I spent the better part of Saturday and Sunday compiling all the openly available finance, investment and management courses from Coursera, MIT (including their Sloan School of Management) and Philanthropy University.

You can access them all at http://www.investmentng.com/forum/9-online-courses/ 

You should check them out and register for the ones you find of interest. Again, you can access them all at http://www.investmentng.com/forum/9-online-courses/ 

Here are the lists of courses:

Gratitude to God for a class well done. 

Yesterday, we completed the first batch of our open Power BI training. It's now on to the next batch; no date fixed yet. Before now we conduct Power BI training on request. We have done for Promasidor Nigeria and Blue Chip Technologies. 

It was a very intensive Business Intelligence with Dashboards training. We built two different sets of BI dashboards -- one was easy and straight-forward helping the participants get an overview of all the Power BI functionalities and the other was very difficult taking up more than a day to complete as it exposes the participants to the deep end of everything.

We covered the following outline:
1.       Power BI’s strength and weakness compared to the other popular BI tools
2.       Important concepts of Power BI
3.       Connecting to any type of data source (from structured to unstructured which will require some transforming)
4.       Getting data from existing services, organizational content pack, flat files and live databases
5.       Data Transformation (very broad and requires some knowledge of data analysis) and we will use DAX formulas too
6.       Creating relationships between the datasets and leveraging hierarchy (a.k.a. data modelling)
7.       Creating Reports
8.       Visualizations and the science behind choosing the right visuals
9.       Importing custom visuals (especially word cloud for sentiment analysis and other very useful non-native visuals)
10.   Creating dashboards
11.   Publishing Reports from the Power BI Desktop and pinning to dashboards
12.   Scheduling refresh and setting up gateways
13.   Q & A Natural Language query
14.   Integrating with Cortana
15.   Live Dashboards
16.   Collaboration and sharing
17.   Printing the dashboard
18.   Analyzing the dashboard data (report) from Power BI service in Excel (new feature)
19.   Value Proposition to corporate customers
20.   Use case scenarios for entire company or business unit or departments
21.   Access from mobile app and setting data alerts (automated notifications when something of note happens)
22.   Lots of interaction (Q&A) and practice

If you are interested in the next batch, then reach  me (Michael) on 08089382423 and mike@urbizedge.com or Hannah on 08021180874 and hannah@urbizedge.com to register. There is a class size limit.

You can also sign up for our highly educative tutorial newsletters at http://blog.urbizedge.com/ and read/download our Data Analysis Industry Report for 2016 for your company use.

One significant task I do everyday is writing, writing my daily blog posts. It involves an unpredictable amount of work. There are days it's easy, lots of ideas of what to write about and plenty time to do the actual writing. But those days are fairly rare. Most days I am short of ideas or time, or both.

Most of the work is not in the physical act of typing out the article but in the mental work of figuring what to write and how to structure it. The most annoying part is that the mental work often swallow up hours of thinking and rethinking. In fact, it takes all the time to when it's near deadline for posting the article for the day. It taught me the power of deadlines. It is amazing how an impending deadline give one instant clarity. Now I just go on with my other tasks till it's almost deadline to posting the article and, thus, rely heavily on the deadline to work its magic.

Surprisingly, the days I write my best and lengthy non-tutorial posts are the days I am not feeling happy. I am most deep and emotional in my posts on those days. I just keep writing and don't feel like stopping as the words keep flowing. That day's writing is my therapy, helping me get back my balance.

The days I dread most are the ones where I don't have both any idea and time. Days I have training classes that require me leaving home super early and maybe I have to drive there. I usually try to write the posts for those days on the day before. And that is a sure source of headache and poor sleep. My brain won't settle for any post idea and it won't let me sleep or do anything else besides thinking in a circular fashion about what to write. I hate those moments. The only partial fix I found is to do a technical how-to post or an Excel tutorial. But creative writing is usually a walk through frustration aisle.

My best days are the ones after a big event. The ones the posts write themselves.

