Name of the University: University of Wisconsin-Madison Names of the students: Jing Jin Exchange semester: Fall Academic:

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1 Name of the University: University of Wisconsin-Madison Names of the students: Jing Jin Exchange semester: Fall 2008 Academic: General Information about the School The University of Wisconsin-Madison ( UW) is one of the largest universities in the country, it is also among the most prestigious. UW is one of the leading public universities on research and development expenditures. It is home to students who come from 50 U.S states and 134 countries. UW is a comprehensive university encompassing both undergraduate and graduate programs. It is subdivided into 9 undergraduate schools and colleges. The university itself is a city with its own police force, food service, maintenance staff and hospital. The university owns acres of land and some 850 buildings including farms, dormitories, the Arboretum and the Center for Health Sciences. The Wisconsin School of Business is recognized internationally for top-quality business education at all levels -- undergraduate, masters, doctoral and executive education. It is consistently ranked among the top one percent of all undergraduate programs and top five percent of all graduate business programs in the nation. The Teaching situation All the courses here are taught in English in business school. The teaching style is different from BI in that you will be busy starting from the beginning to the end. It is normal if there are more than 5 assignments for one course one semester. The workload is heavy! The teachings are both practical and theoretical. Most of graduate courses in business school require background knowledge of mathematics and programming. In many situations, you need to know how to access software like Bloomberg to retrieve data and do analysis. In quantitative master s courses, which I took here, there are not many group discussions. Mostly, you have to work out your own homework and projects. Faculty staff is very nice and is ready to help you at any office hour. Thus, do ask if you have question or you need help. They are helpful! Professors at UW encourage students to contact them outside of the classroom. The professors will list the ways to get in touch with them on the syllabus. Classmates are out going and willing to help international students. It is better to study with them if you are not familiar with the teaching style here. They are pleased to share with you their study methods and teach you how to use the online resource. Those resources have helped me to understand the course better.

2 Required Literature In the United States, of course the literature is in English. Language is not a problem for exchange students. Professors here sometimes will require more than one book to read. The teaching materials are combinations from different books. Lecture notes in class are an important guideline for students and what s on the notes are also key points to understand the course. There is possibility that the professor will ask you to read lots of published papers in order to catch up with real life. Those papers may be hard to understand as they are from different countries and many terminologies are used. Exams Many quantitative programs courses have both midterms and finals. They are usually paper based. However, there are some courses that do not require exams but instead a big project. The projects are programming based on combined in-class knowledge. You have to apply what you learned to the real life problems. You need to be very familiar with the study materials as there are usually lots of problems in the exam. You have to respond quickly in order to finish all of the questions in time. Other UW supports easy access to a wealth of information in one of the nation s largest library systems. In a matter of seconds, users can navigate the collections housed in more than 40 campus libraries to find a book or journal article. The website provides a gateway to catalogs and archives worldwide. In addition, students can or use instant messaging to ask reference questions through campus library links. You can find most of books you need for your area, at least I think so. If you don t know how to use the search engine, do ask the staff working in the library. They are always prepared to help you. Graduate students including exchange students have access to computer lab where you can find most of the analytical software used in business, such as SPSS, EVIEWS and Matlab, etc. Description of Courses I have taken 4 courses this semester and I will list them in the following table with simple descriptions. Course Prerequisites Exam form Descriptions My comments FINC 830 Basic 6 The main task is to If you are not

3 Advanced Derivative FINC 740 Fixed Income and Security REAL 799 Real Estate Finance derivative knowledge theory of finance, and a thorough understanding of the mathematical skills Fixed income analysis is generally mathemati cal in nature, so students are advised that the class will have a lot of quantitativ e material. To work in real estate today, you must be proficient in Excel. Basic understand homework assignments (including programmin g), 1 midterm and 1 final 3-4 homework assignments (Including arbitrage analysis in real life, computer based), 1 midterm and 1 final 5 homework assignments (including 3 computer based), 2 midterms and 1 final develop and implement the tools needed to value complex derivative securities. Due to the complex nature of the material, this course will entail (near) equal parts of finance, mathematics, and computer programming. This course is fully devoted to analysis of fixed income, bond markets. The objective of the class is to introduce tools for evaluating bonds and making decisions about trading and hedging portfolios of fixed income securities. The main focus is on government bonds and derivative securities associated with them. The main topic is to help generate an adequate understanding of real estate finance as it is practiced today; to help learn how to conceptualize issues to prepare you for the unforeseen challenges of good at mathematics and programming, don t take this course as you will see lots of partial difference equations throughout the course. I was struggling on the course for a long time even though Chinese are regarded to have strong mathematical skill. However you will learn a lot for sure from the course. It is a useful course that you will know how to retrieve data from Bloomberg. The course is more practical and you have to keep yourself updated with the on the run bonds and recent financial news. It is useful to understand more about the financial crisis caused by sub-prime. The course will also help you find a job in the real estate area as Argus is

