August 27, 2007

Q & A with Larry Tan

Hilario "Larry" G. Tan is our well-respected teacher for the Language of Business (LOB) class in the MBA program. His expertise in accounting and finance is drawn from his experience in working with some of the biggest accounting and audit firms in the Philippines. He is also the Program Director of the Pre-MBA program.

His tips of "reading between the lies" of financial statements and making things "clear as mud" have undoubtedly made strong impressions with the members of the MBA class. He was very kind enough to answer a few questions on LOB-- how it was handled during his time and how to pass his class with flying colors:

The AIM Blogger (TAB): In your opinion, what has changed from the Language of Business (LOB) class you took in your MBA to the
class you are teaching now?
Larry Tan (LT): When I took my MBA, we had only three sessions in LOB, one was a video showing on basic accounting, and another two sessions of reading annual reports of different companies. Since I was supposed to be the accounting wizard of our batch, I took it upon myself to hold night classes for the entire batch so that everyone can have something to contribute during class discussions. I had to anticipate the possible questions that would be asked in class, and fed the batch with the answers.

We were fortunate that one of the annual reports that was taken up was an audit client of mine at SGV. So I knew the financial statements of the company inside out. After the three sessions in LOB, we went straight to Managerial Accounting & Control Systems (MACS) and Financial Management (FM) for the entire year. Our batch survived the rigor by holding night classes for the technical subjects such as Accounting, Finance & Quantitative Methods continued with the night lectures for MACS. If I was in a generous mood, we discussed the cases as a batch, otherwise, I limited my generosity to our can group.

Right now, the MBA class is a lot better off. The pre-MBA is almost required for everyone, free of charge, students have the chance to understand the concepts before these are applied to the cases, which is hard to do even for accountants.

TAB:
I'm sure teaching financial accounting to a class with little accounting background has its share of anecdotes. Any story you want to share?
LT:
Teaching accounting to non-accountants is really a challenge. I always emphasize to the students that accounting cannot be learned by simply listening to lectures or reading books, one must do the exercises and problems to see how the concepts are applied.

That is why, having a study guide to go with the book helps students to study and learn the entire book on their own at their own pace (within two weeks, of course).

TAB: What kind of mindset must a student in your LOB class have in order to succeed?
LT:
Accept the fact that accounting is difficult. It is a technical subject that requires a certain framework to understand and apply. Sometimes it is not logical-- It is like a wild animal that is hard to understand and tame but it can be conquered.

It requires a lot of time and effort to learn. But once you understand accounting, you will have less difficulty in conquering another difficult subject - FINANCE. If you are one of the few unfortunate souls who cannot understand accounting, then your problem will escalate to having difficulty learning finance as well.

1 comments:

PrashantBatra said...

As Prof Tan says
- " Piece of cake ? "

Hats off to the sense of humor he carries, he puts life in a subject like accounting !