A week ago, I finally got around to joining several SCU MBA mailing lists. I had already signed up for a couple of MBA groups that I’d heard about, like the one for international business interests, but hadn’t thought of searching Yahoo for all “SCU MBA” groups. There have been some pleasant surprises, since it’s hard to predict where the most interesting information is shared. It seems like a good idea to join any MBA group that will have me, as long as I can efficiently filter the email traffic. It’s registration week, there are a few dozen messages a day, concerning different teachers’ classes to attend or avoid.
I also heard news of a faculty paper presentation that I went to, as kind of a last-minute decision. I was trying to figure out what to do for lunch, the lecture had free food… Actually, the topic seemed interesting, and I figured that the experience could be insightful in some unexpected ways. For instance, the professor who presented his findings was in the finance department, so I hoped to learn a little more about the department’s approach to applied academics. It turned out that the audience was largely composed of faculty members, who discussed a lot during the presentation.
I can’t really do justice to paper topic, so I might as well be really glib: In order for investors to have any certainty about the skill (as opposed to luck) of investment fund managers, the managers need to have publicly and repeatedly demonstrated successful results. It takes a series of published results, over more than a decade, to statistically demonstrate “skill.” By the time a fund’s future success is safely assured, the past successes are commonly known and it is way too late to buy into the fund. The old lesson learned in a new context: once an investment is a sure thing, the ship has already sailed.
The unexpected lesson from the presentation came from seeing several of the statistics, economics, and finance teachers interact in a peer setting. I don’t know most of their names, but I’ll definitely remember some of the personalities. Several were insightful, challenging, or slightly off topic with their comments and questions. Not that it’s a huge indication of classroom demeanor, but I got insight about some professors who are really engaged and academically curious.