course
Principles of Economics

Apr 2021

This will be a somewhat non-typical econ class. If you like rigorous proofs of everything (which I think shouldn't be a big part of Principles anyways) or if you like well-organized lecture-y lectures or if you like exam questions that are like cookbook math or textbook econ (for which you just plug in the formula), this may not be the class for you. If you enjoy dark humor, take Prof. O'Flaherty's class. Dark humor is a big part of life, and econ is about life. Be prepared for dark humor in class, in homework questions and in exam questions (this one will make you frustrated since we are too stupid to understand that scores don't matter). I would say that taking this course didn't make me fall in love with econ, but it's nice to know that I'm not the only one that sometimes think about econ/world problems in that dark-humor manner. Nonetheless, his lectures are still structured and clear in the most part. Sometimes he rambles, but if you follow along, it probably just resonates with your own rambling in the head. I took the class online, it's nice that he didn't ask for synchronous participation.

Apr 2021

If you are willing to put in the work, I highly recommend Professor Gulati's class. Most of the more negative reviews on here have some truth to them, as the assessments are difficult and there are many topics covered. In addition to this, some of the classes do run over, which would be my only true complaint about this course. Setting that aside, I have learned more from this class than I have learned from any other class I have taken at Columbia. The lectures are extremely engaging, and I can say with certainty that I and Gulati's other students understand the real principles behind economics better than students in other sections. This is especially important for me as I am an econ major, and I would recommend all econ majors to take this class for sure. That being said, I would advise against taking this class as a fun elective given the workload and would suggest a more seminar-style economics class. Overall, Gulati is a professor who definitely cares about his students and wants them to succeed, provided they are willing to help themselves as well.

Jan 2021

I really don't understand the level of vitriol directed at Musatti on Culpa—she's very kind, her classes are very consistently structured, her exams are fair, and she is usually readily available to help students (and very responsive to email). For some, weekly activities before class may be tedious (and offer a poor tradeoff in terms of time invested vs. points towards your final grade) but they can be helpful to remain conceptually engaged with the material as it gets more technical. As we learn in micro, we all make tradeoffs based on our preferences ;) If I have complaints about her, it's that she can be a little bit disorganized and sometimes will have typos in her problem sets, but if you approach her respectfully about that kind of issue she usually takes the feedback very well. Also, she can tend to rush at the end of class, so it's really important to keep your focus through the whole class and to go to recitation to catch any material she didn't get to. She (and her TAs) post VOLUMES of useful info on courseworks that go a long way towards the problem sets, and if you take good notes in lecture and attend recitation you should have no problem with PSets or exams. PS, review Calc III material before taking Micro.

Jan 2021

Dutta is a solid lecturer and knows his stuff. While his lectures may be dry, he speaks clearly and thoroughly answers questions. However, Dutta doesn’t record his lectures, and he also introduced pop quizzes in Fall 2020, so attendance was pretty much mandatory. The exams were synchronous, so some international students had a tough time. Outside of lecturing, Dutta had little to no involvement with the class. His TAs handled all the homework, recitations, office hours, quizzes, and exams. The graduate TAs write the exams, so I strongly recommend regularly attending one of their recitations. The undergrad TAs were the most active on Piazza, but they weren’t as experienced. Overall, this class felt like a pushover until the final. Dutta’s section is definitely easier than Gulati’s, but I still learned a lot. Just be prepared to study like hell at the end of the semester.

Jan 2021

Overall, the content isn't overwhelming but there is a significant mismatch between the depth of the text against the professor's expectations and a variety of other underlying issues that will challenge even the best student's ability to succeed. For starters, each lecture intentionally ran 20-minutes over the slot, and students were forced to attend multiple weekend sessions without advanced notice. This dynamic added a minimum of 10-hours worth of lectures, all of which were "fair game" for exams and not reflected on the syllabus. Arguing that people are "soft" for griping about this added workload is asinine, especially during a pandemic when many students are attending from different time zones. In addition to two lectures a week, recitations are available - I would agree with others that the lectures and recitations were minimal value-adds, if only because the exams are set to a higher difficulty level. The five problem sets were straightforward and the ten pop quizzes were manageable. Reading is on the heavier side (~31 chapters), because of the aforementioned glut of content being crammed into a single semester. The added wrinkle is likely confined to the online environment, but this semester saw the first student in the history of the course finish with a perfect score on the quizzes, the highest mean in the history of the course on the final (which was also ~12 points higher than the midterm mean that was proctored through Proctorio, unlike the final), and an overall mean that was at least 7-points higher than previous semesters and I suspect also a record-breaker... All of which is open to interpretation, but is nonetheless especially frustrating when you have no guidance on the curve and the grades in Canvas aren't accurate. Your best bet is to take it P/D/F and uncover. All in all, regardless of your grade, others are correct to point out that you will learn A LOT in this course. Gulati is a good guy who loves Columbia and a fairly solid lecturer who moves fast but with a low degree of empathy to what seemed to be many students expressing difficulties with the pace and delivery of the course - his occasional stoppage tantrums over a few Zoom cameras turned off in a 300-person class bordered on the absurd. One other thing to keep in mind, this course is a feeder to the b-school concentration and the difficulty level is clearly by design - some of which is definitely overkill and part of the effort to curb grade inflation.

Jan 2021

Overall, the content isn't overwhelming but there is a significant mismatch between the depth of the text against the professor's expectations and a variety of other underlying issues that will challenge even the best student's ability to succeed. For starters, each lecture intentionally ran 20-minutes over the slot, and students were forced to attend multiple weekend sessions without advanced notice. This dynamic added a minimum of 10-hours worth of lectures, all of which were "fair game" for exams and not reflected on the syllabus. Arguing that people are "soft" for griping about this added workload is asinine, especially during a pandemic when many students are attending from different time zones. In addition to two lectures a week, recitations are available - I would agree with others that the lectures and recitations were minimal value-adds, if only because the exams are set to a higher difficulty level. The five problem sets were straightforward and the ten pop quizzes were manageable. Reading is on the heavier side (~31 chapters), because of the aforementioned glut of content being crammed into a single semester. The added wrinkle is likely confined to the online environment, but this semester saw the first student in the history of the course finish with a perfect score on the quizzes, the highest mean in the history of the course on the final (which was also ~12 points higher than the midterm mean that was proctored through Proctorio, unlike the final), and an overall mean that was at least 7-points higher than previous semesters and I suspect also a record-breaker... All of which is open to interpretation, but is nonetheless especially frustrating when you have no guidance on the curve and the grades in Canvas aren't accurate. Your best bet is to take it P/D/F and uncover. All in all, regardless of your grade, others are correct to point out that you will learn A LOT in this course. Gulati is a good guy who loves Columbia and a fairly solid lecturer who moves fast but with a low degree of empathy to what seemed to be many students expressing difficulties with the pace and delivery of the course - his occasional stoppage tantrums over a few Zoom cameras turned off in a 300-person class bordered on the absurd. One other thing to keep in mind, this course is a feeder to the b-school concentration and the difficulty level is clearly by design - some of which is definitely overkill and part of the effort to curb grade inflation.

Jan 2021

Lecture introduced concepts, TAs would go over it in more detail during recitation, you can find the necessary info for psets in the textbook, and to study for tests I would simply read the relevant textbook chapters. It is super straightforward, and the tests were very reasonable especially if you're quick with math.

Jan 2021

I’m speaking from the perspective of someone who has had no econ experience before. I chose to p/d/f Principles and ended up with a mediocre grade, but I think if I retook it I would know how to do better. I don’t think it is impossible to get a B+ or above, but there’s a lot to do in order to get there. The long textbook readings are important if you have taken no econ classes prior to this. But, because there's SO much information, you will not be able to absorb everything by skimming if you’ve never seen these terms before. If you don’t understand them prior to class, you might be confused in lecture because Gulati doesn’t spend a ton of time defining every single term for you (there isn’t time for that- as someone else mentioned, he tries to cover a LOT of material in a short amount of time). The readings are not easy, but the good thing is that you’ll leave the class feeling familiar with lots of terms. Another problem I had was that because Gulati moves so fast, it was hard to keep up with his lectures and cold-call questions. He flipped through Zoom pages to cold call people, so be prepared for that. I never raised my hand but was called on several times in the semester. Also, because I tried scribbling my notes down so quickly, a lot of it ended up making no sense if I didn't review them immediately after class (which I didn’t always do…). That was annoying because after trying so hard to jot down everything from class, most were of no help to me when I was reviewing for exams. So, if you want to understand everything from the lecture, you have to review the information after class before you forget them. Towards the end of the semester, many students were saying how they wished he would post the lecture recordings- he finally listened and posted what he had (although there really weren’t very many). Because of that, I think there’s a chance he might start posting some recordings for the virtual spring semester (which would really help soooo much), but I’m not sure. Although Gulati is strict and can be intimidating, I don’t think he's a mean person. The class can get pretty discouraging, but he is a dedicated teacher; he hosts virtual lunch events, puts in the effort to find guest speakers, and spends his own free time to teach us (although this can be a bit annoying because sometimes I just want a break on the weekends). I don't suggest taking this class if you have a lot of difficult classes that semester. If you’re prepared to be hit by a lot of work, you can expect to leave with many takeaways. If you’d rather just take a more manageable, average class, consider looking elsewhere.

Dec 2020

Gulati hosts mandatory weekend classes and extends regular classes by up to twenty minutes every week. Even with this extra time, most of the course was self-study. Half the students chose to P/F. Some people, to my knowledge, created complaint forms against him. Personally, I scored an A- in the class, but if I had to take another Econ course, it would be with someone else. Gulati is good only if you are up for a challenge.

Dec 2020

He’s okay. I took his class during COVID, but he never recorded his lectures which in my opinion was a bit inconsiderate, especially for the international students. Personally, I read the textbook more than I paid attention to his lectures because the textbook is really what ends up being tested on during tests and hw. His lectures can be engaging, but also can be off tangent sometimes, which leads us to not cover stuff that we are expected to know from the books. His midterm was pretty straightforward, but his final was definitely harder. If you are truly interested in economics, maybe try Gulati's class, but if you are here just for the requirement then this class will probably be okay. I’m an econ major but I still found his class ok since the textbook was well written. The workload is pretty manageable, it’s only the tests people worry about since the midterm and finals are together abt 75% of our grade... overall, if you are willing to read the textbook word for word and not rely super heavily on the lecture, you will be fine.

Dec 2020

He is a really good and funny professor but the workload is a lot. If you are willing to do the work and study then definitely take this class because it will teach you econ really well.

Dec 2020

Man is the GOAT. Enough said. So caring for his students, goes the extra mile to make sure you get the best education possible.

Dec 2020

This class was pretty good. I liked the way the professor adapted to the online format and his pacing was good. He tied the concepts into important themes such as climate change and the pandemic which made class more interesting. I also really liked the TAs and I thought they did a very good job of solidifying concepts in recitation. I found the second half of the class to be much harder but not unreasonable. The course very much so follows the textbook.

Dec 2020

Professor Gulati is a good teacher and really knows the material, but he sometimes goes too fast in class and covers a bunch of materials in a super short time. I had to pass/fail this class. The class is built for people who knew that they were going to major in Econ, not really for non-majors though.

Dec 2020

I think people who criticize Gulati are being way too judgmental/soft. Yes, the additional Sunday classes were not ideal but no other professor shows this amount of dedication in helping their students get a thorough and sincere understanding of the subject. As an international student who is used to stricter methods of teaching, I was grateful for this class because Gulati clearly outlined what would be expected of us, had an extremely organized schedule and gave us enough time to do Problem Sets. If you don't want to major in Econ maybe this class is not for you, but for an Econ major this course creates a really solid foundation for you to learn further. As someone who took Econ for four years in high school and covered the same amount of material in 4 years instead of 4 months, I can genuinely say that Gulati manages to communicate a HUGE amount of concepts effectively in such little time. This isn't an easy A course and Im averaging a B+ but this is easily the course I've learned the most in over the classes I am getting A's in this semester. Most importantly for the people who are complaining I think y'all need to learn how to be grateful for such a sincere professor who genuinely cares about teaching.

Nov 2020

I think while Professor Noor had good intentions and was a nice guy in general, his class was pretty dry and uninteresting for the most part. Nonetheless, he taught the necessary materials, and for a non-econ major I thought he did an adequate job at introducing the discipline. Weekly required recitation, but you could choose the section that best fits your schedule. My one gripe with Professor Noor is how he handled the transition from in-person to online in the Spring 2020 semester. He made it even harder to pass the class after we were sent home, saying that we had to get above a 60% in both the micro and macro parts of the course. First, people who had maybe failed micro before we were sent home but were really hoping to redeem themselves in the second half were just screwed. Secondly, those who had extremely rough transitions couldn't rely on their hard work in the first half of the class to pull them through. Implementing a harsher requirement, while I understand the logic behind it, seemed extremely counterintuitive and simply kind of cold-hearted during that time. Lastly, we had to print out the 36 (!!!) pages for both the midterm and final, and then scan them in one by one to gradescope... which was just... not it. If you're taking Noor during an in-person semester, go for it! But if you're considering online, just make sure you're prepared for a class that is very poorly suited for the online format.

Nov 2020

I highly regret taking this class, regardless of what his cult followers claim.I took principles as a junior (p/d/f )to understand a very different 'genre' of academia and to engage in a different subject from my major-- entering the semester entirely open minded to the experience. (Furthermore, despite being an outnumbered, humanities major, I have a background in math so did not find such aspects of the material especially challenging). I do not care he is famous, he can be a very difficult...and at times, mean teacher. I worked extremely hard, put in many(!!) hours a week, but really his insensitive attitude towards struggles associated with covid were un-acceptable. Various individuals complained regarding his rapport during this period. Classes almost always started at 8:30 ( ten minutes early each session), he was rude to various students in class under the guise of humour, did not record the sessions (which is detrimental to the learning of students without access to good wifi, often linked to socio-economic dividse...), and announced mandatory weekend lectures only a few days before (approximately 4 times). The midterm was brutal, with an average of 58-60% (cannot remember the exact numbers), and if incorrectly graded there is very little sympathy with regards to regrading. In fact, this entire class can be clearly defined by an overwhelmingly elitist lack of sympathy. The one benefit of zoom, and gulati's fancy connections, was that Kasparov came to talk...but then again one can always watch a youtube video (zoom is pretty much the same experience in a group of 300).

Nov 2020

I personally did not enjoy his class, yes he may be a nice person, however, he is not the best professor. What I did to prepare for the exams, is solely by reading the textbook (which in my opinion is highly overpriced at $200+), and attending weekly mandatory recitations. His lectures are literally him going on tangents and wasting time answering questions which I feel like should be left for recitations. He always says "I'm not gonna go over what was already covered in your textbook". His midterm exam was also unreasonably long, literally like 20 pages(only 5 multiple-choice problems and the rest were word problems/short answer), and he expected us to finish it in a class period. For the midterm, by the time class ended, 90% of the class were still in their seats because no one was able to finish the exam. So many people told him that the time given was not adequate for completing the exam, and he said he would make sure to make improvements for the final, but still made the final like 30 pages long. I'm someone who always is the first to finish exams for all of my classes here at Columbia, but his exams by the time I finish it, I do not have any time to double-check anything. Also, I don't like how he collects our emails and still sends us emails from his mailing list despite some of us already left his class more than a year ago.

Sep 2020

Honestly one of the worst classes I've taken, which is unfortunate because Waseem Noor is extremely approachable and genuinely cares about the class. The problem sets were ridiculously hard and when I went to different TA's, each of them had different answers for the same problem. The textbook was really the only saving grace. The midterm was literally the day after spring break w/ no review session & extremely long. The final was ridiculously long as well. I would literally start a problem set the day it was assigned and spend about six hours a day for the entire week and a half we had to do it working on the problems, and sometimes get through half of one question. Again, Prof Noor is extremely sweet & smart but I don't recommend this class at all, ESPECIALLY if this is the first econ class you have taken.

Aug 2020

A rambling lecturer who likes a bit of leftist propaganda. He uses TopHat to make the class interactive – a huge distraction that takes away time from the class. I honestly learned more economics from Investopedia and ACDC Econ.

May 2020

Amazing professor. He is entertaining, smart, and is very generous with his time. I do not understand how people think he is tough. He expects you to know some of the material, but whenever somebody just said "I don't know" he was very nice and said it was ok. You will not regret taking this class. In the final lecture he said how he always looked forward to Monday 8:40 am, and we should all follow carriers where you could not wait for Monday to come. This really shows in his teaching. One of the best and most passionate professors you will ever have. If you want to major in Econ, take this class!! It will make you love economics. Tbh, even if you don't major in Econ, take this class because Gulati will give you a solid foundation of everything you need to know to understand Economics. Again, I cannot overstate how great this class was. Just enroll in it and see yourself, you can always drop.

May 2020

He's a good teacher, but the material is super boring when you get to the macroeconomics part of the semester. His homeworks and tests are unfair and badly graded, which can be very frustrating because trying to apply logic doesn't work; he just wants you to spit out whatever he said in lecture. His lecture style is fantastic though, even if he's a bit stringent. I took it during pandemic times, and he was the worst at transitioning to online and he forced students all over the world to be up at ungodly hours to do stuff for his class. That being said, he did take advantage of online by bringing in a lot of awesome guest speakers, so that was cool.

May 2020

A very engaging lecturer and I can guarantee you'll come out of the class learning a lot about economics. The pace he teaches at in-class is very fair, yet the midterm and final is definitely harder than the problems gone over in class. After reading previous culpa reviews I imagined this class to be easier than what I expected. Definitely not impossible to get an A (25-30% get an A, but granted there's many smart people in the class who know the content well.) Gulati's exams are structured in such a way that simply knowing the in-class examples and textbook definitions are not enough to get you past a B. You have to really know the content inside and out, and understand how to apply it to new types of problems. Don't expect him to be a kind professor- he is sometimes rude, but generally just wants the class engaged. To do so, he cold-calls students, has pop quizzes, etc. Overall, a high quality class but get ready for the Gulati's somewhat-harsh nature and the above-average difficulty of the exams.

May 2020

***If you are capable of dealing with the 8:40am timing, TAKE THIS CLASS! This is the single best course, with the single best professor, that you will find at Columbia University. Gulati is not only an incredible, eloquent, and comedic lecturer--he is also thoughtful and adaptable, capable of changing important structures of the class entirely to what suits each individual class the best. He may have a reputation for being hard and intimidating, but that is for people who do not do readings or homework before class. If you simply do the work assigned to you, which is, to be honest, not even that much, you will succeed in his class. You have to come in with the right expectations. This is not an easy A. This is not a class where you will have a lot of 1-on-1 time with the professor. This is not a class where you can just be a wallflower. However, this is a class where being an active, engaged participant results in great rewards. If you work hard, this is definitely a class you can do well in. It's a class that **everyone**, not just Econ majors, should take. I should mention that my time in Gulati's class was over Zoom. He was the only teacher whose class was as good, if not better, over Zoom than in person. Gulati actively sought input from the class over how the course should run, he brought in world-class economists, past students, and businesspeople as guest lecturers, and adapted his midterm and final to fit the Zoom structure. While his pop quizzes are annoying, they aren't a big contributor to the final grade.

May 2020

Choose a different professor. Seriously. His classes are ok, but they're not engaging at all and it's super hard to pay attention because he can go off on tangents that you couldn't care less about. Problem sets are on the less manageable side– you should start at the very least a week in advance. Prof. Noor makes recitations "mandatory" – they took attendance before we went remote, not really sure how they did it after (you still technically had to watch the recordings if you couldn't attend live). Especially after we went remote, he spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME answering questions at the beginning of lectures that could easily be asked and SHOULD BE ASKED in office hours. Obviously it's great that he wanted to take time to answer people's questions especially during this questionable economic climate, but the amount of time he spent instead of actually teaching us the material we were going to be tested on was ridiculous and annoying. And the exams. Our exam was meant to be the Tuesday before spring break, but due to COVID stuff it ended up being moved to the very first day of classes after spring break. It was INSANELY LONG and so unnecessarily difficult, especially considering that our review sessions didn't really happen (it was our first Zoom session ever and half of it was spent talking about COVID) and it was our first day of working from home. When asked about the exam and telling us about the results, he said that it was exactly what he wanted the test to be like– long and on the more difficult side. The final was exactly the same, except even longer and even more unnecessarily difficult. Manz also told us the final would be available in the "Files" section at the start time, but lo and behold it was in the assignments tab instead and cost many students precious testing time. ALSO, he was my only professor this semester who made us take a timed final in a specified window- all my other profs let us take it in a window of our choice and trusted us to spend only the allotted amount of time. Finally, not eco-friendly at all. For both the midterm and the final, he had us print a redacted version of the exam beforehand, write out our answers on the redacted version while looking at the unredacted version once it was released on Courseworks, and then scan and submit each and every page we had printed. Completely unnecessary, a waste of time and paper. Why not just do it online??? I don't understand. In short, take someone else's class. I honestly think I might've taken Gulati 840 instead.

Jan 2020

Professor Noor is an excellent professor who will make sure you actually get something from his class, with a few small downsides that I wouldn’t let stop you from taking this course. He is a very open, friendly, and approachable person and professor. Even though this class had several hundred people in it, he made a genuine effort to learn people’s names and get to know them. He encouraged students to speak up in class, but, unfortunately, he did sometimes call on random people when no one was raising their hand, which was a little nerve-wracking. He also hosted at least a dozen lunches for students where he, a TA, and several students would have a meal and chat for a few hours. I really enjoyed the one I went to, and he remembered my name and what I talked about from then on. His classes were well-structured and easy to follow, and his teaching method was very engaging. Everything was done on the chalkboard. He wrote most important points down, but some of the most important points were the things he said out loud but didn’t write down. I would recommend listening for these points because they often helped make the big picture clearer. He began each class by reviewing what we learned in the last class, which was also very helpful in constructing a big picture of all the concepts we were learning. Most of what he taught could be found in the textbook, but he sometimes included extra concepts or left certain concepts out, so I found it was very advantageous to go to class. He had a rule against laptops and phones in class, but tablets were fine. (If he sees you on your phone or laptop, he will call you out!) He emphasized the intuition behind every topic he covered, which gave me a very concrete understanding of economic concepts. He tried his absolute hardest to make lectures interesting and interactive, and it was clear that he was passionate about what he was doing. His TAs were excellent and held about 10 hours of office hours every week, but office hours and recitation times got changed a lot at the last minute, which made it hard to plan ahead. He was also very open to constructive criticism. After the first midterm, we spent a huge portion of the next class period discussing what we liked and disliked about the class so far. Someone said that the problem sets were too long; someone else said it would be helpful if the corresponding chapters in the textbook were announced before each lecture; and someone else said that they would prefer if the the weekend readings were due at 2:00am rather than midnight. All three of these issues, among several others that were brought up, were quickly addressed by the professor and his TAs, and the next problem set was shorter (but still challenging), a list of every chapter in the textbook we would cover in the course was posted online, and the due date for the weekend readings was pushed back. I was amazed and touched by how receptive he was to our feedback. The workload was fair. His problem sets were long and challenging, but they were doable if you went to class and read the textbook. He strongly encouraged working in groups, and I would encourage that too because some of the problems were very, very difficult to do without help. I would also suggest going to office hours to get extra help on the problem sets. One small note -- in the first two problem sets, there were many errors in the questions. They were corrected once students pointed them out on Piazza, but it was frustrating to work with. I expect that, after his first semester teaching, he and his TAs will be better about this. He also assigned short responses to 2-3 articles/podcasts over any weekend where there wasn’t already a problem set assigned. These readings were always short and fairly recently published. They served as introductions to the topics that would be covered in the next class. I enjoyed them a lot because they gave me an idea of how the concepts we were learning could be applied to the world outside class. He also posted four self-monitored quizzes for practice. His exams were very similar to the quizzes and problem sets. The midterm was a little long but it was all familiar material. His final was very, very long, and I heard many people didn’t finish. However, it was similar to the midterm in that it didn’t throw anything new at us, and the problems were formatted very similarly to the quizzes and problem sets. Overall, I would highly, highly recommend this class. (Keep in mind that I got an A.) It was easily the best class I took this semester, and I think what I’ve learned will be valuable to me for the rest of my life.

