Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Welcome message from the finance professor

What a great school where you get greeted to an upcoming course like this!! I am copying a shortened version of a message from our International Finance professor, which he sent about 6 weeks before the start of the class. What I really like about our finance and economics professors is that they really love their subjects, some to a somewhat crazy extent, but that's how you spread enthusiasm and advance knowledge. Here it goes:

Dear Friends,

I am the professor for the elective course on International Finance, which is scheduled for Summer 2008.

Why am I writing this email to you? I am writing this email to welcome you to the course and to tell you a bit about my objectives for the course so that you understand what I wish to accomplish in the time that we spend together.

I have been teaching in business schools for about 20 years now, and about 10 years ago I decided that I wanted to do more than just teach "Course X" -- given how short life is, this was simply not sufficiently rewarding for me. And, after some contemplation, I realized that given the opportunity cost to you of being in school, you should also expect much more than just learning about finance, or accounting or some other subject while you are in school.

What are my objectives for the course?
So, I now have two objectives in teaching the course on International Finance. First, I wish to imbed in your head a systematic structure for thinking about all issues related to international financial markets and international corporate finance. With a little bit of cooperation from you, I am confident that we will achieve this objective. My second objective is to help you to think about your life and to help you change it in a direction that you want. To accomplish this, we will spend the last 10 minutes of each class talking about issues not related to finance. The topics covered during this time will range from philosophy, physics, anthropology, biology, psychology, mountain-climbing, baseball, genetics, bike-racing ... and whatever else I need to talk about in order to rekindle the fire in you so that your dreams are about achieving extraordinary goals rather than just finding the best job in consulting or investment banking.

What else you may wish to do before the start of the course?
The best way to get value from the course (and your time in school) is through introspection and contemplation about the issues that are important for you in life (not just in finance). To help you do this, I have enclosed below a list of books (all of which are unrelated to finance) that will help you think about the important issues in life. I strongly encourage you to read at least one of these books. Other than reading these books, I suggest that you spend some time walking (and thinking) in Regents Park.

Best wishes, and looking forward to seeing you in class.
Due to popular request, I am adding the list of recommended books. I have bought "Three Cups of Tea" and "Tuesdays with Morrie" and will read them over spring break:

1. How each individual can have a tremendous impact on life on Earth
- Mortenson, Greg. Three Cups of Tea.

2. Thinking about what you wish to accomplish in life
- Hess, Hermann. Siddhartha.
- Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays With Morrie.

3. An example of accomplishing a lot despite a very modest starting point
- Mandela, Nelson. Long Walk to Freedom.

4. Examples of accomplishing what seems impossible
- Weihenmayer, Erik. Touch the Top of the World.
- Armstrong, Lance. It Is Not About The Bike: My Journey Back To Life.

5. How to walk the path in order to get to where you want to go
- Zander, Benjamin and Zander. The Art of Possibility.
- Herrigel, Eugen. 1999. Zen and the Art of Archery, Random House.
- Suzuki, Shunryu. 1970. Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, J. Weatherhill Inc., New York.


Jonathan F said...

What were some of the books on the list?

Abhinav said...

Hey, where is the list of books, why did u edit that?


Rahul said...

nice! I am sure it would be really memorable learning experience with professors like this. Just out of curiousity, could you list the books he recommended??

Anonymous said...


Very curious to see the list of books that "will help you think about the important issues in life."

Please share.


JulyDream said...

Wow! That's incredible. Care to share a few of the titles he suggested? I'm always looking for new and interesting books.

Anonymous said...

Curious to see the list of books ... Can you post it please?

Anonymous said...

I like it as well. Finance can be a little dry, even when you have an interest in it. Those final ten minutes will help people get through some of the rough stuff.

Please let us know how this class turns out!


Carlita said...

What books did he recommend?

Anonymous said...

any chance of getting the book list?

pedro said...

any chance that that you may post the professor's name? breath taking.

BitZ said...

Hi angie
I haven't written much comments but I am an avid reader of your blog. Tuesdays with morrie is a nice read and you are lucky to have the professors.
Also student life is great . I too work in financial services and know it can be crushing at times but ... c'est la vie ! - Keep those posts. You have a great readership!

prith said...

I am loving the possibilities that the art of possibility is providing me! :B
Thank you for sharing the titles!