Spent the week at the AMA class on Finance in San Francisco and learned a ton. I have to say that after a whole lot of school in my past that I am not a big fan of classes, but that really isn't it. I am not a big fan of tests, as I generally do quite horribly on them. Learning is a whole different thing than tests (for me at least, my wife just calls this an excuse) so class was fun.
What it points to is there is a whole lot out there. I have to interface with finance, marketing, R+D, and the PR people. It is absolutly critical, I am finding, to be able to speak enough of their language to be understood.
At my last job, I worked very closely with the development team and found that my software writing days in my Ph.D. served me really well. I couldn't write code at their level, but I was able to understand the problems they had and understand how to talk to them.
Every little group has it's own language, and knowing that language enables you to speak to them AND be understood quickly. It is easy to speak AT them, but speaking TO them is the critical differece.
SO - last week I spent 10 hours a day learning to speak finance. I will, in all likelyhood, never use 90% or more of what I was taught. But now when people talk about WACC and NOPAT I know what they are talking about.
NPV I totally got, but now I know why we we set our discount rate where we did, and I even did the exercise to derive it again. All in all a good week.