Stories from Class

By Lu



(Orlando, Florida) Hogwarts School of Magic: It’s all magic to me.

Here’s two laugh worthy stories from one of my classes this week. That’s why it’s nice to study in Michigan, the faculties here are blessed with great experiences, and often funny encounters.

Story 1

This story was from a professor’s experience in the 80’s. Professor M created a computer accelerator so that the CPU can accelerate from those 126 kilobytes to 256 kilobytes (I’m making these numbers up). It was revolutionary at the time and he sold a lot of these accelerators. But, there’s a twist to his marketing methods. Because he has trouble identifying the correct price for his product, he resorted to create seven different packaging with different colored boxes. He priced each of these with different prices and just like that, created seven new products which are essentially the same underneath. He captured all the surplus because different people will buy different products according to how much they valued them. And here’s where it get more ridiculous, a pc magazine decided to produce a top 10 list for accelerators in the market. His products occupied every position from 1 to 7, which are essentially the same accelerator. This shows that even the writers never did their homework properly. He still hangs the cover of the magazine in his office and have a good laugh with his visitors who asked about the magazine.

Story 2

I did a case study on failure about WB and his investment in Berkshire Hathaway. The story is not about the case itself but the authors. They are also students  who took the same course a few years ago under the same professor. They decided to wrote a case study about Warren Buffet and the first company he owned. They finished writing about the case study and give it to Professor L to review. Professor L then give a call to BH and sent the case study to Mr. Buffet’s secretary, asking if Mr. Buffet wanted to take a look at it. Mr. Buffet looked at it, was impressed and invited the two authors to come attend a board meeting with him and other investors. So, they went there, and had a great time meeting Mr. Buffet and others who were there, including Bill Gates, Charlie Munger and Jamie Lee Curtis to name a few.

But, one of the author, D have his first week of job that same week. So, he called the office and asked to start working on the next week. Here’s how the conversation roughly goes:

Hi, I’m D. I’m one of the newly hired graduates who going to work at your office next week. I want to shift the starting date by another week. I’m going to fly to Omaha to attend a meeting with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Thanks.

Imagine the look of the person who received this call, as well as all the upper echelons of the company when they heard this message.

On the Monday he’s reporting to work, every single partner in the company went to work. Each of them wanted to look at the newly hired who just had a meeting with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Last Professor L heard from D, his career didn’t rise from Day 1, it skyrocketed because everyone in the company knows about him.


This is a snippet from my personal life. I’m a very careless person. This is because I’m quite impulsive and always decide on things with my intuition. Yesterday, I went and did a quick NPV calculation to make sure my group’s investment was still relevant. I came up with a number and approved the decision. It was after that then I realized I approached the parameters wrongly and the payment was off. The data was ambiguous and I used the data that I believed intuitively was a better estimation.

Today, I had a short quiz on calculating the probability of death within ten years on a multiple decrement model given two force of mortality. I was impulsive and didn’t think things thoroughly before I started. In the end, I calculated the probability for a newborn and not someone aged 40 as instructed. This cost me my quiz since I do not have the time to edit my answers after I realized about it.


Might as well add another one, this is about customer service in France. Professor L was transiting in France airport together with a Nobel Prize winner and the President of a large aerospace corporation. They were waiting in line for their boarding pass to board the airplane when the lady at the counter suddenly looked at her watch and decided that its break time. This was despite the fact that there were 15 other people waiting to get boarding pass for the same flight and the plane and gate was right in front of them, having the last call to board the flight. The NP winner was so enraged that he took his prosthetic leg (shouldn’t be hard to guess the identity) and wave it around, trying to hit the lady while standing on one leg. The manager showed up along with 10 officers, and the President threatened to use his power to ask the FAA to ground the flight unless they got their boarding pass. At the end of the commotion, they finally got their boarding passes and board the plane, escorted by the 10 burly officers. The crowd were enjoying the scene while it last. Customer service in a socialist leaning country; can’t fire them and no incentive to make it better.