I’m back to the grind of classes, which means more free business school lessons for you. Here are the highlights from this week:
Accounting is an art, not a science. Numbers? Ledgers? T-accounts and balance sheets? Accounting sounds like a science to me and at least one of my classmates described it that way this week. And that’s when my new accounting professor – who was an art history major – set him straight.
“I believe we’re in an art class,” she said. “There’s no science in accounting class.”
As an art-loving poet, that was music to my ears.
She went on to tell us how applying the rules of accounting is an art since there isn’t detailed guidance on how to do every, single, little thing. Good accountants try to paint an accurate, complete picture of a company.
Don’t die rich – die in debt! Macroeconomics class is about GDP, inflation rates and unemployment. But it’s also about fun micro life takeaways like this one. We were graphing income and consumption across a person’s life. You start out with no income (babies can’t earn) and when you grow up, you earn more than you consume (assuming, of course, you’re not the average American with a negative savings rate). Then, in theory, after you retire, you live off the nest egg you squirreled away.
The ultimate, perfect economic goal, according to my professor? Spend it all – and then some – before you croak. In the United States, children aren’t liable for their parents’ debt so there’s no need to worry about harming your own kin. The purely economic view says if you want to maximize your personal enjoyment and minimize your personal down side, die in the red.
Few things are funnier than a grown man in a Big Bird costume. My section has a mascot, a very old, much beloved Big Bird plush toy. Because the other sections are jealous of our obvious superiority, they try to steal the bird and this year they succeeded. On Friday we got the bird back by performing the Sesame Street song in front of the school with our section rep (formerly a well-respected member of the work force) dressed as Big Bird. It was juvenile, ridiculous,
embarrassing – and a whole lot of fun. And when you’re working 16 hours a day, you need to blow off a little steam.
It’s OK to take a vacation. I can’t really take a vacation until Thanksgiving, but I desperately felt I needed one this week. After rolling straight from exams into classes, I could feel burnout setting in. Luckily another Darden student was kind enough to invite me up to her family’s mountain cabin for the weekend and even though I should have been doing case work/networking/housework/errands, I went. It worked miracles. One day and night in the wood, far from cell phone signals and high-speed Internet, felt like a week’s vacation. Just looking at the gorgeous leaves was therapy. Eating homemade apple pie and roasted chicken didn’t hurt either.