Meet our Academic Hero – Alejandro, who scored 1.0 in his thesis!
“Capital Structure of Capital-Intensive Mexican, German and U.S. firms: A Comparative Study”. Alejandro Huitron Esperanza
1. Whilst writing your thesis – did you ever think about stopping your thesis, running away, changing your name and never ever looking back again? If so, how many times?
Well, there were a couple of times in which I just wanted to quit and start a whole new thing. Something completely different from academic topics and finance. But in the end I believe that when something challenges you to the point where this kind of ideas cross your mind, then it means you are growing and the only way must be forward.
2. Did you dream about your thesis topic? If not, did you ever daydream about writing a thesis with perfect marks?
I did have a couple of nights where in my dreams I was still thinking about my thesis topic. To be honest I never daydreamed of getting perfect marks but I really tried to do my best and to listen very carefully to the feedback provided by my awesome thesis supervisor Dr. Klaeffling.
3. If so, ever have a nightmare? computer would burn, back-up was lost… If not, anything else you were repeatedly dreaming about during the time of writing your thesis?
To avoid any issues I was saving my files after every change almost and was constantly backing up my files via email (perhaps not the smartest way but it worked).
4. Did you discuss the topic a lot with your partner? If so, does she still speak with you?
I did! And she still talks to me. But to be honest I didn’t speak that much about it with her as any time away from writing my thesis was precious and I tried hard to disconnect and relax.
5. What was the most exciting part about writing your thesis?
The most exciting part was learning how to calculate all the metrics used in my thesis. Financial metrics such as the cost of debt and equity, the Beta of a stock, creating a financial model to assign a default spread to any company based on their financial leverage, etc. All these things are most of the time already calculated in websites like Yahoo Finance and Reuters, but doing the work is very humbling and gratifying.
6. What was the most boring part of your thesis?
I would say it was writing the theoretical background as it required lots and lots of hours of reading through books (printed and online via the Munich public library and the portals provided by the university).
7. Now that you have received 100 from 100 points – anything you want to change about your thesis? (Would you give it 100 points)
I don’t think I would change a thing at this stage as the whole experience provided me with very valuable knowledge and practical skills. Perhaps the only modification would be to better manage my time as I was under a lot of pressure towards the end with both work and finishing my thesis. I don’t know if I would give it a 100 points since I always feel there is room for improvement XD.
8. Although the business world is keen on recruiting you (Airbus, Amazon, Infineon, etc…) ever think about pursuing an academic career?
At some stage I did think of continuing with a PhD, but at the end this is a business school and if there is something this university does very well is planting the seed of the desire of managing or owning a business…
9. You managed to achieve this incredible academic achievement during the most dramatic crisis of our times – what advice would you give to students when writing their thesis based on your experience?
It is one that might not be very popular. I have come to believe that most things in life that have some value are not easy. In fact, I believe that all of us should adopt a mindset where we should pursue hard things; things that are uncomfortable and that challenge us. It is very hard to achieve this mindset and I still struggle a lot with it. Things like “next-day delivery” and one-click purchases are making us escape situations that require even very little effort. Writing any thesis, bachelor or master’s, not to mention PhD, is no easy task, but something that motivated me a lot was thinking that a thesis is in essence a book and it will last forever, somewhere. Might sound a little poetic but it may be something that is preserved for many years to come, even after were are not here. It also may be read by younger people that will come after us and they might thing that it was a good work or find some inspiration and motivation when writing their own.
10. Having moved back to Mexico – what do you miss the most about Munich?
I miss a lot the open spaces where to have a walk. My main relaxing activity when I was writing my thesis was taking long walks around my neighborhood. Watching the beautiful buildings, houses and parks in Munich is to me a very relaxing experience. It is a city with a specific charm and now that I am not there I seriously miss it.