Dec 2019

Having never taken a single course in economics, I really believe I learned a lot in Dutta’s class! The lectures were not extremely engaging, and basically covered the textbook chapter. Recitations were completely useless, and I stopped going after the 3rd week. The problem sets were very straightforward, but lectures did not cover the concepts— reading the textbook was required to complete the psets. The midterm was very fair, and the psets were great preparation. The final, on the other hand, had a 20 point question that was NEVER covered in class, in the text, or on psets— the mean on the final was 61%. If you can, I recommend taking this class P/D/F; Dutta makes the material understandable, and it is a very informative class.

Dec 2019

If you want to major in econ, take his class. I promise you that his teaching is worth the 8 o'clock classes. He clearly lays out his notes on the board, and there is little problem keeping up the pace as long as you did the reading. The problem sets can be a bit hard but most of questions (similar ones if not exactly the same) can be found online. His tests can be hard with raw scores averaging 60-70%, but practice tests are super helpful and the curve is generous. An overall raw 80% should translate to an A. It's not easy, but if you are on top of things, getting an A or even A+ is very doable. Overall, just a great class and a very lovable professor.

Nov 2019

Basically, if you have the chance to take Intro to Economic Reasoning at Barnard or Principles of Economics with Gulati, do it. Principles is the class that will make or break you, no doubt, and Noor's teaching style doesn't help. He's a nice guy (big dad energy), but his explanations can be kind of dry and confusing, even if you're paying attention 100% of the time. He didn't tell us where we were exactly in the book (he had published a sort of schedule in the syllabus, but he didn't stick to it), so we had to do some guesswork based on the syllabus, and sometimes we were right, and sometimes we were 2 chapters behind. He didn't update us until after the midterm, so now although we do know where we are, we have to read ~2 chapters a week to make up for the confusion. The midterm was a lot like the problem sets he gives, but the problem sets themselves are poorly worded and include things he mentioned once in class that isn't even in the textbook. He also tells us to work in groups for the problem sets, but because this is, you know, a huge lecture, we don't really talk to one another, so unless you're extremely sociable or know someone beforehand, you'll be at a loss. The TAs are extremely helpful and reteach everything we learned in a week during recitation, though, which helps. Also, the course is heavily math-based, so if you're into that, go for it, but the math isn't taught that well, so you kind of end up developing your way of solving problems. If you have scheduling issues with exams or accommodations, he isn't accommodating unless someone like ODS/CARDS is holding him accountable, but that could have also been just a one-time, just-me issue that I had.

Nov 2019

Gulati gets both extremes for reviews, but I think this doesn't really capture what he's like! -He is really a nice guy, he just puts on a tough front / likes to tease people -The class is not difficult if you read the textbook and go to class. Reading the textbook might take about 4 +/- a couple hrs per week, but I'd expect to spend that amount of time on any class to adequately learn the material. He goes over what the textbook has said in class, so class doesn't feel fast anymore if you aren't learning it for the very first time. Gulati incentivizes reading the chapter before class because he has a few pop quizzes (one is dropped, they're chill). -Problem sets are not hard if you've read the textbooks and gone to class! Plus there are always office hours and discussion sections. I had no econ background but committed to reading the textbook for the first half of the class and found it to be average difficulty. The second half of the class I stopped reading as religiously and had a little bit more trouble figuring out psets and studying for the final, but still not bad. I would choose Gulati over others bc he explains things well, he knows how to make his class interesting, and I came out of the class with a good understanding of basic economic principles that I can still remember a year later.

Jan 2019

OMG this class was a disaster. So many people said this class was easy, but it is NOT an easy A. Or an A class at all. He runs through material so quickly, that its impossible to keep up. Two chapters a week. He's a good lecturer, but just drowns you in information. The practice exams he gives are so much easier than the real tests. Keep that in mind. And the problem set grading is really random, depending on which TA did it. You can't contest a grade, so even when you have the right answer on an essay question, and they just skimmed it and marked it wrong, its too bad for you. I've heard the other Econ section is way easier, even if the professor is not as good a lecturer. You should probably take that course.

Dec 2018

Meh. I really wish I had taken this class at Barnard or with Gulati; I was fairly interested in economics entering this class and the class sort of knocked that out of me. Dutta is a decent lecturer; sometimes he'll ask questions and he's always open to answering questions during the lecture, but everything he says is easily found in the textbook. The recitations are kind of useless too; they're not mandatory and are mostly dedicated to going over problem sets. Towards the end I stopped going to lectures (and I only went to the first 3 recitations) and I did fine in the class.

Dec 2018

If you are an incoming freshman seriously considering majoring in Economics, this might be the class for you. If, however, you are a senior in any non-math or related subject of study (re: humanities), DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS. I was hoping to gain a familiarity with economics and everyone told me to take Gulati because his lecture style was worth the extra work. Personally, I found him to be incredibly obnoxious and condescending. His willingness to humiliate students perpetuates the cutthroat Columbia academic culture in a very unhealthy way. I have no idea how so much ego can fit into such a tiny man (seriously, I saw him in Nike tennis shoes once—he has smaller feet than my 5-year-old nephew). His lectures were not that great—I didn't find the notes I took in class to be very helpful study materials. This is the only class where I read the book from cover-to-cover and I still only got a B- in the course. Part of that was screwing up on my midterm but most of it was his ridiculous questions on quizzes and tests. His sentences are very poorly constructed and his answers are counterintuitive. Once I found the opposite answer to the same question online—wtf? Even the TA's could not figure out the correct answers. I pitied them more than fellow students because Gulati treated them so horribly, yet every recitation I attended was a complete waste of time. Asking them questions (via email or in real life) often ended up confusing me more. At several points I was unsure if they had ever taken an economics course in their life. Unlike economic theory courses, you must have strong mathematical skills to truly understand the material. No calculus is required, yet there is a bit of advanced algebra. If you haven't taken a math class in years (like me) you might be at a serious disadvantage. I would also like to mention something that no reviewer has yet to comment upon—the price of this course. Owning and reading the textbook is absolutely essential, as there's no way of passing without it. The physical copy was more than $300 and the rental ebook was $180. For many students, these costs are prohibitive to taking this course. Gulati could not have cared less as, despite his invitation to spend Thanksgiving with him, he's the epitome of coastal liberalism. This is an obvious statement as he's an Economics professor at Columbia but its worth noting. An elitist tone evaded every one of his lectures and he clearly thinks of Columbia as the Best School Ever. In terms of what I learned in this class, the first half on microeconomics was interesting and the last half on macro was terrible. Even though I took this class pass/fail, I was anxious that I would not pass. Overall, the curve is very generous and upped my grade about 20%. Yet I attended every class and read every chapter, and still got a pretty poor grade. Part of this is no doubt due to my crappy math skills and lack of enthusiasm for the subject. But, if you're someone who can't handle a B (or even a B+) I'd take another professor. Probably between 10-20% of the class got an A, which isn't too bad, but it's a 200+ person lecture. For everyone who found him charming and hilarious, his jokes are scripted to appeal to snobby freshmen who are sooooo glad they attend this school. I'm not saying taking pride in, or even liking, Columbia is a bad thing. When the only way to show this pride is to embarrass the person sitting next to you for giving an incorrect answer at 9 am, it's disheartening.

Nov 2018

Is there something wrong with this person? Musatti should be mentally evaluated

Jul 2018

An overall decent class. Was never blown away or deeply disappointed. Came having taken high school economics and left with an A. The professor is overall respectful and straightforward. One caveat, the practice midterm was infinitely easier than the real thing.

May 2018

Class covers both micro and macro which helps if you're like me and have no understanding of econ before. The professor tries to make students interested by linking topics to real world discussions - while his lectures could be interesting, they are a bit slow as he tries to make you think about things and then apply those to other scenarios. You could learn what he teaches in two hours in 20 minutes of reading the textbook. The class is not hard - most people I know who did well read the book, most I know who did badly didn't read the book and just tried to memorize facts. Don't memorize facts! Memorize trends and causality between economic concepts. He's one of the nicest teachers ever and is very passionate, but going to lecture should not be your primary source of learning. The recitations are SUPER helpful - the questions they go over are very similar to the midterm and final and are a good source of practice. Going to office hours for homework help is also very useful - some of the TAs are extremely intelligent and clear There are two quizzes in the year, which are open note open computer and are multiple choice in the recitation section and have almost no impact on your grade. There's a curve to around a B-B+ that's pretty generous.

Apr 2018

If you’re taking this class as a nonmajor looking to learn a little bit of econ, fulfill requirements, go ahead. Ronald Miller is a pretty good lecturer, but he doesn’t deviate from the textbook too much. You can not go to class (which many people did, seeing as it’s an 8:40) and self study and still learn everything from the class. We didn’t really cover macro in my class, but we got a good foundation of micro. If you’re looking for the ~experience~ and if you’re willing to put in effort, I’d recommend Gulati. I was satisfied with this class as my one and only econ class at Columbia, but I’m sure if I wanted to further my study of econ, I would’ve wanted to take Gulati.

Apr 2018

I really don't think he's as bad as the other reviewers say he is. Granted, he does like to tell many anecdotes, but they always relate to what we're learning (even if it's loose). As a person, he's one of the nicest professors and hosts lunches at Faculty House. The most important part about this class are the TA recitation sections. The TAs teach you so much, and the recitation problems, problem sets, and especially the practice midterm contain many problems that will appear on the midterm and I assume the final too.

Jan 2018

He's not the most amazing lecturer, as other reviewers have pointed out, but IMO he's easier than Gulati for Principles of Economics. 1. He covers easier material than Gulati does. For example, when I was studying for the midterm, I asked my friend for a copy of Gulati's practice midterm. But Gulati's practice midterm was way more in-depth and covered more material than our own practice midterm (this situation was reflected on the actual midterm as well, or at least from what I anecdotally heard from my friends in Gulati describing their midterm). 2. He gives a pretty generous curve. It's even possible to get an A+ in his class (which is super rare) as long as you get 1.33 SDs above the mean (I think that's what the cutoff is). So while everyone basically fails the midterm and final, you will have solace in knowing that everyone around you failed too, and it's just a question how much worse you did in comparison to your peers. I had a pretty good math background and only a high school economics (not AP, just regular) background coming into the class. I didn't think the class was too hard. But if you do take the class with him, get a good TA/recitation section #shoutouttoarpita.

Jan 2018

I am a SEAS student. I took this class to fulfill a requirement. I got an A. I agree with all of the reviews below me in the sense that his lectures are absolutely useless, he is rude/condescending, and the overall quality of the class is low. In spite of this, I STILL recommend you take this class if you are not an Economics major (i.e. not looking to actually learn Economics) and just looking to make a quick A. Lecture: The key to doing well in this class is NOT wasting your time in lecture. I went to class for the first month, sat in the front, asked questions, and it was completely useless. Wout is incredibly pretentious and does not make an effort to understand your question or help you understand. There's a bit of a language barrier (he has an accent), but I don't think that's the main reason he comes off as a complete d-bag. To do well in class, just READ along (the chapters are short, concise, and very straight to the point), go to recitation (this it the MOST important thing to do in this class), and go to OH if you are stuck on the problem sets. Problem sets: I put about 5-7 hours of effort in for this class every week there was a problem set. They are so-so in terms of difficulty. To do a problem set, I would read the corresponding chapters in the textbook, take a few notes, and then I would do the problem set itself. When I got stuck, I asked my friends for help or went to OH. OH is useful if you know who to go to. Some TAs will not give you the answer, some TAs will. The quizzes during recitation: You can talk to other people in the recitation for help. Everyone helps one another and shares what they got. Pretty easy. The exams: Alright, this is where my review differs from other people. I found the exams easy because the questions on the exam are EXTREMELY similar to the problem sets and the recitation material, especially the recitation material. A fair amount of questions on the exam were straight out of the recitation material (again, this is why going to recitation is important). I understand that most people did not have the same experience as me, but I think that's because they never figured out how to finesse this class and continued going to class and underestimated how valuable recitation was. I'm an average student, I'm not super smart or particularly hard working, I was just able to do well in this class because I found out what worked. Do not take this class if you are actually looking to learn. However, if you are just looking to fulfill a requirement I would take this class.

Jan 2018

My least favourite professor by far. His lectures are dry and he makes easy concepts difficult to understand. His quizzes are ok - medium to hard - with TAs often marking work down for no reason (students have to then go back and get it remarked to see it go up 80%...). His course breakdown is 50% exam, and the rest assignments and quizzes. I would very much steer clear of Professor Millers classes. You will learn very little, get an average stamp for your GPA and wake up way too early (840 lecture).

Dec 2017

Please do not take this Professor's class. He both starts and ends class late, he rushes through all of the material and tries to get everything done instead of throughly teaching everything, he doesn't give any examples, he yells at students when they give wrong answers even though he did not teach the material sufficiently, he mislead students about the midterm by making the practice test and problem sets much easier, and so much more. This class did not make me feel as if I had a substantial background in economics. He is also super boring. However, the TA, Arpita Saluja was a lifesaver and taught the material well.

Nov 2017

This guy is a mixed bag. He tries to teach well but often fails (maybe its because of his thick belgian accent and trouble speaking english) but mostly because his lectures are pretty much useless. The recitations help you on the midterm and final which are all you need to care about. but damn are his midterms and tests hard.. like so much harder than the problem sets noone knows how to prepare.

Nov 2017

Do not take this class if you want a future in econ or enjoy econ at all. I came into this class loving econ after taking AP macro and micro in high school. However, this class was confusing, taught poorly, and frankly much too hard for an intro class. The professor is nice and quite funny in lecture, but lacks the ability to explain concepts which are fundamental to having a solid foundation in econ. He introduces concepts and ideas as if you already understand them; he simply glazes over them and expects you to follow. (I had prior econ knowledge and struggled in this class, so I really can't imagine how you'd get by without any.) I personally attended every lecture, but he posts all his powerpoint lectures online, so it's not that vital to attend class, nor is it necessary to ever buy/open the book. I would say that if you find a good TA, go to the recitations and their office hours, since Wout is actually v unhelpful and rude when you go to his office hours and refers you to the TAs anyway. The problem sets are not insanely hard or harshly graded, but challenging given that the lecture is very theoretical and the problem sets are more empirical. In the same way, the midterm and final were quite difficult and honestly unfair. He tested concepts which were not introduced in class or addressed in the recitations. Overall, your basic annoying Columbia class. Large lecture, sub-par teacher, and a class that leaves you feeling stressed because your entire grade is determined by 2 hard af exams.

May 2017

I very seldom review professors since I don't usually have anything to say, but Brendan was an exception to the rule. I think he's incredible. He beats around the bush a lot and goes off topic, which is endearing and at times a bit annoying, but I think mostly he's just trying to make points about the material that fly over peoples' heads. Cocky kids who think they're geniuses come in with the mentality that they're going to learn how the economy works and make millions of dollars trading on Wall Street. They hate him because he doesn't deliver the goods they want so that they can study everything, commit it all to memory, and ace the test like they could do if it were a chemistry course, retaining all of this information like it's a fact of the matter. The course is designed to try to make people understand that there is no fact of the matter. Economics is a tricky beast with very few real "theories" akin to what you would learn in a hard science class. In the problem sets and tests he forces you to think about these theories and more importantly what they really mean in practice. The problem sets force you to conceptualize them and understand what they mean, but more importantly that they could also not mean that thing at all if you think about it a certain way. He makes a lot of self-deprecating humor and says that he doesn't understand this stuff; but this is the subtle way he implies to the class that he doesn't totally understand this stuff, they don't understand this stuff, and nobody really understands this stuff because it's always being falsified and reformulated as the economy changes. It's painfully obvious to me why so many kids don't enjoy Brendan's class. It's a conflict between intellectuals like himself who like thinking about economics, and career-oriented people chasing success who just want to take the theories and go do something incredibly dangerous with them so they can make lots of money. He knows the kind of students he's dealing with, so instead of giving them what they want he tries to teach them what they need to know so he doesn't end up being implicated in the next Manhattan Project of economics. Anyway, amazing professor. Extremely subtle but brilliant. Not for the Donald Trump types who want to go to Columbia and get a BS education in economics, but there's an incredible amount about economics that you can learn if you come in with an open mind and figure out what he's trying to tell you. He will never shove anything down your throat, and his point is often very different from what he says. Just like in the world of business where a huge chunk of his students end up. Most people hate him, I love him, so I guess I'm just an idiot and don't understand anything about economics.

Jan 2017

Lecture-based class with a discussion section, which for the most part reviews the problem set and occasionally review what was discussed in the lecture. His lectures are okay, not stellar nor terrible. He knows what he is talking about, and you can learn most of the information from just reading the textbook. The only thing he changes are the examples he uses, i.e. Joe's Coffee. The first half of the class is dedicated to Micro, the latter to Macro. Macro definitely the most challenging of the two. This was his first year teaching Principles, so maybe next year he might do better. The TAs are pretty friendly, although most people did not go to the discussion section that I had. As a result, they're not mandatory and not much use.

Jul 2016

Worst professor ever. Do yourself a favour and just don't him. Just don't. He's a rambling piece of mess AND also has a shitty curve. The class is curved to a B-, so the majority of people I know, despite working their asses off, ended up with a B (which pulled down their GPA). So not only do you not learn anything but also end up with a bad grade. Don't take him.

Jun 2016

Professor Gulati is one of the best professors I've ever had! Teaching: Gulati is clear, concise, eloquent, and has an overall very effective teaching style. He obviously knows the material, uses no notes but misses nothing, knows how to steer the class towards where he wants the class to be and knows how to improvise when it doesn't go as planned. Accessibility: surprisingly accessible after class, in OH. Quickly responds to emails. That said, he kind of expects you to ask the TAs course-related questions. General: most importantly, Gulati enjoys the interaction with the students. He truly cares about the students personal opinions (or at least acts like he does really well). He enjoys teaching and it's both fun and demanding being in his class! If you want to stay on top of your game in this class you have to do the reading before class. If you do that and revisit the material while learning for the pop quizzes, an A is very doable.

May 2016

gulati is an asshole. and this is what makes him an amazing professor unlike many other professors, his only goal is to make sure that you actually learn the material. cramming for these exams is impossible. he is not afraid to call on random people to answer questions during class, so everyone has to come to class prepared. at the end of the class, though, you will realize that you really have learned a lot. you dont just become book smart in econ, you become street smart. tbh i got a B in the class and it dragged down my GPA but im not even that mad because i really did learn a lot. if you want to really learn econ, and dont mind waking up for an 8:40am class twice a week with a heavy workload, this is the one for you. but if you just want to learn normal econ, take a different professor or if you want gulati but dont want your GPA to reflect that you took gulati, pass/fail the class.

Jun 2015

Musatti's a really sweet person, with an Italian accent that you'll either find endearing or annoying, but alright as a professor. Just alright. This is one of those classes that if you just study the textbook and not go to class, you won't miss a thing (except stories of her personal life). Lecture is pretty straightforward. However, most classes she'll only cover half of what she says she'll cover in the beginning of class. She does have some pop quizzes in lecture, but they're all more or less "collaborative" (aka you take them with the entire class, including her) and she drops the lowest one. Problem sets are easy, sometimes badly-worded. The midterm is easy. Final's definitely tougher though. This is partially because Musatti's good with Micro (the second class she teaches), but pretty bad at teaching Macro, which composes more of the final. Don't think just because you did really well on the midterm that the final will be as easy. Recitation is helpful, but not necessary. I didn't attend a single recitation (except to pick up the midterm) and didn't feel like I missed anything. I had never taken a single Econ class in high school before this, so I worked harder in this class than most people probably did. If you know any Econ beforehand, you'll be so set. I agree with previous reviews that say if you want a good grade with little work/stress, take Musatti. If you actually want to learn (and also struggle with your grade), take Gulati.

May 2015

The negative reviews on Professor O'Flaherty are a bit exaggerated. It's true that he talks about the children aka the cats a lot and words the problem sets/exams in vague ways that can require online searching because we did not cover it class. He uses Piazza to clear up wording, but doesn't always actually bridge the gap and requires you to go to TA's office hours to make sure you ace the problem sets. I scored on the average for the first midterm mostly because I couldn't understand what was being asked of the question. Luckily the second midterm and final were made into take home exams and actually helped me in learning a lot trying to answer them because it become a research project about interesting Economic topics like the Water-Diamond Paradox. Just another thing that was not covered in class but I was fortunate enough to stumble upon online. On the positive he send the class weekly email blasts about what will be covered in class, recitation, and weekly times articles that are on current events regarding the upcoming lesson plans. He brings a good sense of humor to class and if you sit up front you can get some good dialogue with him to clear up things. This kid Salim sat up front and wouldn't stop raising his hand to asks questions. Although sometimes annoying he did ask some good questions and make some of the more boring lectures a bit less of a snore fest. Overall, the class was enjoyable and didn't hurt my GPA like I heard Gulatti would, nor was it hard to understand because of a thick accent like other Econ professors.

May 2015

This course is reasonable in its difficulty. There is a moderate amount of material. The math content of the course is very small; anyone with a passing familiarity with algebra should be fine. In fact, if you know calculus, you are going to be frustrated by how naive the math in principles is. But overall, if you read the book, attend recitations, and attend class, you should absorb most of the material. Lecture itself is amazing; Gulati is a great teacher. He teaches the material with enthusiasm and clarity. The only drawback to lecture is it's time -- he perennially schedules the class at 8:40 am. You can only do well in this class if you attend lecture. A fair portion of your grade is unannounced quizzes at 8:40 am sharp. In addition, Gulati's coverage of the material diverges from the text from time to time, so in class notes are a necessity. Do not take this class if you are not going to attend lecture and pay attention; Gulati will chastise students for cell phone use or sleeping and makes everyone answer questions. Conversely, if you do want an engaging lecture, he does not disappoint.

Apr 2015

I have never once given CULPA reviews the benefit of the doubt until I took Brendan O'Flaherty's class. If I could turn back the clock and take a different professor, I would do so. I have never met a more inarticulate, Harvard Ph.D in my entire life. His lectures can be interesting and occasionally humorous, but he will put you to sleep. My biggest concern: His problem sets. He is absolutely horrible at phrasing questions and letting you know what he wants you to include in your answer. He lets you use Piazza to ask questions, but his advanced age is evident in his use of the website. His internet grammar makes the average YouTube troll look like an articulate, well-informed member of society. And the way he answers questions on Piazza is cryptic and makes just as much "sense" as the question he asked in the first place. Pro: Because his problem sets are absolute bullshit, they're easy to knock out in a few hours if you use Google, but good luck getting the same results on the test. He will justify any grading mistakes he makes in the most ridiculous way possible. He doesn't shut up about his cats.

Feb 2015

Gulati is a fantastic professor. His lectures were interesting and engaging enough to get me to class each morning at 8:40 am even during the dullest material. His class is intense, however. There are several pop iClicker quizzes, two difficult exams, and four problem sets throughout the course. He seemingly goes into the material at a much greater depth than the other professors teaching Principles. If you are looking for a fantastic experience learning a lot about the basics of Econ, Gulati is your best bet. If you just want to get through Principles as quickly and painlessly as possible, another teacher might be a better option.

