Financial Accounting

Jun 2020

First day of class: "You are taking this class to learn, not to get an A. 30% of you will get a C or lower." I freak out. I consider dropping. I stick it out. He is a fantastic lecturer. Extremely clear. PP are very helpful. He tells you that you need to have done the reading and prepare for class because he's gonna cold call you, but realistically, it's a class of 50 students so you'll be fine. Weekly psets: They will take 3-4 hours, you can do them w a buddy, and they are graded for completion. Midterm: Very similar to practice test he gives (and reviews in class). If you know your stuff an A is attainable Final: Harder. But if you study, it is manageable (and he gives you an option to give more weight to the test that you did better on). All in all: If you want to learn Financial Accounting, there is no better teacher.

Aug 2018

Ming explains concepts very clearly. He uses slides (which he posts) and walks through examples with the class. He provides practice problems from a textbook for each chapter, and these are very helpful (read: necessary) in preparing for quizzes, although you do no have to turn them in. The quizzes and midterm were relatively easy, and averages tended to be in the 90s. However, he follows a strict grading curve (30-35% As, 35-45% Bs, 25-35% Cs), and the final exam was very hard in order to create greater distribution in the scores, so know everything for the final. Ming provides practice exams for the midterm and final which he goes over in class. Group projects are pretty light and useful for preparing for exams (most people received full credit). Overall, the course is well structured and Ming is a good teacher. However, he himself is very clear that in order to successfully learn accounting, you have to commit time to thoroughly completing the work and using all the resources he provides.

Dec 2016

Julian Yeo is one of the best teacher's I've had at Columbia. He makes learning accounting actually very enjoyable. He is very clear when teaching and his handouts are helpful in understanding the material of the course. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in business who wants to learn accounting principles. I have nothing bad to say about Julian which is surprising considering there's usually always something wrong with either the class or the professor.

Apr 2012

I'm not sure if Manuel is an incredibly gifted instructor, or if Financial Accounting is the sort of class that could really be taught in a single month and happens to be stretched into an entire semester-long course. (Probably a bit of both.) He presents the material very clearly, sometimes to the point of making things almost painfully slow. That said, while Financial Accounting is the sort of class that can be incredibly dry, he does a good job of making it engaging, despite the slow pace. At times, he would print out news articles or mention current companies in the news, just to make the material a bit less dry and abstract. Since a number of people are taking this class as a requirement, you get enough people to round out the bottom of the grading curve. If you're reasonably prepared for this class (remember your basic math - middle school level multiplication and percents), you should find this class to be very light. Do yourself a favor and go to class, and you won't have to do much studying for the exams. Also, ask him about his days as a spy in the Israeli army. He's up-front about this (mentioned it on the first day of class). He has some good stories to tell. In short, Financial Accounting will never be the most exciting class you take, but if you really want to learn the material (or need to take it for a requirement), I can't imagine a better choice of professor.

Dec 2010

Andrew Schmidt is one of the best Professors I've had (if not the best), and Financial Accounting is by far the best organized class I've taken. If you're at all interested in economics, finance, business, or investments (or anything along those lines), do yourself a favor and take this class. Below are some highlights: First, you don't need to buy an expensive textbook. All of the material is organized in extremely helpful handouts and posted to Courseworks long before it's reviewed in class so you can set your own pace if you want. Problem sets are the end of each handout, and there are 10 of them. The course packet, also posted at the beginning of the semester, contains sample midterm and final exams, so you can tell very early what the load is going to be like, identify weak areas, and generally plan ahead. This is amazingly valuable. Second, Andrew is highly devoted to helping you succeed. If you email him, expect a fast reply. If you ask a question (either in or after class), expect a definite answer. Before the midterm, he actually did a "no time limit" review session (that is, he stayed until there no more questions) but he also taped it and posted a link to the video, and the slides, on the CBS website for anyone to access it again in case it's needed (or those who couldn't attend). Third, this class deals with stuff from the real world. You look at financial statements of real companies, examine real situations that happened, and comment on actual data. There are no "theories" or "assumptions" and it's all useful because you learn about a variety of companies that you might not have known before. In addition, Andrew spices things up by sometimes presenting findings from his past/current research, which is very interesting (especially if you're into company evaluation). I recommend looking at his research and working papers. Fourth, the class is fun to be in. It's hard to believe that an accounting class can be fun, but Andrew makes it so: he's very funny, got a lot of experience and stories to share from his past, and I've never found myself bored -- unlike literally every economics class I've taken. At the beginning of the semester we put signs with our names, and he quickly engaged the class and got it involved. No awkward silences or unanswered questions when Andy shouts your name and asks a question, keeping the class always moving forward, never halting. He methodically goes over the topics, adjusts to time constraints and never goes beyond the allocated time, and helps bring the important points home. Finally, I should say that personally, I was amazed at how different this class was from everything else I've experienced at Columbia. I don't know if it's specifically Andrew or the general level at the business school, but taking it made me want to find out. I can't stress enough how useful this class has been and how valuable it was to me... Again, if you're looking to work in anything related to business, money, finance, investments, or whatnot, I'd say that no matter what your major is, consider this class to be in your own personal mandatory core. You won't regret it.