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Reflections for the year end

"In the end, I am a teacher; that is really how I see myself." Jorge Paulo Lemann

When we think about teaching, instructional delivery is the defacto thing that comes to mind. This is probably the most familiar setting in which a professor or a lecturer pulls up a set of powerpoint slides and speaks to the class.


Giving a two-day lecture on financial modelling has always been an enjoyable session for me - the interaction, debates and sharing of anecdotes. One of the biggest highlights personally is to see someone complete his/her Excel financial model (plugging the ending cash from the cash flow statement into the balance sheet) for the very first time.


Doing up a financial model might be considered rudimentary for seasoned bankers but a ginormous task for someone who is either not trained in corporate finance or struggling to put together an investment thesis at the workplace.


But my teaching engagements go beyond the classroom.


At the work place, I am also the go-to person when it comes to troubleshooting excel files and powerpoint, explaining a financial model to an analyst or investor, or when someone needs a slightly older person to be present in the room or to do the presentation in English, etc. Aside from that, I've also been a listening ear to many of our colleagues at the office, from the senior and mid-level folks all the way to the rank and file. I've even been called to help in a situation whereby someone had called our front desk complaining about an imposter who offered him a job at our company.


 

In August, we closed a landmark financing transaction with a highly reputable investment firm.


The process was lengthy - mostly because we had very sucky lawyers - but also because it involved a deal structure that no one else had done before. Parts of the term sheet were tricky and the closing was even more convoluted.


One treasury analyst (协办) in my team had the 'privilege' of assisting me on the deal. Joke was that I had brought her aboard a pirate ship (带上贼船), unleashing an incredible amount of documentation in the process, spanning at least seven inter-connected agreements. The deal was eventually closed and some weeks later, she resigned for better opportunities and left this note:


Over that same period (with a separate team), I was also running multiple conversations on getting our first-ever "ESG financing" framework accredited by a international ratings agency.


Although we had paid a fee for doing so, the negotiation process was tough. The ratings team sitting in Europe didn't have a clue on the overly long payment cycles experienced by public hospitals in China, and how supply chain financing for pharmaceutical companies delivering medical consumables actually resolves this critical financing bottleneck.


When we finally obtained the official second party opinion (SPO), I counted over 100 threads i