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What Next in Course & Beyond?

What Next in Course & Beyond?
I want to finish this module and this course by talking a little bit about, first, what next in the course and then what next. As far as the course is concerned, the assignment for this week is getting prepared for the final. I think I put a lot of value on assimilation, especially happening at then end of a course. Of course, as you go along you're doing the assignments and you're thinking through things, but it's good to sit back, take a break, review stuff, and then do the final. So that's the assignment. If you stayed up-to-date, there's no need to study.
I really mean that, and the reason for that is, I think, my goal or philosophy of teaching or learning is the following. I want you to know what you're expected to know. So I'm not going to give assignments and assessments that are so different from the final that the final is totally new, that's not my goal. Having said that, I do have an edge, right, even in this class where I've tried very hard to take on a lot more of the problem solving than I do for more advanced classes, I do not want you to not learn on your own. And the best learning happens on your own is when you struggle with the problems.
And the struggle is the right word. Because if you don't, you either knew it or there is something that you're just able to learn right away, right? In either case, it's not how learning happens, okay? So, if you have done all the assignments, figure out the mistakes you tend to make. And I can guarantee you that the mistakes you'll make will have a pattern. And the pattern is usually related to not understanding the basics and, therefore, this kind of finance builds on itself, as you know, time value of money, we've used repeatedly. So the terminology changes but the fundamentals don't, right? I tease many people it's all over c over r minus gm.
I have said this in this context too. If you have done all your assignments, figured out what mistakes you tend to make, no need to study for the final. Just relax, the way I think about finance is it's more like swimming, and biking than it is like say, accounting, sorry. I make fun of accounting, but not of my accounting friends. And the reason I say accounting is in accounting, thank God for Google, because you can then look up things very easily at short notice. The trouble with accounting, it's rule based. So it's like the language of business, you better what the words mean, what the grammar is, and so on and so forth.
The good news about finance it's like swimming, and what's peculiar about swimming is that once you learn it you don't have to memorize, it comes naturally to you. Or riding a bicycle, comes really naturally. So that was about what next in the course. Now lets talk about what's next after the course. My strong recommendation to you is, you won't be surprised by it, please do more finance. And I think finance, and I hope I've given you this flavor that finance is such a powerful way of thinking. As I said at the beginning of module six, and at the beginning of the course, and in the introduction, it's a way of thinking. One, it's a set of tools.
Two, you can use Excel to figure things out. You can make decisions at personal and entity levels. They all have the same fundamental thinking. And in this course, it was all about time value of money. Learn more ways of thinking is my next advice. So for example, I think you call them habits of mind or whatever. Finance and economics is a way of thinking about things. There are similar other ways of thinking. I love the liberal arts, philosophy, psychology, economics, actually, and finance started off, and still many people believe it is a way of thinking, is a philosophy.
So learn ways of thinking, because you can Google walk of life, but you cannot Google a way of thinking, at least not until now. And empower yourself. I think I'm a strong believer in education, and the reason I'm doing MOOCs is mostly driven by the fact that I know you can learn without help. And if I can be part of empowering you, that's wonderful. I will like to say a few words, which may seem like I'm being holier than thou. I hope I'm not. And if you don't want to hear it, just don't. I want to leave you with one thought. I think knowledge is one of the most powerful things a human can indulge in. Use knowledge for good.
And by that, let make it more specific. Finance can be used to maximize the value of companies to create products and services to make money, to understand how to make money. However, I think finance is much more powerful, and excessively important tool, and time value of money really, really could be used to improve lives, just not now, but in the future. So I have a broader perspective, and I would encourage you to think about things like happiness and justice, democracy and freedom, and how they're related to what we talked about. I love markets because they're all about freedom and they have more freedom or democratic-oriented then even working systems are.
The problem is, though, that there's a lot of inequality and poverty. So what do you want to do? You want to use these skills to alleviate poverty. I think one of the biggest things in life is that we are fortunate, even if you're listening to this. And I know I've been extremely fortunate in life. But even if you're listening to this, given the constraints of technology and all that. A lot of the world doesn't even have a chance of trying to learn from each other. And I think knowledge can be used by us to alleviate poverty. And my dream is that this course is available one day to anybody in the world, literally. Do think about affordable healthcare.
Healthcare is extremely important. You have to be healthy to think about good for yourself, and then for others. So healthcare is a huge issue emerging in America and rest of the world. As the population grows older, we live longer, we need more healthcare but we can't be spending so much money on healthcare that nothing's left for anything else. Affordable food and housing, so healthcare, food, housing are viewed in my book as minimums that we need to actually survive and feel good enough about ourselves. But the next thing I really like about life is education, because once you have taken care of your minimum needs, the best thing about human beings as we educate ourselves is our mind.
I think I sometimes look at my dog, Axel, who's just a wonderful, wonderful soul. I look at him and I want to be like him because he's always happy. He looks so wise. But the difference between me and him, as far as I can tell, is my mind comes in the way.
Right? Your mind is the most powerful source of human endeavor or possibilities and so on. But it also comes in the way of happiness many times. Why? Because we don't make educated decisions for ourselves. Finance should help you there, but also broadly, I think. Education should be affordable because it helps us understand others. Education is, in my book, the only way for inculcating empathy. When I say education I mean it very broadly there, right? I'm not talking spreadsheets and so on. So, affordable education access is so important. Fair and rational public policy. I think it's extremely important for us to come up with public policy for most global issues, and we are struggling as a world.
It is sad to see that finance is not used as a powerful tool for understanding the problems of the world. I offered a course in sustainability. It's related to very good public policy, because without public policy you can't sustain stuff. Sustainability is all about sustaining the collective for the future and finance is so powerful for that. I love it for that. Finally, and lastly, I strongly believe that the Earth is here, and is special, and gives us life. And I think long-term thinking, preserving the Earth should be one of the primary goals for humans. And I think it is for a lot of us.
We get caught up in today so much that we may be destroying the very basis of our existence. I strongly believe we are a very integrated part of whatever we see around us that lives. And we just happen to have a brain better than others. And if we use that for preserving our collective happiness, so be it. And I strongly believe finance has to be key to that understanding. May the force be with you. It's been a pleasure. I've enjoyed myself. It's been a very good experience. A unique experience all over again. I want to thank the team, the UFM team, and Alex is still with me right now. We have been busy recording a lot of the stuff.
I've been busy doing work with Chen Lee on getting assignments ready, and I really want to thank so many people for making this possible because this is just part of a journey. And it began with the Introduction to Finance MOOC and now I'm doing more specialization and finance for everyone. I hope you have enjoyed the journey and learned a ton. See you sometime.
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