Jan 2015

Insomniacs, rejoice! Fuck Ambien - Musatti is the best sleep inducing medication out there on the market: her tedious, uninspiring, and convoluted lectures - especially her macro lectures - will help you fall asleep within five minutes of her opening her mouth. Still, you should beware of side effects. Everything on and about the planet pisses off Musatti, and she will scream at students who (unsurprisingly) do fall asleep in her class, show up late to lectures, or even try to leave the room to take a piss. Yet, Musatti unconscionably still boasts to her students that she's one of the few professors at Columbia who actually care about teaching, as made evident by her typo-ridden and terribly worded problem sets that teach students more about proofreading than about economics. If you're dumb enough to take Musatti's class, you should attend the lectures, not to take notes but just in case she takes attendance - oh, sorry - I meant just in case she gives a pop quiz. (FYI: She'll tell you all the answers to the quiz anyway.) Exams are easy. Midterm is slightly harder than the final, but the final covers more shit, so make sure you at least skim the book. In sum, I learned more about economics from Khan Academy than I did from Musatti. I guess I'm the kind of guy Will Hunting would call dumb for dropping Gs for an education I could've gotten for free on YouTube. Take Gulati.

Jan 2015

Literally atrocious. He just spoke gibberish and incorrectly did Algebra for the entire lecture. I often found myself trying to take his sentences and reconstruct them in French, vainly hoping to make sense of his lectures. He blasts through difficult concepts and does not do a good job of explaining simple ones which be belabors for days. Do not take this class. I feel robbed of a semester of my life after this-- I did not learn economics at all but got an A- because everyone else was just as clueless. not even reading the textbook helps.

Dec 2014

Professor Salanie creates questions for problem sets and exams that can not be solved through the use of the textbook that has been assigned. This would not be so great of a problem if he was able to clearly articulate the material during lectures, but instead he uses circular reasoning to come to questionable solutions (if he ever does reach a conclusion). He is very difficult to follow and does not appear to come in to class with any specific plan of what he wishes to express, which would explain why he often goes off on tangents and rarely defines even the most basic of concepts. Although Principles is apparently supposed to teach us the basics of economic theory, the class taught by Salanie is entirely based off of math and its applications, which is very difficult for those of us who have no background in economics which would allow us to understand the underlying concepts. Essentially, the only people who do not seem to be having extreme difficulty with the course are those who have already taken both macroeconomics and microeconomics courses already. The TAs are extremely competent, and fully responsible for saving my grade. Because the textbook is so far from the material that we are tested on, the only useful resource for the class are the TAs.

Aug 2014

To be honest this class was not the most enjoyable. The professor is nice and tries hard but lectures were pretty dry. I mostly ended up reading the book well instead of going to class and came out with a pretty good grade anyway. Recitation was not that useful either. Averages were pretty low and the curve was decent. Weekly Problem sets got harder as the semester progressed but were doable if you don't mind spending some hours on them plus refer to the book. Exams mostly consisted of questions very similar to problem sets. I would recommend this class to those who like to learn from the book, probably not worth your time actually attending class.

May 2014

Professor Zaniboni's new (and apparently may not be returning next year), but he was a strong professor and really knew how to convey information well. His slides were strikingly up to date (often including information from less than a month ago), which added some relevance to the class. He was at times disarmingly funny, and he was, in general, a very strong lecturer, which made a potentially-dry class interesting. I hope he comes back next year, he's a good choice, even if he doesn't have the all-star name of Gulati or Musati.

Apr 2014

Musatti is a very polarizing professor. Very many absolutely love her, think she is just the cutest, funniest professor. I am not in this camp by any means. Yes, Musatti sprinkles her lectures with personal anecdotes, jokes, and all-around hilarity, but at the end of the day I know more about her personal life than Economics - for instance I recently learned in class that her family has 3 iPads, and her kids really enjoy them (!!!!!). Later that day I spent multiple hours talking over the book with a friend in Gulati's class, trying to learn all the terms that were on the homework but not covered in class. If you've taken econ in high school then this is absolutely the class for you. Musatti will provide a basic enough understanding to remind you of most of the terms, and the book can fill in any blanks. If, however, you are relatively inexperienced in the field, you will gain next to nothing from her lectures, and find yourself struggling to understand the book, which, although very comprehensive, is dense and sometimes difficult to parse. Some of the material she doesn't get to is supposedly covered in recitation. Unfortunately this material tends to be some of the most important, and is not actually covered. Stay away from the TA MeeRoo - his grasp of English is barely 6th grade level, and is completely unable to answer questions. Don't take this as a review from someone given poor grades either! The workload is not terrible, and most can reasonably expect a relatively easy A or A-. If, however, you want your A to represent an understanding of the material, stay away. On a final note, if I still have not persuaded you, I must say that, if you are prone to headaches, I would recommend wearing earplugs to class. Musatti's accent is not kind to the ears.

Jan 2014

I've never taken an econ class and I don't have much of an interest in econ, so I really did not know what to expect walking into Zaniboni's class. Since I've never taken Musatti or Gulati's classes, I don't know how Zaniboni compares and whether his class is "better" or "worse" than theirs. Zaniboni does a good job of breaking down concepts so they can be explained in a very simple manner. His lectures are very clear and focused on understanding the concepts themselves, which is great, although they can be a bit dry at times. Unfortunately, I found that his lectures were not very applicable to the homework, since he does not really address the mathematical side of econ. The textbook was a lifesaver. In some classes, you can get by with only attending lectures and not using the textbook, but that was not the case here. Thankfully, the discussions (recitations) were fairly useful in that the TA went over problems that were very similar to the homework and was very open to answering homework questions. The midterm focused on micro and the final was not cumulative and focused on macro, which was a definite plus. The final was easier than the midterm. However, the TAs actually grade the homework, which is out of 5. You have to be perfect for a 5/5. One error is most likely a 3/5 and anything more than that is a 1/5. On the bright side they did not take very long to do. Maybe I'm just not an econ person, but I feel like I drifted through this class without really knowing what was going on. Zaniboni is very approachable and seems like a nice guy, but given the choice I would probably try either Gulati or Musatti.

Jan 2014

Her lectures are tedious and her obsession with class-etiquette is annoying. That being said, the textbook is informative and covers the information more in depth than her rambling lectures. She also releases a bunch of practice materials for the midterm and final exam, so even though her lectures are pretty bad, there's definitely plenty of material you can use to study. She released detailed statistics on the midterm, but I still have no idea what statistics for the final look like. I guess everyone takes this class if they have to, and I'd say Musatti is easier than Gulati (at least from what I've heard). Gulati is probably a better teacher, though, so if you actually care about learning a lot of economics, I'd take it with him instead. If you're just more interested in getting a good grade and doing minimal work, Musatti is the way to go.

Dec 2013

Gulati is an engaging teacher who will really make you enjoy economics. He has a great sense of humor and makes his classes very interactive. He taught microeconomics very well, and did an OK job at macroeconomics. At the end of the class, you will have be able to read the WSJ or NYTimes and understand what's happening economically in the world, which is very empowering. As an engineer, I can tell you that the knowledge gained in this class made me feel practically intelligent. You don't often see that in science classes where applications of the complicated yet mind-blowingly clever things you study are often esoteric. He is sometimes merciless and arrogant, but it shouldn't affect you most of the time - just don't sleep/text in class or do something stupid on tests and you will not have to ever deal with him personally. He also isn't very responsive to students. You can't really talk with him or ask him doubts since he's always really busy with his FIFA career - that's what the TAs are for. Tests and grading are the biggest drawback of this course. Gulati's class is harder than the other Intro Econ classes. Period. 14% of your grade is determined by stupid in-class pop quizzes using the devices of the devil - iClickers. You have to answer 6 questions on topics he may not have covered yet with only 30 seconds for each. This was a really ineffective way to get everyone to attend lecture and read the textbook. It made class very stressful though since I often didn't have time to read the textbook before class. The midterm was hard. He definitely should have given us more time. Problems on his sample tests were harder than stuff covered in class or problem sets. The final was slightly easier because it reused some questions from the sample finals. It was still hard though. If you can get above 80% in the midterm and final with 5/6 on most of the quizzes, you should be able to pull off an A. The best way to study for this class is to make summarized notes when you read the chapter the first time (so you don't have to read it again - because it's impossible to read all 27 or so chapters before the final) and then read your class notes and these summaries before exams. Gulati generally gives out 4 practice tests before the midterm and final. Do these - they will help you immensely. Take this class for Principles of Economics! Gulati is definitely harder than the other professors, but you will learn so much more and actually enjoy the subject.

Dec 2013

I would highly recommend this class... if you want to be entertained for an hour and fifteen minutes of your day but learn little about economics. While I will admit that Professor Gulati is intelligent, personable and engaging, his methods of teaching are highly inefficient. Half of the class is spent by him telling stories or asking hypothetical questions that never seem to have an answer and only leave you more confused. He will call on 20 people to give an answer to one of these questions and waste a lot of your time in the process. If only half of that time was spent on actually teaching the material the tests might have not been so stressful. Gulati leaves large amounts of the material for you to learn on your own or attend recitation session and hope for the TA to fill in the gaps (mine was terrible and never did). His tests were difficult and confusing and usually covered a lot of material in depth that was never mentioned in class or merely glossed over. If you plan on taking this course be prepared to read the textbook and struggle through some painful exams. Good luck.

Dec 2013

Coming from a student that had never taken any form of economics before, I actually loved Musatti's class. I didn't know what to expect from econ before the class started but walked away fascinated. This was in part the work of Professor Mussati, whose lectures I thought were very interesting. The lectures could be frustrating because she would start out going slowly and explaining everything, which was wonderful, but she inevitably would begin to run out of time and rush through the last part of the lecture, which was usually the most applicable. Still though, I sat near the front and actually payed attention and it really payed off. I never had to read the book other than to look up definitions, and did great on the homeworks and tests. You could tell which parts of econ Professor Musatti liked most because those lectures were more engaging, but that did not mean that she did not give fair attention to the other topics of economics as well, rather it just ment that we got to learn more about the topics that she knew more about. It was quite interesting to observe the ways that she clashed with the author of our textbook, because he is an obvious Republican, while Professor Mussati has a more liberal point of view. I would definitely recommend this class if you are simply interested in economics and want a lecturer who is engaging and interesting. Professor Mussati connected theory to reality while at the same time making sure we were aware of how little Principles of Economics can really cover regarding real-wold problems.

Dec 2013

How can I put this simply...? DO. NOT. TAKE. THIS. CLASS. Gulati is intelligent, I'll give him that. He's entertaining, he knows how to get a point across and all that. But he's so full of it. I mean, seriously, every single time he opens his mouth, he makes sure to make everyone feel like garbage. He grades completely arbitrarily, he doesn't have time for his students, he cares about nothing but sports and economics. I hated this class. Don't take it.

Jul 2013

Okay I'll preface this by saying that I'm not an econ major and I took this class to give econ another chance, and uh, I still don't like it. Overall, I think I'd say that Musatti is an okay teacher but not great. If you've taken an AP Econ class before, or if you're willing to read the textbook to learn, then you'll do fine in this class. But if you are actually curious about econ, I'd suggest trying Gulati instead. Classes are basically just her lecturing and writing some of the notes on the board. She likes to make jokes, so it's funny sometimes, but in the end, I feel like the lectures were pretty uninteresting. I actually feel like my high school teacher taught me econ better, and Musatti kind of made it more confusing. Recitation didn't help much either, but you should still go to those because they often cover different material than what is covered in class. There's pop quizzes from time to time and she usually announces when there will be one, but not always. Don't put it past her to do two pop quizzes two classes in a row (she did this once purposely because she knew there would be a lot of people skipping that class thinking that she wouldn't do this). The pop quizzes are open book and you can work with everyone else in the class, so they aren't really that hard. Looking back, my two regrets are 1) I should have pass/fail'd this class and 2) I should have tried Gulati. I still think that the best lecture of my semester was the one that Gulati substituted for when Musatti wasn't there. I hear the workload is heavier and the tests for Gulati are tougher though, so watch out for that.

Jun 2013

First, I would like to say that although CULPA reviews are generally useful in picking classes and professors, their objectivity is severely compromised by response bias. People who did really well and especially people who did even moderately poorly are more likely to post on culpa, reporting that Gulati's arrogance is boundless or that his class is unreasonably hard. I honestly think the best way for you to determine whether to take Musatti or Gulati is to sit in on each of their classes. That being said, Gulati is probably the most entertaining, engaging, motivating professor I have had thus far. It's a miracle at all that he is able to teach with such a busy schedule, but he also goes to great lengths to ensure we learn economics, or at the very least become invested in his class. Whether that's by hosting faculty lunches, making sure we focus in class, or hosting review sessions, Gulati makes it easy for anyone who diligently reads and outlines the chapters, attends and understands lectures, and learns the exam format to succeed. I had no knowledge of economics going into the class and I ended up getting an A because I kept up with the readings, and asked questions when I needed help. If I can do it, anyone else can too. True, Gulati is harder than Musatti but his class isn't impossible, and the experience of his class is well worth that extra effort, in my opinion. If for some reason you choose not to take Gulati, at least try to sit in on his first and last lectures. Some real eye-opening shit.

May 2013

Musatti is not a good lecturer. I learned little to nothing from going to class, and she spends a lot of time off-topic or focused on trivial concepts. Because of this, she goes over time by 5-10 minutes every class, and though this doesn't seem like much, it gets pretty frustrating over the course of 25 lectures. However, the class itself is not overly difficult- you can learn everything from reading the textbook.The problem sets are pretty straightforward and most of the answers are in the book. The quizzes are open-book and you can talk to anyone you want. And even though she says they're pop quizzes, she'll announce if you have a quiz for the next lecture. I felt the midterm was not difficult, but the final was much harder. Overall, not a great experience. I'd recommend having a more responsible friend tell you when the quizzes are and just show up for those lectures. Recitation/review sessions are fairly useful because the TAs focus on the important concepts. Just read the book before the midterm and final and you'll be fine.

May 2013

Pretty bad class, but because it's a frequently required course, many people are stuck with it (like me.) There's no point in coming to lectures unless you want to listen to her babble on about whatever comes to her mind. The book will teach you everything you need to know except random vocabulary, but if you go to her review sessions before the exams she'll teach them all anyways. All in all, not great. If you have to take it, just read the book and you'll be fine.

May 2013

Coming into this class, I hardly even knew what economics was. I found Gulati to be an enlightening and engaging professor, but don't get me wrong – I'm not suddenly becoming an econ major because of this class. In my view, Gulati is the ideal lecturer for a class of 200 people, as his class has a ton of student participation and he's hilarious. This is the kind of class you take for the ideal Columbia lecture experience, not because you're going for a generic lecture class that is an easy A. In addition to his captivating lecture style (which is almost entirely him writing on a blackboard instead of recycling old, bland PowerPoints), what distinguishes Gulati from other lecturers that I've had is how much he actually cares about teaching. As he said when he took me and 9 other students to lunch at the faculty house, he loves to teach – and I totally believe it, because it shows. He wants the class to show up. He wants us to do the reading. He wants us to listen and have fun. And he wants us to learn. Gulati seems to do his best to improve his course from year to year, sometimes asking for student feedback about the course. Honestly, the fact that he cares that we are paying attention rather than sleeping or texting motivates me to work harder in the class. If the teacher is invested in the class, I'll be more invested in the class, and that's what happened here. This is a point that I think many CULPA reviews have neglected. Shop for a good TA in this class. You can go to whichever section you choose. I had Raph Hubbard, and he was awesome. It's also worth noting that we had Musatti sub for Gulati for one lecture, so I have some way to compare the two. Basically, Musatti's lecture was organized, but pretty much straight from the textbook. I was significantly less engaged in her class than in Gulati's. Musatti just isn't charismatic like Gulati is, though she's definitely a solid option for a more traditional and straightforward lecturer. Like I said, Gulati is the guy you take for the experience. And chill out about his arrogance, it's part of the Gulati experience, and it's pretty entertaining. If you can't stand him for whatever reason, just switch to Musatti. One last thing, it is possible to do very well in this class, even if you have no econ experience going in. It's just a matter of reading and studying hard before each exam. tl;dr version: this is the one lecture class in my time at Columbia that I didn't once check my phone once during class, and I never missed a class. Take from that what you will.

May 2013

Gulati is by far the best lecturer I have ever been taught by. He's a funny guy, and while he can be a bit pompous at times, he not only doesn't let you fall asleep but makes you look forward to every lecture. The lectures themselves always contain references to current events and, having never taken an economics course before, I felt much more informed about how the world works than I did before I took this class. Gulati holds review sessions for his exams but he definitely isn't as accessible as most of the other professors I've had, partly because he spends a lot of time travelling because of his involvement in soccer. However, he isn't the most responsive to questions even right after class - before exams, for example, he'll only help you with one or two multiple choice questions that you have problems with and as for the rest, you'll have to figure them out on your own. But if there's a question or topic that a significant number of people have issues with, he will go over it. His TAs also hold office hours every week so you can always get help then if you need it. The good part is that if you do the required readings before each class, the lectures tend to clarify uncertainties you have regarding the course material. I honestly didn't find the course painfully difficult; the exams were pretty accessible. Overall, I would highly recommend taking this class!

Apr 2013

Although Gulati is a successful, charming, intelligent man, I would argue that he is overrated as a professor. I liked his first few lectures, but by mid-semester, they seemed to get a little drier and unorganized - and it doesn't help that this is when students start burning out. We had Musatti substitute for one lecture, and this made me regret not shopping her class after sitting in on Gulati's first class. To be honest, I was set on Gulati's class no matter what because of what everyone else was saying about him, but I definitely should have also checked out Musatti to see which teaching style fit better for me. Musatti's lecture was clear, concise, and fun. She does have a slight accent, but it wasn't too hard to understand her - if anything, it's endearing. Back to Gulati - he's not bad and I do enjoy his lectures. Sometimes he seems to go on a tangent and I can't really follow his line of thinking - I find it more difficult to see the bigger picture with Gulati. I would just advise you to inconvenience yourself a little at the beginning of the semester by sitting in on both professors and see for yourself whom you like better because I just took the first advise I came across and ran with it and now realized that I missed a better option for me. Basic point: Gulati is overrated - Musatti is underrated; Gulati is a good speaker - Musatti is a good teacher.

Apr 2013

He may be (no, he probably is) the best teacher I've had at Columbia. He is a little pompous (it took a while before I saw it) but he's also brilliant and he IS in charge of the US soccer federation. if you really pay attention in lectures you won't need to do any of the readings or go to recitation section (especially if you've taken econ before). honestly, even if you took ap in high school or wherever else, this class is worth taking. gulati is AMAZING! the only bad side of his class is you get all the pre-finance econ-geeks who are each knocking each other over to answer his questions first. but you know he handles those folks pretty well.

Jan 2013

Kind of awful. Unfunny, rude, and unhelpful during office hours. Wish I had taken it with Gulati instead. I know that some of the reviews claim that her being nice is her only saving grace, but I found her tepid and personally off-putting when she was trying too hard to be funny and edgy. In short, sort of bland, not an extraordinarily good lecturer and doesn't seem to care about what she's doing. Yes, it might be slightly easier but I came away feeling distinctly unsatisfied with the quality of the lectures and the amount I had learned.

Jan 2013

I write here only to add to the previous reviewer from Nov/'12, who said it all better than I will. Shocker: I didn't find Gulati's lectures that incredible. Everyone, remember, it's just an intro course. Like Gen Chem or Intro to Prob/Methods, the material can only get so "interesting." It's the PRINCIPLES for crying out loud. Yes, there were some cool lectures, and Gulati made me laugh quite a lot. Gulati also inspired me to study very intensely. I read the book cover to cover, and if you asked me what's in chapter 9 part 5, I'd probably still be able to tell you. I literally did what was expected—read the entire textbook in less than 12 weeks. I also summarized what I read and studied that for exams. By this point, his lectures were quite boring, since I'd know where he was going with them. I went to lecture only to follow his "style" in order to better prepare myself for the battles ahead. Unfortunately, Gulati's assessments, combined with classmates' clearly disproportionate backgrounds in the material, mixed into a recipe for a GPA bunkerbuster. If MPC+MPS=1, know that Gulati=GPA+bunkerbuster. Am I bitter that I got a bad grade I most certainly don't deserve for the amount I learned this semester? Yes. Does it help that I didn't take AP macro/micro in HS years ago or whatever? No. Should I be penalized for the above two answers? No. That sums it up, folks. Don't let your pride get ahead of yourselves, and don't think that you'll become best buddies with Gulati. There was this one ass-kisser, who always piped up confidently, hands raised, and gave pretty sharp answers, but it was obvious Gulati wasn't gonna play ball with him for too long. The only plus side to this class is the several laughs you'll get because Gulati is a funny guy. And the self-entitled gleeful feeling of better-than-thou crowd mentality that is prevalent at Columbia, which I've bought out of. See, I'm willing to laugh about one grade with a future interviewer, giving them the lowdown on that professor one time. Mistake learned, no more regrets. For your convenience, abridged: *********************** I will agree that Gulati is an amazing lecturer. He will captivate you in class and will lure you in but don't let that fool you. I was mesmerized by his standing, and I thought that I would rather take the econ class with the harder professor and actually learn something, rather than having the book be my teacher. I decided I would take a B over an A to gain more from the class and have something to take away, but I was seriously wrong. I really wish I had listened to my instincts when I read the reviews of how ridiculous hard he was, but I let my pride get in the way. I thought I could handle it by doing my readings every night and even having a private tutor, but it wasn't enough. Just remember that this man has more pride than the entire class combined. Sure, we all think that we are prepared for this kind of difficulty at this type of institution, but I assure you, it is not worth it. Take the easier professor because having a higher gpa is much more important than the teacher you had. Remember, not all that glitters is gold. *******************

Jan 2013

I echo many of the sentiments in the reviews below. Principles with Musatti is a relatively easy class (NOT an easy A, or even B+). It has a few interesting concepts, and you'll feel more versed in WSJ and policy lingo, but Musatti's lectures were pretty bland save for the occasional joke about the differences between Europe and America, and they don't cover all the book's information that will be tested, either, largely due to their slow pacing. As a result, anyone who wasn't already interested in economic theory (and not just that finance internship) probably won't be after this class. Most people who weren't in sweatpants texting and doing online shopping just stopped coming to class or took turns with a group of friends, which is a fair strategy, considering that it was took over half the semester before people started getting caught handing in multiple quiz cards. The psets were short and pretty easy (1-2 hrs). Hopefully you have the aforementioned group of friends to do them with. Really, the only points I ever had taken off were due to awkward phrasing in the questions that changed their meaning. This also became a problem on the MC questions on the exams, and the grad student TAs didn't clarify much, as their English skills were significantly worse than hers. Ironically, the most helpful TA by far was a College senior who'd taken Musatti's classes before and understood that the wording of her questions and explanations for things such as "transmission channels" were pretty cryptic. Grading was meh. I don't know what the mean was curved to (probably a B?) And don't be given false hope by the large course size, thinking that there will be a few to round out the bottom of the curve; since so many people have taken this course, there are answer keys floating around, which means that even one or two checks on psets will tank your average. The exams were mostly multiple choice questions that tested both obscure information in the book and minor concepts covered in lecture, so unless you religiously follow both, you won't get above a B+ even if you do all of one. Note: 25-30% score in the A range. One disadvantage to this class (not sure if it's specific to Musatti) is that it seemed unrepresentative of most higher-level classes in the econ dept. It felt more like a humanities class with much of the emphasis on reading and memorization, so if you're taking this for the SEAS requirement, pick the third professor. Even during the more quantitative micro unit, curves were described as just "shifting right/left," and the most complex calculations were for slope. There was next to no math on the psets or tests, and many of the concepts were based on "intuition" rather than the derivations one would find in int. micro. I once had points taken off on a pset for misunderstanding a question asking how money supply changes and using the money multiplier, rather than just stating that it increases. Overall, this is great for non-econ students who are taking this as preparation for an internship, but if you plan on continuing further with professors like Elmes and Arkonac who take no BS, you may find yourself unprepared.