Tout à fait, daily writing for the past three years has not been an easy task. It's been worth it, though.
Last month I was hired to train about 100 XYZ (name obfuscation for my income safety) Bank staff in three streams of about 30 per stream. The first stream was on "Basic and Intermediate Excel" and the last two streams were on "Advanced Exc l and Introduction to Financial Modelling". I learned a I paid dearly for.

The first stream was beyond excellent: from their participation, practical questions to final feedback at the end. I was embarrassed by the praises they heaped on me and someone even said I was designed by God to teach Excel. I almost took as an insult but she was serious and nice about it. It was a superb beginning. The company I represented were very happy and I got paid super fast.

The second stream, for advanced Excel, was to be me at my best. I was going to daze and show them us fil advanced things they never knew are in Excel. I poured in my best. Stayed behind to even help those with personal Excel issues. I wowed them with many helpful little known features and formulas in Excel. Then I found out that many people were struggling with the advanced Excel and financial modeling. I was in a dilemma. Should I discard the outline and teach what everyone will understand or stick with the outline and try to carry everyone along patiently? There were some people who wanted the very outline promised and even more advanced things beyond the outline scope and they were making sure that I go as advanced as possible by asking questions and actively participating in the class. So at a point I had to do extra after hours session to satisfy everyone. In the end I got a mixed rating/review. The basic level students complained that the class was too fast paced (a neat way of saying too advanced for them, they obviously didn't read the outline well before choosing to the training) and the advanced level ones complained that we didn't cover deeply aspects like VBA programming. No one complemented or even considered the huge task and extra stress I took on to satisfy everyone. Result: rating was not as fantastic as the previous steam's and I was very sad as I spent a lot more energy and brain resources and time for them than the previous stream.

The third stream, also for advanced and financial modeling, I decided to not lose anyone. I was going to teach what everyone will understand and follow along even if it means dumbing down the outline. And it worked fantastically well. Rating went super high. The praises were flood-like. And I was able to redeem my reputation with my employers.

The lesson I learned: Everything is relative. Even advanced Excel. And wealth. And success. And education. And love.

Sorry for the delay in sending out today's post. I wanted to make sure the gist was perfect before sharing.

I have created an investment forum specifically for Nigerians to hold educative discussions, learn more about the investment world and share their personal experiences.

You should check it out and register at www.investmentng.com 

It is going to be a robust plaftorm with knowledge base that will serve like the wikipedia for investment in Nigeria. Also people will be able to hold intelligent discussions. Standards are high and it won't turn out like Nairaland where people ridicule others. 

I have started putting in the educative contents and you should register now to get the best out of it and more privileges than those who will join latter.

I have set it up on an expensive and industry leading platform -- Invision Power Services. It's literally costing me an arm and a leg monthly. So I am committed to making it work excellently and be value packed.

You can find me there and I hope to see you there too. Just register at www.investmentng.com 

In four (trading) days I've seen my Mobil Oil Nigeria shares rise from 188 naira per share to 241 naira per share. And it is because NIPCO is taking over Mobil Oil Nigeria. I've always read it in the books and seen it happen to other people's shares, but this time I'm part of those caught up in it. When a company is being acquired, its share price rise. Even the rumor of it being acquired raises the share price, like it did for Twitter shares some weeks back when it was rumored that Salesforce was considering buying Twitter.

The practical effect has been a handsome spike in my portfolio performance (gain).

This week I shuffled my US investment. The S&P 500 has been rising worryingly recently. I read through a thorough analysis of it's current state vs historical average and the conclusion is that a market correction is near. The P/E ratios are now sky high. The growth has been overexaggerating the economic and underlying asset performance. So I sold all my shares on the Vanguard S&P 500 index fund and in the SPDR Energy Select ETF. I am planning to wait out the bull period that I feel is ending. I have put the money in US Bonds, Emerging market bonds and Emerging markets shares.

