Intermediate Microeconomics

May 2021

The pacing of the class is quite slow, and he definitely isn’t the most engaging lecturer, but he’s easily one of the nicest professors at Columbia. He takes his time to ask for questions and patiently answers every one of them to make sure we understand it all. He’s also pretty great with emails, answering questions people have about the exams until the very last minute. The class isn’t too hard, and the exams take up most of the grade. The exams are basically completely based on lecture material, and remembering every detail is important. The issue with his tests is that although they’re not hard, they can be tricky if you’re not thorough/careful (he doesn’t really give too much partial credit). Being careless or forgetting a detail from class can easily cost you a letter grade since there are very few questions. And it appears that he does curve down if necessary.

Apr 2021

Super kind professor who's willing to go out of the way to help students! I had a last minute grading question during exam week that I honestly should have resolved earlier in the semester, but Ingmar was still willing to meet and I felt encouraged and comfortable reaching out to him on any issue. In general he is really responsive to class requests about deadlines, extra office hours, review sessions etc. The grading system is also relatively forgiving. The are 3 exams in total, and your lowest exam score is dropped. The level of difficulty of the Final is the same as midterms, which is nice.

Apr 2021

Would recommend IF you are good at econ. Prof can be compassionate but her lectures are sometimes intimidating. She expects every student to answer her questions through zoom chat, so even if you don't know the answer, she still expects everyone in the class to answer. So if only the top 10% of the class knows the answer, she assumes everyone knows the answer. Is not super thorough at times, lecture can get a little confusing, but overall is okay. Her typed notes are neat, but would not 100% recommend. There are weekly psets due every week, pre class activities due before every class, so helps you stay on track with courseload, so definitely don't miss even a week of class.

Apr 2021

For context, I took Prof. Elmes' class on zoom. I thought she was a really good professor, although it was definitely a lot of work. On zoom we would have poll questions every day: 2 points if you got the question right, 1 point if you got it wrong but still answered the poll, and 0 points if you didn't answer. The poll questions ended up counting towards your final grade (mostly in terms of participation) which was a little stressful in the moment. However, in the end, I did not do well on the poll questions but still did well in the class so I wouldn't worry too much about it. The poll questions definitely forced you to pay attention in lecture which I appreciated. The problem sets were time-consuming but manageable with (1) a solid group (up to three people) to work with and (2) going to office hours. I think the key was to start the problem sets early in the week and then camp out in office hours to get help on whichever problems you need help on. TA office hours were great, but I also went to Prof. Elmes' office hours a few times for problem set help and she was also super instructive. And then there were the weekly quizzes... they were the bane of my existence. My technique was to review all of the slides from class before taking the quiz, which never really seemed to be the most effective but "oh well!" All in all, take the class with Prof. Elmes, you will learn a lot from her and if you're on zoom you will occasionally see one of her very cute cats!

Mar 2021

John Park is HANDS DOWN the best Economics professor I've had so far! I'm taking Macro right now with another professor, and it really made me miss and appreciate my Micro class last semester more. John made the course very interesting and broke down what could otherwise be challenging concepts into "common-sense" logic. He was super accommodating with time zones and made all problem sets optional. He also made the extra effort to add a bit of cheer to an otherwise gloomy online semester- he even played us a few songs to put a smile on our face the class before our quizzes! Highly highly recommend any class you can take with him!