Dec 2012

What the hell is wrong with people. Gulati is the the definition of awesomeness. He's lectures are amazing, he is an incredible person, and one of the funniest people I've ever met. Yeah the class is not easy, but this is Columbia you fools. Go to NYU if you wanna have it easy. I went a few times to his office hours. And he was unbelievably helpful, nice, and super funny. And to the person who wrote that crappy review about him: You're talking about him being disrespectful but you fell asleep during one of his lectures??? You spoiled brat. Why don't you try talking and have someone snore when you try explain something. The only thing you got right are his awful TA's

Nov 2012

I will agree that Gulati is an amazing lecturer. He will captivate you in class and will lure you in but don't let that fool you. I was mesmerized by his standing, and I thought that I would rather take the econ class with the harder professor and actually learn something, rather than having the book be my teacher. I decided I would take a B over an A to gain more from the class and have something to take away, but I was seriously wrong. I really wish I had listened to my instincts when I read the reviews of how ridiculous hard he was, but I let my pride get in the way. I thought I could handle it by doing my readings every night and even having a private tutor, but it wasn't enough. Just remember that this man has more pride than the entire class combined. I think he gets a thrill out of being better than the rest a class, which is why his workload is so challenging. Sure, we all think that we are prepared for this kind of difficulty at this type of institution, but I assure you, it is not worth it. Take the easier professor because having a higher gpa is much more important than the teacher you had. Remember, not all that glitters is gold.

Sep 2012

True that his lectures are not the best. But certainly, he is a very nice guy and cares about his students. Because of bad culpa review about him, i hesitated to take his class at first, but i ended up getting A. and it was very easy A. Although the class' average Midterm grades was not good, he really generously curved, so actually the average was B+, which is not bad at all. All being said, I think it was definitely worth it, considering how little efforts I put in there, and the grade I got. Even if he is not a good lecturer, he does go over important things, and you can study your own that part.

Aug 2012

He started the class with two jokes about how boring economics is. Maybe I have a bad sense of humor in not finding them funny, or maybe I'm right to think that the job of the instructor for an introductory course in any field is to attempt to inspire some enthusiasm for a field. Either way, this joke might have been funny once or twice, and some of his jokes actually were, but once he ran out of original jokes (which didn't take long) and started recycling the same jokes over and over again, this class became increasingly painful to sit through. He even joked that he took a six month course on how to make Principles of Economics interesting and learned nothing from it, but honestly, I wish he could've replaced some of his jokes with interesting content that might inspire us to take more economics courses. As I read through the positive reviews, I am starting to wonder if he taught the summer session differently than how he teaches during the year. To be fair, I am not the typical student who enrolls in this course, as I am a SEAS student who had a significant background in economics yet had to take this course due to a technicality. Here's my biggest problem with the class: I've been familiar with professors slanting an entry level course towards their personal or research interests, which sometimes adds a nice touch to a course, but Professor Steinberg took this to a new extreme. Other people might not notice this because this is their first course in economics, and therefore they might not be sure what an entry-level economics course should teach (i.e. what really are the principles of economics). However, any student who knows this much will be very disturbed with the macroeconomics portion of the course, at the very least, and as a result the lectures will be painful to sit through. However, you really don't have a choice, as the exams exclusively cover lecture material, much of which cannot be found in the book. Additionally, Professor Steinberg often fails to give important concepts names (for example, during the microeconomics portion of the course, he touched upon concepts including Marginal Rate of Substitution, Technical Rate of Substitution, Edgeworth Boxes, and the Lump-Sum Principle without ever explicitly stating any of these names. I only knew these names because of my previous economics background.) and the disadvantage of not naming the concepts that are used in class is that it makes it difficult to look them up or even refer to them later. The syllabus that he emailed out to us prior to the first class seemed perfectly reasonable to me. However, as the course progressed, and particularly as we got into the macroeconomics half of the course, the instructor became decreasingly faithful to this syllabus, and that essentially is what caused the course to fall apart. For example, the syllabus set aside one day (keep in mind, this was summer session, so lectures met for two hours a piece) aside to talk about "Employment and Unemployment," which I though sounded reasonable. In reality, he spent four lectures talking about these statistics, including two on the BLS unemployment survey and two on the payroll survey. During this time, he passed out endless numbers of tables and reports to the class and explained to us why the numbers were either inaccurate or unrepresentative of what they were trying to measure. Another example of his deviations from the syllabus was the final lecture of the course was supposed to cover "Aggregate demand and aggregate supply." In reality, he mentioned that the model existed at the beginning of class, talked about it for literally two minutes, told us there would be no exam questions on it, and proceeded to spend the lecture talking about the Federal Reserve, which he had also discussed during the previous lecture. He added that if we planned to take future courses in economics, we should read up on the model of aggregate demand and aggregate supply. There were two major problems with his substantial deviations from the textbook: 1) it rendered the textbook essentially worthless, as looking through the chapters he assigned often provided no information about the material he covered and 2) his lectures were quite literally the only source of material. This second point might not be such a problem if there had been problem sets or suggested problems to ensure that we had internalized the material, but neither existed. Additionally, Steinberg doesn't make much use of the blackboard at all (nor did he use powerpoint slides), especially when he is covering material that is not in the textbook. He'll write an occasional term or draw a graph during the microeconomics portion of the course, but the monotonous lecture style makes it difficult to separate the pointless digressions from the ones that are going to be tested. This was particularly true during the macroeconomics section of the course, during which a large portion of lectures consisted of him passing out handouts full of data and reading from them to us. That being said, the exams were not difficult if you could pay attention in class and avoid silly mistakes. The midterms each consisted of 10 true/false questions (explain if false) worth 60% of the exam and 2 short answer questions (from a choice of 3 or 4) worth 40% of the exam. The final exam consisted of 10 true/false questions worth 40% of the exam grade and 3 short answer questions (from a choice of 4) worth 60% of the exam. They were essentially an exercise in regurgitating what he said and did during class. The true/false questions mostly emphasized facts, details and definitions rather than understanding of concepts. For the written problems, if the problem was a numerical one, he had done the exact same problem during class with different numbers. If it was a written question, it was something he had stated in detail during class and wanted regurgitated without any thought. For these questions, rather than asking for five reasons, we were asked to "explain fully," which is difficult to do on a topic that he spent two hours rambling about, but still there was no thought in copying the ideas that he had stated during class (provided that you remembered them). Again, the exams were your only chance to evaluate your understanding of the material presented in class, as there were no problem sets, suggested problems, reading or lecture notes that were in line with what was covered and emphasized in class. Ultimately, my recommendation is to take this class if and only if you need it to satisfy a requirement, have no interest in economics, and are willing to go to every lecture and pay attention. If you are genuinely interested in economics for any reason whatsoever, take this class with different instructor who will thoroughly present the principles of economics. If you consider yourself an independent learner who doesn't learn much from lectures, or you like to employ multiple pathways to learning material, you will find this class quite frustrating. Personally, I took this class as a Columbia SEAS student, both to fulfill the requirement and to be eligible to take more advanced economics classes. I like economics, and I believe it is a subject that everybody should take during their time at college, regardless of their major or eventual career plans. That being said, after taking this class, I question why SEAS requires all its students to take this particular course, as it is a class that requires little thought, emphasizes memorization over problem solving, and superficially treats many topics due to the disallowance of calculus in the course. As to this final point, I understand that eliminating calculus from the course makes it accessible to people of all disciplines and all backgrounds, but it also leads to superficial treatment of material. (For example, one time he wrote up a formula on the board relating quantity demands, price elasticity of demand and marginal revenue, and when someone asked where the formula came from, he admitted that he pulled it out of thin air. Then he said that it could be derived with calculus, but that we weren't responsible for that.) If a class is going to insist on treating material superficially in order to make it accessible to all students, that is fine, but such a course should not be required of students who are capable of understanding the material when presented more rigorously. Note about the assigned textbook: The instructor sent out an email a week prior to the start of class telling us to buy a custom edition of Robert Hall and Mark Lieberman's economics publications containing chapters from both their microeconomics book and their macroeconomics book. After failing to find the ISBN code on Amazon, I just purchased a used edition of "Economics: Principles and Applications" for less than $20, figuring that a textbook for such a fundamental class as Principles of Economics couldn't really be customized. I later found out that the book he expected us to buy was only for sale at the Columbia bookstore for over $150, and this customized book had no index. Therefore, I was glad I bought the book I bought instead of the one he told us to buy. The only disadvantage was the need to do a little searching when the instructor or the syllabus referred to a page number or chapter number.

Jul 2012

HOW DARE any of you even try to praise this man! He is the most vile and horrid being I have ever encountered and the worst professor I have had since leaving the womb. I cannot believe the fact this cocky man with a Napoleon complex can influence so many Columbia students too busy masturbating at the fact that they have an instructor who manages some low rate soccer organization. How dare any of you dare speak high of him, for the excrements of cows dare flow out of your mouths when you say he is awesome or exceeded your expectations. May all those who speak high of him tear your bicep and suffer rugburns as you continuously rub vigorously whilst jerking off saying "I HAVE CLASS WITH GULAT!!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOD I ARE SO COOL I AM EPIC WINNER I WIN THE INTERNET FOR LIFE!!!!!" You vile cretins, may you face the wrath and despair Gulati feels when someone who is 6 feet 5 inches tall with more fame than him walks into the room and takes the attention off him. Gulati is the worst professor in the book. Mentioning his name post-annus primeris (after my first school year, Gulati-worshippers) makes me want to regurgitate. Students boast, but his lectures are pathetic. He thinks his word is higher than God, and if you happen to doze off he will yell at you and make you feel as tiny as his children size briefs. His lectures are mediocre and nothing on his heavily-weighted exams will appear on the exams. Mostly you will hear him talk about his amazing life and his luxurious amenities, and oh yeah, actually learn economics. His exams, now, well, oh no "godly" professor can ever succeed in this ridiculous university without having exams as random and poorly graded by his brainless TAs. Exams will receive failing grades if they did not abide by his holy word, and many will suffer. Seriously, his TAs are terrible. Not only are they stupid and cover nothing of any practical use, but they just take the time to praise the golden calf and talk about how cool he is, and act condescending. Everyone whom I have met who has spoken to HIM has said that he is cocky, condescending, and just downright awful. Still, during class where you learn nothing you will see the slime balls swarm like locusts around his holy presence to ask him questions. I actually dozed off one day and had a dream that all the students in section had lined up and were taking turns to lick his ass, all while being covered in feces and yelling "OH MY GOD, I CAN FINALLY DIE HAPPILY. OH MY GOD, HIS HOLY PRESENCE HAS LET ME LICK HIS ARSE." I was then awaken by him slapping my desk, and then called by him to approach his holy throne. He began yelling at me, telling me that I had been sleeping for many classes. I objected his holy word, and he responded by telling me that I was stupid for arguing in such a childlike manner. I was so humiliated and deeply repulsed by his attitude and felt like fainting, and this was only heightened when he made fun of some poor soul who gave the wrong answer and made him feel stupid. I wanted to tear for the poor soul, but quickly left only to hear him yell at me. I ran like a chicken. All in all, this man is so vile, and you will hate his class. Save yourself and take the crazy swearing, hand-gesturing Italian lady Catarina Mussati, even though she sucks. Do not be taken a fool by all these comments of praise, as this man's fame in front of Columbia students is equivalent to the Kim family in North Korea of the Kardashians in America. Run, boy!

Jun 2012

I really do not understand why people love Musatti. People generally take her because they say Gulati has a harsher curve and the third Principles professor always sucks, so although she's not as good as a lecturer you get a better grade in the class. I'm not sure how true this is, but I have many really smart friends who got bad grades in her class (bad as in B's). Less than 30% of people get in the A range, and this can be very challenging to do depending on how smart your section is- my section had a really high average (like 10% higher than the section from the semester before) so there was less of a curve. I knew she was a bad lecturer but I didn't realize how bad until the first few classes. The first day she spent literally 45 minutes talking about opportunity cost (an extremely basic concept), using excessively long and detailed examples and stories. She feels that it is necessary to use these absurdly long anecdotes to illustrate every point she makes. The most important thing to do is to read the textbook. It is very dense and long and complicated and you need to memorize everything in it. Every graph, definition, explanation, etc. Her lectures provide a disorganized and confusing way of explaining the basic concepts from each chapter, and she jumps around different topics, never really going into the confusing material. I brought the textbook to class and read each chapter during lecture (you need to go to class to take random quizzes), occasionally taking down something I didn't see in the text. My actual lecture notes took up maybe two pages and besides the definition of two terms not in the book I didn't use them to study. After the first few classes most people didn't show up and had friends text them if she announced a quiz. The people who did show up usually did other work or played games on laptops during lecture. It's understandable that she doesn't go over everything in the book, but she barely goes over anything important. So her lectures are awful and unhelpful, which is a shame since she seems like a pretty nice woman. Then again, during my final she ignored people telling her that most of the lights were turned off and that it was too dark, talked to the TA for the first 20 minutes of the test and ignored our questions, and had her phone ring twice. She's also very picky with grading- on the midterm we had to define MRS, and I did so exactly as the book defines it word for word, but she took off a point for not including that MRS includes both public and private. Little things like that add up. Problem sets are generally straight from the textbook so they're not bad, but my TA graded very harshly- if you got anything slightly wrong you get a check instead of a check plus (3/5 vs. 5/5). The biggest problem with the homework, quizzes, and tests is the wording of the questions. Oftentimes I would have to reword her questions to make much sense of them. She tries to trick you sort of SAT test style, like she'll include a small word that many would overlook due to time pressure that completely changes your answer or she'll use very poor syntax and diction when asking a simple question. So ontop of all the stuff you need to know, you also need to watch out for tricks because here questions are not straightforward at all. The TA's grade her tests and are open about how poorly they do so- Musatti sent out an email telling the class to bring in a typed explanation of why they deserve points back- I got like 6 points back on the midterm because a few of the multiple choice questions I got right were marked wrong. I can only imagine how much they messed up our finals. My TA was especially bad. He told us in recitation that we didn't need to know the midpoint formula for elasticity, and there were at least 2 questions about that on the midterm. It's hard to know which TA to take, but know that it makes a big difference. I ended with a B+ in the class which is okay since my section had a harsh curve and I never took AP Macro/Micro in high school (this helps a ton), but that grade came 100% from trying to memorize the textbook and memorizing questions from the study book you should buy and from her practice tests (some questions asked about nobel prize winners in economics from the past few years??). Literally the only thing I learned from Musatti was pareto efficiency. My TA explained some graphs pretty well and did a good job going over the financial crisis (the text does an awful job), but in the end the textbook is your teacher. Take Gulati if possible. This class really turned me off from economics.

May 2012

Gulati exceeded most of my (very high) expectations for his class. I can't say much that hasn't already been said before, so I'll just give my two cents from someone who is an English major, taking this class for fun. Prior to this class, I have never taken Econ before. I had a very very minimal knowledge of the basics of supply and demand. LECTURES: Best part of the course, by far. I sleep a lot in a lot of my classes, and Gulati kept me awake 99% of the time (save for dozing off here and there). He's entertaining, he knows his shit really well, and he's incredibly engaging. This is a lecture class through and through but he still manages to have the students participating and alert the entire class. His lectures are a joy, and waking up at 8:30 is slightly less painful because of that. After reading through a lot of his CULPA reviews, I questioned whether or not he would be the lecturer people make him out to be -- he is. EXAMS: I did not find the exams as hard as I was expecting them to be. Perhaps this is just because knowing my lack of abilities in the area prepared me to expect the worst. They are certainly very difficult, and though I haven't taken any other equivalent here to actually compare them with, I imagine that they are much harder than the exams for other Principles classes. That said, they are very generously curved (for the midterm, the top three brackets were of the A variety, I think that was like 75%+). Gulati provides a lot of past exams for practice for both the midterm and final (at least five). I would highly recommend doing all these for studying, it's much better than rereading every chapter of the book. However, he really only posts them online like a week before the exam so you really don't have a lot of time to work with them, especially if you have other exams going on. Also, I found the actual exams easier than the practice exams. But maybe that's just because I was more prepared for the actual. PERSONALITY: I personally did not find Gulati incredibly arrogant (he always talks about the guest lecturers he gets in his Global Economy class and how they're better than him, essentially), nor did I think he was especially harsh or rude in class. If you're wrong when answering a question he'll call you out on it. Most of his questions you should be able to answer if you've done the reading, so I see no problem there. He's entertaining and I found him to be very caring. A professor like him probably doesn't have to teach an intro econ class, but he does because he loves it. He also has a series of lunches for ten students each to talk and he seemed genuinely interested in each of us. He truly cares about undergrad education, and it really shows through. TA/LAB: My TA was nice but not particularly interesting. He was pretty boring, actually, but I felt bad about not going and there is some material covered in lab that's not covered in lecture. That said, I think the question has always been whether one should take the harder but more captivating class and get probably a slightly lower grade even while putting in more work, or just take the easier, but much more boring class. I think the answer is the former, but it depends. I wouldn't trade the experience in for a higher grade, though the amount of work and time I put in would surely have garnered me a higher grade in a different section. If you are a prospective econ major, or taking the class for fun, to truly learn something enriching, take Gulati. If you are an engineer who needs to take this class because it's required, and you really don't want to learn the material or put in the extra time or effort, take a different section. If you go to a few of his lectures and think he's not for you, switch sections. Definitely going to try and take another class with him before I graduate.

Apr 2012

I am honestly in love with Musatti. No, seriously. I may have a problem. Either way, take her class. The Gulati folks are too busy jerking themselves off for being with a "superstar" in the field (read, no one fucking cares about Sunil outside of FIFA) to realize that they're acquiring the mere foundations of the field, for which a much more amiable and personable lecturer proves more apt. Surely, the additional material they supposedly glean can be just as easily absorbed by reading one or two books on economics outside of class. And if you actually care about the field and future of political economy, you inevitably will.

Jan 2012

Great Professor! She is very personable and cares a lot about her students. It is crucial for the introductory course. She tends to rush by the end of the class and holds students over time, so do not schedule your classes back to back. Obviously, you have to read the book and do 10 problem sets, but with the generous curve it is possible to earn a good grade, learn something and not to fall asleep on every single lecture.

Jan 2012

Took this class to fulfill my engineering requirement. She's an enthusiastic woman, but I still found myself falling asleep in every class. Her anecdotes can be quite long-winded and confusing, even though she seems to think that they will engage us better. Some of them are interesting/funny, but most just made me space out. Her lectures are not well-organized. Myself and others were never quite sure when to write notes and when not to. Sometimes her accent made it hard to understand certain words that were key to a concept. She doesn't really like answering questions in class, esp. because she always seems to run out of time. This also caused her to speed up towards the end of lecture so that it's hard to catch everything. Also she really hated students showing up late to class/not sitting in the middle to maximize space. I never went to office hours, but my friends who did said that she was hit-or-miss on helpfulness. Go to the TA office hours, they really help a lot. Recitations are "required" but not really. For this class, you're gonna have to read the book from cover-to-cover. The curve is not as generous as previous reviews made it out to be.

Nov 2011

Professor Salanie is not a bad teacher, but his class was completely uninspiring. He goes over the material in an organized and coherent fashion, but he speaks in a low voice and tends to backtrack so much that it's hard to stay interested. To be fair, he does try very hard to go over all the relevant material, and to his credit he gets the point across. But be prepared to read all the chapters in the book (which is very helpful, get it) mainly because you will be too bored in class to pay attention. His midterm and final are straightforward, but more math-oriented than the other Principles of Economics teachers. It's simple math, but he comes up with bizarre scenarios at times that will leave you questioning every single answer you write down. In the end the grading is fair - both the midterm and the final averaged in the 65-75 range and were curved to a B+, I believe. All in all, this is an okay class if you have taken high school economics and know most of the basics, and just want to get Principles of Economics over with. But if you are looking for an engaging lecturer that will nurture your interest in the field, find another professor.

Jun 2011

Musatti is a pretty good professor. Principles of Econ with her was definitely a good experience. Indeed, Professor Gulati might keep the audience more engaged and be more concise; however, Musatti does offer a more relaxed setting where she makes it an effort to get to know her students personally. She makes sure everyone understands a concept and if their is any ambiguity about an issue, she is always willing to meet outside class to help. Very approachable and has a generous curve. If you are looking for a decent grade, this is the the class for you over Professor Gulati's!

Jun 2011

Leaving all opinions of Gulati's personality aside, I am divided whether or not to recommend this class. I entered this class with the same dilemma most all face when choosing a Principles professor: dry and easy or interesting and more difficult? I choose the later because I thought of myself as the type of student that would not be able to self-motivate myself under a boring professor. Therefore, even though I knew Gulati's section would be harder, I thought I would still perform better than with an easier professor who was utterly dry. I am still not sure if that was the right decision to get the best results in terms of maximizing grade, amount of learning while minimizing level of effort. Unlike a previous reviewer, reading the textbook is an absolute essential to mastering the material. I don't know if he/she already had a level of econ before, but as someone who has never touched the subject before, I couldn't imagine being able to get through the class without ever reading the textbook. Sure, by the last 1/3 of the semester, I started to just skim the chapter feverishly in the half hour before class, but that procrastination showed in my quiz grades (which I consistently got 50% on). Lectures were interesting enough that I was only tempted to fall asleep once (upon coming off an all-nighter), but I must admit myself lost if I did not read the chapter beforehand. With the number of times he has been reviewed, it becomes almost needless to say that Gulati is able to engage with the material in a level that I would not have gotten with another professor. As to the exams, I think that they were somewhat fair...in the end, your grade is based on the curve so I don't think the level of difficulty of the exams really matters. However, I do think that the exams plays heavily in favor of those who naturally are more engaged in econ (in terms of current affairs). Unfortunately, I knew no econ whatsoever going into the course. Some questions were on material I doubted were ever mentioned during the course ('guy with the red wagon' really? I was difficult to even find that answer on google). I stayed fairly on top of all the material and attended all the recitations so I don't think that I would've encountered something completely foreign unless it had never been mentioned before. The grading is rather harsh but there are so many to grade, and again, the curve balances that stuff out. I guess I would advise that you try to get into Gulati's section and then try him out a couple times. If you don't think his lecturing style is all that or you think he's too arrogant, then quickly get out of there. Also, if you can tolerate dry material and digest the textbook all by yourself, perhaps it would be in your best interest to go with another professor. If you already know econ or keep up with econ in the news, then stick with Gulati.