I am now very frugal in my lifestyle. Investing as much as I can. For the Nigerian market, I am doing purely stocks and picking them myself. I have put an hold to adding money to my ARM Discovery mutual fund and I have taken out almost all the money in my ARM money market fund. All new addition goes into my stockbrokerage account and I now use Meristem (no longer ARM as I've been having issues with their trading platform, plus Meristem has phone app). One can't eat his cake and have it.
And it is.


I use over 200GB a month and download at speeds exceeding 20mbs all for a very affordable price of N10,000 per month. It beats and has benched my Smile Unlimited plan, Spectranet with their 100% bonus and even the speedy Swift. It is the best thing that has happened to my internet life this year. No more fear of spending up to N50,000 a month on internet because the monthly bundle plan with data cap finishes in one week.

With Ntel I stream without fear and set the quality to HD. I download without bothering about the size, in fact, I bother about my hard disk free space more than I bother about my internet data access. I upload my tutorial videos without fear. I run webinars with the best streaming quality my PC can handle and not handcuffed by the speed access/limit of my internet plan.

I watch Netflix, Hulu and Udemy videos without a single worry about my internet running out quick. I watch YouTube at HD quality. I update all my software without any worry. I update all my many phone apps as often as new updates come out. In fact, I have them set to auto-update.

Now you know what I mean by the best thing to happen to my internet world this year.
image: cfainstitute.org


Well in the investment banking and core investment finance world the most revered certification is the CFA certification. And today I have got good news for you, even if you are not interested in doing the CFA certification nor becoming an investment banker.

The CFA Institute Investment Foundations course, which was previously accessible only after paying $250 to register for the exam, is now freely available to everyone. And you should take advantage of it because the knowledge of finance is now a big plus in navigating our complex business and personal investment world.

You can access the course here: The CFA Institute Investment Foundations Course

The curriculum covers, with download link for the materials:

Module 1: Industry Overview
Chapter 1: The Investment Industry: A Top Down View

Module 2: Ethics and Regulation
Chapter 2: Ethics and Investment Professionalism
Chapter 3: Regulation

Module 3: Inputs and Tools
Chapter 4: Microeconomics
Chapter 5: Macroeconomics
Chapter 6: Economics of International Trade
Chapter 7: Financial Statements
Chapter 8: Quantitative Concepts

Module 4: Investment Instruments
Chapter 9: Debt Securities
Chapter 10: Equity Securities
Chapter 11: Derivatives
Chapter 12: Alternative Investments

Module 5: Industry Structure
Chapter 13: Structure of the Investment Industry
Chapter 14: Investment Vehicles
Chapter 15: The Functioning of Financial Markets

Module 6: Serving Client Needs
Chapter 16: Investors and Their Needs
Chapter 17: Investment Management

Module 7: Industry Controls
Chapter 18: Risk Management
Chapter 19: Performance Evaluation
Chapter 20: Investment Industry Documentation

Skill up!
image: Expatica.com

I started my French learning journey in 2009. I am currently at the upper end of the intermediate level. I can read and understand everyday french writings. I listen to a french radio (now, almost) daily and I understand a considerable amount of what is being said, plus the radio is Parisian radio with native french speakers. I can speak and write to get by but with lots of grammar and vocabulary errors. I also did and passed the DELF B1 French exam in 2011.