Feb 2021


Feb 2021

I BEG OF YOU PLEASE DO NOT TAKE A COURSE WITH THIS MAN IN YOUR LIFE. If you're at Barnard, you've probably had your fair take of arrogant, condescending teachers but Lalith takes it to mansplaining and insensitivity to another dimension. A couple of things: -If you're taking this class during the pandemic, I beg of you: don't. Not only is he not understanding of how a 90-minute online lecture is already challenging, but he also SHAMES you for watching it asynchronously. He doesn't realize that not everyone has the time-zone flexibility to take it at 3 pm—and the one girl who takes it during the middle of the night, he expects nothing less of. ALSO, beware of sitting down for 2-hour midterms and a 4-hour final exam on Canvas. -He really doesn't explain anything well in class and when people ask clarifying questions, he shames you and makes you regret your whole existence. The worst part is the cold-calling. On zoom, he chooses to call on the people without their cameras on and when he does and you don't respond within seconds, he moves on and blames it on "people without video on not participating." -This man doesn't care about you. He specifically mentioned once how he hasn't opened up a textbook in 25 years and how he doesn't even like teaching this course but "what can you do?" -The worst part is yet to come: We had our first midterm, the average was a solid 55/75. STILL, he insisted that the TA go back and TAKE OFF MORE POINTS because she was too generous in our grading. Lalith has explicitly told us how he wants us to be scared of his class and study study study if that's all we do. The intensive courses are already stressful with 4 times a week and 2 recitations a week! He nor the TA understand how draining this course can be for your mental, physical, and emotional health. People in our class have reported him and his teaching style to advisors, deans, and department chairs, and yet, no positive reinforcement. All I hope is that no one goes through the same struggle we did.

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

John was my TA for Math Methods so I decided to take him for Intermediate Microeconomic Theory and honestly, I think that was the best decision I ever made in terms of courses this past semester. He's a great instructor and was super accommodating through online classes and very mindful of the timezone and other restrictions and worked to make the class fair and manageable I would take any course this man teaches!

Jan 2021

I took Vergote's Intermediate Microeconomics class in fall 2020. I would definitely recommend esp for an online semester - he's extremely accommodating (w/ regards to remote learning) and is one of the sweetest/kindest profs you'll meet. Both he and his TAs are genuinely invested in their students' success and will go the distance to make sure you understand the content if you reach out/go to OH. Although he goes kinda fast, his lecture slides are solid and the content was very interesting. Overall learned a lot.

Dec 2020

Vergote is a wonderful person with a great sense of humor who does his best to make lecture engaging. It's obvious that he cares for his students and wants them to succeed. However, the way he structures the course doesn't reflect this desire; see below.

Dec 2020

Vergote is a wonderful person with a great sense of humor who does his best to make lecture engaging. It's obvious that he cares for his students and wants them to succeed. However, the way he structures the course doesn't reflect this desire; see below.

Dec 2020

Don't take her! I ruined my semester by taking her. She might look like a fun Italian professor, but at the end of each lecture, you will be left confused and super frustrated-- every lecture! I lost all interest in the subject the first month. I am forcing myself to attend her lectures. Those students who say that she is cool are self-learners, but if you need someone who can really teach you a subject--take someone else. In one word, MISERABLE!

Oct 2020

Expects you to do natural logs in your head. That should be enough to get an accurate judge of her teaching style.

Sep 2020

Took this in spring 2020 so it was pretty wack. Professor is a really kind interesting person but not the most engaging lecturer. I found micro to be pretty difficult actually. Very calculation-based class. Prof. Vergote would host monthly lunches at Faculty House to get to know him which is sooo nice of him!

May 2020

She is a great professor. You'll have to get used to her Italian accent, but her notes and her way of teaching are very clear. Indeed she might be a bit overwhelmingly enthusiastic but that kept me awake. Problems sets and exams are very reasonable. Coming from Gulati's principles this class was a breeze. If not for the pass/fail it would've been fairly easy to get an A. No need to read the textbook. Take good note, study while doing homework, and you'll be fine.

May 2020

I don't understand why Musatti is getting so much hate. Her lecture's aren't the most riveting things in the world, but they get the job done. She goes through the formulas and the derivations pretty methodically and then goes through a few applications and examples in class. Moreover, Musatti is a kind lady. The best thing about the class is that the tests are straightforward. They are essentially the same as the problem sets and there are no curveballs. If you need help, recitation with Motaz Al-Chanati is a great option. After that it's just plug and chug on the exam. I'm not sure about the rumours about her curving down, because the second half of this term was online and P/F. However, she did mention after the first midterm that the median student would have a low B+. The average on that test was a 79 if I recall correctly.

