Financial markets have always been fascinating for me. I started reading André Kostolany when I was a teenager and after many books, I felt as if I knew everything about market psychology. Of course, I did not! Fortunately, I had no money to speculate with at that time.
But to be prepared for the day I would have the resources, I continued reading from world experts and renowned academics. It was only a matter of time until I came across the name George Soros, who studied at the London School of Economics (LSE). His “Theory of Reflexivity” combined psychological aspects and business cycle theory. During his lecture series at the Central European University, he explained how his life philosophy, derived from Karl Popper’s “Open Society and its Enemies,” helped him to succeed financially, but also personally in his philanthropic work. I became immediately interested in Popper’s work and read it myself during a time when I had lost my focus.
By my definition, personal growth describes the process after which higher personal life quality has been reached. In economic theory, we assume that individuals behave in such a way as to maximize their own utility. By this, society benefits as common wealth enhances. Common wealth is measured as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But the “World Happiness Index”, a survey measuring peoples happiness and its sources, clearly indicates that GDP is not the only factor that matters to people.
The freedom to take actions to evolve personally is one of those factors. You might have read my previous article “How I plan two full-time degrees at once”. The incentive for studying two degrees was personal development by knowledge and a rather unusual study experience. And it is also the reason for most of you, whether you want a new study experience, to broaden your horizons or advance your career while having a full-time commitment to your family. In the following, I will establish some underlying principles which affect personal growth.
Hello to all my fellow students!
Since I haven’t posted any articles yet, let me introduce myself first. My name is Arnold Kinzel, I am 24 years old, from Germany and I am currently enrolled in the BSc Economics and Finance programme at the University of London International Programmes. But if that wasn’t enough I am also a full-time Engineering and Management student at the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau (In German: Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau). As a son of an engineer, I followed the same path while privately reading books ranging from A. Kostolany over G. Soros to B. Graham. I always dreamt of studying Economics and Finance but never had the guts to apply for a programme until I found this programme which would allow me to continue my engineering studies.
Today’s conversation marks roughly one year since I started collaborating with the Official Student Blog. To celebrate the event, I titled this post after my very first one, the subjects involved being obviously different.
I’m sure many newly-enrolled students in Economics, Management, Finance and the Social Sciences (EMFSS) programmes will have to take a combination of Mathematics 1, Mathematics 2, Statistics 1, and/or Statistics 2. With this in mind, why not share with you some general information about those units? Even prospective students might find it useful.
Hello readers and colleagues!
I know… it’s been a while since our last conversation but I’m back with some potentially interesting thoughts for you.
How to plan your studies? How to make sure we begin the new academic year in the best possible way? It sounds like a subjective matter but there are some general considerations that apply to almost all of us.
We should take advantage of this relatively quiet period – academically speaking – to carefully devise a basic plan. In my brief experience, I learnt the earlier we start planning (i.e. structuring our studies), the better our results and the more enjoyable the journey.
Hailed as the most successful model of regional integration, the EU’s unity is challenged on economic, political, and – perhaps most importantly – social grounds. Thriving extremist parties, uncoordinated responses to migration, barbed-wire-fenced frontiers, Schengen Agreement suspension, day-to-day “misunderstandings” between member states, and a pivotal referendum to be held in the UK next June threaten the Union’s stability as well as its so often praised common fundamental values. In short, a region crumbling under the weight of potentially irreconcilable differences between members. Strikingly, all of this ignores recent fights over the Euro, which would make things even worse.
Over the last few weeks, I had some nice conversations with fellow students. The hottest topics turned out to be May’s exams and how to get prepared for them. In addition, some first-year students asked me about examiners’ commentaries and how to make best use of these. Therefore, I thought I’d post something on the Blog to share my views with a larger audience.
Well, we’ve got four months left before examinations. According to my year-wise objectives, this period marks a shift from short-term routine to mid-/long-term planning, which involves practice and perfection of acquired techniques until May. Now, we won’t necessarily agree on the best way to approach exams or when to start revising. However, we should at least concur on the following: practice with past exam papers should take most of our study time.
As a voracious reader, I often hit upon articles from subjects related to economics (e.g. sociology, finance, mathematics, and others) that stimulate my insane quest for knowledge. On the one hand, this is good as it expands our horizons and gets ourselves looking at problems from different perspectives. On the other, being an undergraduate student, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the ocean of amazing papers written by scholars from disparate universities around the globe. Indeed, the amount of literature we’re exposed to challenges one’s composure. On this basis, I deem it necessary to periodically reorganise my thoughts and objectives by writing down what my opinions are and what I’m looking for when studying.
As briefly touched on in August, EC2066 is part of my studies this year. Microeconomics is the branch of Economics studying how individuals take consumption and production decisions and how their interaction affects the economy, considering we live in a world of limited resources.
Despite such a (simplistic) general introduction, I’d like to tell you about a particular topic – embedded within the realm of Micro and Mathematical Economics – which I believe influences (whether explicitly or implicitly) our daily lives: Game Theory (from now on GT).
Some months ago, I watched a wonderful series on Aljazeera, called Marco Polo: a very modern journey. The tale is fascinating and addresses diverse (current) themes while Marco’s story flows in the background. It reminded me of another amazing series called The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson.While watching the adventures of the Venetian traveller, my train of thoughts wound the clocks back in time… Towards the XII century, a new profession was emerging within the medieval Italian city: the ‘merchant-banker’.
These bold entrepreneurs and travellers soon became sedentary and created companies in the major central and northern Italian communes, built on the ashes of the Roman Empire. Such commercial and financial organisations relied on a complex structure (considering the epoch): regular and fast correspondence, accurate accounting practices, bills of exchange, and articulated manuals on measures, currencies, and business customs of many regions of the world (here’s an example).