Here is a chronological list of all I did:
  1. 2009, September. I started my French learning journey after being inspired by a friend who was self-studying French.
  2. 2009. I bought French to English Dictionary. It was a small size pocket dictionary and I was reading it in a cover to cover fashion. I lost it that same 2009 (I think).
  3. 2010. I bought secondary school french learning books -- On y va. I also bought another dictionary, Geddes & Grosset French-English English-French Dictionary with over 30,000 headwords, vocabulary, phrases, irregular verbs, cultural + travel information and conjugation.
  4. 2010. I bought a more advanced french dictionary -- Larousse's French-English English-French Dictionary with over 50,000 vocabulary entries. I also bought the number one rated verb conjugation book -- Le Nouveau Bescherelle 1. L'Art De Conjuger Dictionnaire De 12000 Verbs.
  5. 2010. I hired myself a french teacher. Was having a two hour class twice a week. We used the secondary school books I bought for curriculum, majorly. I think this lasted 4 months.
  6. 2011. I enrolled at Alliance Francaise, Ikeja. Did two months. I did and passed the DELF B1 exam with 75.4% score. Then work transferred me to Abuja, so I continued in Abuja but at Centre Culturel Francais. Did one month there before work transferred me to Port Harcourt/Delta/Benue.
  7. 2011. I lost the job that was transferring me around. I then went to Cotonou, Republique du Benin. Did one month immersion, enrolled in a college that gave me a personal teacher to take me for that one month. I also had friends who tried to help me. I was forced to speak all the french in my head and learn how to listen + comprehend. I got another job and had to come back to Lagos after one month. 
  8. 2012. I started using more of online learning materials. I bought all the Harry Porter series in french and a couple other french novels. Read very few of them. And maybe only one or two completely.
  9. 2013. I started losing interest as I wasn't happy with my progress.
  10. 2014. I bought Rosetta Stone, one of the most highly rated and most expensive french learning software that uses an immersion approach. It takes about two years of consistent weekly learning to complete it. That discouraged me. I tried but couldn't keep with the weekly schedule that is recommended. I also bought french movies.
  11. 2015. I started considering giving up. 6 years and nothing significant to show for all the efforts and expenses. I shifted strategy and hired an online native french teacher but it was too much stress/work for me. I quit class in the second month and even forfeited my unused money/payment.
  12. 2016. I gave up. Then suddenly in September I restarted and surprisingly I started noticing remarkable progress. I listen more to radio and read French-English novels.
My recommendation is that you'll have to try everything and not give up as you won't know what will work for you and when you will start seeing significant progress.

Bonne chance!
image: SHuSHI168.com
Everyday I think about the future. My future. Nigeria's future. The future of business. The direction the world is heading. And my place in it all.

I try to link it all together.

And like in all mathematical theories, you start from the sure foundations (uncontested theories) and build everything else on them. For me that sure foundation is what I call the inevitable future. I try to figure out the things that are sure to happen. In as many aspects of life and business as I can decipher. I read a lot and wide to help me spot those sure things. Some people travel a lot and interact with diverse set of people to figure that out. I like the low cost option of reading deep and wide. After I have figured out those sure things -- like relevance in the world is becoming knowledge based than physical assets based; current recession in Nigeria is an opportunity to reach a market segment that previously used to be out of reach; people pick the best of available options and not the perfect/ideal option they describe as what they want; mixing hardwork with smart intelligence pays handsomely; and being in the right place/environment/league matters more than any personal qualities. I begin to carve out where I want to fit in and ride favourably the ocean of life and business.

From my judgement, the inevitable future (for me, the country and the world) is:

  1. (me) buying low and selling high is the core of business and investment. Now is the time for me to swallow any ego, pride and jealousy, delay every non-core gratification, and invest. Buy stocks cheap. Buy knowledge with the currency of time that I relatively have in abundantce for now. Be dogged. Be focused. Ignore toes and interests (not bothered if I match any toes or mine are matched). Make all my mistakes early in life. Grow a tough skin by throwing myself to the wild shark-filled real life and business world. Buy now (skills, investments, knowledge, thick skin and sharp brain) and sell the products I make and become from them in the future.
  2. (Nigeria) there are numerous opportunities for the very intelligent, risk-taking and extremely hardworking in this country. There are just too many things waiting to be done -- from new products that already exist in other countries to better ways of doing things. The country will grow by all important metrics (GDP, population, wealth per person, literacy, etc.) and I am better off staying here and focusing on building those innovative products and solutions.
  3. (the world) knowledge is power. Intangible now rules tangible. Value over process. Disintermedation. Increased efficiency in everything. No more boundaries. Huge rewards for the bold and intelligently daring.
I see my goal as a journey. I can't control my progress but I can ensure commit myself to sticking to the right path and putting in my best. And that is what I (hope I) am doing.
BTW, happy birthday day to me! Yes, I'm a November 26 boy. In fact, born on a Saturday.😎