course
Industrial Organization

May 2021

This class was extremely hard for me so take this review with a grain of salt: The class started off just fine (extremely similar to micro) but the material became a lot harder after the add/drop period. Vergote explained every concept in class in detailed but the homework was a lot harder than what's taught in class (imagine learning 5*6 = 30 in class but for homework they ask you to do calculus). It was impossible for me to finish the psets without going to the TA office hours. Midterm and final were similar to the practice exams but you still need to understand the concepts, because in my opinion they are harder than the psets. I didn't really understand what's going on, so my midterm and final score was around the class median/average. Vergote was, obviously, very knowledgeable, very kind and accommodating, and was generous enough to curve the median to a B+ which I appreciated. I just wish he taught an easier class lol. So I guess if you are interested in the topic and are willing to put in your effort, take this class and I wish you good luck!

Nov 2018

Okay I want to set the record straight on all the Principles recommendations on Vergote now that it's registration season again. I'm currenty in IO and these reviews do NOT match up to Wout's conduct in class. I'm going to defend Wouter vigorously here because it's the right thing to do, and because people should really take his classes if they want to get the content. Vergote is really passionate about the material and his student's success. He explains concepts engagingly, actively takes questions in class even if they're silly or already explained on the slide, makes himself accessible for office hours, brings in real-world examples, makes jokes, and has legible/study-able slides. Vergote genuinely cares about his students, but if you're going to skip class like a bum or watch sports during class and not give effort it's not his fault that you do poorly. Wout has never yelled at a student in our class. He's also set up two faculty house lunches just so he can get to know students better and engage with our class. We just had our midterm a few weeks ago and he had a very fair curve plotted out for the current grade distribution based on the MT. The TA's were also insanely hardworking and helpful- shout out to David and Louise for crushing recitations and OH. I will acknowledge that it's also a heavy class. There was a weeklong game theory unit where we rushed through the basics of game theory which I can understand is challenging. Wout is definitely not an EASY professor- full disclosure. He challenges you and teaches at a rigorous standard. I looked at the intermediate micro class he taught micro class last semester and he even baked in some game theory and IO into that (can you tell he likes game theory and IO?). I would say that his power level is just a little too high for principles, which may be why everyone is so salty about that course. Only con: Please put up solutions to recitations before midterm/finals season. It sucks that we don't have access to the solutions so that we can go through them ourselves (especially because I'm awful at taking notes). I understand that you want to incentivize students to go to recitations but not having access to the notes won't cause students to attend. It'll just make everyone more lost on the content. Lastly, at the other reviewers- don't call him boring or sub-par without recommendations or constructive criticism. It's not only hurtful and rude, but it also doesn't help Wout improve if he reads these.

Jan 2018

Prof. Ho is a great lecturer and very approachable, who posts lecture notes before classes and stays after lectures if you have questions. Like general econ-classes, models are simplified but explained very clearly; and they are generally quite applicable in interviews like M&A models. That being said, it is indeed very model-based and thus involves some level of math (in my opinion not as math-intensive as people warned here, more like 1-st order condition and taking partial derivatives). Additional to solving models, she does ask intuition questions to test students' true understanding, so be prepared for that. People usually do quite well in this class (or maybe just my own experience, an overall 91+ only lands me in a B+ range). Therefore, if you are considering this class, be mindful of the curve and don't screw up any midterm or homework b/c you may not get a chance to make it up at all (again, perhaps it's only me). In all, I enjoyed this class despite the curving down situation. And I highly recommend Prof. Ho and this lecture.

Oct 2016

Absolute Garb Professor

Feb 2015

She was one of the first professors I had for an upper-lever econ elective, and she was absolutely amazing. She was very clear in explaining the model, and posted all of her notes online before the lecture. The TA's were very thorough in going over the Game Theory and competition models that weren't covered as heavily in class. The problem sets were challenging, but the lecture notes and Office Hours made them more than doable, and she allows for collaboration with other students. The material for the semester was great, and covered a range of topics from competition in different market scenarios, advertising, and other theories that are relevant for many different industries. If you're going to take Industrial Organization, take it with Prof. Ho. CAUTION: This is a math-intensive course.

May 2014

Professor Ho was fantastic. While the material was a bit dull at times, the lectures were exceedingly clear. She seemed very intimidating at first (she very sternly emphasizes not to text in her class), but she is actually a very lovely, nice person. 95% of what shows up in the six problem sets is on the lecture notes already/ only requires you to extend the model she's given you a bit, but it's all very clear and very straight-forward. The midterm and the final were also not too difficult; as long as you studied her lecture notes well, you're guaranteed to do really well. This semester, the median (average? I forget which) on the midterm was a 27 of 30, so people did really, really well. She then said she'd make the final harder, and it was marginally so, though not too horrible either. She said though that she was okay with giving out a higher percentage of A grades since we did well, so she's really very nice and not too concerned with being that tough Econ professor that likes failing everybody. She said on the first day of class that she used to curve to a B, but as she's taught the class more she's become "nicer" so she said it's likely she'll curve more towards a B+. She's very flexible, caring, and clear. She makes sure we understand the material, and I've found I/O to be one of the more useful topics in Economics, and while the material was dull at times, I personally found the models, their results and their intuitions (which at the end of the day were quite common-sensical) to be really interesting. All in all, 10/10 would definitely recommend this class and professor Ho. If you're interested in management consulting or in having a much, much more solid understanding of the firm part of microeconomics, this is definitely the class to take. Topics covered: - Firms - Perfect Competition (with Competitive Selection) - Monopoly (base case, natural monopoly, durable goods, price discrimination, bundling and tying) - Oligopoly (Cournot, Stackelberg, Bertrand, Collusion, market power, other variations on these models) (The Oligopoly section was the foundation for the rest of the class) - Product Differentiation - Information (Adverse Selection, Market for Lemons) - Advertising - Entry - Network Effects - Vertical Relations - Research and Development, Patents - Anti-trust

