How's my Luck now?

Reflections, views and descriptions during my stay at IIM Lucknow from July 2004 to March 2006

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Location: India

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Courses in the news

Some of the concepts we are studying in various courses have been in the news recently, and it feels very good to get a confirmation that whatever we are learning is directly helping us understand various current issues.

Firstly, Accounting is always in the news, because of announcement of quarterly results by companies, the recent cases of manipulation of accounts by major companies in the US, etc. Just today the professor in class was saying that contrary to popular belief and to proper practice, the appointment of auditors by the management of a company is not necessarily free from bias. The Birla-Lodha case going on, where the Lodhas' status as auditors of various Birla group companies is being affected because of another quite different factor - that of Priyamvada Birla's will bequeathing all property of the M.P.Birla group to R.S.Lodha - was cited as an example of this.

Even a staid subject like Law is very much in the news. The Department of Company Affairs has released a concept paper on pruning of the Companies Act, 1956 - something we are studying right now. Out of the monstrous 781 sections it currently has, the government thinks as many as two-thirds are redundant or unused, and proposes to reduce the number of sections to 289 only. Every day has a new report in the Economic Times on developments in this area, and the Businessworld comment is also on this pruning and some of the flaws in the concept paper.

There is no real need to point out where Economics has made news. Although not in pure theoretic form, it makes its appearance unfailingly everyday in the newspapers. Today, I saw a report in ET on a concept we recently learnt in this subject: the difference between short-run & long-run returns, demand, etc. This report talked about an effort by Morgan Stanley India to work out the highest returns from various investment instruments over 10 years from '94-'04. And the result seemed counter-intuitive in that it was long-term government paper that gave the highest long-run returns, and not equities. However, we surely know that in a shorter-run, people can have invested in equities and got out with much higher returns.

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