9/19/2005 04:23:00 PM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|I have done statistical regressions before in some of my classes at Ohio State and my belief was that I could interpret them with no problem. That was until I saw the regressions that my Econ professor put in our quiz this past Monday and that I completely failed to explain. The fact that it was Monday morning, seven days after I had seen the material, four hours of sleep after a very rough Sunday in which I studied not only for my Econ quiz but also and mostly for my Accounting midterm obviously did not help. However, it is my consolation that none of us students really had a clue what was going on so that should level the playing field. In fact, most of us were upset with the teacher's "kick in the teeth" (as he described his essay question) since we did not feel prepared at all to interpret the results of such a convoluted set of data.
Dick Cheney speaks and we interpret
One thing I have been learning in this Econ course is that politicians usually can't back up whatever they say with data that could do so. For instance, take Vice President Dick Cheney who, when asked about the US's huge national debt(37.2% of the US's 2004 GDP), came to the quick conclusion that running debts do not matter for the sake of the economy. But don't they?
This was what the essay question consisted of: correlating the National Debt with changes in the country's GDP. Here's Professor Kimel's answer:
The coefficient on lagged surplus or deficit is significant at the 5% level, and is negative. Since a surplus is a positive amount and a deficit is a negative amount, this indicates that running a surplus reduces the Percent Change in GDP from year to year, and running a deficit raises the Percent Change in GDP. So in the short run, running a deficit is a good thing. This may be because in the short run, it is easier to simply borrow money rather than coming up with it from other sources.
The idea is that we are funding our economy with debt and that in the long run it may come back to haunt us. Does anyone agree? Was VP Cheney right? If anything, it seems that debt do matter even if in a good way, so I think he is wrong.|W|P|112717249464682708|W|P|Regressions and the US National Debt|W|P|9/15/2005 12:03:00 AM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|It's been a few weeks now and I have to say that my MBA is going pretty good, thank you very much. The classes have started to develop and slowly, my time is being filled with in-class and out-of-class activities. This quarter (Pepperdine has two semester terms, each further divided into 2 seven week periods), since it's my first one, I've been forced to take several introductory courses such as Econ, Financial Accounting and Stats; all courses I took at Ohio State.
And speaking of Ohio State, thank God for that education. All of the concepts showed so far in these classes I have learned before and learned it good. If someone tells me today that education is worthless, I could at least tell them that it's been serving me to get even more educated. Pretty ironic.
What strikes me even more is my fellow schoolmates' metamorphosis. Most likely in result of the first all nighters of these two years, what two weeks ago were a variety of shiny, curious eyes surrounded by electric personalities have suddenly become tired, deep, dark-circled eyes carried around by neglected bodies. Once again, I am glad to have had this material before. The stress of the new hectic routine mixed with a cocktail of never seen concepts could as well be the perfect combination for a stressful, unbalanced life. And that is exactly what I feared: being overwhelmed by the workload, content and the new environment. So far, so good...|W|P|112663086713175668|W|P|Thank God for That Education|W|P|9/12/2005 12:00:00 AM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|One of Pepperdine's central educational values is ethics. In these days when this popular word has been more and more associated with different businesses practices, it will be interesting to see how ethics will be incorporated into a variety of business concepts, from accounting to marketing courses.
In my first accounting class this past Friday, there was of course, a discussion of assets and liabilities, balance sheets, income statement and to my extreme awe, a few large discussions (mostly examples) of how unethical business can be. I'm not only referring to manipulated figures in financial statement (Enron, Worldcom), although this was also one of the ethical discussions we had.
It is amazing to see the amount of pushing around that happens around a business transaction. Take the external auditors that signed about the veracity of Enron's financial statements. Not signing could have meant losing a fairly big contract for the accounting agency and a lost job for the helpless accountant in charge.
Another great example deal with appraisals and the manipulative nature of their jobs. A asset such as property or land is recorded at cost in the balance sheet and any valuations that may further happen, cannot be "adjusted" in the list of the firm's asset. The curious part indeed, relates to the opposite: an asset, if devalued and later appraised, must be declared and made clear in the company's balance sheet to truly reflect the company's financial health. This practice is encouraged so that just like what would have happened to the external auditors, a business cannot seek a second opinion from a different appraisal who has a better number for a certain property and therefore is considered more of a "team player" than the first one. This is another clear case of supply chain manipulation that makes me very disappointed with some of our current business practices.
After returning from another 24 hour road trip to Columbus, where I saw the Ohio State Buckeyes be renamed the Ohio State Chokers, it is time for settling down a bit. I love traveling but I am clearly tired of suitcases, airports, transfers, airport lines, airport food, incompetent airlines and uncomfortable seats. I will be spending some more time devoting myself to my current life in LA, my MBA and my future. OK, maybe there will be a couple of trips to Vegas in about a month or so...
|W|P|112630856722906637|W|P|Business Ethics Exposed|W|P|9/09/2005 06:28:00 AM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|My mom always told me that Columbus was indeed, a city in transit meaning that most people when they come here, they are really setting up for something bigger. I understood where she came from (people go there to get a degree, then go somewhere else) but I always thought that a long lasting white picket fence life in C-Bus was more than a reality.
