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The Shadow Core

So I'm a second year. Hoo. Ray. I'm taking 4 classes, which is a lot less than 6, and that's good. Over the summer looking forward to my academics, I was excited to have a more reasonable schedule than my Spring last year, just cruise, maybe get a job or something, and run clubs. But I forgot about something in that process. I forgot about the shadow core (see below.)

The shadow core, a term coined by Brian Daniels that I heard a few weeks ago, consists of a series of electives that for one reason or another students feel that they should take. Like a, "I'm an MBA so I should probably understand ________" Usually an extension of a core class, and normally an experience that solidifies concepts we all loosely understand by the time finals roll around. But don't really understand completely. Case 1: Corporate Finance. So I'm in Corporate Finance. It's a ton of work. Those second years you see intensely doing it up in the breakout rooms on random Monday and Wednesday nights are probably up to that. totally completely awesome. And I mean, that's fine- I'm not sure how often on a day to day basis I'll be discounting cash flows, valuing projects, etc. But when it comes down to it, I am a Yale MBA. I should understand corp fin better than I did in SMF. An aside: it seems like a lot of the finance background types take this Spring of their first year. I'm one to game the field, and am happily making my non-profit background way up the valuation learning curve along with the 98% of the class without finance. Case 2: Competitive Strategy. I took this semester elective last Spring. Another basic class- sorta like competitor on steroids. But honestly, you wouldn't believe how often I thought about what I learned in that class when framing business problems over the summer and this fall. Plus I don't know how Professor Chevalier approaches it, but Professor Chaudhuri drew a lot of pictures that were very helpful. Particularly one involving signaling information and people standing in a line with hats on. I think it had to do with Capital One. Case 3: Financial Reporting. Accounting II. A stretch. You should take it. I think. I did. But some of us are still trying to figure out why. Case 4: Financial Statement Analysis. Haven't taken this one yet. Will take it. Got high reviews. Its important to have a compass to navigate the jargon of income statements, balance sheets, and cash flows. Crucial stuff. Shadow core. It exists. And everyone should recognize it, regardless of your subscription to the underlying logic.