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Minyan Mailbag-University Presence

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Thanks Matty!

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Note: The following email was sent by a professor at a midwest university to his department heads. I am sharing this with the hopes of planting seeds in the Minyanville community. If you're affiliated with an institution of higher learning (or know of a college that might be interested in our critters), please let us know. We've long said that Minyanville is only as strong as the folks who believe in us and we appreciate the effort.



Nancy & Steve:

I wanted to alert you to a website that (I think) holds considerable promise in helping students understand how financial markets work. The site is www.minyanville.com

A Wall Street friend of mine, Todd Harrison, founded Minyanville about two years ago. In my mind's eye (Todd might explain it differently), the venture is Todd's entrepreneurial response to opportunity created by the nexus of a) the generally low quality (and often downright misleading) stream of information that flows daily from the financial and economic establishment, b) the low competence level many if not most individuals (and professionals for that matter) display when managing financial affairs, and c) the viability of using a web-based platform to better inform and educate individuals in real time. Minyanville seeks to improve financial decision-making processes by offering information and educational lessons dynamically linked to daily market conditions.

While the goals are somewhat altruistic, please note that this is a for-profit enterprise--currently grounded in a subscription-based business model (roughly $25/month with discounts available for students with .edu addresses). Let me also say that, profit motives aside, Todd is not some seedy newsletter writer. He's one of the finest individuals I know. Todd has recruited a cadre of likeminded professionals who serve as "professors" at Minyanville as well. I've learned a ton from this group and regard my daily reading at Minyanville as critical to maintaining my empirical grounding in the world of business.

Since the venture's early innings, Todd has been asking me how a school like ours could integrate Minyanville's content into its curriculum. In his view, making inroads with the b-school crowd (including the professorship) will be a big part of Minyanville's future success. I think he's right and have been humbly providing some thoughts along these lines.

However, the b-school discipline closest to Minyanville's domain is finance--which is why I'm writing you. Given your positions (Nancy as department chair and Steve as a key instructor of many courses), you're great people to tap for feedback.

There's much I'd like to share about Minyanville but, unequivocally, the content is much better experienced than explained. If ok with you, I'll arrange for gratis subscriptions (a month or two) for you to check out (in your wealth of spare time, of course). What Todd and his venture needs is feedback--your views on the appropriateness of Minyanville as an instructional aid and how it can be better developed as such. Steve, I also wonder about its appropriateness as a tool for college investment clubs.

Before signing off, a couple related thoughts:

a) To learn more about the higher ed market, I'm guessing that Minyanville will seek some b-schools as 'beta test' sites. Were we ever interested in participating in a beta test program, my guess is site license/subscription terms would be quite favorable.

b) Nancy, I know your research interests include instructional strategies for teaching b-school subjects. I think the Minyanville model offers some interesting opportunities for pedagogical research. For example, investigating the effects of using online financial market commentary on student understanding of financial concepts seems a worthy topic. Thru my connections with Minyanville, I'm hoping to get involved as a researcher in precisely this type of project--case based or larger.

c) Down the road, I believe there may be opportunity (perhaps a big one) in an affiliation between our school and the Minyanville venture. Todd and other Minyanville professors are some of the most well connected people on Wall Street. The spillover effects of a relationship with this group could be considerable. It's easy for me to imagine synergies as we rebuild our finance department. Last spring, for example, I was able to broker a talk by a Minyanville professor, hedge fund co-founder and manager John Succo, to our Finance Student Association. John subsequently offered input and access to his firm during the FSA's April trip to NYC. Moreover, Todd has mentioned prospects of revenue sharing relationships with universities--concept only at this stage but an idea that piqued my interest given the chronic funding issues in many schools.

Really, though, I'm getting ahead of myself. What I'm after in the near term are your views of Minyanville as an instructional or curriculum aid.

The gratis sub should be headed your way shortly. (If you think other finance/econ faculty might be interested--including adjuncts, please let me know). Please give a shout if you need need info/have questions.

Thx.

Minyan Matt


R.P.
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