May 2011

Professor Gulati is a great instructor. A lot of things have already been said about him. Here are my comments: -I agree that his ego can seem a bit inflated at times, and he is definitely uniformly condescending in class. If he calls on you or your raise your hand and say something wrong, he will call you out on it. Because he does this to everyone though, it doesn't seem particularly mean. It probably incentivizes you to pay attention and do your work. -Problem sets and test questions can be a bit vague at times. This is more or less the nature of Principles of Economics I believe; you have to rely on simplified explanations for everything, and thus things get ambiguous and muddled if you think about them too much. Some of the questions are also just flat out worded poorly. For example, my TA couldn't tell me what the answers to a few quiz questions were. -He is a great lecturer, and though I hate to admit it, I appreciate his punctuality and insistence on pop quizzes. These traits foster incredible levels of class attendance and lend the class a good amount of energy which is augmented by Gulati's anecdotes and humor. -The class is run very well. Problem sets are collected and returned on time, grades are posted promptly, and he gives the full gamut of statistical parameters with regards to the midterm results. (e.g. mean, SD, range, how many students received 90 and up and what that raw score curves to, etc.)

May 2011

This is a great class, especially considering you'll never use anything from Principles ever again. You have to read, that's for sure, but there's not much else to it. You learn the basics and all. If you've never had Economics before, I can see how she'd be frustrating. She's not a good lecturer and goes off topic a lot. When she does get down to business, though, she's great at explaining with graphs and numbers. There's no calculus in this class, so she's good at explaining without the actual mathematical background. While everyone says to take Gulati, I think you should save that for a higher level economics course. This class is definitely an easy "A" and a great way to pad your GPA before applying to internships after freshman year. I wouldn't fall into the Gulati trap and pass up this good grade.

May 2011

This class was okay. I knew very little about econ coming in, some I'm glad I took it because I feel like I do understand a bit more of what I read in the newspaper. Lectures were pretty boring, though. The midterm was difficult, the final was pretty easy, and the curve was generous. It's possible to get an A, but that means you have to read the textbook. The whole textbook - all 1000+ pages. If you don't think that's worth your time, then pass/fail the class if you want to take it anyway. With Musatti, quizzes were really chill. If you're looking for a comfortable environment with a professor who remembers your face and name - and loves to teach and get to know her students - then this is the right class for you. I sat in on Gulati's for the first week and had to change sections; you certainly won't get that from him. However, he's incredibly entertaining. As with everything, there are trade-offs. If I had the choice to do it over, though, I don't think I would have taken this class. I used this as my elective for the semester, and it wasn't the kind of class I'd hoped for.

May 2011

I have to agree with the review below. Professor Gulati is completely overrated and a comparatively harsh grader. There is no reason he deserves a silver nugget. In terms of teaching, student responses were usually polarized. Personally, I found him to be extremely arrogant and demeaning. He had a way of manipulating the tensions of a 130+ student class to create an environment that for me was not conducive to learning. It ultimately depends on your learning style, but if you don't do well in a tense, large-classroom environment, take another Professor for econ. Grading was wildly inconsistent and inexplicable. Partial credit is never given, and TA's don't make marks specifying what they thought was wrong - they just take off points, and Gulati is stingy about going over assessments.

May 2011

I had very high expectations for this class... and Gulati met every one. I found his lectures to be easy to follow and wonderfully entertaining-- I actually looked forward to this class. He is truly a first-class lecturer and he really cares. Go to a few TA sessions if you need to until you find a good one, as certain topics are covered in the TA sessions but not in lecture. I do not think it is necessary to read the textbook at all-- I went to all the lectures and all the TA sessions, never read the textbook, and got an A. He gives plenty of old exams to help you prepare for the midterm and final-- take advantage of that. The clicker quizzes are stressful, but I didn't do very well on them and still got the A so don't worry about it. Do the psets with a group of friends-- they're a prime example of the two (or three or five) heads are better than one proverb. I can't promise you won't regret taking this class, because I know some people do. I also know people who took it with Musatti, however, and they regret it tenfold. I truly enjoyed this class and it did not suck up nearly as much of my time as most of my other classes did. Gulati is an experience, and I loved it.

May 2011

Gulati was the best professor I've had at Columbia. He's an engaging, passionate lecturer who ensures that a class of almost 300 people feels like a class of 20 by engaging his students and making sure that everyone is paying attention. His exams are hard if you attend class only to pass the quizzes, but are possible if you take notes and do the reading on time. He is extremely approachable during office hours, and if you really involve yourself in class, he will know you both in and out of the classroom. Your grade on the exam is really reflecting of your studying, in terms of doing the reading and the practice exams. He even repeats questions from the exams to reward good preparation. Conclusion: If you like Econ and want to really learn and understand it, as well as see its applications in practice, not just theory, take this class. If you want an interesting and engaging lecturer, take this class. But if you want to breeze through because it's a prerequisite or a requirement for SEAS, and you're not really into coming to class, then go with someone else.

May 2011

I think what most people here have to do is learn to differentiate between Gulati's impressive credentials as some soccer magnate and separate that from what Gulati ad whether he was a kind, approachable instructor. Seriously, if I hear one more laudatory review that places this man on a pedestal, I will shoot myself. Okay, so Gulati's lectures were okay, but they were far from being so amazing or invigorating or breathtaking or any other adjective of praise. There were also points in his lectures where he was not clear or thorough. What people need to do is rub their eyes and remove the blindness they have towards fairly judging this man that they lack through seeing him as an impressive soccer manager who can get them soccer tickets and fancy dinners. In terms of Gulati himself, I actually had the chance to go to one of these dinners and I was so repulsed by this man's ego and lack of modesty. Just the way he spoke and behaved were a testament to how much the brownosing and praise apparent in many of these reviews had made this man actually believe that he is above Columbia and on a pedestal of excellence and honor. I honestly do think that his lectures could have been much more to the point and they could have consisted more of topics that would appear in his obnoxious examinations. Unfortunately I feel that this man had his head much too far up his ass to actually take any critique to heart. His pomp is his greatest fault... Now the exams, oh the exams, oh my god I can barely escape the trauma they gave me. They consisted of random and unfair questions that were never covered within the bindings of the textbook or his lectures and were just about as random as asking what is the capital of Myanmar or what were the countries in OPEC in 1988. No one cares. Just the fact that he chose to ask us how many countries were in whatever organization or what was the name of the leader of some fiscal organization proved how cocky this man was that he didn't precisely go through his exams before administering them and check that they were fair and void of horrid questions like these. All in all this man is so pompous, so conceited and so self-centered that I was surprised he did not bring a wine glass to class to collect his flatulence and smell his own ripped farts. Please people, forget the leader of whatever unknown soccer organization, and think of how deserving this man is as a highly rated professor.

May 2011

Sunil is probably the most pretentious Columbia professor in modern existence. His self-pride outshadows that of even Lee himself. If you want to take his class, be prepared to unilaterally praise his merits and bow before his presence at every chance. But Jesus Gulati is not only skilled but also democratic; his lectures demand full involvement (that means no sleeping, otherwise he will blacklist you for life) and his questions will make you sweat out of your ass. Despite whatever your peers or upperclassmen will praise him, know that they too have been brainwashed by his constant trumpeting of his self-worth. If you enjoy licking ass and pretending you can evaluate President Obama's economic policies, take his class. If not, you'll probably end up taking this class anyways.

May 2011

Professor Gulati is an amazing lecturer. If you have a prior knowledge of introductory Macro and Micro and want to breeze through the course. Take another professor. Gulati's lectures are great but he doesn't cover everything you need to know for the final. the TA's are helpful but it's hit and miss. His midterm and final exams are really difficult. Even if you study really hard, and cover all the material, you will find it difficult to to be at 90%+ level. My recommendation: If you want to enjoy your lectures, are OK with a B+, then go ahead and take this class.

Jan 2011

Really nice lady, as everyone else mentions. She belabors the point often times, and rarely goes in depth or adds interesting tid-bits of information. She will throw in a couple facts from the book on Midterm and Final, so if you are shooting for A or A+ you must do the reading. Other than that, quite fair and I enjoyed the course. Sit towards the front of the classroom as she remembers your faces, you hear certain things better, and you can see much easier the work she does on the board.

Jan 2011

There was this one time I stayed awake for an entire lecture. That was also the one time I chugged 2 cups of coffee beforehand. Every other time, I dozed off within the first 20 minutes and never regained consciousness until class was over. I tried to tackle this problem by bringing my DS. Didn't work. Still fell asleep. That, in a nutshell, is how exciting Desai's class was. Padma is a very brilliant economist. Her accomplishments speak for themselves, and I'd be a fool to question her knowledge. However, she's very dry and painfully by the book. She tries to remedy this by telling some 5 minute funny story every class. But at the end of the day, Principles of Economics is just a very, very boring class. The saving grace of this course is that it's not very hard. The concepts themselves are pretty straightforward. The homeworks are a breeze, the midterm was a total joke, and the final, although harder than the midterm, was not a problem. I ended up getting an A just by keeping up with the reading. Speaking of the reading, we used Hubbard and O'Brien textbook, which I much prefer over Mankiw, which has a tendency to oversimplify many concepts.

Dec 2010

Where do I even begin? How could a course that seemingly started off so well finish so disastrously for everyone involved? Let the data speak for itself. In a class of 233 people, the mean score on the final exam was a 67/100. That is an atrocious statistic. The final exam for the course was an absolutely convoluted nightmare. It was by itself a hard test and it was obviously very harshly graded by the TAs. Professor Desai even sounded disappointed in her valedictory e-mail to the class: "The mean on the exam was much lower than for the midterm [which was 82/100]--approximately 67/100." This course is not a "Principles" of Economics course. It is a "Minutia" of Economics course. You have to know thousands of definitions from the Hubbard/O'Brien textbook, and only four of them will appear on the exam. Economics Professors, if you are reading this, let me offer some advice as to how you could improve this course. 1) Do not assign as many chapters for the students to read. I could think of at least ten chapters that you could cut, and go into more detail into the fewer chapters that you assign. 2) Completely re-work the teaching assistant sections. Obviously if the mean score on the final exam was a 67/100, these sections were worthless and did nothing. 3) Don't use Hubbard/O'Brien as a textbook. It's far too detailed for an introductory economics course. Use Mankiw's "Principles of Economics." Beware, beware, beware of this course. It is difficult. Very, very difficult.

Dec 2010

I hated Professor Weiman, single worse class I have taken in my college career! He is unwilling to help students and his explanations are just plain confusing. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS WITH PROFESSOR WEIMAN, YOU WILL BE MISERABLE. The Aplia assignments were annoying and covered a lot of material that didn't show up on quizzes or the midterm/final. The quizzes were really hard and most students ended up failing them (the average for the last two were 14/20 and 14.3/20). The final exam which I just took today was really tedious and annoying.

Nov 2010

Professor Salanie's Principles of Economics class is perfect for students who've already taken AP Micro/Macro-Economics and who want to skip lectures every now and then without missing out on the content of a good lecture. Salanie's lectures tend to be bad. Really bad. He has an accent and has serious communication issues, making basic economic principles much harder to comprehend that they should be. You're much better off reading assigned chapters and using the book's examples in order to learn the principles the course is meant to teach. However, if you want an "A" in his class, you should take a very close look at how he chooses to frame questions within his own problem sets (which you're going to have to do for homework anyway), since he structures his exams in pretty much the same style. Salanie has a penchant for bringing in mathematics, algebra, and (more than anything) impossible hypothetical situations (for example, in one infamous homework, he asked us to draw the graph of a monopoly firm where the Marginal Revenue curve equaled the Demand curve) where he has no business doing so. Many problems in the homework are for the most part unintelligible and (if you read the book) leave you feeling as if you did something wrong. Where other classes averaged 80-90 percent on their midterm, Salanie's class averaged 70% with a standard deviation of 14. Enough said. Avoid this professor if you have a serious interest in economics. If you absolutely have to take a class with him because of your schedule, my only piece of advice would be to read the book, understand its concepts, and forget about anything Salanie said in his lectures when you move on to Intermediate.

Nov 2010

If you are going to take Principles of Economics, take it with Sunil Gulati. Settling for Musatti isn't an option with a teacher this good. LECTURES: Gulati is a passionate, natural, engaging lecture. He is clear, confident, and interested, a rare combination in intro classes. He knows his material ridiculously well, and doesn't have trouble answering questions about all variety of topics. He decorates the mundane aspects of introductory economics with interesting stories and significance, and doesn't just teach you concepts, but compels you to engage in critical thinking. He's an economist at heart, and in his class, you will be, too. QUIZZES: Gotta buy a clicker to take his quizzes, which are based on lectures and readings. Just stay up to date with the reading, which isn't too hard. They can have tricky questions, but the curve balances them out anyway. TESTS: Gulati gives you previous midterms and finals to go over before each test. Make sure to go over all your lecture notes, know all the terms, and go over these practice tests. In my experience in two Gulati classes, your results on the practice tests directly reflected your results on the real thing. Get an A on the practice test, and you can get an A on the real test.

May 2010

This review is for the discussion section of Gulati's Principles of Econ, Fall 2009, TA'ed by Emily Chase. Pretty much worthless TA. She teaches by the book (or her notes, rather). Doesn't help to clarity concepts for the confused students, only confuses the problem further. Can't do basic algebra. Gulati's lectures however are great. Workload: 1 hour/week. I still went to all of them (she often ends the section early), though I hardly learnt anything. All you hear is stupid people conversing.

May 2010

This review is for Professor Desai's "Principles of Economics." Professor Desai is an extremely nice person with some interesting and funny stories, and obviously brilliant. Her class, however, tended to be pretty dry (with the exception of the stories) and her style of teaching is essentially copying examples from the textbook onto the chalkboard. She doesn't explain things any differently than the book does, so if you didn't understand it in the book you probably won't grasp it in class either. Overall she seems like a nice person and there's no question that she is incredibly smart and accomplished, but I'm not sure I would take the course again.

Apr 2010

All has been said that he's a very colorful, passionate, tough, encouraging, and confident teacher. I'll just add that his loud manner never makes me bored. He's great at bringing everyone's attention. He always asks for "someone new" to answer his questions. His style of teaching always prompts me to re-think even though I feel confident from readings already; he always throws out some critical question and contribute them to the concept in textbook. Very engaging. I really like this man, personally or academically. The exam could be tough for even thouse who thinks about econ101 as a piece of cake. The midterm is heavily curve that up to only 60% will be average. Points are taken off easier than gained. This class is not really a trade-off between your time and your grade. To get an A, you neednot an inborn nature of enterpreneur but a high level of engagement in econ. But no matter the outcome of your grade, you'll never forget this class.

Jan 2010

This class extinguished my desire to be an econ major. Economics is an incredibly fascinating field, and rather than explore that we spent a semester listening to circular lectures and bizarre anecdotes. It really was a drag. I sat in the front and never missed a lecture at the cost of my will to live. Musatti is a very, very nice woman and she means well, but this lecture is as uninspiring as it gets. She gets excited about the randomest things, which is an amusing break from her lecturing. I wish I had taken Gulati despite it being a "harder" section. This was not a difficult class, but it was difficult to do well. There was only one helpful TA, and that section met at 9 am. If you can avoid this class, do it. If you want to be an econ major, don't take this class. But if you're just fulfilling a requirement and don't really care for economics, go for it. Be aware that you will always be reading the textbook.

Jan 2010

Just not a very inspiring class. The course was often a drag even though she is engaged in the material and sounds like she is excited about it. Beware that on some days she will come into class and you can tell she is not as engaged as she was last week, which as a result, produces a very boring class with very little substance. You can get by on reading the textbook, but like the poster below me, if you aren't in lecture and ACTIVELY paying attention you will miss a good deal of questions on the exams that test specifically for random tidbits she brings up in class. I found her TAs to be pretty much useless.

Jan 2010

Most of what I said has been said before. I want to reiterate that Gulati is a very colorful, theatrical lecturer (some profs are interesting speakers, but Gulati adds that one last ounce of theatricality which makes his class really unforgettable). I originally was "forced" into taking this section because my schedule conflicted with the other ones, but in the end I am glad I stuck with Gulati. His lectures are really engaging and relevant. I want to correct some early reviews in that Gulati now signs practically everyone's Add/Drop form, yes even freshmen's. So everyone can get in. Great teacher, very passionate about what he teaches, but his Principles course might be the hardest.

Jan 2010

This woman has the best of intentions when it comes to providing the best lecture experience for her students. She tries as hard as she can to provide analogous anecdotes to clarify the material at hand. Most of the time,however, she completely confuses the issue and ends up sounding crazed. This often makes for an...interesting...lecture but makes it necessary to filter out and distinguish the relevant material. I stopped going to lectures about mid-way through the semester which proved very unwise. While it sounds impressive to highlight how little effort you put into a class yet how well you turned out, and while this trend seems ubiquitous at competitive schools like Columbia, I can honestly say that this could not have been the case for anyone in her Principles class. If you did not attend lecture, you risked missing material that was not covered in the textbook or in the recitation sessions. She even had the notion to put a definition question on the midterm that wasn't mentioned in the textbook and that she had very briefly covered only once in lecture. That being said, attending her lectures is essential. The problem sets are straight forward but the midterm is extremely tricky and convoluted with no sufficient curve to compensate for its difficulty. Having excelled in economics in high school, I can confidently say that her tests require study time. I shirked studying and it came back to bite me in the ass. Her TA's are terrible. Ter-Ri-Ble. They provided little assistance when needed and only two spoke coherent English.

Dec 2009

Unfortunately, the best word to describe this class is awful. First of all, there is very little economics actually taught and you will probably not be as prepared for higher levels of economics as those who had other Principles professors. Instead of focusing on basic economics, Professor O'Flaherty would much rather espouse his views on healthcare, oil, or a variety of other issues. While this could be interesting to provide examples of economic principles or as a sidenote, those random thoughts of Professor O'Flaherty are the main focus. Also, O'Flaherty does not use the textbook at all. Instead, he provides 7 problems sets which are some of the most bizzare assignments I have ever been given as a student. The problems are exceedingly strange (as Professor O'Flaherty's examples tend to be) and it is very hard to determine what he is looking for on each one. Additionally, they are seemingly arbitrarily graded by the TA's and really don't matter at all in determining your final grade. The exams are almost as bizzare as the problem sets, filled with made up planets, jokes about his cats, and other truly strange situations and questions. Again, the tests were seemingly arbitrarily graded by TA's, and for the midterm, Professor O'Flaherty initially refused to explain what the raw score correlated to in terms of grade, and would only tell us the mean and median score. Section is slightly better, as the TA's attempt to get some economics into the course. Mine, however, was pretty unknowledgable and did not deal with questions about the material well. Also, they are not terribly useful in attempting to navigate the course, as they find Professor O'Flaherty's teaching style and the course overall as strange and erratic as the students do. Overall, the course is terrible. O'Flaherty's teaching style is bizzare and pretty uninformative with regards to the Principles of Economics. If you have to take Principles as a requirement and can't get another professor, take it Pass/Fail, which you can as your first course if you are an Economics major. That way you hedge against how erratic and unpredictable the course is and can always uncover the grade if you do well.

Dec 2009

When I was reading the culpa comments for O'Flaherty a couple of months back, I was expecting a horrible class. And it seems like it is for some people. Yes, he is probably not the most charismatic professor at Columbia, and sometimes, he can mix stuff up. But mostly, his lectures, with exceptions, are interesting and filled with very dry, subtle humor. And if he makes mistakes, he always follows up by e-mail. Yes, he talks about penguins and pet food a lot. But maybe it's because this is a PRINCIPLES of economics course. He uses very abstract examples so that you actually have to think about the concepts and mechanisms at work there. If you spend some time thinking about the problem sets, you shouldn't have any problems. And if you do, you can always ask the TAs or O'Flaherty directly. The sets are graded check, check plus anyway so it's not even such a big deal. If you think about majoring in econ, this class will definitely help you a lot if you're willing to think abstractly about stuff. The lectures are very close to current events (that's why the book doesn't get used much), so go to lecture. I had a good time and I will definitely major in econ.

Dec 2009

i wrote the following on my course evaluation for this class: -- in this class i had to come to terms with disorganized lectures (aka errant scribbles on the board), massive deviations from the book (he doesn't always explain which chapter or sections we can read from the book), and unclear explanations of material and what's covered on the exams. he's definitely a smart guy, i'll concede that much, but really needs to overhaul his teaching style (or drop out of the PROFESSion entirely--see what i did there?) -- the review written on 11/19/09 is all you need to read. i wanted to drop the class and take it again next semester with a different professor but i couldn't afford to have a wasted class for a semester. try to hold out for a better professor if at all possible i'll reiterate TAKE THIS CLASS AS A LAST RESORT ONLY

Nov 2009

Honestly, if you have to choose between taking econ with O'Flaherty as your professor and not taking the class at all, choose the latter. His lectures will either go off topic or focus on something that isn't all that important in real life economics. I think I learned more about his cats than I did anything. He rambles on at lectures, so good luck trying to take helpful notes. And if you do check his notes online, it's pretty much like he's right there talking to you, very colloquial and not helpful. Most kids in class would fall asleep or play on their computers. There were those few kids that actually did pay attention, so kudos to them. I can't speak for all TAs, but mine (Ozge Akinci) was actually pretty helpful during the required discussion class. She usually went over the mathematical aspect of things, which O'Flaherty did not do. Nonetheless: when considering principles of econ, either take Gulati (good luck with getting in his class), Musatti, or just not at all.

Jun 2009

As the other reviewers have already mentioned, Musatti is a really, really nice woman who tries very, very hard to make lectures interesting. That being said, the class can be a real drag at times and its very hard to pay attention. Sure, it is easier than Gulati's class but it can get very annoying, as the weekly problem sets have vague wording, typos and just random options to multiple choice questions. If you want a good grade, take this class, read the textbook and her notes well and you'll do great. But if you want to be engages and be actually interested in the material, I wouldn't recommend this class. As hard as she tries, she can go overboard and off track and the economics aspect is lost sometimes. Economics has been my favorite subject for years but I still found it tough to make myself go to class and try to concentrate.

May 2009

Musatti is a nice woman but she is SOOOOO boring. I went to class but I could not pay attention. I should have skipped lecture and just read the book because she is such an uninteresting lecturer. After this course I really dislike economics and I hope to never take another econ class.

May 2009

I was in Gulati's for two weeks, and then I transferred into Musatti's because of a schedule conflict. I honestly can say she's better. Musatti is charismatic, and she is funny. She litters the lectures with international wisecracks and sexual puns. When her phone rings, she blames her son's soccer coach. She throws a lot of effort into bringing out the principle concepts to the student. She helps a lot in office hours, and if you have dissenting opinions, she always is up for a brief discussion of views in her office. She brings up dissenting and alternative views of the economy often. Her accent is not a bother and is if anything, pleasing to the ears. That having been said, she sometimes wanders away from the main points in the middle of lectures. This can become annoying, but it often leads to other points, which can be a very positive moment in the class.

May 2009

Dissenting from the prior opinion, Murji is a nice fellow and always offers help but knows very little about economics itself, and he's said it in front of the class, "I don't really know what's going on with the current economic calamity" he's a good mathematician im sure though

Apr 2009

Mujtaba is the best Economics TA I have ever encounted at Columbia. He is responsible, on time, and always willing to answer questions. He is incredibly friendly at office hours and helps with the problem sets. Muj is very intelligent and explains the concepts better than Professor O'Flaherty himself. I wish I could just go to Muj's recitation section because I get more out of it than two days of lecture. I sincerely hope Muj will go on to pursue his Ph.D. in Economics & teach at Columbia someday. He has changed my life.

Mar 2009

I enjoyed Steinberg's economics class. In fact, I took Principles expecting to hate econ but appreciate the information. Steinberg's lectures were clear, informative and engaging. Some of his jokes were funnier than others, but they all helped me remember the information and took the edge off of a late evening econ course. I am now majoring in economics and have taken intermediate micro and macro. I felt completely prepared in both courses. I'd even say that the strong foundation Steinberg gave me in his intro course gave me a leg up over some classmates. The keys to Steinberg's course are keeping up with the material and listening to what he says in lecture. If something is important, Steinberg will emphasize it and repeat it. I understand that some were not happy with his exams, but if you go to class, it's not hard to gauge what he will ask for.

