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Showing posts from March, 2011

Back In Dayton Again

I'm out at the R.I.S.E. forum in Dayton with a couple of Unknown University students. I've seen about a half dozen of these, so I thought I'd take a few minutes off from the speakers and knock out a quick post.

We have our new (used) car, and settled with the insurance company on the old one (they came up about $300 from their initial offer on our old car, so the arguing paid off. And, for a net cost of $1400 (the amount of the new (used) car we bought less the insurance settlement, we went from a $2000 Camry with 125,000 miles on it (and some minor body damage) to a 2001 Camry with only 85,000 miles (and a body in pretty much pristine shape. So, all in all, it worked out.

Time to go back for a few more speakers and catch up with some old friends. Then it's back to the hotel room to put up a video for my students.

Last semester, I put together a fairly nice video on Modern Portfolio Theory (the math of variance/covariance, portfolio risk and return, efficient front…

Intro to Securitization

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Tomorrow's event--securitization. If you've ever wondered what it was exactly, do come check us out. And if you already know everything about securitization, still come check us out. Our speaker is Fouad Onbargi, a portfolio manager at Aladdin Capital. It's going to be great, so see you there!

Murphy is Alive and Well (And So Are We)

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I was looking forward to our spring break - an entire uninterrupted week to work on research.

Hah! Enter Murphy, stage left.

A week before the break, the Unknown Wife got rear ended less than a mile from our house. As a result, our second car got totalled (mine - a ten year old Camry in fine running order) and she ended up going to the ER to get checked out for whiplash (she's o.k., but it blew almost 7 hours of our night). Luckily, she didn't have the kinds in the car.

Since then, she's been on muscle relaxants and going to physical therapy, and I've been either arguing with the insurance company about how much our car is worth or looking for a new (used) car - we're cheap so we don't buy new cars. Unfortunately, this requires time and search costs (and dealing with used car dealers, which is a whole lot of fun). All in all, I've had a brief early glimpse of a hell Dante never imagined - talking with insurance companies and used car dealers for all e…

Superstar Seniors Panel: Looking Back

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This was a little while ago, but just a quick recap of our Superstar Seniors Panel, the last event before spring break. Thanks to all those who came out and asked questions, and for those who couldn't make it, here's a quick summary of what happened. But first, presenting...our superstar seniors! Having each secured full-time jobs at various reputable firms, the seniors gave us run-throughs of their college lives and recruiting experiences, as well as useful tips on what we should do to become future superstars like them. They didn't all have the same experiences, but bottom line is to take advantage of opportunities as well as create them for yourself, and to talk to people who've been through it before when in doubt. And to also explore outside of Stern. :)

A New Business Model for Gyms

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What motivates you to workout? Whether it be the desire to be in better shape, look better, or just live an active lifestyle, inspiration to go to the gym can sometimes wane. Now think about this; what if your money was on the line? Do you think you might be more prone to keep up with your exercise schedule?



A new Boston based service called Gym-Pact is aiming to capitalize on the idea that people will go to the gym if not doing so would hurt their wallet. Gym-Pact forces its members to pay a "motivational fee" if they don't work out at least one time a week. This system has been tested in a chain of gyms in Denmark where membership is free, but missing sessions forces members to incur a full monthly charge -- so far, it seems to be successful.

The goal is for people to stay healthy and attend the gym on a regular basis -- paying if you DON'T excersize may be the answer to making this a reality for us all.

Big Mistakes

This entry on my blog should prove two things: (1) I lead a relatively boring existence and (2) I spend way too much time thinking about teaching.

Yesterday for lunch, I went to a nearby Jimmy John’s Deli and got a sandwich. As I sat there eating it, I pulled out a piece of paper and across the top I wrote: What are the biggest mistakes that college teachers make? I immediately listed out 9 or 10 mistakes that I think college teachers are prone to make, mistakes that prevent them from moving from good to great. Then, I decided to whittle the number down to a “Top Five” list. That was tricky because several of my items appear to be quite prevalent. Finally, about the time I had taken the last bite of my sandwich, I turned my final five into a countdown somewhat like a David Letterman list on late night television. So, straight from Jimmy John’s Deli in Richmond, Virginia, here are my “Top Five Mistakes That College Teachers Make.” If you think I left something off, let…

The iPhone Effect

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How the iPhone Led to the Sale of T-Mobile USA “The iPhone effect cannot be underestimated in this decision,” said Theo Kitz, an analyst at Merck Finck, a private bank in Munich. “Without being able to sell the iPhone, T-Mobile was in an unsustainable position and T-Mobile USA became a problem child.”



