Friday, May 26, 2006

Great advice from an econ teacher

I had to put in text book orders for the fall semester today. I always feel bad because books are so expensive, but I feel even worse that they are not used. Thus, when I stumbled upon the following from John Whitehead's site I felt obliged to mention it. Short version: text books are to be read!

"Student (sincerely): What can I do to get a better grade on the next exam?
Well, how did you study for the first exam?
I went over the notes and thought that I understood them.
Did you read the textbook?
Professor (shouting):
Read the #@$%& textbook!
Student (giving me the look like I'm crazy):
I tried to read it but I didn't understand it.
Professor (calmly now, regaining his/her composure):
Right on, that's why it's called "study."
Student (excitedly): Oh. I get it! I can't wait to get started!

An econ class blog

You have to check this one out! I just got reading it for 20 minutes....very interesting!

"Welcome to Aplia's economic news blog, a place to explore current events that relate to your econ classes"
Thanks to FinancialRounds (the Unknown Professor) for pointing it out!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The importance of internships

Free Money Finance has a nice look at the importance of internships.
One brief look-in:
"While a student, you'll learn all the theories and study great people in your field. It's all great and wonderful to do nothing but dream and do mock projects. An internship in the 'real world' will allow you to put the theories to the test and to do real work. Also, you'll learn about office politics, how people make money in your profession and hopefully pick up a mentor. Things that the university can't/won't teach you."
So get out there and get one! ;) Seriously, I have seen many students turn around their college career for the better on the strength of a single intership. I can not stress enough their importance.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Competition AND cooperation

Sure there are teams that do not work out and the classroom is somewhat competitive (although personally I think I would like to see a bit more, not less competition ;) ). That said, it is always popular to stereotype MBAs as ultra-competitive, win at no cost people. I hear this argument regularly, but personally have never seen it. Either as a student (I got my MBA from the Simon School at Univ of Rochester) or teaching at St. Bonaventure or tutoring while getting my PHD at PSU. In all three cases I found MANY more cases of cooperation than competition.

From BusinessWeek (Kerry Patterson):
"All MBA classrooms are built as coliseums. They follow case methods almost universally across the country. Students come to class, where they get cold-called, and they're graded as much as half by how they respond. Teams of students meet -- and I've watched them for over 30 years now -- and they're brutal to each other. The professor plays the role of referee. "
After blaming professors and adminstrators, the article gets around to a very useful perscription:
" Become a student of human interaction. In the classroom, students should be paying attention to interactions that do two things -- get the problem solved or make the point in the classroom in a way that doesn't cause harm in a relationship. "

When people are in their working world and attending meetings, most people don't know that there are two things happening -- the argument itself and the process of how that argument's unfolding. The capacity to constantly be observing the argument at hand as well as the process people are using to make their points makes you doubly empowered. "
Which is a case of agreeing with the prescription but not the diagnosis!

Monday, May 22, 2006

An interesting piece from Harvard's Working Knowledge:

"The actual statistical calculations represent only 5 percent of the manager's work," says Frances Frei, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School who teaches two-day statistics seminars to corporate managers. "The other 95 percent should be spent determining the right calculations and interpreting the results."

Here are some guidelines for using statistics effectively:

Friday, May 19, 2006

College Central for jobs

You may have seen this, I had not. It should be much easier to search for jobs etc. College Central is a job site (career center) for small and medium sized colleges. SBU has joined. You should look it over.

Welcome to the CCN Services for St. Bonaventure University

These services are available to students, alumni and employers.

Approved employers may post jobs and search résumés.

Available services, help guides and announcements of interest can be accessed through the icons below. All services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

KKR goes public

PRIVATE equity became a little less private yesterday.

A unit of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, the private equity giant that came to fame with the $25 billion buyout of RJR Nabisco in 1989, went public in a $5 billion offering in Amsterdam.

Demand for the fund unit was high: the offering raised more than three times what was expected. Nonetheless, its first-day performance was lackluster. Shares of the fund, KKR Private Equity Investors, closed down 1.68 percent on Euronext, the pan-European exchange, at $24.58. About 25 million shares traded hands, an eighth of the total listing

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

On social security

Given we just talked about it (in Fin 422):

Despite Warnings, Reid Hails 'Sound' Social Security System -- 05/02/2006: "Labor Secretary Elaine Chao warned that as the Baby Boom generation begins to retire, the system faces increasing strain: 'What we continue to see is a looming fiscal crisis facing these two programs,' Chao said in a statement.

It's not just Social Security, she said, adding that defined-benefit