Dec 2019

While Professor Ananat may be intelligent, her extremely condescending, "holier than thou" attitude makes listening to her unbearable. She basically calls all of her students idiots in every lecture and will tell you that you are wrong even if she is the one making a mistake. She is inconsiderate of other people's issues but acts like she is helping the world. Her problem sets and exams are difficult and there were times even the professional TA did not know how to solve things. Most of the learning you do in that class is from a poorly written, unpublished textbook.

Nov 2019

I'm definitely just not good at econ theory, but Anna's lecturing style makes ZERO sense to me. Her exams are not that different from her psets, but all of them are pretty hard imo. Is there a good lecturer in the econ department for theory, though? Honestly, just find the one that fits your schedule and suffer. All the electives before and after micro and macro are fine. Some are even stellar and life-changing. If you know what you want at the end of this tunnel / degree, you will survive this class.

May 2019

Take a different instructor. He literally starts off the first class by saying: "This class will not be fun for you, I admit". According to the TA's he's the hardest instructor that teaches this class and he teaches grad school style: absolutely zooms through the material and you spend the whole time in class trying to write everything down instead of actually seeing what he's drawing or saying. At other points he just asks a question to the class and waits like 3 full minutes for someone to answer his question which no one knows the answer to and just keeps saying "come on guys" when no one answers. He doesn't post notes online so you basically just end up going to class to get those notes, which you'll have to figure out the significance of afterwards. He tries to cram in a ton of material but doesn't teach it at all in an effective or organized manner that makes sense. His teaching could really benefit from more structure, online notes, and a more even pace. Personality wise, he's pretty great. He's super nice and chill and tries to make some jokes in class, but his niceness and chillness is limited to lectures. Outside of that he's not very flexible. As kind as he is the material is just not taught well. Lots of people I knew in the class ended up learning new concepts the day before the exams.

Apr 2019

Honestly a great professor who is really passionate about the course, easily the most passionate and best economics professor that I have had so far here at Columbia. I would absolutely pick him over other instructors if you have the choice. He made very difficult subject material engaging and fun, I found myself laughing in 10:10 Micro class that I actually looked forward to going to. Problem sets due every week that are very manageable, similar questions are done in recitation every week. Exams were extremely fair — plus he always curves the class to a B+, not a B, average. Word of warning though, textbook will not supplement for class attendance.

Dec 2018

Imagine trying to start a fire after your plane crashed and there's nothing but some kindling and a couple of matches. Now, in the beginning, you may be confused, breaking a few matches as Professor Elmes overwhelms you with the realization that you are maybe not as suited for this as you thought. So you forge onwards, giving up on starting a fire and instead start foraging for food. You do a couple problem sets and realize that like foraging for berries, it is difficult and time-consuming. Yet, they make you whole again somehow and you grow as a person. Soon the first midterm comes and this is the first critical storm that you must weather with the tent of confidence that you have built from your passable problem set grades and the breather of a quiz. Now, this is where the strong persist and the weak succumb. Yet, the midterm was relatively straightforward, and you know that to do well, you merely needed to what you had always done. Study, memorize and repeat. And so life seems better. The next quiz isn't too bad and the sun has started shining and you've figured out a routine. Your problem sets are manageable and though you may be up late one night trying to find the elusive proof for a question out of left-field, ultimately even if you don't get it, it probably doesn't matter, they don't grade all the problems. But then, the hurricane comes. The final storm hits and you feel confident, yet in reality, this is when those true troopers survive, the ones who were somehow bred to survive these catastrophic events float to the surface after a hurricane has drowned the merely adequate. Now whether you have floated to the top, or whether you have drowned, you will have learned something. If you have floated to the top, you have learned what the next three years of isolation in the wilderness of an econ major will be and have acquired the skills needed to survive until the rescue helicopter comes with a banking offer. But, if you have drowned, then there's always poli sci.

Nov 2018

Lalith is the sort of professor I didn't really appreciate until the class was over - but he is an extremely thorough lecturer, posts all lecture notes online, tells you what is on exams ("one question about x concept, one question concerning y model..."), provides time to ask questions, writes and draws clearly, will repeat himself to clarify concepts, makes jokes, tries to give real life examples etc. He has an approach to econ that I appreciated in that he wanted us to actually understand the logic behind what we were doing.