After Apple's iPhone became the world's leading smartphone, not being able to sell the iPhone became a major problem for T-Mobile. And now, its competitive position has further worsened because starting this February, Verizon has started to sell iPhones too. Is this really the 'iPhone effect'?

Read more at: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/how-the-iphone-led-to-the-sale-of-t-mobile-usa/?smid=tw-nytimes&seid=auto

Car Scams

Since I'm reasonably sure that our car will be totaled (not totally, but I'd put 10/1 odds on it being the case, after looking at the car), it looks like I'll be buying a new one. So, I started looking around on the various sites. On CraigsList, they warned about "Ebay scams".

There was a 2009 Nissan Altima with 29,000 miles listed for $2900. Too good to be true, so I figured it was phony. Just in case, I figured I'd send an email. Here's my response (highlighting is mine, to point out the "fishy" parts.

Hello,

This 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5 S, automatic with 26,000 miles, runs and drives excellent(VIN: 1N4AL21E49N522850). This car has been extremely well maintained and it is fully paid. No accident, clear title, free of liens.
I have dropped my price to $2900 since this is an urgent sale and I need to sell it before 22 March, when I will be deployed in Afghanistan replacing the troops scheduled to come home.
(Note: appeal to sympathy - …

More Fun In The Unknown Household

We had a speaker (excellent one, at that)today at the Unknown University. Just as I got out, my cell rang - the Unknown Daughter on the phone tearfully says "Mom got into an accident and she's in the hospital". No other information.

So, I rush home (I live about 2 miles from the university) and try to get some info. UW was heading to the neighboring state (about 2 hours away) for a "retreat" at our old church (actually, a sleepover with a bunch of her old girlfriends). Less than a mile from our house, she stops, since the car in front of her was turning. She promptly gets rear-ended by some moron in a Ford Explorer (she was driving our Camry, so it's likely totalled).

She was able to get out of the car, but just in case (she got whipped around pretty hard), she went to the Emergency Room on a board, and called our house (we had arranged a babysitter so someone could watch the Unknown Baby Boy until I got home from the speaker).

She managed to call us f…

Superstar Seniors Panel

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Hi Guys,

Don't forget, Superstar Seniors Panel tomorrow. Come get all your questions answered, and maybe give yourself something to think about over spring break. It's going to be interactive and fun, and really an opportunity for you to ask our experienced seniors everything and anything (well, almost). See you there!



Some Reasources For Teachers

I'm not (by any account) always the best teacher. I do all right - ry (and sometimes even succeed), but I have a few personal characteristics that sometimes work against me. First, I have a certain, shall we say, lack of interpersonal skills and an occasional inability to pick up on cues (insert joke about faculty member with mild Asberger's here). In addition, I have a tendency to become a bit sarcastic under stress, and that never plays well in the classroom.

But, much like the palace eunuch, even if I can't replicate it while it's happening all around me, I know it when I see it.

I saw it today when I came across Joe Ben Hoyle's website. He's an accounting professor at the University of Richmond, and I've mentioned him previously here, where he was profiled in UR's alumni magazine.

It turns out he has a website with some good teaching material. One of the links is to a set of short (1-2 pages each) essays on teaching and another is to his blog. …

What Really Is To Blame?

By now, everyone who reads this blog has probably heard of the book “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses” by Arum and Roksa that basically makes the claim that the emperor has no clothing by giving evidence that students do not learn much in their four years in college. If you have missed the release of the book, you can learn more at the following URL where the authors are quoted as stating "How much are students actually learning in contemporary higher education? The answer for many undergraduates, we have concluded, is not much.”

