty members are also available on the mail, WhatsApp, or other modes of social networking. Faculty members at KIAMS not only play the role of educators/facilitators, but also mentor students on various aspects of life. We also encourage our students to engage in discussion and debates, which are healthy practices of quick learning,” says the Professor.
Elective subjects offered by the Institute also help students in dealing with real life finance challenges. “We offer many courses, however the ones that come to mind are Security Analysis and Portfolio Management (SAPM), Corporate Valuation and Mergers and Acquisitions (CVMA), Derivatives Markets, Advanced Bank Management, Equity Research, Project Finance, Financial Modelling, Financial Econometrics, Money and Bond Market, etc. There are also some courses that revise the concepts that are relevant for any finance graduate such as Applied Accounting, Time Value of Money Applied, etc.” explains Professor Patil.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating and this shows in the Institute’s placement trend in finance functions. “Our students have been placed with companies like CRISIL, Oracle Financial, S&P Capital IQ, Deloitte, Citi Bank, HDFC AMC, Vernalis, Axis Bank, Tata Capital, ICICI Bank, ICICI Securities, SG Analytics, TATA AIG and IKYA. They have regularly recruited from our campus. The highest salary in a finance function so far this year has been Rs 6.03 lakh,” says the Professor.
With the trend being set and the desired job profiles improving every year, the Institute now looks forward to an increase in the number of companies offering their students placements as Financial Analysts in the future.