Sure, you can ask about what courses you’ll take in the MIM or read descriptions, but many students want some more detail about our courses. So this is the first in a long series of entries that will give additional perspective on the content. Fall term included accounting, marketing, international economics, corporate strategy and language. Today we’ll deal with accounting.
If your eyes roll into the back of your head when you think about accounting, relax. This is not your CPA’s accounting class. If you are into that, Portland State offers the MSFA. However, a basic understanding of accounting is required, and will be extremely helpful. If you took undergrad financial and managerial accounting classes, your set. Otherwise, you can take the classes at PSU the summer before fall term (which is a great way to meet your cohort-mates).
Armed with a basic understanding of the accounting equation (assets = liabilities + owner’s equity) you are ready to take on the accounting class. We spent the term walking through the various financial statements and analyzing the effects and implications of the information found in them. Dr. Almer’s goal is to help students be competent users of financial statements. We learned to drill down the information far beyond net income to find a more robust picture of a company’s health. As a class we focused on Starbucks Coffee. We pored over the 10-K (a form filed with the U.S. government). We compared fluctuations in inventory accounts, receivables and payables to understand improvements in inventory management (that sometimes are explained by something else altogether!). We combed through the extensive notes for explanations of long-term debt obligations. Annual reports are a treasure trove of information! Especially useful for a job interview!!
We had two exams that covered readings, lectures, and the Starbucks 10-K. In addition, we worked in groups of 5-6 to write a 20-page analysis of a company of our choice! I know that sounds intense, and it was the project I was most nervous about. But my team did a great job! Group work is a very important part of the MIM, and one of the most interesting! I’m sure you’ll get to read several posts about what it is like to work with a multi-national team.
Any questions? Next time: Marketing