Jan 2009

Musatti tries so hard to be a good professor, you can really see it. She stays for more than an hour after class answering everyone's random questions and should really be credited for trying to connect with students. This being said, I feel the best comparison for Professor Musatti is with Robin Williams. The crazy, high-energy lecture style is engaging, however, it sometimes goes over the top while losing where it was headed in the first place. If effort was all that mattered, Musatti would be hands down the best professor at Columbia. I still think she's a good professor, but she's straining herself trying so hard. Regarding course material, it's pretty generic. It's economics without some of the frills and thrills that others (read: Gulati) throw in, but she does a solid job of getting it all through. The recitation sections are fairly mundane. The tests are not easy, the recommendation is to attend her review sessions which help a lot. The class curve is mild, you're not getting bumped up a huge amount.

Jan 2009

The class and the professor were both excellent. I really enjoyed going, even though it was at 9:10 am. His final lecture is really good as well. I would definitely recommend taking him. Of all the teachers at Columbia that I have had so far, he seems to be the one who cares about his students and his subject the most. In terms of sciences, professors generally care more about their research than they do about their students. Even though Gulati is a big shot, he still takes time out for lunches with his students, office hours, etc. Great, great class although quite challenging.

Jan 2009

I agree that the class was dreadful. All the lectures except for the last one on the Great Depression were dry. Many of them went off topic. He used the weirdest examples in order to explain. The problem sets (and especially his lecture notes) didn't make any sense. I ended up having to do a lot of work outside of class in order to learn everything. And by the way, the TAs were useless.

Dec 2008

Absolutely dreadful class. Professor O'Flaherty thinks he's really cool and interesting but he's incredibly boring and really random. Most of the few people that come to lecture seem to be asleep all the time. The TAs are pretty bad as well in the weekly recitation sections. They don't seem to care at all about the class and seem to find it as silly as everyone else. His midterm and final have nothing to do with anything, especially nothing to do with the reading (which is worthless, don't do it). Though the grading seems very generous in the end, whatever you do, DON'T TAKE THIS CLASS. It will drive you crazy.

Dec 2008

Professor O'Flaherty is an excellent lecturer, very insightful, funny, and interesting. He always takes time to answer any questions anyone might have. I enjoyed his lectures immensely, but the classwork was somewhat hard to follow. The book was a good read but had nothing to do with the homework. The tests were not very similar to the problem sets, and I think more than a few people were rather lost when it came to actually take the midterm and the final. I recommend taking the class p/d/f.

Dec 2008

The accent is not the problem--I personally feel that her lectures are kind of all over the place, or you don't really see where she is going till the very end. I'm actually taking this class pass/d/fail and I have a d (without any curving)---I have NO idea what I'm doing wrong but I think this is a complete oddity in the system; the course is supposed to be pretty easy, I'm just not really interested at all which has probably helped to bring my grade down. Musatti is nice though and she sometimes makes us laugh which is definitely appreciated.

Dec 2008

A bit of a douche (makes fun of students who answer incorrectly in class), but nevertheless an amazing teacher. I thought I hated Econ and now I'm minoring in it. He also really cares about teaching- he takes the class out to lunch or dinner 10 at a time at Faculty Dining Hall to talk about whatever you want. It's not as difficult as people make it out to be (I got an A, and like I said, I'm not the best at Econ) as long as you do all of the readings and study hard. Also- discussion sessions are pointless. I didn't go to any and still got an A. Definitely take this, whether or not you need to. Econ is incredibly important for anything you want to do, and he can really make you love it.

May 2008

I would avoid this class if at all possible. Steinberg is not a terribly engaging professor, so you're inclined not to go to class. The problem with that, however, is that his exams are based solely on the lectures. And the exams include at least 6 11-point true/false questions that are inherently tricky. People in this class will either do really well or really poorly (the grade distribution for As on the exams was about the same as for Cs). I would take Prinicples with Gulati.

Apr 2008

Musatti is very good, much better than some of her reviews make out. She tries to engage the class and is quite charming. She also does a very good job of explaining concepts, especially in conjunction with the textbook (Hubbard and Obrien), which is excellent. (I found it helpful to read the chapters after the lectures, everything was pretty clear.) Definitely take her.

Feb 2008

Professor Steinberg is a pretty funny guy. He knows his stuff and is an amusing lecturer to say the least. You definitely learn the concepts pretty well as long as you follow his lectures with the readings in the book. His exams only cover what he says in class and not the book, so it's a good idea to take notes down seeing as how he'll pull all his midterm questions from what he says. His midterms are okay if you listened attentively in class however the 6:10-7:25 timeslot might turn some people down. The class was curved at the end but not sure how. Take his class if you're looking for little to no work, however be warned, it is extremely easy to mess up on the midterms or final.

Feb 2008

One of the best professors I have had at Columbia. Just make sure you do the readings for every class since he covers a lot of material in a short amount of time. His final exam was very difficult but most people I know did poorly and it seems that the curve was pretty generous. You will learn a lot in this class.

Jan 2008

What I found in professor steinberg was a serious economist and a pretty likable guy but a scattered and inconsistent teacher. Lectures go all over the place, with Steinberg going off on a tangent about his days at the Fed in the middle of an explanation about a key concept. However, I found his stories and dry (read: awkward and jewish) sense of humor enjoyable. The tests seemed more concerned with arbitrarily picked minutia and definitions than overall economic understanding. This means if you took good notes and memorized them you were pretty much assured a good grade, but if you missed a class, reading from the textbook or asking his TA's was pretty much useless. This expressed itself in the oddest grade distribution I've ever seen, with pretty much equal numbers of As, Bs, and failing grades. Review sessions pointless. Little to do with what's going on in class. Overall he's no Gulatti, and you'd learn more from a few issues of the economist, but Steinberg isn't too bad of a proff. to have.

Jan 2008

Anna Caterina Musatti is a good Econ. teacher. Her homeworks do take time and effort, but they really help you understand the material. Recitations are also really helpful for this class; don't skip them! Anna Caterina herself really knows Econ. and is a clear lecturer. But never do a crossword, play hangman, or watch a movie on your laptop in this class! She'll point it out and the rest of the class will stare at you. Overall, recommended.

Jan 2008

Well, at least the grading was pretty generous. The only positive I really can take from this class was the generous curve that with a great deal of studying was pretty easy to land on top of. As for everything else: thumbs down. The lectures are brutal - although she speaks English well, it gets pretty tough to follow along after a while - especially when she introduces new material. After the 3rd lecture I didn't pay attention at all and only went to a few recitation classes - I read the book throughout the semester on my own and was able to get a good grade. Only thing that kept me in class were those 6 quizzes that she gave us. Granted, a fair amount of material is covered in class, and it probably wouldn't hurt to pay attention. If you want to get anything out of the lectures, sit up front. 99% of students in the back A.) couldn't understand her and B.) fell asleep. So it all depends on what you want. I know that Musatti's class is easier than Gulati's, but that Gulati's is much better and far more interesting. All depends on what you're looking for.

Jan 2008

I think it's safe to say that most of Steinberg's class would have liked to be in Gulati's class instead, but it served the purpose of fulfilling the Principles requirement for econ majors relatively painlessly. His dry sense of humor and sarcastic jokes added some personality to the course, which he admitted is probably not the most exciting class at Columbia. He also used to work for the Federal Reserve, so he brings in lots of interesting articles and publications that relate to the textbook material, though this information was certainly not tested. Plus, the exams weren't cumulative, so only a small amount of material was covered on each test.

Jan 2008

Great teacher! She has a bit of an accent, but you get used to it fairly quickly. Her lectures are fairly dry, but informative. You will have weekly homework assignments that take about two hours each, but they definitely help you understand the material. The midterm and final are challenging but fair.

Jan 2008

Professor Musatti is probably the most consistently up- beat lecturer I've had at Columbia. She always tries really hard to stay energetic about the topic each day and she does a really good job at breaking things down in very understandable terms. She is funny a lot of the times in class and she is an extremely pleasant person. There can be a lot of typos on her problem sets, which got a little frustrating, especially because the wording of some questions makes all the difference. This could be easily fixed though, even if it just means having someone else proof-read for her. The text book for the class is very good also, so if you consistently read the chapters assigned for each week and actually listen to what she says in lecture, you can do well in this class. Her midterm and exam were very fair, no tricks, and she gives practice exams (which you should definitely go through because the real exam follows the practice very closely). Discussion sessions for this class turned out to be somewhat of a joke, just because a lot of the more technical things that we went over in discussion weren't on the problem sets. This was a very good thing, especially because my TA wasn't nearly as good at explaining the concepts as Musatti is. Overall, I think Musatti is as good as they come, and I think with time she will get even better.

Jan 2008

I dont care how awesome they say gulati is, if you are not a math person do not take this class with him. I passed, thankfully, but i studied for the final for 3 weeks and still didnt do all that well. its like the SATS times 5000.

Jan 2008

Prof. Steinberg is a very easy-going and entertaining lecturer (he has a witty/cheesy self-deprecating kind of humour). However, this is sometimes distracting as he often jumps from topic to anecdotes to lame puns and back. I would say that his lecturing style is almost like graduate-level, as he doesn't have slides and hardly writes on the board. I went to recitation just to get a more comprehensive overview of the material. He seems to focus more on theoretical than practical problems, and since he used to be (I think) a statistician or something, he's enthusiastic about ways of collecting data. He's very open to class participation, even in a class of around 200 kids, and was willing to answer questions at the end of class.

Jan 2008

Unfortunately, Professor Steinberg thought that the Pupin lecture hall was his weekly stand-up comedy stage. Avoid him at all costs.

Jan 2008

I personally really liked Professor Steinberg. I found him to be clear and for his lectures to be engaging, for the most part. These aren't particularly difficult topics in this class, but he explained them very well. He was clearly especially interested in the basic macroeconomics stuff that comes at the end of the course, and these were his best lectures. He's pretty funny (sort of dry, off-the-cuff jokes often), and while the class time (6:10-7:25) is brutal in my mind, he made it OK. I wouldn't hesitate to take him again.

Jan 2008

This guy really knows his stuff coming from his background working for the Fed and all, but makes the information basically approachable. A little difficult, but a pretty fair teacher. On the first midterm, the class did worse than he expected and therefore the next midterm (there were 2) he added 5 points to all of our grades. He can be a little bland and boring and his same continual jokes don't get any funnier throughout the semester, but overall a very fair class. It's a good idea to get a good TA and go to all the sessions.

Dec 2007

Steinberg is funny. For the first few days at least. Then...it gets kind of old. He reuses the same jokes/phrases far too often. He covers the material capably enough, its just that students often have trouble staying awake, which is partly due to the time of day (6:10-7:30), and partly due to his teaching style. I would not recommend skipping his lectures, as his tests are based almost entirely on lecture material, which neither covers the same material nor puts emphasis on the same points as the textbook does. Also, he sometimes does not show up to lecture (two or three times during our semester), so his TAs cover for him. So, basically, take Gulati's class if you can, and, if not, well, I guess it could be worse...

Oct 2007

Steinberg thinks he's a standup comedian. The only reason he teaches the class is because he has an audience. We have started to tally how many times he says: "Is that acceptable?" "Can we agree..." "Why the hostile looks?" And also how many times he pulls up his pants. They never seem to fit. He also talks about his wife all the time or goes on really bad tangents about jokes that have no economic relevance whatsoever. He kinda looks like the penguin from Batman. He's going to pull out an umbrella one day. We're just waiting for it. In truth though, he teaches the material - but not well. Homework is EXTERMELY light and he seems to mean well and actually care about how his kids are doing.

Sep 2007

Shoshana is one of the NICEST TA's I have ever had but also one of the most helpful and thorough. The best part: she's only a junior! I am not very good at economics and social science normally, but this section really helped me get through the lecture.

Sep 2007

I really liked Prof. Musatti. She has a quirky sense of humor but seemed to make most of the class laugh. She goes through the material on a basic level, but it is definately very useful to read the book. I would recommend reading the chapter(s) before attending her class. That way, her teaching just affirms what you will already know. Principles is a very straight forward class and shouldn't be too hard for someone that puts in a decent amount of time. She is very approachable and helpful at office hours as well.

May 2007

Good professor. The first half of the class (intro. to micro) was easy, while the second half (macro.) was more involved. Her pacing of the class throughout was pretty much perfect, though. Her presentation of the material was generally good - especially the fact that she writes everything down on the board rather than using powerpoint slides. The only possible complaint is that she wasn't very approachable. I guess that's what TAs are for, but it would have been nice to be able to email her with questions and the like.

Apr 2007

Professor Gulati is the type of professor who can make students who initially dislike the subject develop a strong passion for it. He is entertaining in class, and does discuss concepts well. Basically, he has one of the best teaching skills of Professor at Columbia. Having said that, though, I have to say that his lectures and the book are too biased towards free market capitalism. Government intervention is looked at as "simply against economics." Topics like fair trade, planned economies, etc. are simply not covered. There are plenty of articles regarding the Asian fair trade literature that I have read in my Political science class, but in his class all of that literature is just "against economics." Even if he disagrees with fair trade and planned economies, I feel that he has the responsibility to cover the subjects anyway in an introductory course.

Jan 2007

Alex is the best Econ TA ever! He is really nice at explaning economic concepts, and you don't have to be shy if you have stupid questions. He's really great!

Jan 2007

I highly recommend taking this class with Gulati, even though the class is *huge* ~400 students. Lectures are always worth staying for because he makes the material relevant and funny. Much better than the alternative. Also, be sure to sign up for the lunch/dinner sessions with him, coming prepared with questions is also good. Since the class is so big, to get to know him will take a lot of extra effort outside of class, but is not impossible. However, because he doesn't always cover all the material in the lectures in sufficient depth, most of the learning will be done independently or with your TA. So choose your TA wisely i.e. go to a few TA sessions and pick the best one. I found Ben North to be a good TA if kinda arrogant and condescending. You will want a TA that knows the material very well and teaches in a clear manner rather than one who is a nice person. The mid-term and final exams will rely heavily on multiple choice, so you need to know everything. Doing the past exams will help a lot since the questions are usually recycled. The final exam will have short essay type questions, which means you need to know and explain concepts instead of simply regurgitating facts and formulae. Note that the large class size will not help with a curve because a lot of students will already know the material. Some guy got 97% on the mid-term and before the final was bragging about how he was going to beat his mid-term score. It will take a lot of work to get an A.

Jan 2007

he's entertaining, ill give him that. i dont really think hes taht great though. i did well in the class so im not saying this cuz im bitter but Gulati isnt that great. hes very full of himself when his lectures arent even that good. i liked his first lecture alot..it got me really excited about econ. but then, his last lecture was somewhat disappointing. i feel that he rushed everythign toooo much and that he didnt really allow time for things to sink in. w/e, take him if youre up for the challenge but i kinda wished i had taken oflaherty (where i would have learned the same things and i would have had to work a lot less)

Dec 2006

Friendly TA, gets her words mixed up but knows her material. Breezes through material unless you ask her to explain something. We usually get out of class early :-) Covers the important points.

Dec 2006

Makes lectures entertaining, cracks jokes, no participation necessary since the class is huge. If you read the textbook, then you'll only miss a few questions on the midterm and final. If you don't read the textbook but you attend lecture, you will do decently. If you do both, you're in good shape. Highly recommended even for non-Econ majors.

Dec 2006

Where should I start on Dan O'Flaherty? Reading past reviews, I definitely agree with most of the comments. He has a strange sense of humor and tries to relate unnecessary things to Economics (I recall examples using penguins). The lectures are dry unless he brings up obscure examples which, although they are funny, don't help you learn the material. Aside from problem sets, the textbook isn't really used because he focuses on his lectures for the midterm and final. Therefore, going to the lectures is the only real way to do well on the tests, and I would strongly recommend going to recitations too, even though my TA wasn't the least bit helpful.

Dec 2006

AARRRGH! Okay, so when I got schedule-conflicted out of Gulati, I came and read the very reviews that you are reading now. "Oh," I thought, naively, "O'Flaherty doesn't sound so bad, according to these." But how wrong I was! Start off with twenty-five minutes or so of bad jokes, followed by an hour of STUDENTS making idiotic jokes, which O'Flaherty engages rather than, I don't know, teaching economics--then a mandatory recitation section where a TA who can't speak more than a half-dozen words of English lectures me on basic math! Rinse and repeat thirty times. In my opinion, the man can't teach. He can't lecture, he can't run a classroom, and he can't write tests. The class is an hour of straight-up agony while some jackass in the back of the room asks "can chickens fly" and rather than shutting him up, O'Flaherty chats with him about it for hours at a time. Yeah, it's cute to get your students to like you, but some of us would like to cover the material without feeling compelled to tear out our eardrums. What's really strange is that his notes on the website are actually coherent and intelligent -- but you will never hear ANYTHING like that in class. I'm assuming somebody else wrote them. I hate to be this harsh. But take Gulati. Don't compromise.

Dec 2006

What a great professor. He made me laugh every lecture, something I was not expecting out of this class. He is one of the best lecturers I've ever experienced, ever, not just at Columbia, not just in Academia. If you take Economics, take it from him!

Nov 2006

Great TA! Great knowledge of the material, explains everything thoroughly, and always wears bright, cheerfully colored shirts to class. Also he's very helpful in answering questions at office hours.

Nov 2006

I don't know anything about the other teacher O'Flaherty but I can say that Gulati is a great teacher. Not amazing but definitely worth getting up at 9 am to listen to (for all you considering taking his class in spring of 2007). He speaks loudly and clearly and often makes jokes in class (sometimes at the students' expenses, all in good humor of course). As to accusations of having a large ego in previous reviews and having hard tests...not true. The average for the midterm in fall 2006 was a 72 when he was aiming for a 60 something. I went to dinner with him (there will be signups) and he is a very approachable guy and modest in person. For some reason the TAs seem to be unfair with problem sets. But do the homework and don't leave studing till the last day and you should be fine: 5 in-class pop quizzes, 5 psets, 1 midterm, 1 final.

Aug 2006

Such a dissapointment. Stiglitz was fascinating to listen to... unfortunately he never attended class (probably had more important engagements considering his fame). This left Brendan O'Flaherty to lecture who is just awful -- painfully boring and useless since he oversimplifies everything which left me feeling lost on the midterm and final. Discussion section weekly which is semi-helpful. Almost everyone says Principles is a class where you have to "teach yourself" so if you can do that, take this class. Otherwise, steer clear!!!!

Jul 2006

Gulati is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I can see how people would complain about the entertainment factor, but I think he felt like people should get the basics from the text book. I asked him about it, and this is why he requires you to read the chapter before coming to class. The grading system is extremely fair. He's very approachable, and people only seem to go to his office hours the day before the final or mid-term. He does an amazing job with 300 students. He's the most down to earth professor I've seen at Columbia (and the best so far).

May 2006

If anyone writes one more review raving about this man, I will shoot myself. Okay, his lectures may be entertaining (minimally), but the problem sets and especially exams will make you think twice. Most of the time he attempts too much to "entertain" that he barely gets in to the substance which you actually need to get through the problem sets/exams. One rule that especially got to me was the fact the he (and TAs) will not accept ANY questions on the problem sets. True, the class is huge, but this is the first class I have ever taken at Columbia to have such a pointless rule (and i'm not a freshman). One good thing I have to say is that he will give you atleast 5 sample exams for both the midterm and final, which was very helpful. But what would have been more helpful is if he shut up about what style iPod/Blackberry was coolest and actually taught something in class.

Mar 2006

Simply put, he's not the best professors I've ever had at Columbia. But he's not the worst either. Indeed, he was pretty bad for the first two weeks,(I seriously considered dropping the class) but then I began to appreciate his insights, somewhat oddball comments, and his efforts to translate his apparent genius in Economics to decency in teaching Economics. Now that the midterm is over, I actually enjoy going to class (though I always bring my textbook and read it when the lecture isn't too interesting), and I like his promptness and attentiveness. He's actually a nice guy in person. I feel bad that he's hated by so many people (read the reviews below), and that his teaching and efforts are under-appreciated. And about Gulati: I wanted to take his class but couldn't due to the schedule conflict, and I believe most of my classmates chose O'flaherty for the same reason. However, it's not that O'flaherty is too bad but that Gulati's too good, and I guess O'flaherty happens to lie in the shade of a star professor like Gulati. My closing comment similar to the one far below: take Gulati if you can, but you'll be just fine with O'flaherty. I actually decide to major in Econ after taking O'flaherty's class.

Jan 2006

I don't have too much to add to what has already been written about him, but he is definitely a unique teacher, and it is worth taking a class with him. He is witty, sarcastic, and engaging. Classes went by very quickly because they were almost like performances. He often spent long periods of time asking questions and soliciting answers from the class, then shooting down (in a funny and sometimes slightly mean way) evreyone's answers (even the ones that in the end often seemed to be correct). So, the classes were very entertaining, which was good, although I sometimes felt like Gulati put entertainment above teaching -- sometimes I left class feeling like not everything was explained as well as it could be. With that being said, I think overall he did an excellent job of covering a ton of material and making it accessible and understandable. The text book is also very good and can fill in holes Gulati leaves. Although he sometimes seems a bit harsh during class, Gulati is very nice, and sets up a ton of lunch/dinner sessions so he can get to know his students -- he learns many names by the end of the semester. He also definitely cares about his studetns and about economics and current events and does a pretty amazing job of combining wit and economics to create a class unlike any other I have taken. His class isn't always easy, but it's worth taking!

Jan 2006

This guy is a great teacher, but has also got one hell of an ego that you will first amsue you and make you think he is THE MAN. This wore off for me by november when i was definitely convinced that he was indeed a total four letter word i shouldn't type. Besides his character, he is quite energetic on stage (yes, stage because principles is a class of around 250 people) and that really helps you stay awake, even if you hate economics. He will most likely take some of his students out to dinner at faculty house because he is well aware that if he doesn't, he will probably only remember 20 students from his class. Freshman should definitely do this because John Jay is horrific. Anyways, take this course. Don't take the other section. Yea, fine, it will be easier but why sell yourself short?

Dec 2005

Why are you reading the reviews? You surely have had to have heard of this legendary lecturer! He is a great teacher. He is a great speaker and he communicates the material perfectly. He makes economics interesting. One lecture he was not there and a professor I will not name was lecturing us instead. Simply put, all 290 of us came to appreciate Gulati all the more after that day. The best part about Gulati is that he is fun to listen to. He always cracks random jokes throughout the lecture. He gets the class involved a lot for a 290 person lecture and he makes the most amusing jokes when students say rather unintelligent things. That said, this is not an easy class! If you are a non-econ person and you just want to be enlightened, the class may put a dent in your GPA but this class is worth taking Pass/Fail if you can't manage the material because just being in the room you will learn more about economics than you could in another section

Dec 2005

O'Flaherty is the worst type of economist. He is a stale thinker and exceedingly dull professor. His jokes are failed attempts to convince the class of his humanity. O'Flaherty resorts to gross simplifications when explaining most theories. For simplification's sake, O'Flaherty invented something called the "Short Run Inflation Adjustment Curve", an inadequate proxy for Aggregate Supply. He also rejects mainstream ideas, simply because it makes him appear smart. As a result, this class is useless. You WILL have to re-learn the basic theories as an economics major. His tests consist of inane questions, "True or False: Poor people in WVA will be better off if more jobs are available and the area is more proseperous". Not difficult, not even economics (just hearsay). Take Gulati if you don't want a headache.