May 2018

She's just fine. It's not impossible to do well in this class at all. She is, however, not a stellar teacher. In fact, she's pretty confusing sometimes. What can really make it or break it is the TA's. During the first few weeks focus on finding the good TA that actually knows what their doing and go to their recitations and meet with them to make sure you get it. If you do that you and put in the work you will get the A. Just want to give a shout out to my boy MOTAZ AL-CHANATI. If he is a TA in this class you are good to go. Dude will plug you with everything you need. He knows exactly what Musatti wants from her students and will teach you all the tricks to get through her tests way faster than she intends you to. His teaching abilities and enthusiasm far excel any TA or professor I have had at Columbia, seriously. You know that 'fire' TA you who helped you pass that class––yeah Motaz is better.

May 2018

The one good thing about Prof Musatti is that she is really nice. She is enthusiastic in a class that is full of students who are forced to take the course due to a requirement. That being said, her class is a mess. Organization is not her strong suit and it shows. She conducts her lectures in a stream of consciousness method that is really hard to follow especially since we are supposed to learn about pretty static equations. (Even her class notes are disorganized and have so many typos in them.) If you do choose to take the class, go to the TA session. There is always 1 TA that does a fantastic job summarizing the materials. All in all, it is not a hard course if you are good at teaching yourself the materials. But still, if you want to learn the course in a well structured way, you should try someone else.

May 2018

I had Musatti this semester and a lot of people scared me into not taking her class. My upperclassmen friends told me that the class would be curved down to a B-/B, but this is a lie. I got only slightly above average on my tests and managed to get a B+, so I'm guessing she curves to a B/B+ and she definitely did not curve my grade down as I had an 82 in the class. Considering I stopped going to class after the first midterm and definitely did not know all the material for the exams, getting a good grade would definitely be doable if you stay on top of the material, go to office hours for homework help, and learn the material in recitation. For this class, I mostly just went over the math problems in the notes she puts up and made sure I knew how to do those. Also, participate because even if you want to stay anonymous, I guarantee she will know your name.

May 2018

I took Ingmar's class, the first semester he taught at Columbia- Spring 2018. I would highly recommend taking his class. Ingmar is one of the best teachers I have ever had. He is nice, approachable and most importantly a great lecturer. His classes were always interesting as he knows how to explain economic concepts extremely well. Moreover, he asks a lot of questions during the lecture to make class interactive. I would especially encourage you to take his class if you are not very good at math since he is more of a theoretical economist. Calc III was in no way needed although it is a prerequisite, and I did not solve a single integral during the entire course. I never went to his office hours but heard from friends that he was always happy to talk about whatever. I found that the downside of his course was that his exams were too easy and since they were curved in accordance with the economics department requirements, a small mistake may have cost you a letter grade. I don't remember the cutoff of the grades exactly, but in the second midterm, 15 out of 80 students scored a 100/100. In order to get an A you had to score above a 96, and people who scored around 80 got a C. Problem sets were a bit harder than the exams but still not terrible. Took me between 4-5 hours to solve. Probably the easiest Micro class you can take in CU.

Mar 2018

Nice and approachable professor, he makes the lectures fun (or as fun as a lecture in microeconomics can be) Exams are ridiculously hard, to the point that I do not understand what is the point he is trying to make, the exams will not be similar to the problem sets. The exams will not be similar to the recitations. The exams will not be similar to past exams. The average for the exams is 62-68. There will be questions (or parts of questions) on the exam that you have never seen before in class, you need to move fast on the exams otherwise you will run out of time. Lectures are hard to follow unless you have a deep mathematical/economics background, come prepared and do the readings or otherwise you will be completely lost by the 3rd class. he is not great at explaining things. The TA,s are your best friends, they will help you understand the class better go to all office hours and recitations. If you have not taken principles with him or at Columbia this is not the class for you If you have a poor calculus background this is not the class for you. If this is your first semester at Columbia, this is not the class for you.

Oct 2017

You have to go to the TA for help with homework problems. You HAVE to. The exception is if you're gifted in math. Choose someone else if you can. This really wasn't worth it and Musatti's class is enough to turn off a lot of Econ majors.

