I was very excited to be invited to write for this blog. As this is my first post, I think it would be fruitful to take a look back at my first eight months in this program and reflect on what I have learned. I won’t focus on what I have learned in the classroom. That would take too long. Instead, I’ll focus on a few things I have learned outside the classroom. This is in no way an exhaustive list and is presented in no particular order of importance. Without further comment, here are three things I have learned outside the classroom since I started EGMiM.
1) WhatsApp is the universal language.
EGMiM brings together a very diverse group of people. After my first module last July I suddenly found that I knew people all over the world. I liked these people and really wanted to keep in touch with them in between modules. For a lesser group of managers this might have presented a challenge. It honestly sounds like the kind of problem we might be asked to write about in an Organizational Behavior essay. I imagine the prompt reading something like this:
“Propose a strategy for maintaining effective communication between a culturally and ethnically diverse team of geographically dispersed individuals while preserving group identity and team spirit. Please limit your discussion to application of the assigned readings. We are not interested in your personal opinions.”
As it turns out, the solution is WhatsApp. I have enjoyed our class WhatsApp group tremendously. It has helped us keep each other informed about program-related information, but it has also become a great way for us to get to know each other better. We have shared pictures and jokes and occasionally discussed serious applications of our studies. There always seems to be something going on on WhatsApp. It is always a holiday somewhere. Someone is always awake. When I take a step back and think about it, it really is amazing how easily and fruitfully we have all kept in touch with each other. That’s just my personal opinion; luckily this essay isn’t graded.
2) Everyone is a “high type consumer” at the George.
The biggest revelation during our December module was that the George IV pub accepts sQuid loyalty points as a form of payment. It is amazing how much our propensity to consume went up when we realized that we had one week to spend 80 Pounds Sterling worth of loyalty points. Suddenly we were all fighting over who got to buy the next round. This market has some interesting characteristics. Here are a few that immediately come to mind:
· * Our Marginal Propensity to Consume is 1 for sQuid points and something less than 1 but greater than 0 for actual money.
· * Our demand for draft beer (or tea, in some cases) is completely inelastic up to the point where our sQuid points are depleted, at which point it becomes somewhat more price sensitive. The elasticity of demand at that point is a function of the number of rounds already consumed.
· * Until our sQuid points are depleted, demand for draft beer (or tea) increases in inverse proportion to the number of days left in the module.
I was unable to figure out how to depict all of this in graph form. If any of my classmates can succeed in doing so, I’ll buy them a drink. At the George.
3) There is a time and place for everything. Even microeconomics.
The Managerial Economics course we recently completed was a revelation for me. I suddenly felt like I understood so much more about the world and was eager to share my insights with anyone who would listen. However, I have learned the hard way that it isn’t always an appropriate time to talk about economics. Here is an example.
It was sunny afternoon in Paris and uncharacteristically warm for February. I was walking across the Pont de l’Archeveche with my wife. This is the bridge commonly called the “love lock bridge” because it is a tradition for couples to attach a lock with their names written on it to the railing of the bridge and throw the key into the river, symbolizing the eternal bond of love between them. By now so many people have done this that the entire bridge is so covered in locks so that you can hardly see any of the original structure. We paused in the middle of the bridge, looking at all the locks. My wife squeezed my hand. Our conversation went something like this:
“This is beautiful,” I said.
“Isn’t it?” she said, smiling warmly and leaning into my shoulder.
“I mean look at this. Here we have a bridge where sentimental people like to write their names on locks and attach them to the bridge, and look! Right over there is a guy selling locks and magic markers! People need locks, and locks appear! The invisible hand of the market really is amazing, isn’t it?”
She walked away and suddenly I noticed a chill in the air.
Take my advice. Economics is dangerous and should be used with caution.
These are just a few of the valuable things this program has taught me so far. I am certain there is plenty more to come. I am looking forward to returning to the classroom and seeing all my classmates again in a few weeks. Till then, see you all on WhatsApp! Thanks for reading.
From the United States, living in Poland, studying in London, visiting everywhere else as quickly as I can. I love food, dogs, baseball, and most of all my wife, Arlene. I am a part-time writer, a full-time reader, and a dismal but earnest musician. I am fascinated by the forces that shape the world. I study politics, religion, economics, business, and defense and all the ways they intersect and overlap each other.