Dec 2005

I really don't think Dan is that bad. I found him a bit dry, but some of his lectures were very interesting--espcially on contemporary issues like Chinese currency and the Bush tax cuts. While you'll be more interested in economics if you take Gulati's class, you will survive if you have Dan. After all, our class even started a facebook group in his appreciation.

Nov 2005

I know that O'Flaherty annoys the heck out of some people, but I actually find him quite endearing. He moves a little too slowly sometimes, uses some unnecessarily ridiculous examples, but it works if you're not already an ace at econ. I personally like how he focuses on the humanitarian and environmental aspects of economics, with a whole lecture on homelessness. He views the study of economics as a mechanism to make the world better, not just as a way to make money, and offers real economically sound ways to do so.

Nov 2005

he's flat out amazing, seems to love teaching and love his students. a great guy, which shows in the way he approaches his job. i'd recommend this class to anyone and everyone who has interest in econ.

Nov 2005

Flaherty cannot teach to save his life. The lectures were totally scattered and irrelevant to what we were actually supposed to be learning about. Moreover, he's SO boring that even if he was making sense,you wont be awake to see it happen. Most of my class stopped coming to lecture by the second week. If you really like econ, do yourself a favor and stay away from this class so as to not kill your interest in it. Go for Gulati! The midterm was irrelevant, and the problem sets are annoying since you have to figure them out yourself. You will have to read the book if you want to learn anything. Moral of the story- STAY AWAY!

Nov 2005

Professor Gulati is the best professor I have ever had at Columbia. Even if you are not interested in Economics, take this course.

Nov 2005

Although this may be a problematic course in and of itself, O'Flaherty is an incompetant and unhelpful professor. At best, he is a footnote to the textbook, which you will need to read to learn anything in this class. He's also one of the most boring professsors I've had at Columbia. One thing that was particularly frustrating was how the midterm did not cover class material, nor book material, nor anything we had ever really seen before. I highly recommend avoiding O'Flaherty as a professor.

Nov 2005

I've always admired someone who's able to capture the attention of an entire lecture hall of 300 students. Prof. Gulati is exactly this type of person. His teaching style is amazing, he barely relies on his notes, and his references to current events and things of actual inerest really make him outstanding. The midterm/final are hard, but if you go to class and take notes, you'll do fine. He stresses what is important, meaning he'll pause, turn to the students, and repeat again what he said slowly and clearly, really emphasizing the point, so there's no reason room for doubt as to what really counts. Everyone says, "I cried after the final/midterm", but those people spent time reading the book, instead, they should have goneto class and took notes instead of relying on the book. In the end, whether or not you get a D of an A, Gulati is worth it, TAKE HIS CLASS.

Nov 2005

I thought this class was horrible. With only a small amount of experience in economics I took this my first semester as a SEAS student. I immediately started falling asleep in class or wondering what paper clips and his new windows had to do with econ. (Trust me, he never made a relationship.) I was wondering why he was even teaching until I invited a student from Gulatti's class to visit a lecture and he said the same thing. In the end I skipped most of the classes and got an A.

Sep 2005

I'm not going to blame O'Flaherty for the content of this course. He's a bit of an oddball, but I don't think that it really makes his lectures any less effective. The lectures are interesting in that they demonstrate how an economist (namely O'Flaherty himself) might think about issues. What's really important is that you have a good TA, because it is in the recitations where you really learn the quant heavy stuff. Ultimately I have a problem with the course itself. Why is this a requirement for Economics majors anyway? It's way too basic to really prepare you for anything and the Intermediate Macro and Micro classes do an adequate job of teaching these same concepts in depth from first principles. Therefore, I propose that the requirement be cut altogether, anybody with a passing interest in the subject already knows this stuff anyway.

Aug 2005

I took the Principles of Economics course with Professor Desai in Spring 2005. I did well in the course and attended all the lectures and read the specified readings. I figure most people didn't attend all the lectures, but I found it helpful to aid in a more complete understanding of the topics. The book by Mankiw I thought was really well written. Mankiw gives many examples, and those can be quite helpful for visual learners. I think that some of the older reviews of this class say that it is an easy A. Perhaps Desai read those reviews and tightened up her class, because we weren't getting great grades at the beginning. But I think enough of us whined hard enough to get her to lighten up and take it easier on us, which I think she did. In the end I think this class is like many others. If you enjoy economics and put the time in, you should get a good grade easily. But if you naturally don't get it and/or are not interested, you may find yourself skipping classes and not getting a good grade. If you read the book alone, you may not be focusing on the key points highlighted in the course.

May 2005

Lectures were boring, and basically everything was in the book, verbatim. Sometimes she would attempt to involve participation, which would end up being some kind of degrading arithmetic question or the like... you can just read the textbook and save yourself some time. She doesn't post grades online, which was annoying for the less frequent attendees. The exams were not very difficult, and the grading is fair.

Apr 2005

Sunil Gulati is the man. Economics can be dry, but if you take it from "Sunny G", it'll never be boring. The tests are hard but it turned out that anything over 25/48 on the midterm was an "A", so it's not much of a problem.

Jan 2005

O'Flaherty almost killed my interest in economics, His lectures are boring, tangential, and useless. His exams do not reflect his lectures nor the book reading at all. Do not take this class with OFlaherty.

Jan 2005

Gulati is a great professor, will keep your attention, and he is a really down-to-earth, friendly guy. The dinner at faculty house is great and I appreciate that he makes the time for it. Despite the fact that he is a great guy his class doesnt give you a deep foundation of economics (obviously, its a principles class) and it will make you feel like you are skimming the very very surface of economics and thus I usually never understood what was really going on. The class really makes you loose confidence in yourself because despite your efforts, you realize you really know nothing. Its a tough class. I came into the class having taken an ecomomics class the year before at another institution and my grade in this class was my lowest of the semester which I found to be really dissappointing. The final is ridiculous and really doesnt reflect the class at all. I walked out wanting to cry and smoke 3 packs.

Jan 2005

Professor Gulati is a really great lecturer. He starts most classes with some kind of reference to recent news events in an effort to relate what we are learning in class to the "real world." He is always well-organized and very easy to understand, and for the most part his lectures correspond well with the textbook (more so in the micro section than in macro). Although most information in class can be found in the book, lectures are really worth going to, because he can explain in an hour 15 minutes what may take longer to get through in the book, and sometimes questions on the exams come directly from explanations of things given in class. Also, VERY IMPORTANT: his final lecture of the semester is a very enlightening look at economics, and should not be missed. Tests are fairly difficult, but there is a significant curve, so don't get scared if you think you missed a lot of things. It's important to go to class, etc, but I found that even though I kept up, serious cramming worked best for remembering all the different concepts. Also, know the graphs, what each line and intersection means. Those things are always on the tests, and they're pretty easy to memorize. He also posts copies of old tests on Courseworks, which is really helpful, and probably the best way to study.

Dec 2004

Gulati is a great/funny/knowledgeable lecturer, and you will learn a lot from him. However, beware, his tests are quite difficult. He likes questions from some intermediate econ class! I feel I do learn a lot in class (despite the huge size) but I am very frustrated from his tests. It seems that faithful attendence in lectures and diligent reading (of Frank's book) are not enough to do well in this class.

Dec 2004

As everyone has said Gulati is an AMAZING man. He has perfect command of the class of over 300 students and allows for an amazing amount of participation. The class is not only very interresting but quite amusing. Gulati knows how to teach econ in a way that is manageable and it is very clear that he has great command of the material as he lectures without notes and when asked an irrelevant question by some overachieving loser he simply replies with, "wait 15 minutes" or "thursday i'll answer that question" or "two courses from now" rather than digressing like others. He also tries to add a personal touch to econ and sometimes brings up relevant current events. Gulati's style and charisma are amazing, there is rarely a dull moment. Gulati is a clear choice. (Oh and if you are thinking of registering for the other class and going to gulati's lectures...not gonna work...the classes start at different places just for that reason). The downside to Gulati is that because he teaches so well he expects everyone to know the material very well and makes the exams quite difficult and long. On top of that he has the TAs introduce new material during recitation but you can go to any recitation during the week, not necessarily the one you are registered for. But the positives CLEARLY outweigh the negatives. If you go to Columbia you have to hear this man lecture , even if you donÂ’t take the class, he's simply the greatest.

Dec 2004

Simply put, I want to be Sunil Gulati. He is one of the most impressive and endearing people that I've ever come into contact with. He was a fabulous lecturer who was extremely funny and engaging, and I genuinely looked forward to going to lecture. The lab sessions were totally unnecessary and my TA was awful, so I almost never went. The class is difficult but well worth it, I learned a fair amount and enjoyed the class. I would recommend this, or any other class Gulati teaches, to anyone.

Dec 2004

The best class ever! If you go into it just wanting to taking one semester of econ so you can make smartass comments about fiscal policy/maybe get a job at some point, you will leave wanting to major in economics and with a slight crush on Sunil. His lectures are like performances; out of 320 people in this class, I'd say there were about 300 at every class. He will mercilessly make fun of you if you say something stupid, but in the most benevolent way...TAKE THIS CLASS!!! And stalk Sunil every chance you get, because he is the man.

Dec 2004

One of the most amazing professors around. There were over 300 people in the class, and Prof. Gulati had such great presence that everyone in the room was focused on him. His lectures are well done and creative as he often mixes in current events to explain things. He keeps a constant dialogue between himself and the students and class can often be funny and entertaining. Even if you don't need to take economics, you won't regret taking this class.

Dec 2004

he is a nice enough guy, he tries and if you have nothing better to do you could show up to class and listen. i tried going to classes but i found them pointless as did 90% of the class. if you want a class to which you don't have to come to, take this class. i'm ok at economics and all i did was read the book and i did fine on everything. he uses weird examples that are way out there but do make sense. if you don't mind the sillyness, go to class and learn.

Dec 2004

I just came back from his last lecture of the semester and I can't express how much I've learned from him in the past 3 months. This man might appear a bit cocky at first sight, but he is the nicest person ever and knows his stuff very well.. I never took econ in my life and now I'm in love with econ, partially because of my family, but a huge part has to do with Gulati. His lectures are interesting and interactive, some stuff might be a bit boring and sleep-inducing, but for the most part, he tries hard and makes sure everyone's awake(sometimes with flying chalk). Sure his midterm is a little picky, but if you studied the book well, you can't do that bad; I got a A- on that. However, even if I got a not so good grade on the midterm, I will still not regret taking Gulati's class. He's a small man that speaks volumes. He has been to many places and knows a lot about economics and the world. His last lecture about income distrubution exemplifies his benevolence and his charisma... I will definitely be taking more classes from him and try to know him better.. On a side note: he loves soccer and that makes up for every flaw he has, not that he really does.

Nov 2004

He seems like a nice guy. He tries to make jokes in the class (most of which are about how everyone falls asleep in his class)... however, he can't teach. I had to take his class because one of the classes I had was overlapping with Mr. Gulati's. If the same applies to you, then simply do not take this class this semester.

Oct 2004

Come on, everyone knows Econ dept in Columbia is the worst and hardest and don't even mention the department administrators and the MAJOR REQUIREMENT!!!! Dan is the only fun person in the department (I have rights to say so coz I am a senior Econ major, don't ask how much I have been though....) anyway, take his classes as many as you can, coz if you want to major in econ you already got loads of dump work to do, only smart pleasant teacher is this guy after all. ( Yes, there are famous guys nobel prize winners in the dept., but as an undergrad, you will NEVER get a chance to experience their classes, they only teach like business school seminars with 20 people limits, what the ****.) So, at senior year as a econ major, I tell you the truth, if you have to take any econ electives, take with Dan, because, others are worse, much much WORSE...believe or not, you try them all yourself...

Sep 2004

O'Flaherty was awesome, but he's not for everyone. His lectures are really interesting and uses real life examples and statistics to make the class more interesting. But listen up all you screwballs who think you can go to class and not read the book (or vice versa), you cannot do that in this class becuase the lectures go above and beyond the book and you will not be able to follow the lecture as well if you havn't read the book. If you're not that into economics or if you're a SEAS kid just trying to satisfy your principles requirement, don't take this class. Oh, and if you don't go to class, read the book, do the problem sets, or go to the discussion section, don't be surprised when you get a bad grade.

Aug 2004

A great lecturer as many before me have said. The beauty of economics is that a conceptual understanding of the topic can greatly help you with understanding the fundamentals and underlying theory, which is what is tested on exams. With his cool style and balance between theory and current events, learning the basics of econ becomes not a chore but rather an interesting training in a field that is so very crucial to the political, social, and fiscal decisions that surround us. Take it even if you're not an econ major.

Jun 2004

Professor Desai is a very good professor. She covers all the basic economics material in a very methodical manner, making it quite easy to understand. Furthermore, she always sticks to the syllabus, and goes out of her way to provide extra problems for students to practice on. The biggest complaint that I have were that her lectures could be boring. So long as you attend every class and recitation section, do all the reading and problems, Professor Desai's class is great for those who wish to/must take Principles of Economics.

Jun 2004

if you wanna get a good grade, DO NOT TAKE HIS CLASS!! principles of economics under gulati seems like an advance economics course for me. his materials are unneccessarily hard. yes , he is interesting, he is a great professor, but you can hardly get a good grade from him because his tests are just too hard. I worked very hard and still got an A-, because he only gave out like 15As out of a class of 250+ students. The curve is set as a B/B+ and there are so many terms in the final that you have never ever heard of and you just have to leave the entire long question blank. fully understanding and knowing your text book can give you an A- , for an A, i guess you have to be an economics genius (but this is only a Principles of Economics course)

May 2004

This course gives a very basic introduction to economics, which makes it pretty easy for anyone with a solid grasp of the way the marketplace functions in the first place. If you understand Paul Krugman's column in the Times, or ever find yourself watching CNBC and knowing what they're talking about, you'll have no trouble with this course. If you don't understand why it's not a good idea to carry balances on your credit card, you'll have trouble with this course. The problem is that Desai teaches down to the level of the people who have no hope of understanding the material. She teaches almost straight from the book, even using exactly the same examples contained in the book. She then spends about every third lecture doing an in-class problem set, more or less identical in form to the homework problem sets, which felt like a bit of a waste, since that's what the recitations should be for. Instead, the recitations were a total waste, with the TAs spending all of their time helping out the people who had no hope of understanding the material. To give an idea of how ill-suited some of the students were for the course, high school algebra is required. During the final exam, after complaints that people didn't know how to handle the math, the head TA gave a quick lesson in how to divide one simple fraction by another. That Columbia students taking a course that requires high school math were upset at having to do elementary school level math is amazing. The course was set up to cater to those people, who by all rights should have chosen a different course. Because the curve has to take the hopeless people into account, someone who understands the basic concepts can get a B without any effort, and without necessarily doing the homework. A higher grade isn't difficult with work. If you don't remember how to graph a simple line, don't bother with this course.

May 2004

ARE YOU CRAZY? Taking his class will reduce the opportunity cost of attending other classes. YES and I don't mean his class is expensive. He was great, he was funny, and he was enjoyable. Absolutely recommended. He taught well and he kept students awake too. If you want to learn about economics and you want to know how economics can be funny sometimes, he is your choice

May 2004

One word to describe this professor: WOW!!!! Sunil may quite possibly be the best professor I'll have in my entire Columbia undergraduate experience. I did not like econ at all, and even though I wasn't terribly good at it, he will make you love it! Not forcefully, but he is such a fantastic guy and a wonderful professor. Having a 9 am class is tough, but after a few minutes you're wide awake and enjoying the lecture. After class, feel free to go up to him and talk, he is very fun to chat with. It's also cool because he has a very high position in MLS (major league soccer), and rumor has it he used to play. The midterm is pretty easy, but the final is very difficult. It is probably the most difficult exam I've ever taken. 23 pages: 40 multiple choice, 12 identification, 12 long answer. Even though it's difficult, take this class just to have him! I will probably audit a class by him because it is such a pleasure to have him as a professor.

May 2004

Gulati is awesome. I have never been in a 280 person class that was as interesting and engaging as his. He knows what he is doing, and makes his lectures funny and informative. Its amazing how much you soak in just by going to class, and you get a good laugh while you're at it. I would definitely recommend taking him.

May 2004

Professor Gulati is amazing!!! I loved his class. He makes it interesting, even if you don't like Econ. He's funny and teaches well. Listen in class; there's stuff he doesn't write on the board. His examples are informative and apply to the real world. He makes people participate, because if no one answers his questions, he'll pick someone or just wait in silence until someone raises their hand. Recitation session is helpful if you have a good TA. Oh, and DO THE READING!!! It's really helpful and if you leave it until the end, you'll be swamped. Trust me. It's just a chapter or two a week, so it's not that tough.

May 2004

I took this class because I thought it would be interesting and helpful. It's not. It's the biggest waste of time you can imagine -- lectures are messy and useless, problem sets aren't applicable to anything you've been taught, and you'll have to teach yourself everything. A waste of time effort and you sanity. Desai manages to suck the learnability and clarity out of everything you have to know.

May 2004

Take this class. Even if you are not in SEAS, and majoring in Underwater Basket Weaving, take this class. Sunil Gulati, former commisioner of Major League Soccer and an accomplished economist, makes what I think is an interesting subject phenomenonally fascinating and engaging. He is hilarious, and will make jokes even in the most drudged of lectures. He manages to involve most people out of a class of 300, something that I imagine is unique to large lectures. Personally I never went to lab sections because the book and professor were so good that I was confident I knew what was going on. Gulati was responsive to emails and questions and really knows his stuff. There was only one annoying aspect of his class--sometimes he would spend half an hour engaging the audience in a question, such as "if tariffs on imports are so inefficient, then why do we [the United States] have them?" Then, after rejecting every answer he hears, Gulati will end the class or move on to something completely different. Why will he never answer the question, or at least make some comment on it? It seemed to be a big waste of time for me. Thats what the lab sections are for, not lectures. Overall though, this class was my utmost favorite and now I'm seriously considering minoring in economics. So take this class and nominate Gulati for a teaching award.

Apr 2004

The O'Flaherty bashing has gotten ridiculous. All the complaining done by the past reviewers seems effected by the notion that the intro Econ course should be easy. I hear kids who didn't do the problem sets, didn't go to lecture, and didn't go to recitation complain that O'Flaherty did a crappy job. That's just bullshit. The book and recitations taught the course. O'Flaherty offered his own interesting insights and real-life examples on the current topics taught in the weekly reading. Of course, he assumed that kids had actually done the reading and thus didn't teach the fundamentals the book went over. Indeed, if you hadn't done the reading you didn't have a clue what was going on in lecture. In other words, if you keep up with the work you will do fine in the class and get a decent introductory understanding of economics.

Apr 2004

Wow, this was far and away one of the worst classes I have ever taken in my life. O'Flaherty is not only bumbling and disorganized in every sense of the word, he is also obscenely boring. His has an unbelievably dry sense of humor that matches his unbelievably dry teaching methodology. He does not prepare you at all for the midterm or final -- he does not highlight any particular area of the textbook, and therefore you simply end up guessing at what to study. The multiple choice questions on the midterm and final end up being sheer luck. You will not know what grade you have at any point during the term - he will keep you in the dark and then spring a random grade on you faster than you can say JP Morgan Chase.

Feb 2004

Just going to echo the other reviews and say that this guy is great. I had no economics experience whatsoever before taking Principles in the fall, and he made it very easy to follow. Lectures are very engaging: this was probably the only class I never fell asleep in, despite it being at 9 AM. Gulati has a great sense of humor (although I do remember things like the other review described happening, right down to the "Achoo!") and the class almost never drags until the end with some of the macro stuff. As for Global Econ, it's the first time they're offering the class, and I only took it because of him. So far it seems to be pretty good, run very much like the Principles class except no discussions. (Which, BTW, were utterly useless in Principles.) He can take any subject and relate it to econ. He also encourages class discussion, but doesn't really require it. Overall, he's probably the only professor I've had here that I'd recommend to anyone else. And in case anyone thinks this is a review from an econ major, it's not. I'm a pathetically apathetic engineer :)

Jan 2004

A good TA. He wasn't on auto=pilot like a bunch of others. We quickly summarized the new topics from the lectures and then went through practical examples. Always willing to answer questions.

Jan 2004

As I'm sure my comrades will say. Gulati is the man! I never took econ before freshman year so initially I was a little worried when he said we would be moving fast. If you do the reading and you go to recitation and lectures you will do fine. In fact I know someone who didn't really go to any of those or even unwrap his book and got an A! Gulati makes a dull subject interesting. He's a funny guy and makes his lectures entertaining.

Dec 2003

Holy John Nash, this has to be the worst course at Columbia. O'Flaherty is a nightmare, and not just a nightmare, but a really bad one. The one where you wake up in a cold sweat and it bothers you for a good week, recurring night after night, plaguing your life. He and his sorry excuse for a class ruined my semester and view of econ. His lectures are irrelevant and confusing. I had taken econ in high school and he successfully confused me on stuff that I aced on the AP. The T.A. I got was a mess too. He could barely speak english and was obviously very smart, but lacked any and all ability to teach. If you want to go into econ, DO NOT take principles with O'Flaherty. It'll be the worst mistake you've ever made.

Dec 2003

The Econ dept. at Columbia isn't as good as some of the other dept.s here, and Dan makes this pretty clear. His lectures were pretty bad, and although he tried to make funny jokes and explain things from a logical perspective, he often ended up saying next to nothing in lectures. Sections were VERY helpful, I didn't read most of the book and still got an A in the class bcs my TA was so helpful and organized. Not that it really matters who you have for Principles, but Columbia people will be disappointed by Dan. He let's too many people ask questions in class, which are mostly stupid and designed only to outsmart him, and ends up wasting time dealing with these stupid questions. I'm sure he's a nice guy and very smart, but I'm honestly not very interested in Econ after taking his class. Thumbs down.

Dec 2003

I was considering being an econ minor before this class. I don't understand why Columbia continues to allow this man to destroy economics for eager students. Flaherty seems like a nice guy, and I'm sure he does an excellent job teaching the higher level courses ('cause he really does know the material) but I mean please people, Principles should not be taught this way. Flaherty took a whole (boring) class period to explain why the demand curve slopes downward, but then glossed over important issues like monetary policy. His strange sense of humor popped up on the tests, but the questions tended to be rather tricky and not at all straightforward. So both learning and getting a good grade are a gamble with this guy. Stay away! He seems nice, though.

Dec 2003

I liked the material in principles, but O'Flaherty was a major disappointment. His lectures always took one of two bad paths, the second worst than the first. In the former case, he would lecture on situations to which the material in the textbook could be applied without mentioning the textbook material directly. These lectures were informative, but became hopelessly stalled by frivolous questions from people who couldn't understand the lecture because they didn't do the reading from the textbook. O'Flaherty would sometimes spend 20 minutes repeating the same point when answering questions from these people. In the latter case, he would simply repeat the material in the textbook and still repeat himself several times in response to frivolous questions from non-readers. These lectures were a waste of time, pure and simple. If you're going to take Principles and are serious, avoid this guy because the lectures never turn out very well.