Nov 2012

Professor Ho is very smart and engaged and approachable, and IO is a really interesting course if you enjoyed micro and/or game theory, or are interested in mgmt consulting. Unfortunately, the overall course has proven to be rather dull - droning lectures and periodic problem sets with no support from a textbook. I'm a bit jaded about how econ lectures go, so this isn't bad relative to others, but it was not as rewarding as it could have been. She'll curve to a strict B, so hope that you do well on the exams. Take advantage of office hours because Professor Ho really is bright and friendly.

May 2010

Challenging course and concepts. But more importantly I want to say that I gave a bad review to both the Professor (Nicholas Schutz) and TA (David DeRemer) Why? Nicholas Schutz, skated the entire semester by simply reading powerpoint lecture slides that were later posted on Courseworks. Pretty straightforward right? for him it was; and for the mathematically acute it is, but for those who actually need what they paid for (A Professor who can actually profess and a TA that can actually assist) to help them understand the subject matter at hand, experienced a serious disadvantage. As far as attitude in the class is concerned. No one shows up to class and the feedback in the lectures are mostly the noise of cell phone buttons being pushed as people are texting in class. Both Nicholas Schutz (Professor) and David DeRemer (TA) were absolutely horrible in their ability to effectively communicate the subject matter in this class. TA sessions were 2 hours long, had their own lecture slides, and even had practice problems! Paired with a pathetic communicator, this is like jihading your own neurons. So my recommendation is that you DO NOT take this class if you can help it. Dealing with these two guys was nothing more horrifying than bad business. Take this class at your own peril (literally) Hope this helps.

Jan 2010

The best econ professor I've had. I was interested in the material to begin with but Ho's lectures made this a great experience for me. Her lectures are clear and no nonsense but she spends plenty of time connecting the theory to the real world. She's also very approachable if you're interested in the material and not just trying to suck up. This is somewhat harder than most econ electives but it's a must if you like microecon and aren't afraid of a little more math than usual. A lot of the course consists of applications of game theory, so it would be easier if you've already taken game theory but it's not necessary (I did fine without it). The textbook is useful at points, but the key to doing well is to read the lectures notes before and after class and do all the HW. As for grading, the midterm and final both had their tricks but were fair as long as you had been going to class and doing your HW.

Dec 2007

Fantastic! Both the class and the professor are superbly organized and interesting. The material is definitely challenging, yet attainable for economics students. The material connected microeconomics to the real world for me. The text book was almost useless for me (others like it, I found it difficult to read), but it is unnecessary if you go to class and study the lecture notes.

May 2006

This was a challenging class, but one you can tackle. You were able to print out all the lecture slides that she had posted in courseworks. As a class we didn't do well on the midterm, but I think we did better on the final. The tests were problem sets. I strongly advise that you read Shy (recommended book) and only read the required text for background information. And definitely go over all homework and problem examples in the lecture notes. If you can master those, then you should do well on the exams. Also I strongly urge you to go to recitation because the TA will cover certain areas in more detail. Rely heavily on lecture notes and problem sets. And don't forget Shy. Good luck.

May 2006

Great lecturer and helpful with explaining the tougher concepts. IO generally is a tough subject compared to the other Econ electives, but she teaches it well and helps you prepare for the exam with a lot of practice exam questions. If you like Micro theory, then take this class and if you want to do grad school in Econ then definitely take this class because you'll need it.

May 2005

9 am, a German Professor, an unintelligent student body all added up to a DISASTROUS experience in my opinion. Ok, disaster is a bit harsh, but Simon seems like the nicest man, but he is a boring lecturer, i think IO itself is pretty boring although in a best case scenario, i can see how it may be fascinating, ultimately it is a mish-mash of game theory, micro, math programming, etc etc which keeps you on your toes i guess, but i skipped about 50% of the classes and still walked away with a good grade

Sep 2002

I do not like this woman. This is not just grade bitterness speaking- I got an A- in her course. She is just a very poor teacher- difficult to understand, does not explain the material enough, and is extremely mean. The occassional smile cannot conceal her icy inner core. She does not have the best command of English (continually referring to monopolies as nomopolies, even in writing). I would not recommend taking a class with her, but I would recommend running away if I saw her on the street.

Jun 2002

Woah. Firstly, there' s no textbook to this class (a suggested one, but it has very few of the models he lectures on, and if it does it works through things differently). So you have to have to rely entirely on your notes, especially since our TA (Such Virabak) was really good at not coming to recitation, and avoiding all student contact. You can feel lost in this class easily. Bagwell is a great lecturer, a litle dry, but he goes really fast so you have to pay attention every minute. He developed some of the models he teaches, so he knows it backwards and forwards. He spits his logic out like water, and you won't know what hit you. However, his tests don't call far the in depth mathematical understanding that he presents in class, but who would have known. You study it anyways in panic. He usually asks you to to do two math problems (memorize the steps!) and two written essays. But hey, he doesn't grade the tests. He doesn't give hw, just "try it yourself" problems sets. Overall, I felt like I was constantly trying to grasp for some foundation, but instead you've just got a lot of models you're not sure about. That's not to say they're not interesting, and he's not a really cool guy.