Due this week

5 p.m. Wednesday: paper on China’s trade policy for international study.

6 p.m. Wednesday: 10-page exercise on advertising planning and research.

8 p.m. Wednesday: quiz on Intel’s ad management.

11 p.m. Wednesday: strategic situation summary for integrative project.

9 a.m. Saturday: 5-page paper on Mexico’s 1995 financial crisis (group).

11 a.m. Saturday: macroeconomics final exam (on 17 chapters and 150 slides).

5 p.m. Saturday: full draft of integrative project (group; ~100 pages).

Also: two uncollected homework assignments for corporate finance and a group paper on advertising management due November 3.

See you Sunday.

Best practices and MediaPost

I joined MediaPost today, after years of reading, because I was curious what membership got me.

The answer: three newsletter-style emails in the past five hours, none of which I requested to receive.

Logging into the site to turn off my feeds, I discovered that signing up for the site registered me for fifteen daily and weekly emails, all of which are opt-out. (screenshot)

I wonder how long it will be before I have to turn off the email address I used, once it’s sold to the lowest bidder and turned into a spam receptacle.

The NYU Stern business school experience

Fellow IA and weblogger Victor Lombardi attended a class at NYU Stern the other day and found it intriguing that no one was using laptops in class.

Let me tell you why.

Fellow IA and weblogger Victor Lombardi attended a class at NYU Stern the other day and found it intriguing that no one was using laptops in class.

Victor now knows why I chose Stern for my MBA. (Well, besides the quality of teaching and the location and the reputation and the good brownies at lunch.) NYU Stern specifically suggests students not bring laptops to class, as they get in the way of discourse and teacher-student interaction.

I’ve encountered this several times at Stern, from the admissions staff who mentioned it to me to the statistics professor (statistics!) who requested we leave our computers at home. In Stern’s collaborative, discussion-oriented courses, burying one’s head in a laptop undermines the sociological aspect that makes a good business-school education—or any education, for that matter—truly powerful.

When was the last time someone spent an hour on a computer engaged in a discussion without clicking into an extraneous application or checking email or sending an instant message? Computers embrace multi-tasking, continually diverting the mind. Educational lectures, on the other hand, hope to dedicate one’s focus, and at business school they intend to foster contemplation and debate. Burying one’s head in a computer is an easy way of ignoring all of that.

I personally know how it feels to be absorbed by a computer, and I prefer to not bring mine to class. (In the courses I have taken where professors encouraged computer use, like decision models and corporate finance, I felt the waxing and waning of my own attention.) Watching myself and my peers occasionally use their laptops in a lecture, I see what is lost: full attention, an interest in discussion, and so forth. It creates drag and diminishes the power of the session.

Columbia Business School prides itself on pervasive Internet access, and Stern itself has wifi all over the school. But being wired isn’t what business school is about. Open-minded, face-to-face human interaction: that’s where the action is. And where the laptops aren’t.

Winners don’t quit

I have never understood why people expect good athletes to quit. These are the people with the most competitive spirit and determination in the world; why should they walk away from the activity that has driven and dictated their entire lives, especially if they still enjoy it?

Mean-spirited articles by journalists, like this one suggesting Jerry Rice get out of football, completely miss the point. Sure, Rice may not be the superstar he once was, but he’s still a powerful presence and a potential contributor who wants to be in the game (which is more than one could say about many pro athletes, and most journalists, for that matter).

So Rice wants to play? Good! Let’s see him push himself to new goals, see if he can be the first 42-year-old wide receiver to score a touchdown in the NFL. So long as he’s better than the worst receiver on a roster, he deserves to play, if he so desires.

This haranguing is the same thing Rickey Henderson has endured the past few years. Henderson, rather than quit the sport he loves, has played minor league baseball for two seasons, in part to campaign for a major-league job, and in part because he still loves the game and still finds ways to contribute. And for that, I admire him.

“I’m going to play until I get it out of my system. It’s still fun, and that’s the main thing,” Rickey says in the article linked above. “I still love the game of baseball. I’ve accomplished everything there is to accomplish, but I still want to win.” More power to you, Rickey, and to you, Jerry. Play hard and play proud.

Nice touch

Alamo Rental Cars’ email opt-out confirmation concludes with, “We’re going to miss you!” Caught me off guard and made me smile.

I don’t recall opting to be on their mailing list, but that’s another story.

Go Jon go

There’s a reason Jon Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire is such a big story: Jon was on fire. As usual, Jon was funny, honest, and relatively accurate—all while skewering his hosts for their shortcomings. And then there’s the dick comment.

Read the transcript for all the fun.

C2

In case you were wondering, Coca-Cola C2 tastes like—well, actually, it tastes like New Coke. A little too sweet, a little differently carbonated, a lot wrong.

In the interest of disclosure, I drink more Diet Coke than sugared these days, so my tastes are a little off. But I’d much prefer an eight-ounce glass bottle of the real thing (100 calories) to a 12-ounce can of C2 (70 cal). Or a Coke Slurpee. mmmm… slurpee

Corporate finance

If business school gave grades for one’s ability to drag out the process of a take-home corporate finance midterm to unreasonable lengths and improbable levels of avoidance, I’d be the valedictorian.