Maybe for a few, mostly people that grew up here. My friends Michelle and Luke are the only ones that returned to Columbus to live (after moving somewhere else, let me say). On the other hand, I cannot count the people that I saw leave the fast growing Midwestern city...
Take the Brazilian Boys, for example. One by one, this group of Brazilians hiding in Columbus are leaving faster than the evacuees of New Orleans (and was that fast enough?). First it was White Mouse, then me and now Martin leaves for Germany.
Truth is, Columbus is a great place to live, don't get me wrong. But there are another thousands of place a little bit better... DC, Malibu and Germany just happen to be a few of them.|W|P|112627334877820014|W|P|One by One: They are Falling like Flies|W|P|9/08/2005 09:37:00 PM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|
As we were driving back we grew more confident about finding our treasure. The only turn off for us was the fact that the sun was setting behind the beautiful mountains of Eastern California and the night approached rapidly, which in my eyes, made our already impossible mission a bit more impossible. Daniel was confident that we were to find the spot we pulled over. I, in the other hand, found it hard to believe that our only clues, a blown tire I had to dodge and the type of asphalt on the side of the road we sort of remembered were gonna be enough to nail the spot.
Following a frustrated attempt (wrong tire), we continued down I-15 (now once again heading towards Vegas) until we passed this tire in this spot on the top of a hill and almost instantaneously, our intuition senses kicked up a notch and we knew that we had at least found the spot. After pulling over (about 50 yards passed the tire) we both went towards the rubbery object, carefully examining the ground, using the incoming traffic's headlights to search the ground... The rest my friends, the rest is history. We had done the unthinkable. We were once again, on the road, passing the Zzyzx Rd. exit on our way to what I believe to be the most vivid example of capitalism that this country will ever have.
Stay tuned for my concluding remarks...
|W|P|112597349983260114|W|P|Treasure Hunters|W|P|9/07/2005 03:25:00 PM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|Following a practical test where we used a cigarette pack to simulate the wallet's path on the top of my car (when we retract the roof back and forth) , we came to the realization that the wallet traveled with us until we pulled over to close the hardtop somewhere near Zzyzx Rd. At that point, we both came to an epiphany that the wallet was somewhere on I-15, around where we pulled over to protect ourselves from the blazing sun. Up until the moment, the wallet, believe or not had been stored on the trunk of the car(where the retracted hard top rests) thanks to some clever and most likely unintentional German engineering.
At that point I saw our chances of finding the wallet reduced to .00001%. Daniel believed in the idea that we could go back 100 miles, find the exact spot we pulled over and search for a 4 x6" black wallet in the dark, in the middle of a very busy road with cars droving in the opposite direction dangerously close to my brand new US$ 57,000 car and our very fragile bodies. Mission Impossible? Think again...
TBC...|W|P|112613309289833191|W|P|The Test|W|P|9/07/2005 12:11:00 AM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P| I-15, in the heart of the Mojave Desert
Continued from Zzyzx Rd.
From that moment on after we acknowledged the wallet was not in our possession, we knew that our weekend was basically over and that without that wallet, there was not much more left for us to do other than drive another 4 hours back to Los Angeles. Our only real chance was to find that wallet wherever it was. Daniel knew he'd used the wallet last at a Starbucks in Barstow, CA and our first idea was to call the place and see if they had the wallet which they did not.
Minutes later, Daniel ruled out the Starbucks idea as he realized he had rested his wallet on the top of my car's retractable roof while looking for a trash can (there was this perfect square surrounded by dust marking the spot where the wallet had been which totally supported our theory). The only problem was that the barista at Starbucks did not see a wallet at the parking lot. Maybe someone on their way to Vegas saw a wallet with 600 bucks in the parking lot and figured his or her luck started even before hitting the casinos.
TO BE CONTINUED|W|P|112607830112901655|W|P|Crisis Management|W|P|9/05/2005 07:06:00 PM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|One hundred miles away from Las Vegas in the heart of the Mojave Desert, there is this exit, off I-15 named Zzyzx Rd. This is the spot I am writing from as I think about this weekend's highlights (and dread the massive amount of traffic ahead of me) . This would be just another exit on the road if it didn't mark the scenario of one of the most unbelievable experiences of my life.
On our way to Sin City, Daniel and I joked and made plans for the upcoming weekend. Nothing really could spoil our moods at that point, except maybe the fact that Daniel's wallet would turn out missing once we were to park the SLK at the Montecarlo.
TO BE CONTINUED...|W|P|112607706931585460|W|P|Zzyzx Rd.|W|P|