Friday, December 6, 2013

Final Blog Post

Economics 490 has been very beneficial with learning more in depth about Organizations. Although I believe I did have a good amount of knowledge before beginning the course, the course was very helpful with explaining specific examples, models, and the algebra behind the models. The live class was different than many economic courses that I have taken in the past. A lot of my political science course have the same type of structure that this course did and I believe that this method of teaching is more enjoyable for students. The interaction was constant and entertaining during class. It also made me feel as if skipping a class would be detrimental for my grade in the course since that is how we learned most of our concepts and where I was really able to finally understand the Excel homework.
            Blogging was something new from me and I am pretty indifferent with my opinions towards it. I do think it was a great idea to have discussions about the blog posts in class and how the professor called out specific student’s blog posts because that showed that what I was writing will actually be read. I did feel that I did learn a lot about blogging and about how an economic concept could be perceived as something completely different from different students. I made sure to write my blog posts first and then read my peers to test my knowledge beforehand on the concept that we were to talk about. For my blog posts my process was pretty standard. If I didn’t understand a concept I would go back to our class website and read more about it or Google the concept and just write for anywhere from 20-40 minutes. The Excel homework required some research before hand so that I could understand the concepts or else I would never be able to complete the assignments. The Excel homework usually took a lot longer than the blog posts and every Excel homework varied in the amount of time it took me to complete it.
            What I think could be an improvement in the course is for every Excel homework assigned if as a class we had a discussion about the concept and basic equations before the homework was due and not after. I think this would tie everything together more and I know we did it a couple of times but to make it a requirement before every assignment would be beneficial and cut a lot of time that the Excel homework took to complete. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Reputation and Branding

Last summer I interned at JP Morgan Chase (JPMC). JPMC is an American multinational banking and financial services holding company and the largest bank in the United States by assets. Brand and reputation are two huge concerns that I saw first hand at the bank in order to keep their clients and to bring in the type of clients that they want.

JPMC brands itself as a very conservative and universal bank. Because JP Morgan and Chase merged together, they are not a financial institution that serves various lines of business including investment banking, asset management, private banking, treasury & securities, commercial banking, & retail banking. This universal and global brand is very important for their reputation.

JPMC has a reputation of being very conservative and serving clients who have the same ethics and morals that JPMC has. Because of this reputation, they have to be somewhat picky with their clients so that their reputation does not change. Since JPMC is such a strong bank, regulations are crucial to maintaining their reputation. Any mistake that one employee of the bank makes can ruin the JPMC reputation they have taken years to build. The London Whale is a good example of how a mistake by one trader who worked for JPMC can cause so much damage to JPMC, which is why now more than ever their reputation is very important in managing.

Their brand and reputation is the most significant in order to keep a client’s loyalty. JPMC wants to make sure their client’s trust JPMC and that they do not lose any clients because of bad reputation. I think JPMC is very aware of their reputation and always working on different branding to modify any reputational problems they run into. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Reputation is a vital factor for success. Whether it’s your academic, professional, or social reputation, I believe each are very important. Although it isn’t always great to care about what others think about you, the reality of it is that you have to in order to have a positive reputation. Since I was a sophomore here at the University of Illinois I have been heavily involved in a professional business fraternity. My reputation for this organization has been one of my biggest priorities ever since I was accepted an invitation to join the organization. My reputation developed from my involvement within the organization. I have always had big roles in different committees and made sure to surpass every goal I had for that committee and to portray myself as a professional at all times. My reputation also developed based off of the internship and full time job offers I was receiving. Since members of the organization always found out about the job offers I have received from the Business Career Fair that made my credibility and reputation higher and stronger. It has been a struggle to always try to maintain this reputation because the members of this organization are my peers so staying professional and timely all the time can be stressful. Since I see a lot of the members around campus that is something I also must always think about.

To keep my reputation intact, since I am a senior and have little responsibilities now within the business fraternity, I try my hardest to be a mentor. I offer mock interviews, resume critiques, and just meeting with the younger members of the organization to see if I can help them in any aspect of their professional business careers. Since I am a senior there are a lot of times where I wish I didn’t always have to stress about maintaining this reputation and with I could just “cash it in” but when I think of any of the immediate gains I could receive, none of them are as meaningful as having a positive reputation within this organization. The alumni relations we have are HUGE for our organization and I have been able to see first hand how the alumni’s of my business fraternity have helped various members of the organization with networking, internships, full time job offers, etc. so having a strong reputation will benefit to the success of my career. For example, if there was a job opening at a Financial Institution where an Alumni of my business fraternity is working, I want them to be able to think of me as a good candidate for that job which could possibly lead to an interview. Reputations go a long way in life and I would never want an immediate gain to get in the way of that. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Reality of the Principal-Agent Model

While interning a bank this past summer, I noticed a situation that acted more as a triangle, where the agent deals with two different principals. The agent in my example would be a banker of both the client and the bank. What the client wanted the banker to do for them was not always in favor of what the bank allowed or what would benefit the firm. Especially when dealing with pricing and the amount of money they are able to lend a client, it was hard for the banker and client to see eye to eye at times because there are certain things the banker was not allowed to tell the client. Specifically I saw the reactions that a client had when they received the right amount of money they were satisfactory with lending, but the pricing was not in their favor. This created an awkward tension, especially for the banker, since the banker was not the person calculating what that loan should be priced at. The bank has specific calculations and regulations that are set for these types of things and because of that the agent failed to satisfy the client while satisfying the bank. The banker was obviously not going to risk losing his job, which is why the relationship he built with that client is so important. He had to trust that their relationship was strong enough that this type of tension would not push the client away from the bank. Usually when this sort of tension arises, the banker will try to do something else for the client to make up for a price that the client was not happy with. For example maybe the banker would decrease the price on a different line of credit that the client has, create a better amortization schedule, etc.

