- (Stats) Election results polling is more inaccurate than usual this year. The pollsters never call work or cell phone numbers, while about 5% of Americans, myself included, do not have land lines. Moreover, there is likely to be a reasonably high correlation between not having a landline and voting democratic. I am slightly more optimistic about Nov 2nd now.
- (Stats) Proved the famous "past performance does not guarantee future results" with data from 1500 mutual funds from 1987 to 1993. If anything, prior year's or years' performance was negatively correlated with current year's.
- (Optimization) Not an all too surprising result - people are overly optimistic when estimating time, cost, personal achievement, etc. That's part of the reason project management timelines are almost always exceeded. Perfect justification for my favorite x2 fudge factor when using other people's estimates.
- (MacroEcon) SouthWest Airlines has bought oil protection (oil calls) at $22.50/barrel until 2005 to fix their fuel prices. Considering the new peak of $55/barrel, that's a pretty smart move. The only thing I fail to understand is how come no one else seemed to have followed suit?
- (MacroEcon) Auto-manufacturers seem to be losing money on the cars themselves, with all the rebates and incentives. However, the financing divisions make up for it. I guess not everyone is financing with 0% rates...
- (Macro) The hardest thing for me in this whole Wharton experience is the 5am wake ups on alternate Fridays. A close second, however, is struggling is not falling asleep in front of my classmates during the Macro lectures.
The most fun class, as always, was Leadership. This time we had a group called ImprovEdge giving us improvisational acting lessons and finishing up with an improv comedy bit. They were basically playing charades, acting out, for example, such gems as "sumu wresting with a toupee instead of the "diaper" and Calista Flockhart (of Alley McBeal fame) as the opponent." We were all ROFL.
The improv "lessons", done in small groups, we were much more insightful, even if a bit less entertaining.
- Positive messages from others are invaluable. Even if they are as contrived as saying "Yes, and" at the end of each person's little speech (instead of "but, no"). As usual, trivial to understand, hard to appreciate enough to actually follow through.
- Body language is tremendously important (dah!). We were standing in a circle and I had no idea what to do with my arms. People who could lean on something, or at least put their hand somewhere, looked much more relaxed and confident than did those with their arms at their sides; those with the arms crossed looked a bit too unapproachable and over-confident.
- Self-notes - I can overcome my innate shyness and jump in to do the improv thing, but not enough to be truly original or entertaining, at least not in front of strangers/classmates ;-(( Also, I noticed that I can start off pretty strongly, but never know when to stop and start kind of stammering towards the end, looking for a while out, instead of just pausing once I've said my piece.