Aug 2017

I think ACM is a great, kind, and funny lady. Class could be a bit of a drag though, depending on what you like. She will go on in a gentle Italian accent about these stories that you start to zone out of because they only tangentially relate to the material. Important point: she doesn't do Powerpoint. So if you hate death by powerpoint this is a great option. That said, it can suck if you tend to daze or doze in class because you might miss some crucial drawing. The typed notes she puts online are confusing at best and cryptic at worst. For HW, you will need help (but you can work with classmates). I went to TA office hours every week just to make sure I was doing things right -- she'll give a basic example in class and then hit you with something crazy in the homework. All in all, I recommend it but you'll have to work really hard for a great grade, unless you're some econ genius.

May 2017

Vogel is a very smart man. His teaching style is very systemized in that he has a clear outline of what he wants to cover during any given lecture and he rarely gets sidetracked. Sometimes he speeds through certain concepts in lecture that you have to go over later on your own to understand fully. His Econ class was very very very math-heavy. Never on any midterm or final did we get a question about a purely economic question. The closest questions we would have that could be explained using words were those with SPNEs and whether or not a strategy was feasible. I would recommend this class to anyone who likes math. I was caught off guard and didn't do too well on the first midterm, but I did really well on the 2nd midterm and final once I realized you only needed to understand the math. I think you should go to lectures because he doesn't post the answers to examples he does in class on the online lecture notes. I never went to recitation though and I got an A in this class. I think he curved to a B+

Apr 2017

DO NOT TAKE VOGEL. DO NOT TAKE VOGEL. DO NOT TAKE VOGEL. DO NOT TAKE VOGEL. DO NOT TAKE VOGEL. DO NOT TAKE VOGEL. DO NOT TAKE VOGEL. DO NOT TAKE VOGEL. DO NOT TAKE VOGEL. DO NOT TAKE VOGEL. DO NOT TAKE VOGEL. DO NOT TAKE VOGEL. Unless you are a math genius (scored nationally in the AMC or something along those lines), you will have an incredibly tough time getting a B+ or above in this class. This class is packed with math geniuses who ruin the median, bringing it up to 80-ish levels. Basically how it ends up working out is you either get the math completely or you don't get what's going on, which makes the distribution super skewed and thus hard to do well in unless you're one of those who has amazing math skills. I got an A in Calc III and an A in Intermediate Macro as a freshman, and am having a tough time even getting a B in this class. Vogel in general makes you feel like shit about yourself, and I pretty much feel like crying every day about this class. Problem sets are deceptively easy, midterms and exams end up being HARDER THAN ANYTHING YOU'VE SEEN IN THE CLASS.

Jan 2017

Took micro with him -- best econ class ever taken at Columbia. This wonderful professor truly cares about his students getting the intuition behind the concepts that he is teaching. I completely agree with the previous review -- he deserves a golden nugget.

Jan 2017

Professor Ortoleva is a fantastic professor, and I highly recommend him if he’s available to take for microeconomics. He’s such a great lecturer and he’ll break down a topic until he’s sure that everyone understands it. The first three homeworks were fairly straightforward, but the last two were a little harder. Though, I thank him for assigning them as they prepare you very well for the final. He’s also a super nice guy and very understanding, so I highly recommend going to his office hours if you need extra help. His TAs were also really great. Very highly recommended!!

Dec 2016

Intermediate Micreconomics with Pietro Pros: -- Super sweet, kind guy - very funny, and very understanding towards personal circumstances -- Entertaining lecturer -- pretty good/straight forward slides (that are all posted online) -- Exams are relatively straight forward -- Problem sets are very doable, nothing crazy --Distribution is amazing... approx. 80% of the class gets some sort of A or B.. Cons: -- Can't think of many.. -- Doesn't give out too many psets (not enough practice for the exams?!) - but this is accounted for in the curve, so it's ok Overall: Highly recommend. Put in the work, you'll do well.

