I have four weeks. Four weeks until I start classes (Fixed Income and Derivatives II and Ethics II) back up at Creighton’s MSAPM program. From 20 October until 14 December, I will not have much of a life.

What should I do with these four weeks before October 20th?

It still feels a bit early to start studying intensely for the CFA Level II exam. I feel as though I should be making some productive use of this time though. Reviewing my goals, I see I have a few things other than the MSAPM program or the CFA exams to work on.

I signed up with Babbel.com for some “Deutsch lernen”. I plan on putting a few hours a week towards improving my German proficiency.

My main focus during these four weeks, will be on improving my MS Excel proficiency. In particular I want to work on matrix algebra and figure out how to more efficiently optimize portfolios. Currently my Excel formula for the risk of a seven-asset portfolio looks something like this:


Using matrix algebra my Excel formula for portfolio risk should look more like this though:


As you can see, the matrix algebra formula is much cleaner, shorter and less prone to error. The advantages are obvious. I haven’t been able to get the matrix algebra in Excel to quite work just yet, but I haven’t made a serious attempt at it either. Lucky for me there are geniuses already on YouTube who are shining a light on my path to understanding matrix algebra with Excel.

So, the plan for now is to work on Excel proficiency and when I need a break from Excel I will walk my dog or work on some Deutsch. Dog walking and German lessons would be an improvement over my usual time-wasting activities of watching squirrels on skateboards, witty political memes, ridiculous selfies, 2-legged dogs or whatever other drivel comes through on my Facebook feed.