After working there for 3 months I realized there were many types of ways to master this tension. Each banker had their own personal ways and even within that, clients was treated different. Because being a banker is so focused on relationship management, the ways to resolve the tension are not cookie cutter solutions. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Struggle with Group Projects...

Group projects to me are never 100% good or 100% bad. It usually is luck of the draw depending on the group members I am assignment to have. This semester, I specifically, have an example of a positive experience with a group project that I am still working in. For a political science course that I am in, we have a large project that we have been working on for the course of the semester. Our group is made up of 3 people total and we have had no problems to date. It worked out that all three of us got along very well and since our project was stretched out for so long, we have been able to work on every section of the project together. Every other week we meet up at the UGL for an hour or two at a convenient time (usually on Sundays) and work on our project together. Since all three of us are there, there is not a “slacker” in our group and everyone is happy. I believe that the reason we have been so successful in our group is because of our similarities in personalities and talent. We all have the same major, have take similar classes, and have similar interests in our project. Our group members were chosen based off of who preferred each topic so I think that was also a big factor in why we were doing so well, because we were all genuinely interested in our topic.

On the other hand, there have been many instances in my college career where my group project was the least desirable experience. During an online class I took last summer we were assigned a group project where we had to work on a debate together. This project seemed almost impossible since it was over the summer, online, and we were never able to physically meet with our group. Even getting ahold of my group members via email was extremely difficult. The way that we divided work was I sent an email with the parts of the debate and everyone just chose one section. We all worked on it separated and had no clue if our members were putting in the work and effort they should have been putting in before the debate. There was on group member who never responded to our emails and while we just assumed he got them, we emailed our professor to check if he dropped the course and when he said he is still enrolled we assumed that he would do the work for the debate. As the debate was approaching none of my group members still received any sort of response from the group member we hadn’t made contact with all summer so myself and another group member took it on ourselves to do his work. The day of the debate, that group member that wasn’t responding all summer never entered the debate so we were very glad we did his work for him. Although in the end our grade for the debate was great, it was a very stressful situation. Ten minutes before the debate started was the first time we were able to share with our group members the research that we did. We fully trusted one another to do the work and that was a very stressful situation. This was the worst example of a group project because of the lack of communication that we were able to have with our group members as well as lack of consistent effort portrayed from each group member.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Team Production Versus Individual Production

This article was a very intriguing article because it made me think of scenarios that I have experienced, but have not analyzed previously. I have personally experienced this phenomenon of procedural fairness when it comes to working with in a group environment. The concept of team vs. individual production as we discussed in class can be applied in the same experiment. 

A great example of this is when working in group projects compared to an individual project. While working in a group, every member has their own part or contribution which their effort is focused on that factors into the final grade that the entire group receives. Usually the work load assigned to each group member is equal. This can cause many problems if not everyone does their share of work and can negatively impact the whole group. Every member is responsible to do their part, but they also have the other group members to use as resources if they are having trouble. This isn't always necessarily fair, depending on who is in the group project, but it is how a group project works. You can get lucky and have a group of intelligent students who complete their work on time or you can have members who are not willing to put in the time and effort for the group project to be done correctly. The group members each get the same grade and the distribution of work is not separated dependent on who does what work. The only a way for the grade to change for a group project is if a professor has the group members grade each other and then the group members final group project group could have that be factored in. This method, however, is typically not used in a college school setting.

Individual work in a school setting directly corresponds to the effort and intelligence that an individual puts into an assignment, while studying for a test, or any other individual assignment. This is irrelevant of other people and your grade is dependent on you. The procedural setting of working in a group project or doing an individual assignment corresponds with the distribution of wealth, which for a school setting would be grades. 

If I had to choose a preferred type of work, a group versus individual assignment, I would have a different answer dependent on each class. There are certain classes where a group is extremely helpful and others where it is not. While I have preferences for each, I believe that the group members are the biggest asset in determining grades.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Illinibucks seem like an interesting concept to implement for the campus. While at first I did think that Illinibucks could be very positive for such a large campus and make figuring out who gets priority easier, (whether it’s senior students, athletes, etc.) it could also cause anger among students due to the change in the process. This sort of change puts money on top of the list, meaning that if a student had the money, they would have priority over anyone else, which does not seem fair. Things that would be a candidate for this are things such as registering for classes, purchasing books, sporting events tickets, and many more.

My first priority when it comes to anything having to do with this university is getting my preferred class schedule. That is why the first thing I would use my Illinibucks for is getting priority to be one of the first students to register for my courses. The next thing I would use my Illinibucks for is for books. Other than those two things, I can’t imagine really using them for anything other than books and registering for classes because I usually don’t attend a lot of sporting events.

I believe that a number of prices would arise if Illinibucks were actually implemented. Setting a price would be very difficult and could cause a potential loss in money for the university. If the price is too low then too many students will have priority, therefore too many people would have priority which defeats the purpose. If the price is too high for the Illinibucks then the same thing could happen. Not enough students would buy it which means that everyone has the same priority and that Illinibucks are benefiting anyone. It also gives a dollar amount to get first priority, which should be the case in my opinion. Being a senior, having a high GPA or large amount of credit hours should be more important for giving someone a priority rather than the amount of money they have.