Welcoming the students of the Social Studies of Finance Summer School
July 3, 2014
Here comes my favourite part of the year. It’s sunny again in London, Wimbledon is in full swing, and the second edition of the LSE Summer School in sociology of finance is about to start.
This three-week course for advanced undergraduates came into existence last year at LSE. It offers a new way of thinking about the capital markets, one that is different from neoclassic finance, and from behavioural economics. And the response from the students surprised even its perennially optimistic organizer, that is, myself.
So as I had sat with a coffee at Fields the other day, I asked myself: what to do to live up to the expectations? There’s even more students this year. The admissions office tells me they’re very well prepared. And with the latest round of bank scandals this year, be it Barclay’s dark pool, or BNP Paribas’ sentence, there seems to be greater than ever need for fresh thinking about finance.
So for starters, I decided to keep the good stuff. We’re staying in 32 London Fields, the coolest (and most convoluted) Victorian building ever built. We’ve kept the lectures by Yuval Millo, and by Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra. Our volunteer TA from last year, Nina Andreeva, has now been promoted to lecturer for one session. Most importantly, we’ve kept the speakers. One per day, hectic as it sounds. So we have a managing director from a large bank in the City, a consultant on bank culture, two managers from a ratings agency, a hedge fund portfolio manager, an official from the Bank of England. And more.
There are also improvements. We have a one-day lecturer in financial communication, Franscisco Blanco, who ran the investor relations of Telefonica for a decade. I have reduced the amount of homework (I knew you’d like that). And most importantly, we have a new and energetic TA, Megan Peppel, who is taking one month off from her busy doctorate in UC Berkeley (California) to be with us this July.
For those of you who are interested, here’s the syllabus: MG301 Firms Markets Crisis Summer School reading list
So this is it. Class starts on Monday. Looking forward to it!