Saturday, December 7, 2013

Review and Thoughts on Econ 490

Going into this course, I didn't have a good idea of what economics of organizations meant but I thought it would be a very interesting course regardless. I did not realize just how much economics there are working within organizations and firms themselves. I mean things like transfer pricing, transaction and overhead costs, relationships between upstream/downstream divisions. So I learned there was a lot more theory and math behind economics of organizations than I realized. There has been so much more research done into this fiend that it amazes me, even culminating in Nobel prizes.

I really liked the unique approach to instruction and teaching - I felt like I was learning the concepts in a way that allowed me to understand them unlike most classes where you're thrown textbooks and told to learn concepts on your own. I think the key was the talking, and the discussion like aspect of the class. Ideas, concepts, theories, flowed more freely between teacher and students, allowing us to process information faster and understand deeper too.

I guess I'm trying to say I really liked this style of instruction. Many classes I've taken it's just the professors talking with no interaction or input from the students.

For the Excel homework, I felt that they were written very well and seldom required more explanation. Just by reading the material in the Excel homework, I felt that I could understand what needed to be done to solve the problems. And I liked that after every question, there was a short explanation behind why the answer was what it was. So to be honest, besides going to class, I didn't have to do a whole lot of preparation because the homework prepared me as I was doing it. Generally I had to set aside maybe an hour (although there were a couple times it took longer) to do the homework. For the blogging, it was about the same in terms of how much time I set aside, usually an hour. But in terms of preparation, I read the prompts and think about them for a short while to organize my thoughts before getting to work and writing. I approach all writing that I have to do in a similar way.

I'm not sure what other things I would have liked to see in this course because I don't have much experience or knowledge on economics of organizations (well, I know more now but still). I guess the one thing I would say is maybe if we had done like a case study, or had like a real world example of how economics of organization affected companies like Coca-Cola or nonprofits or something like that. Something more applied and hands on, tangible, so yes some sort of project or case study pertaining to a real world example.


  1. Thanks for the comments. I'm glad you liked much of the course and the mode in which it was taught.

    On the case study idea, it has merit, but to be truthful, would go outside of my expertise to teach. I haven't done cases in class before. B&D does have some snippets of companies that we could have spent more time on, so that is true. M&R is a bit dated on this so while the theory is fine, since it doesn't change over time, the examples would have to be redone.

    Sometime after the course has concluded you might drop me a note by email about the math. You have said the Excel was quite clear and frequently you'd include a line about that with your submission, but you struggled with those problems on the exams. If you have an explanation for that apparent discord, I'd like to hear it.

  2. I agree that I was surprised as well with how much theory and math behind economics of organization. I also really enjoyed the unique approach to teaching. Especially with such a large university it can be hard to only enroll in courses with 400+ students where there is little to no interaction with your professor. I enjoyed being able to listen to students' opinions right in class and the flow of every class session.