Oct 2016

Ortoleva is the best professor ever. He is incredibly cute, sweet, funny, friendly, accessible and makes the material so much easier!!!!I used to hate economics classes but thanks to him and his terrific method of teaching this, rather mundane course, I started to actually enjoy my major. He gives super cute examples about his grandma, pizza making and chalk manufacturers, his Italian quirks are hard to resist and overall he is a great person and an engaging lecturer. He deserves a gold nugget.

May 2016

Getting along Lalith requires more efforts than with other Econ professors. His exams are fairly written and his homework is nothing crazy, but the lectures are sometimes rather insulting in the sense that he expected certain answers from his students and if you recalled something quite different from his expectations, he would interrupt you instantly and directed the question to another student and so forth. The course content is straightforward and if you do well in the final, your grades may get bumped up (I did a little above average during the midterm, and got a few checks instead of check-pluses for problem sets, but my final grade is satisfactory). The latter half of the course has more topics with applications, such as job market signaling, time preference theory, and some preliminary game theory model, which are more interesting than the first half with consumer and demand theory. Having said though, understanding the first half is indeed, as the Professor claimed, crucial for understanding further topics. The course in overall is well designed and my TA Effie is extremely helpful. She compensated for the fact that Lalith is not very interested in things like office hours per se. Yeah -- he's intelligent, but pretentious in some ways. Be prepared for that and you will be fine.

May 2016

A disappointing class. Overall, he's pretty tough despite the easy-going air with which he carries himself. So be forewarned about the following: he says from the start that the course is "self-contained". This means that all you need is offered during lecture and via his courseworks notes. That's certainly true if you have the ability to follow his speedy presentation and his bottom-line calculations that omit the steps taken to arrive at his conclusions. Record the lectures and go over the slides later. Also, speaking of math, be ready for proofs during HW and exams (although how you're supposed to know and learn how to write them is beyond me). The math involved at times pretty ugly Algebra, Calc I, and partial derivatives and the Lagrange multiplier from Calc III. Although there is a syllabus, it's pointless, since he does not release any notes ahead of time. There are two recommended texts but again, good luck reading ahead since he doesn't tell you what chapters to read until the relevant lecture - so you'll be playing catch-up the entire semester. Another small grievance is that his slides and problem sets are full of typos and errors; a frustrating lack of attention to detail. The TA's were the usual mixed bag - try to find the PhD students and stick with them.

May 2016

I understand why some people have complaints Lalith's teaching style because sure, he can be condescending, but if you learn to laugh it off you'll recognize how much he's actually taught you. The only real frustrating thing was the lack of communication between professor, TA, and grader. At times they would contradict each other, or simply seem to not know what was going on in the lecture/recitation & problem sets. Also, and much more subjectively, his manner of flippantly writing people off when they don't get his definitions correct to the letter seemed to disincentive many students from participating; this was especially ironic when he himself would give different definitions from the ones I carefully memorized in order to avoid public humiliation (I say this lightly, at least he's funny...). Obviously, this still made the point of how essential the definitions were; perhaps it could just be done in a less dramatic manner. He knows the material inside and out, and he explains everything with a clarity that I haven't found elsewhere in Columbia or Barnard Economics courses. He makes his courses challenging, and because he does not curve the class (he uses a weighting system), you know that your input into the course directly impacts the grade you receive. He makes sure to go over anything that people don't understand, and his (often biting) wit kept us engaged even when the topics were dreadful. The PSets were annoying at first but the grader was chill and the TA goes over every problem the next week in recitation. I was completely surprised to have enjoyed Microeconomics; his real-world examples and tangents about his research made it clear why this stuff is actually worth studying.

Apr 2016

he majored in philosophy as an undergrad, so his lecture is 100% theory, 0% what is on the problem sets. he also refused to coordinate with the recitation TA on problem sets, so they virtually never matched up with lecture, to the point where we had a problem set due the week after the midterm that covered material he taught the day before the midterm.. material that was on the midterm. if you look up how to do the problem sets on chegg or whatever you can do the homework pretty easily, otherwise prepare to spend the first half of the semester staring at questions you have no idea how to solve (second half is easier, bc its straightforward stuff like market demand/supply, monopolies, etc). munasinghe is super condescending during lecture and picks apart any answer he is given in class. grading on the homework is incredibly harsh given that we never learn how to solve them in class, and homework were return LITERALLY MONTHS after they were due. This may be due to the fact that the grader (who was different from the TA and the lecturer) was a new parent, but cmon, I need problem sets back that cover the midterm material BEFORE the midterm, not over a month after. Its a doable class, but i dreaded going to every single lecture. His midterms are also annoying AF, where he asks for definitions and math problems, so don't take if you're looking for a more math focused course.

