Financial Crisis, Meet Lesson Plan

At colleges and universities across the country, the economic crisis has worked its way into the curriculum as a valuable teaching tool, and no where is this more apparent than at today’s business schools.

Lisa Foderaro‘s piece in Friday’s New York Times examines the trend of unveiling new courses or revamping existing ones to reflect the sweeping developments in the economy. For example, faculty at Columbia Business School spent the summer creating two courses that will debut this spring: one is on the future of financial services; the other is a case study on the automobile industry, with sections to be used in several courses.

At the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, two courses debuted this fall on corporate restructuring and the long history of financial bubbles, Foderaro reports. Professor Andrew Rodman, a former Wall Street executive, says in the article that he reached all the way back to 1690 for the course on financial bubbles, choosing from among a “plethora of crises” to highlight recurring themes ”” “what has gone wrong, what has gone right, what elements precede most crises, which repairs work.”

Many professors are finding that the upheaval in the economy has provided concrete talking points for classic B-school theorems, Foderaro reveals.

“At its core, finance is the study of risk and return,” says Greg Hallman, a senior lecturer at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. “The past couple of years in the market have given today’s students a perfect illustration of that.”

For more on how colleges are turning the economic crisis into a lesson plan, read Foderaro’s article here.

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