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/01/18/study_finds_large_numbers_of_college_students_don_t_learn_much

What I find most interesting is that the blame game has started. Something is obviously wrong so what is to blame? Here are some culprits that I’ve heard mentioned: grade inflation, lack of education classes for college professors, the stress put on faculty to do research so they can’t focus on their teaching, lack …

Networking 101: Looking Back

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Quick flashback to our Networking 101 event this past Thursday- Our standard news update, followed by a talk by upperclassmen Chris Park and Sameen Singh. They brought in their past experiences networking their way into the job market and strung together a "what / what not to do" for all the job-seeking underclassmen (and other upperclassmen!) Just a little advice from our awesome e-board members.

Wealth Management Firm For Rock Stars

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One day in 1994, while recovering from a ruptured pancreas, Guns ‘N Roses bassist Duff McKagan was puttering around his basement when he happened upon the group's financials from the previous six years. Flipping through the reports he had a bit of a panic attack when he realized, “I couldn’t make sense of it. I didn’t know how much we had made or lost on the tour. So he decided to take some finance classes at Santa Monica Community College and while fronting his new band, Velvet Revolver, started giving financial advice on the side.

It was around that time that McKagan realized a couple things. 1) That he was pretty good at this money management stuff and 2) fellow musicians were comfortable being counseled by him because he didn’t “wear a suit” and therefore wasn’t representative of The Man. And that’s when a lightbulb went off.

He would team up with someone who had a little bit but not much more financial wisdom to impart but who wouldn’t scare off anti-Establishment rockstars wit…

Are You Tired?

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How many of you have said "I am tired" today? Everyone experiences fatigue but did you know that severe chronic fatigue can actually be an illness?

In October 1985, 8 children went on a sledding trip together and within weeks, all of them fell ill. Their symptoms resembled those of the flu but they lasted for weeks, months, and even years. This mysterious illness that rendered the children unable to get out of bed spread throughout the village and eventually affected 214 people within a 30-mile radius.

The number of Americans estimated to have this illness, which is clinically named Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is 1 to 4 million. And because of CFS, annual productivity lost to the U.S. economy is estimated to be about $9.1 billion.



So, the next time your friend tells you that he/she feels tired, make an effort to ask him/her how long this has been going on and perhaps inform of them of the existence of CFS.

Federal Reserve Event

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Also, new event coming up.

We're co-sponsoring with EHS to bring Debby Perelmuter, Senior VP of Research at the Federal Reserve. Come out to learn about the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve's response to the financial crisis and to find out more about working in the Federal Reserve. We're sure a lot of your questions will be answered.



See you guys there!

Protest, Power and the Economy

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We all know about the protests that have been going on one after the other in the Middle East. Is this random? Perhaps not. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Bahrain--what do they have in common? And what's next?

So apparently, it could be a combination of unemployment rate and length of dictatorship that drives likelihood of protest. The graphic below pretty much summarizes in all: green dot shows how many years the current leader has been in power, white dot shows the rate of unemployment.

Perhaps the protests are going to stop spreading for a while...

(From: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663331/infographic-of-the-day-where-will-protests-strike-next-in-the-middle-east)

Apple's New iPad - Can it Keep the Momentum?

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Apple's about to announce the release of their new iPad tomorrow, March 2nd. As we know, the original iPad is one of the fastest selling consumer electronic device, the question is will the Apple and iPad 2 be able to live up to their customers' expectations?

We can get an interesting look at this with looking at Apple's stock fluctuations with the news release tomorrow morning.

Interested? You can follow the release of the iPad 2 at: http://live.gizmodo.com/

Reminder - We do have an event on Thursday, March 3rd. It is a wonderful Networking 101 event and it will be very useful for recruitment all year round. We look forward to seeing you there!

What It Takes To Be Great – Part II

I did a little experiment over the last two weeks and, to tell you the truth, I was a bit surprised by what I discovered. I asked my students in Intermediate Accounting II (virtually all are second semester juniors) to identify the very best teacher they have had since they entered college. For most students, their teachers provide them with the best examples of leadership. I really wanted my students to consider the attributes that it takes for a person to be a successful leader. Most of them will graduate from college and, within a year or two, they will be in a position where other workers must report to them. Often, the upward trajectory of their careers is not based on their knowledge of accounting but rather on their ability to guide and lead the people who form the members of their team. A teacher is not exactly a team leader but the characteristics for success would seem to be somewhat similar.

My students were asked to identify their very best (“best” not “favor…