May 2015

I have just finished Professor Elmes' micro this semester, and thought I might add sth new to the existing comments. To sum it up, this class is a great class with much hard work. So if you are only interested but not passionate about economics, I would recommend you to take micro from another professor. That being said, Professor Elmes is definitely the best choice for a intended econ major. She is a well-prepared and clear lecturer. She usually recommends us to read the textbook before coming to lectures, but after she explained them the concepts become much more easier to digest. She uses colored graphs, extensively explained formulas, and occasional handouts to help you understand the material in a crystal clear fashion. If you take notes systematically they will be enough for your preparation for the exams (though not for all the homework problems). Professor Elmes is also very approachable. She welcomes questions in class and usually answers them with patience. There are one time or two she answered a question with haste, but that was because we were running out of time and the question was indeed somewhat stupid (she just mentioned the same concept 20 minutes ago). She takes questions in office hours as well and often strikes an interesting conversation with you. The workload for this class is very big. Doing the problem sets themselves usually takes about 4-5 hours per week, but you also need to spend about 3 hours to discuss them with your study buddies. The midterm and the final are both very similar to the problem sets. So if you do all the problems carefully and review them before exams you should do pretty well. Good luck!

Mar 2015

Jonathan Vogel figuratively teaches economics with a metronome. There, you see the beauty of math and economics. He writes his exams in a way that require that same metronome and thus a real skillful set of hands during the exams (and later lectures) in order to hang.

Feb 2015

Man, this guy really loves his game theory. He posted slides, but they had blanks that you needed to go to class to fill in. His midterms don't have any numb Curve was harsh but fair. All in all, I had a lot more fun than Elmes kids that semester.

Nov 2014

I took microeconomics with Ortoleva second semester last year, and overall it was an enjoyable experience. It was his first semester teaching, but he was a good lecturer and fairly engaging. His jokes were corny, but a nice touch to lecture. Most of his material is based off powerpoints, which he goes over in class. These powerpoints are all posted onto courseworks, which makes studying for the class very straightforward. I found the class to be straightforward, as you knew exactly what was expected out of you. The first midterm was hard, but it was probably because he was new to teaching. The second midterm and final were straightforward and easy. I recommend the class to those who are looking for a good grade and a relatively easy workload.

Sep 2013

These people write as if "including advanced calculus in every problem" meant actually teach something. The class was so focused in calculus all the time that sometimes I had problem referring back to economics, consequences, etc etc. Elmes surely try to complicate every fuction, so as to you have to use advanced calculus to unwrap, derivattives, etc etc. Not really something bad, but I wish the conceptual approach was there too. I love teachers who give a lot of homework. But in her class I was mostly copying problem resolutions from the board as fast as I can so I could at home try to comprehend what I actually wrote. All classes follow the same model and it can get tiring sometimes. Her handwriting could be clear and a better introduction to derivatives would do wonders too (Nicholson's book is very straightforward too and is the book she uses/bases the pace of the class). Deep base in Calculus and knowing all about derivatives of U(x,y) is a must for this class for a start.

