Meri Paterson

The ideas business and other interests

19 September 2018
by Meri

You think you know what an Excel Table is, but you don’t

Have you ever used Excel Tables? ‘Of course I have’, you may think to yourself, but I’m here to prove you wrong. You probably believe an ‘Excel Table’ is, well, a table in Excel, like… a spreadsheet. But there’s a actually a specific tool in Excel called ‘Table’, and it is magnificently usable.

This is what an Excel Table looks like: Continue Reading →

Traffic in New York

6 August 2018
by Meri

The timeless wisdom of The Highway Code

I recently passed my driving theory test – woo! The required reading includes The Highway Code, which can be found here, and I found it so useful I now think everyone should read it, whether they are a motorist or not.

Knowing The Highway Code is obviously helpful for understanding the rules of the road, but if you look closely you can also spot bigger lessons… These are the ones that endeared me to this seminal manifesto of British public behaviour. Continue Reading →

Fintech advertising

17 December 2017
by Meri

What is fuelling the fintech boom?

I have a new job that’s all about fintech. You will probably know roughly what that is if you have been reading around finance, entrepreneurship, innovation and such lately. Or, frankly, if you’ve been awake in a place like London in the last few years. My definition is ‘disruptive, technology-based businesses in financial services’.

You are also likely to be a customer of at least one fintech company, as last year an estimated 2/3rds of all banking customers were using a fintech service. For me it’s ClearScore for checking my credit score for free and TransferWise for sending money cheaply to Finland (since I have you here, have a code for a free transfer).

In short, you can’t have avoided hearing about one of the most active areas of the startup scene in London and globally. You may be asking yourself, when will all this blow over? When will there be just Jack Daniels and dating ads on the Tube again? To answer that I have analysed the main drivers fuelling the revolution using a 2×2 matrix, below – I’m not an MBA for nothing, hey. On the vertical axis is the impact or the level of disruption caused by it, and the horizontal axis shows whether a driver is likely to become less important over time or is here to stay. Spoiler: fintech is not going away. Continue Reading →

17 August 2017
by Meri

Complete list of all stock exchanges

I’m working on a project on stock exchanges, and while trying to find out how many there were in the world, I discovered that it’s very difficult to find a complete list that is up to date. So I made one! (There are about 240.) I have made an effort to weed out dead ones, check for broken links, etc, but if you spot any mistakes or exchanges that are missing, please tell me in the comments or email me.

You can see the list here, or download an Excel version here. Continue Reading →

26 July 2017
by Meri

A fond farewell to the Efficient Market Hypothesis

When I started my MBA elective of Behavioural Finance recently, my husband told me to mentally prepare to let go the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH). I scoffed at this. I love EMH, and it was taught to me by my favourite professor who knows everything. Back off. But as the course progressed, I could feel certain foundational beliefs start crumbling… by the end I was beaten. Long live behavioural finance.

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Victoria Street

14 February 2017
by Meri

New thoughts on automation

For whatever reason, it’s quite rare to find a talk so interesting you’re on the edge of your seat for most it. This delightfully happened to me recently while listening to LEK Consulting‘s Andrew Allum talk about automation.

I find the topic of automation generally quite clear-cut: I think it’s a Good that will cause a fair amount of Bad in the short term. The bad consists of major restructuring in the job market and a lot of unemployment, which makes the fear and loathing around automation justifiable – too emotional and alarmist, but understandable. The good is in the long-term effect of greater productivity, lower prices and increased availability of valuable products and services for more people. Also, better jobs.

So against that backdrop of ‘This is a non-issue’, I was happy to find a lot of new food for thought in the talk. Mr Allum stressed that he was not a futurist and did not want to speculate much on what the effect of the changes we’re seeing now might be. I however am letting my mind wander, so have your grains of salt at the ready… Continue Reading →

23 September 2016
by Meri

Why I’m doing an MBA

It’s the end of my third week at Imperial College Business School, where I’m doing an MBA. I can tell it’s going to be a lot of work – in some ways more work than my job at Little, Brown was, because the student timetable eats into my Me-Time quite a lot. So it’s important to know why I’m doing it. I’ve already self-diagnosed as a Questioner (see this post about Gretchen Rubin’s expectations framework), which means that when it comes to expectations I set for myself or others set for me, I can do it all as long as it’s clear to me why I should. Let this post be a reminder to myself…
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Imperial College

21 September 2016
by Meri

How to get a decent GMAT score in 10 days

I’m a brand-new MBA student at Imperial College Business School. To get in, most MBA schools require a good score in a gruelling test called the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). I too had to take this test, which measures all kinds of critical reasoning as well as verbal and quantitative information processing skills.

My problem was that I was a late applicant in an admissions process which normally takes a year. I had only ten days in which to prepare for the GMAT, and I managed a score of 620. The difference between my first practice test and the final test was pretty stark:

Total score Quant score Verbal score Quant % Verbal %
Practice test (estimated ranges) 370–470 6–18 37–39 0–6 83–89
Final test 620 32 44 24 98

Contrary to most of the advice I read online, it turns out you don’t need a minimum of three months, a private tutor or to be a maths savant. Here’s what I would say about preparing for the GMAT at short notice.

Continue Reading →