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Business majors are the worst

The Default Major - Skating Through B-School - NYTimes.com
PAUL M. MASON does not give his business students the same exams he gave 10 or 15 years ago. “Not many of them would pass,” he says. Dr. Mason, who teaches economics at the University of North Florida, believes his students are just as intelligent as they’ve always been. But many of them don’t read their textbooks, or do much of anything else that their parents would have called studying. “We used to complain that K-12 schools didn’t hold students to high standards,” he says with a sigh. “And here we are doing the same thing ourselves.” That might sound like a kids-these-days lament, but all evidence suggests that student disengagement is at its worst in Dr. Mason’s domain: undergraduate business education. Business majors spend less time preparing for class than do students in any other broad field, according to the most recent National Survey of Student Engagement: nearly half of seniors majoring in business say they spend fewer than 11 hours a week studying outside class. In their new book “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” the sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa report that business majors had the weakest gains during the first two years of college on a national test of writing and reasoning skills. And when business students take the GMAT, the entry examination for M.B.A. programs, they score lower than students in every other major. . . .

April 12, 2011

TANSTAAFL! (There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch)

MojoNaut Jeff Lester on Gift Economies in literature. TANSTAAFL! (There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch) by Jeff Lester | Lightspeed Magazine
In Bruce Sterling’s “Maneki Neko,” a Tokyo resident running errands for his wife ends up embroiled in a potentially dangerous clash of cultures. Although the story features desktop fractal detail generators and highly advanced smartphone-style “pokkecons,” the truly fantastic element of the story is the way protagonist Tsuyoshi Shimizu makes a living—he participates in a gift economy organized and tracked by an AI network. Although gift economies have existed in various non-Western cultures for many years, academic scrutiny of the process began comparatively recently, when Marcel Mauss published “Essai sur le don” in 1924. Drawing from the field reports of early 20th Century ethnographers and his own considerable knowledge base (Mauss was not only a talented linguist but a Sanskrit scholar), he created such an enduring portrait of the gift economy that, as Lewis Hyde notes in The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, “almost every anthropologist who has addressed himself to questions of exchange in the last half century has taken Mauss’s essay as his point of departure.” Key among Mauss’s observations is that gift economies tend to be marked by three interrelated obligations: The obligation to give, the obligation to accept, and the obligation to reciprocate. Or, in the words of Robert A. Heinlein: “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” A participant in the classically defined gift economy gives in order to gain honor within the community, accepts to avoid being seen as rejecting the values of the community, and reciprocates—either to the gift-giver or to other members within the same economy—from a complex mash of the motives behind the other two obligations. Finally, to turn a gift into one’s own capital (the example used by Hyde in The Gift is of a tribesman who receives two goats and breeds them to create a flock, rather than making them the cornerstone of a feast to which everyone is invited) is to invite shame upon the recipient of the gift. . . .

April 11, 2011

19th Century Harvard Admissions Form

harvardexam.pdf (application/pdf Object) Basically, it was a test. You had...