May 2013

I took Micro with Professor Munasinghe. For those of you who've read the previous negative reviews and are concerned, they're UNTRUE. Munasinghe is a good professor, and Micro is a class you'll enjoy and learn. This is a good class because: 1. Organization: the course is structured around his topic-based lecture notes, which contain everything you need to know for homework and exams. Personally, I don't like classes where readings are irrelevant. Those courses usually have synthesized lecture notes but still require you to read to capture meaningless details that might trap you in the exams. Hate that. In Munasinghe's micro, if he tells you to read something, you definitely want to read it. Everything you work on and read is core to the class and exams. The class has a minimalist style by design. 2. Materials: Recently when I told a Barnard alum that I was taking Munasinghe's micro, she said a lot of the staffs she learned in it come back to her in the job (she's a consultant). I feel the same way about this class's usefulness. Micro is about the tangible economics: consumer choice, producer's choice, pricing, job market etc. I personally find that more interesting than Macro. Munasinghe teaches you a solid foundation of all theoretical topics and applications. And because they're so relevant to your life, you might be thinking in micro language next time when you face a "price bundling" or decreasing marginals (that's why I always get grande in starbucks). Munasinghe is a good teacher because: 1. His philosophy of teaching economics:. Economics is all about models and assumptions. Most of the time, your econ professors give you some definitions and quickly jump to maths on the next lecture slide, and then you go home happy about knowing one more equation you can plug in. Munasinghe makes sure you know what you're talking about when you use a concept (and it makes a considerable part in your exam). He goes over the math part, but he attaches economic interpretation to the derivatives and results. I like that he is teaching us the economic way of thinking. 2. He is incredibly good at lecturing: he does not use slides. Everything he says is in his lecture notes (by that I mean everything). You won't be missing any materials if you don't come to the lecture, but so far this class has the highest attendance of all classes I"ve had. Why? First, he comes up with many ways to interpret what he says on the lecture notes. By the time you leave you will definitely be able to define the materials in your words. Second, he is so funny. He gives you the feeling of "yeah I hate this staff too but here we go." He often digresses into real world applications for half an hour and the class just doesn't want him to stop (One time he talks about the best ice cream in this area).Yes he points to students for questions and quickly wave you aside when you're wrong, but it's not personal. He wants everyone to know the concepts. In addition it's your fault that you're wrong. It's not a creative writing class guys. 3. He's an intelligent scholar: The first day of class he will tell you his interesting educational path, which includes philosophy and politics. Indeed he's concerned about how human's drive for profits have changed or shaped our behaviors. This is very different from macro economists who take joy in analyzing aggregate curves moving around by a magical tap from the Fed. You'll think about what he said, and you'll realize how smart this guy is. This is a Barnard class and Columbia does not allow their econ majors to take this version of Micro, but for those of you who are interested in Munasinghe, he also teaches Labor and his seminar, which I plan on taking.

Dec 2011

I can't recommend this professor enough. I took intermediate micro with Professor Lofgren and enjoyed it immensely. She's highly knowledgeable and loves the material, breaks up her lecture with real-life examples (and plenty of stories about her kids), and genuinely cares about her students and wants them to succeed. Reading is helpful to supplement lectures and to prepare for a few test questions, but the majority of test questions come from lectures and the eight problem sets. Problem sets are time consuming, but Professor Lofgren gives full credit for effort as long as you get most of it right. Overall, it's an enlightening experience with an expert economist with a sense of humor.

Apr 2010

I took Professor Munasinghe's class for Intermediate Micro and I loved it, as did several people I know. Yes, perhaps Micro isn't the world's most exciting subject, but Munasinghe makes it very, very doable and sometimes interesting. He doesn't expect his students to have a great knowledge of mathematics and he works from the ground up. He gradually builds concept on concept and when he does the other side of Micro in the 2nd half of the class, it feels like repetition. I took this class last year (spring) and I feel it has served me well. Munasinghe never lies to your that he's in love with the basic-basic aspects of Micro, but you can really see his passion when he discusses job signaling models and uncertainty problems. He makes everything very easy, very manageable, and I ended up learning everything I need for UL courses. The best part is his lecture notes. They're much better than any textbook (don't buy a book) and if you read them, memorize definitions, and re-do the problem sets, then you're absolutely ready for the exams. He gives you pretty much the same questions as problem sets on the exams. Side note: the second problem set was the hardest one for the whole course and scared people away. Don't worry, it gets much easier from that point, and if you do your work... you'll find it 'easy' by the time you get through with his course. Side note 2: Yes, he calls on people and asks for definitions. He asks because they're INCREDIBLY important for the concepts. When you know an exact definition, you can solve special cases. When you don't, you can't. It's that simple.