Dec 2003

When I say that Dan O'Flaherty is the worst teacher I have ever seen, you will probably think that I am exaggerating, or that he hates me for some reason, and I am just trying to get back at him. Neither of these are the case. I'll provide a couple of examples for you all, so that you don't make the same mistake I did. In one class (on exchange rates, I believe) Dan was drawing graphs on the board to demonstrate a point, then, realizing he was wrong, looked back at what he had drawn. He then tried for at least a couple of minutes to sort out his mistake, but could not. He ended up asking the TAs for help. Also, Dan has a theory about how to structure toll systems so that there will be no waiting time. Basically the amount of the tax would be in a pyramid: lower and lower as you get further from the peak of rush hour in either direction (which is somehow economics........) This theory of Dan's, which had little bearing on the rest of the class, took up an entire lecture, an entire problem set, and half of the long answer questions on the midterm. The only good thing about this class was the size. Because the class was gimongous, I could walk out at any time and Dan would still never know who I was.

Nov 2003

Amazing professor all around, uses practical examples to relate abstract theories and throws in some humor to make the whole thing that much more palatable. A nice friendly guy in general, i'm very happy i took this class with him. Got my ass kicked on the final which was not curved as much as i had hoped but the grading is still pretty fair

Nov 2003

He was my TA in Fall 2002. He is a great TA. He speaks English well, though with a slight accent which did not cause a problem in understanding him. He went over the problem sets and was very helpful in explaining them. He also took time to answer everyone's question. Take his section if possible.

Nov 2003

Question: If your friend is playing excessively loud music, what kind of economic solution could you come up with? Student 1: You could pay him to stay quiet. Sunil: Hold on, I'll get back to that. Student 2: Achoo Sunil: Bless You Students 3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 10 answer...sunil makes some jokes about their answers, students 11, 12 answer...Sunil says, "you're getting there...come on someone new...someone who hasn't spoken yet," Students 13, 14 answer.. Finally Sunil says: " Ok well since none of you got the answer, an economic solution would be to pay the person to be quiet. That's a good summary of class.

Nov 2003

Gulati's a fantastic professor. His lectures are really engaging and relate the subject matter with current events. His sense of humor is also pleasant, and takes the edge off 9am classes.

Nov 2003

If you're remotely interested in Econ (or required to take it like I was)...you want to take Econ with Sunil Gulati. You'll actually learn something in the lectures and he does everything in his power from keep you from falling asleep even though the material is extremely dull. He's one of those teachers that can directly answer every question you ask because he knows Econ that well. His comedic teaching style will make you remember why something is wrong and help you think like an economist(sometimes).

Nov 2003

He's a VERY GOOD professor. He teaches very well and his lectures are very clear and organized. He's also very funny unlike most professors. He has a great style of teaching. If you're not unintelligent you should have no trouble following the lectures and learning all the materials.

Sep 2003

Absolutely the worst professor in the department. He is a very monotonous and boring lecturer, his jokes are lame, and he constantly will talk to the class about his cat. It is not surprising no one shows up for class, and don't forget that his final will contain questions on his cat's birthday!

Jun 2003

Having no background in economics/business at all, I found this class fairly easy to understand and follow. Professor Elms is great in her lectures, comes very very prepared and makes good use of the chalkboard when drawing lots of diagrams. Sometimes she can be a bit sarcastic in her jokes/comments, but I found it a bit funny (and apparently other students as well, since I wasn't the only one laughing/giggling). Her lectures follow the book almost exactly, though she adds a bit more examples from current events and makes other points clearer. The textbook (Principles of Economics by Mankiw) is actually one of the best ones I've seen. Very clear and concise, with lots of examples and graphs/diagrams, and not boring at all. The TAs were not as competetent as they could have been, and the whole TA / Recitation structure could have been much improved or maybe just eliminated. The recitations were mostly for going over homework problems, so they could have just had a few "open recitations" where anyone could show up and get questions answered, instead of making you go to assigned weekly recitations that sometimes were a waste of time...

May 2003

[culpa censor].....Padma is a decent teacher, even funny at times I think. She lectures well and does not give too much work. There's really nothing radically different about her, so I feel unable to review her further. The material itself is so general and easy that you can really learn from the book. Not to mention that basic economics is very often commonsensical ideas expressed in graphs (and sometimes formulae). The class provides you with a technical perspective on and a precise vocabulary to talk about very obvious things, and to a lesser extent the ability to identify ridiculous statements on newspapers. But if you're not really interested in pursuing economics further, it's rather pointless.

May 2003

So Padma doesn't teach the most complicated version of economics out there. Prof. Desai is great for an overview and general understanding of this class. She goes through the material slow and deliberately although sometimes she may jump around in theb book, but what professor doesn't? Even if you struggle with this class she curves the class extremely high to make up for it.

May 2003

I went into this class believing she would be a good professor based on CULPA reviews. And admittedly, she was, for maybe 2 classes. She is quite frankly a really boring lecturer and is really disorganized. Her goal is to teach macro and micro but there is absolutely no coherent order in what she lectures on or what she writes on the board. Tests aren't especially hard, might as well stay home and read the book (lectures and examples are exactly the same).

May 2003

You can ignore the review from April by the writer who thinks that a good text makes for a good professor. I should note that when she needed to cover remedial calculus about the slope of a line, it was SEAS students who left class early and the CC kids who had to stay. Professor Desai is as old as the hills, having started teaching in 1957! (you do the math) She has a slightly tangential lecture style, trying to spice things up with an occasional story or two, but although she has a sense of humor the class comes across as fairly dry. She tests on material barely mentioned in the book but emphasized in class, so unless you took the Econ AP exams, forcing yourself to go to class really pays off. In person she has the usual entitlement expected of a University professor. It was nearly impossible to get some of her time to answer questions in the week before the midterm, and once I had finished asking her questions there was no handshake or "goodbye" or addendum, she just got up, went back to her desk, and got back on the computer while I packed my things up and left her office. Don't expect much help from her - as the other reviewers have said, find a good TA.

May 2003

Classes are boaring as hell so don't even bother going. The textbook is the best textbook I've ever read, you can totally teach yourself during your free time. My TA was pretty bad, and I don't think anyone ever went. But if you want an easy A, take this class as long as you have the self-discipline to teach yourself the material.

May 2003

If you can avoid taking Principles with Padma, do. Lectures are incredibly dry and lazily taught. Desai doesn't answer questions of clarification and graphs are utterly confusing. She'd rather go into more complex concepts and raise the curve than have you understand the "intro" concepts and do well on your own. The amount of people who either don't attend lecture/ leave early out of disgust is incredible. Wish I knew before hand what a waste of time this class is. Language barrier is also an issue with Desai as well as TA's.

Apr 2003

he;s such a wonderful lecturer and not to mention a wonderful and interesting man. his lectures are very clear and he always does something or other to keep the class entertaining. if youre gonna take this class, take it from him

Apr 2003

The first class, he started talking about short people. The second class, he played country music at the end of lecture. He's definitely a quirky guy. I'm sure he'd be interesting to talk to, but the lectures bored me to death. I stopped going after the second week. Sometime in the second half of the semester, I started feeling guilty, so decided to give him another chance. Admittedly, the lecture had more content and was kind of interesting, but still was not enough to convince me to go. The last few, where he gets on tangents sometime, are okay. Recitations are required, and one problem with that is GRADE DISTRIBUTION IS THE SAME WITHIN EACH SECTION. This means if you're stuck with 2 or 3 dorks who make econ their ENTIRE life, it'll be hard to get a top mark. This doesn't mean the class is hard though; reading the textbook and going to recitation should be enough. Just go to the very last lecture, where he makes a list of all the topics that are on the exam. People ask, and he goes over, just about every topic that's not in the book. Another warning, if you want to continue in Econ, this might not be the right intro class to take. Significantly less material is covered compared to other Principles classes. This makes for an easier class, but you're put at a disadvantage later on because you have to learn concepts other people have seen before. Dan's philosophy is to teach this class assuming that most people won't take another intro class, so he wants to 'instill you with an appreciation of econ' or something, but doesn't expect you to major in it.

Apr 2003

This class is very easy (and this statement is coming from a "sheepish SEAS student" as one idiotic fellow classmate of mine has termed the engineering students). I'm glad you can assume my (and hundreds of others') motives for attending Columbia (though, making assumptions about motivation is far over my head and yours too, I suspect). In any event, if you're looking for an easy A, then take this class. The problem sets are incredibly easy, and the midterm is also simple (provided you go to class and take notes because she doesn't always agree with Gregory Mankiw). She has an amazing presence and a charming personality (you're just a horrible person if you don't come to her class).

Apr 2003

You can ignore all of the dopey complaints of various SEAS students regarding this class. They're just upset because they weren't talented enough or are too sheepish for MIT. This class is exceptionally taught and has an excellent text to boot. If you need one,you may want to surf through the TA's untill you find one to your liking.

Apr 2003

Please, Dan is a nice person, funny guy, and intelligent scholar. How can anyone says negative things about him! I like the class very much and decided to major in Econ since then. I mean, those who blame Intro-econ level professor, must be very incapable of learning econ as a subject, coz with normal IQ and common sense, Principle is really damn easy and fun class!

Jan 2003

O'Flaherty made a wonderful success of a very difficult job in this course. He was witty, personable, and very rarely boring in a huge lecture with over 200 students. The material was pretty basic, with many students knowing most of it from high school economics, but O'Flaherty avoided being boring by focusing on real life implications of concepts, rather than on dry technical definitions. The class does see the supply and demand graphs a few too many times, but perhaps the emphasis is warranted.

Jan 2003

Great professor, his lectures make an intro econ course as interesting as possible. Teaches pretty much out of the book but some of the questions on the exams are only included in lectures. The second half of the course was much less interesting than the first, but I guess that's just microeconomics.

Dec 2002

The lectures are sometimes interesting, and prof. O'flaherty does his best to make them enjoyable. The recitations would be helpful if I didnt feel like something new was taught everytime. The readings, the lectures, and the recitations all seemed to cover three somewhat similar but yet very different topics. I still dont understand the grading system but i dont think it matters much. I didnt do great on the midterm and the final I found very hard (and can't imagine I did well on) yet my grade was rather good. I think this is a class where 'things just work out in the end" <wink>. Warning though if all this info is new to you, you may be a bit screwed; most of the students have already taken econ in some form (high school.. another class etc...) and it seems your graded based on your rank within your recitation. So find a recitation with the fewest amount of students who already know their stuff ( they're easy to spot they'll be the ones arguing wih the TA's on the first day of class, and constantly asking questions with no relevence to the material) and you shouldn't do to bad.

Dec 2002

No matter what everyone else says, Principles of Economics can be a pretty challenging class if you've never taken an econ course before. Prof. O' Flaherty is a pretty good professor in trying to keep the course interesting in that he will teach concepts outside of the boring text. He is also understanding about grades.

Dec 2002

He's a smart guy, but he can't teach Principles. He taught many things not in the book that were fairly complicated. You'd have to listen very carefully during the boring lecture to get the specific questions that he would ask on the exams. I basically couldn't keep my eyes open during any of his lectures

Dec 2002

Sunil is not only a great teacher, he's a good guy too. Despite the fact that the department allots way too many students to the intro class, he handles a large lecture hall as if it were his stage and he isn't afraid to involve the audience. He answers questions, and lets people know, subtly, when they're wrong. Intro is dry sometimes and the material is basic. nonetheless he is a good guy to get and a good guy to get to know.

Dec 2002

The class was okay. Gulati didn't really teach so much as stand in front of the class, make a bunch of jokes, bring up some weighty current events issues, and draw some graphs. Everything you need to know can be found in the textbook, and the lab sessions with the TA's were completely useless (most of them had pretty thick accents but were understandable). Gulati's class is a fun one, but don't expect too much beyond a good laugh and basic knowledge.

Dec 2002

Econ is boring. Econ with Gulati is pretty enterainting. He breaths life into the class. He is in touch with the class and his students. Pretty funny at times which keeps the class moving. A sports illustrated to read really helps sometimes though, as Econ itself can be pretty dry. All in all, Gulati was an awesome teacher, definetly worth taking

Dec 2002

I don't recommend the class itself, but if you're one of those people required to take Principles of Econ take it with this guy. He does all he can to make the material interesting, and he makes plenty of digressions to put econimics in perspective.

Dec 2002

Sunil is the man. I went in thinking 'i should probably take a little econ', and came out thinking 'I wanna major in econ and be like sunil.' He is a great lecturer, and organizes the class very well. Especially for an econ professor he is really funny. He's traveled the world and has great stories to tell about india, mexico, england, and other places. He also takes time away from the syllabus to enlighten the class about current events and decisions we will have to make in the future. Definitely take econ with this guy.

Dec 2002

I agree that Sunil is really engaging, but that's engaging for an econ professor. The material can get exceedingly boring no matter who's teaching it. And while the curves on the mid-term and final are quite generous, the tests themselves were fairly strange, with true/false questions that turned into essays with no partial credit and "essay" questions which turned into math problems, despite the fact that this class is non-calculus.

Dec 2002

GREAT professor! Consider yourself lucky if you get in this class. He is a funny, smart guy who can answer every question. Very accomplished man who is amazingly personable and congenial. No need to go to class unless you just want to be entertained. The book was great and the teacher was even better.

Nov 2002

O'Flaherty is a good, though unspectacular. O'Flaherty's lectures are fairly dry; he has his own sense of humor that is entertaining, though not funny. O'Flaherty himself will entertain any and all relevant questions; he will always have the answer, and will simply give it to you- no compassion, no smugness, just information. If you are interested in Economics, you will find several lectures interesting and to your liking. If you don't like the course, you never have to go to lecture. Either way, it shouldn't be too taxing for your schedule.

Nov 2002

He's the man. He's a great lecturer, he's enthusiastic, there's not a question he can't answer, he's funny, and he has the ability to incorporate 150 kids into his lecture. So in a way it's unfortunate that the class is a joke. Read the book (which happens to be very good), go to the review session, get an A. No point in going to class, unless you want to hear a great lecturer.

May 2002

Professor Della Valle is a genuinely nice human being. Her lectures, when they stay strictly on topic, can be quite boring, but she knows this, and tries to stray into interesting, useful material as much as possible. Spontaneous lectures on "Why this whole Enron thing matters, anyway" and "I disagree with the textbook here, because..." kept me from falling asleep. She doesn't rely on lecture slides, and tries to make it clear what you really need to know for the final. Finally, the best part of this class is that, in a traditionally conservative-only department, Ms. Della Valle is a LIBERAL. Or, that is to say, more liberal than most of her colleagues. Instead of regarding conservative economics as heaven-sent, she examines both sides of most issues, exposing her mom-like ideals and her Italian-Canadian heritage in the process. Overall, not bad for a class designed to turn us all into Republicans.

May 2002

He's sort of arrogant, but he gets his points across, and the material isn't that bad. His stories about how smart and successful he is and about his daughter might get old after a while, but the class isn't boring, and he stops often for questions. Plus, the textbook, as previous reviewers have noted, is awesome, so if you don't want to come to class, you really don't need to.

Feb 2002

Prof. Desai's Principles is insultingly easy. The class is taught under the assumption that CC students ("who aren't very good in math" as opposed to SEAS students) have to really review their simultaneous equations not to drastically fall behind. She is supposed to be brilliant in internaional politics, as some of her articles in the Financial Times reveal, but don't expect any of that to come across in this particular class. Students get a kick out of Padma, and she seems to be aware of it, digressing every so often to insert some personal story (as every favorite professor should do, right?). Take this class as a GPA padder and expect to be disappointed and bored if you've ever taken econ before and expect anything mildly challenging.

Jan 2002

Do you want a good, clear grounding in basic economics? If so, STAY AWAY from this class. weissman jumps around the syllabus, fills you with anecdotes that are interesting but are never tested, has very difficult problem sets that are not reflected in the midterm at all, and will in general, confuse the hell out of you. seems like a nice guy though.

Jan 2002

Seth Weissman is truly a mediocre professor. He does get points across to his students, however his lectures are not stimulating and not even close to interesting. His exams are pretty fair, but considering that Columbia Econ classes are so huge, the curve is usually so good (unlike Barnard econ classes that are much smaller in size), that an A is not very hard to get. Showing up to class is not quite necessary either as well as recitations. The text book is so easily understandable, almost in total baby language, that as long as you do some reading and your problem sets, you are set to go.

Jan 2002

Professor Desai was not bad at all. Occasionally she cracked jokes that were actually funny. Lectures were well organized and followed materials in the textbook. She also handed out in-class problem sets with answer keys for practice purpose. Students must register for recitation, but attendance wasn't required. I only went twice because the TA was terrible. He even disagreed with what the professor taught in class. Problem sets due every week. I don't know how the TAs grade them, because you either get a 2/2 or 1/2. Midterm and final have multi-choice, IDs, true/false, and normal word problems. Class is recommended.

Jan 2002

Not bad; not great either. The class was typically big (200+, five TAs), and her lectures weren't the most interesting. On the other hand, she seemed to have a good grasp of the material, and her lectures were well-organized. The textbook is also very clear and well-written. On the whole, if you are interested in econ, this isn't a bad way to start. One note: there is a weekly discussion section which all students must register for; I found it to be virtually useless, and there isn't an attendance requirement.

Jan 2002

I had never taken economics before, and i found this class to be very interesting. i actually enjoyed going to lecture and hardly ever missed class (i wish i could say that about my other classes). i am even thinking of majoring/concentrating in economics. oh and i got an A- in the class too. But, do i know Econ? Did i actually learn anything? NO, not really. i did very well on the problem sets because my t.a. was very cool and usually gave us most of the answers. I did ok on the midterm, and we never got the final grade, but i must have done well eventhough i thought it was quite impossible. I really did like Seth, and i would love to meet his daughter - whom he talks about every class - she sounds adorable. but i dont feel like i learned all that much. you'll be fine in this class if you have some backround in Econ, but i would recommend a different section where you may actually learn more if this is your first time taking econ. often, seth digressed with his "stories" and sometimes he'd waste a half hour arguing with one or two students. the book was good though, but the problem sets had NOTHING to do with either the book or with lecture. Seth was very unorganized, but he lectured without any notes most of the time and i was very impressed by that. Seth hates the book, and i think that's why all the hw and lecture have like NOTHING to do with the book. it helps when you buy a book for 100 dollars if the Prof. actually structures class around it, but there was a lot of added material from lecture and especially the problem sets that we simply couldnt do on our own which i really didnt like. overall, i had fun in this class, and i guess thats worth some of that 38 grand we pay, so: Todah seth! and Todah Rabah for that A- :)

Jan 2002

His lectures were often interesting, with him talking about practical applications to economic ideas, but they did little in the way of actual teaching anything about economics. I had a good time listening to them, but when the problem sets and exams came along and actually included numbers, most of the class had no idea what was going on. The problem sets were obnoxiously hard, with such confusing wording that the ta's didn't even know what he meant. The midterm was fairly easy and the final was impossible even though it was probably written by a ta, since it had the poorly translated wording of a fortune cookie. Overall, i really enjoyed the lectures for the class, but the economics itself was confusing and i don't feel like i learned much outside of the textbook.

Dec 2001

Although Professor Weissman attempts to make the class more current by discussing present, real situations, his lectures are convoluded and incomprehensible. He never gets to the point and is extremely disorganized with his presentation. His problem sets are also very difficult and need to be deciphered by the TAs who are often confused themselves. The midterm and final are also difficult and make you wonder why you even bothered to study. Anyhow, it seems as if he tries, but I'd take another Principles class, one that actually teaches the principles. Everything I learned I learned from the text.

Dec 2001

She's a pretty good professor with some good stories to tell between the different parts of her lecture. She's a little bit weak on teaching the "micro" part of the course, though. The textbook is quite good. This having been an intro course, I'm glad to know that econ courses can only get better.

Sep 2001

Ron Miller is pretty straightforward. His lectures can get quite boring, but they are very factual and useful. Sitting in the auditorium of International Affairs can put you to sleep. He does tend to give decent grades (I thought so anyway). Going to lectures is beneficial, but the class can be passed without them. The midterm and final are a little difficult (especially 'true, false, and uncertain' problems and anything to do with OPEC), but the grades are assigned on a curve fluctuating with B+ as the median.

Sep 2001

Professor Weissman's class was one of the highlights of my freshman year. Applying current events and humor to his explanations of economic concepts, he made the class both interesting and understandable. And if I didn't understand his explanations, the textbook provided plenty of clear explanations to complement his lectures. I highly recommend him to anyone who plans to take Principles.

Aug 2001

This course was a lousy introduction to economics. Weissman's lectures are inadequate for completing the homework assignments or doing well on the midterm and final exam. If you have to take Principles of Economics, take it with a different professor.

Aug 2001

Anyone needing or wanting to take principles, I'd try to take Weissman's section. Though the time was terrible (5:40-6:55), I honestly didn't mind going to class. He made such an effort to make class interesting, mainly through making it applicable. Instead of just going over concepts and examples from the book, he would take basic concepts and apply them to actual issues (the ban on selling organs, Lithuania's attempts to join the EU), making it much easier to retain and understand. He was friendly, accessible, and enthusiastic as well, and he even made efforts to make the 200 person lecture seem much smaller. Questions were encouraged, and he would often pose questions for the class to answer in addition to asking for class input on certain decisions (whether to move the midterm up a class, etc.). The midterm was fair and brought in material from both the book and the lecture, and the final was a little more difficult, but still graded on a curve. Overall, definitely one of the better principles class.

Jul 2001

One of the most disorganized professors I've ever had. He never responds to your emails; this guy just doesn't seem to care about his students at all. And if you happen to be a good note-taker, that won't help because you won't be able to follow your notes when you try to review it. The content of his disorganized lectures are okay (he'll have interesting examples sometimes), but he loves to talk about policies and never gets to the real basic point. His problem sets are difficult and his tests are extremely difficult as well. More like a higher-level econ course than a principles one.

Apr 2001

His lectures are boring as hell. They're all right out of the book. Going to the lectures are pretty much pointless BUT now and then he'd throw in something that isn't in the book and you'll most likely find it on exam. His problems sets are straight out of the text so if you can find someone who's taken his class, you'll do just fine. Unfortunately his exams are not as easy as his problem sets, I would even say that he grades harder than other professors teacher Principles. Essentially, if you can take another professor, do so.

Jan 2000

She refers to illegal transactions of money as "Bads and Services"...she says a definition, writes it on the board, reads it, then explains what parts of it mean ("what does during a given time period mean?")...I felt like a third grader. There were two review sessions on how to draw a graph; I became stupider as the days went on. If you feel that Economics could tear you to pieces, Sally Davidson will make the class seem like a children's book.

Jan 2000

Ron is very clear and concise about the subject material. He has notes outlined on a screen, which is basically an overview of the textbook layout. You should copy down all of his overhead notes, in a very quick and efficient manner, because he likes to go ahead onto the next slide, even if half of the class is still copying down the last screen. While you're copying down the notes, you must also carefully listen to what he is saying, to comprehend the material. IF you miss class, no worry, just read the textbook. Many people walk in and out of class late, so don't be surprised if you start doing the same. If you're tired, it will be extrememly hard to stay awake in this class, since it is the same routine over and over again. The one thing Ron lacks is the way he presents the class. Just make sure you're awake and eager to learn the material.

Jan 2000

Indifferent and rude to students. Clear antipathy to his undergrads, the education process, and the world in general. It's certainly possible to get an A, and he is qualified as an instructor, but even his TAs have complained about him.

Jan 2000

When I took this class as a freshman, the only other section offered was by McLaren at 9 in the morning so obviously I had to pick Gulati's section. It was decent, I guess, not very exciting or anything. i think i learned a few things....but whatever, they always send the junior econ profs to teach these sections anyways, so chances are you prob won't get a good prof for this class. sorry

Jan 2000

In case you were worried, there's no linguistic barrier here (he's American) and he is actually a very good lecturer -- pleasant guy, tons of good examples and stories to illustrate the material. It's important to read the book if you plan on breaking a B-.