4 ing of finance and real estate. tomorrow; to make sure an appropriate computer skill. Argus will be taught in this course. required in real estate analysis. The study load is heavy; you have to contribute a lot of your entertainment time to achieve academic success. ECON 715 Econometr ic Method ECON 709 and ECON paper projects. Not easy to finish! It talks about Generalized Method of Moments, Quantile Regression, Simulation Estimation and Bootstrapping. It is a practical course to better use of econometric methods in the regression analysis. This is a PHD advanced course. It requires an advanced understanding of mathematics. It is really difficult and needs good use of Matlab or C++. Don t challenge yourself if you have no idea of programming and econometrics. 2. PRACTICAL INFORMATION ON THE SCHOOL AND THE EXCHANGE EXPERIENCE Information before you left I received all the information including sponsorship for visa around April. Everything went well as expected. Visa Procedure and travel experiences It is easy to get a visa if you have prepared all the documents listed on the Embassy website. The visa costs around 250 USD in total. It is better to order a ticket at an early stage in order to get the student discount. Academic Calendar I arrived a week before the orientation to settle down. The orientation is useful. Do make sure you attend them because you will get information regarding your study and life when you live in USA including visa and health insurance. The first class starts on

5 September 2 nd and ends on December 12 th. Final exam starts on 14 th Dec. Usually there is 1 week for all the exams. The schedule it tight! You need to arrange your time ahead. Reception The business school give us a tour in the Business building and an introduction to the life in UW. They also arranged for us to attend a campus football game which is very popular in American culture. I believe all the exchange students love it. It is impressive. You will experience USA sports culture. There are usually volunteers to be your buddy in UW. They can pick you up at the airport and provide you tips of living in UW. Housing My buddy helped me find an apartment in the downtown, very close to business school. Usually the international office will give you list of good places to rent. However, if you have a buddy, do ask him/her since him/her can visit the place in person and check out everything for you. Costs The housing is around 580 USD per month including electricity and internet. Living here is much cheaper compared to Oslo. However, the supermarkets are usually located very far away from where you live, but it s a good thing is they are open on Sundays. Don t worry to about starving on Sunday. Books are expensive anywhere in the world. However, you can buy the second hand books and sell them back after the end of the semester. There is market for such kind of transactions. The International Office The business school has an international office and Judy is my coordinator. She is very nice and helpful. The staff there helped me in many aspects: enrolling in courses, colorful exchange life, and getting official documents for your living in USA. Judy always sends us s to tell us the incoming events in Madison and help us know more about the culture. Social Activities Most exchange students live in the same building with me. We had floor parties nearly every week. It is a good chance to get to know them and share cultures. Classmates are nice as I said in the beginning. There are different student organizations caring about

6 international students. Madison is a party city. You will not be bored as there are always events on State Street. Culture and Language Everyone speaks English here. Thus there is no problem for communicating. I am glad to be in Madison to witness the election of the President of the United States. Wisconsin is a democratic city; everyone supports Obama and you can see his name everywhere. US citizens fully utilize their right to vote for their ideal president. For fall semester, I also got the chance to experience Halloween and Thanksgiving. They are very good chances to know USA culture and I had a great time here. Cultural and Social Effects from the Exchange Experience I am very glad to exchange in the USA and know many friends here from all over the world. It is also nice to see a North American culture which is different from Europe. People here are out going and free style. The experience definitely broadens my knowledge and widens my ways of thinking. I gained a lot from this exchange. More importantly, I am sure this experience will help me be qualified to many international background companies. With the emergence of global markets, companies are fond of candidates with international backgrounds. It provides me a higher chance to obtain an interview. Other experience: Madison is a really nice place except its coldness in winter. I can say it is much colder than in Oslo. However, if you are ok with it, I strongly recommend UW to you. Please feel free to contact me if you want to know more about UW. Name: Jing Jin

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