Most of my classmates would disagree with me here, but I really, really appreciated his class and his teaching style. Although the exams were definitely long, I found them to be fairly straightforward and easy if you studied a lot. That's the thing about his class - you REALLY need to know the information super well. But the professor provides all the resources you need to succeed: clear class notes, well-structured lectures, and complete explanations of the information and math involved with the course concepts. Because his teaching is so well-organized, I always knew what to expect going into lecture and it was very easy to follow what he was covering. He is very much a down-to-business type of professor, he didn't ramble or take up half of the class talking about some unrelated topic. I think some people made this perceive the class as super intense, but I really appreciated that about him because it meant that (unlike in some other econ classes I have taken) I didn't have to spend an enormous amount of time outside of class teaching myself the material or trying to organize it so I could study - all the time I spent on the course outside of class was in learning the information, which is how it should be. You do have to spend a lot of time studying the information, but if you do it will show on your exam performance and you will learn a lot. Also, another thing to mention about his teaching style is that he cold calls. When he told us this on the first day of class I was freaked out because I tend to not do so well under pressure but I have to say I ended up actually liking the cold calling because it kept me engaged despite the zoom format (which can be draining) and it felt so good to see all my studying pay off when I got questions right (as a side note, it also taught me not to be embarrassed about getting questions wrong when called on because it happened to everyone in the class at some point - we were all in the same boat so I’m sure no one was judging). He’s also super blunt so if you need someone to pat your back and tell you how great you are even when you’re wrong, you shouldn’t take this class. The only problem I really had with the class was that the exams were really long. The midterms were 2 hours (we needed the full time) and the final was 4 hours (although I think most people finished in less time). Also, the TA was absolutely terrible. She responded to emails very late (in fact so late that her response was no longer even relevant), her recitations were kinda confusing and it seemed like she graded the problem sets and exams differently every time and for every person.
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.
Jonathan Vogel has definitely improved over the years, considering his previous bad reviews below. I guess he reads the reviews and really want to be a better teacher. He is a nice guy who wants to sound sound fun, and sometimes does the job well. He talks a lot about econ majors either become professor and poor or go to IB and earn a lot, and he grudges that students today can report him for using "sexist" examples in class. I guess he might have had some unpleasant experience with the Gender-Based Misconduct office. I don't see anything inappropriate in his class though. Liberal snowflakes who's gonna be triggered by "battle of the sexes", a game theory example, please avoid. He really likes game theory and will mention it the whole latter part of the class. Like other reviews say, if you only get one thing out of the class, that'd be in a Nash Equilibrium, both players have "no unilateral incentive to deviate". This will be repeated infinite times in his lectures. He does a good job at feeding the material to you, but not as inspiring - making you think of bigger issues like human nature - as Xavier Sala-i-Martin does. Preview reviews say that his homeworks are easy and exams hard, but in Spring 2017 IMO the difference in difficulty was not obvious between HWs and exams. In fact, many people left Midterm 2 and Final at least half an hour before time up. Exams have mean about 70-75, stdev 15-25; he curves to a B+. About 5% A+; we had a class of 60+ and he said he will give only 2 A+s max unless in extenuating circumstances.
Certainly a nice lady but this class was a crap shoot. There aren't many options for Intermediate Microeconomics and while she is better than some professors, that does not at all reflect anywhere near the expectation you would expect from an institution like Columbia. Take her if you can't find a better Prof.
The tenuousness of the Economics Department's relationship with the Mathematics Department was made clear by this course. Calculus III, a prereq for this class, was barely touched upon beyond a couple of instances of the Chain Rule and Total Differentiation. Indifference Curves would be made akin to Level Curves of a surface, only to completely ignore Gradient Vectors and Directional Derivatives. The list goes on and on... What could have been very rigorous use of the concepts taken in the classes before became pedantic and otherwise myopic proofs. A burning desire to apply the deeply entrenched skills honed in the courses REQUIRED prior to this one was met with low marks - seeing the trees, not the forest, is what is tested in this class. One would hope that the "Micro" in Microeconomics would refer to the phenomena studied, not the pedagogical method.
Dutta is no Elmes... and/but (depending on how you fall on her) I really enjoyed his class. I was going to take Elmes having heard what a good prof she is, but couldn't fit it in my schedule, so I signed up for Dutta, and I'm so glad I did! He's a funny guy, with a bunch of quirks. Overall, very nice -- always willing to answer questions during and after class. He would always walk in 5-10 minutes late (he came in 10 minutes late on the last day of class, then ended class early), he lectures and then pauses really deliberately to sip his coffee... he's just a funny guy. We didn't have any class after Thanksgiving because we had a few makeup classes in September. Not sure what the point of that was... but it was pretty funny. You can kind of tell he doesn't give that much of a shit about the class. But, he's very clear about the material, very straightforward. It's an easy class -- there's not a whole ton of complex math involved, it's pretty much just solving systems of equations and taking derivatives and such. If you do the problem sets and pay attention in class (supplement lecture material w/ book chapters on the same material if you want to understand it better) you should be fine on the exams. Midterm and final were easy. I rarely went to OH/recitation but the TAs were very friendly. I think it's a good foundation in Micro in that you learn all the basics, plus Dutta is a master at game theory so I think he does a good job going over that stuff and we actually learned similar stuff that you might learn in the actual game theory or industrial organization courses, but you definitely don't go as in depth into other topics of Micro, which Elmes definitely does.
Elmes is a very clear lecturer. Your class notes will be the only things you need for the homeworks and exams. The class is essentially the micro half of Principles, but with more math. I'm honestly not sure if it was worth it if you're not an Econ major. The weekly homeworks are ridiculously long. They take 5-8 hours each, and if you want to do them properly, they take even longer. You can work in groups of 3, which makes it worse since you spend so much time just to coordinate with your teammates. I ended up spending roughly 10-12 hrs/week on these. Exams are not bad. They are often very similar to the problem set questions. The exams are however really time constrained. So practice doing problem quickly when you do the homework. She's a pretty strict grader - curves to a B.
I'm mostly writing to disagree a bit with the September and December 2013 reviews. This despite the fact that I ended up with a slightly lower grade than any of my previous econ classes (her curve is much lower, IME). I found the textbook entirely unnecessary (seriously, I only used it like four times all semester). Elmes' lectures were so well organized and scripted that my notes were a much more useful reference. Her problem sets weren't nearly as bad as I expected. Find a good partner (maybe not a trio), and you can easily get through them. I didn't find them particularly challenging or time consuming. However they were great preparation for her exams, which are EXACTLY like the problem sets. I found the calculus to be perfectly fine, but I'm a double major in CS (focus on machine learning), so I've probably taken a few more math based classes than many econ majors. If you aren't afraid to take a derivative, and understand why/what it means, Elmes is a great micro professor.
I can see why some of the reviews have been negative, and, while I don't think the class is that great, I don't think it's that bad either. Plain mediocre. Let's start with the negatives - Olley doesn't seem very enthusiastic about teaching, and his powerpoints are almost completely based off of the book, so you don't really get anything out of going to class, unless you really can't understand something when you read the book (at which point it would actually be better to just go directly to his office hours or TA for help). Also, the fact that he takes SO FUCKING LONG to grade the exams. Literally, I got my final grade for the class today, 18 days after I took the final, and it also took him about that long to grade the first 2 midterms. The TA's are also clueless, I don't think I have ever seen TAs this clueless in any of the other classes I ever took at Columbia. 2/3 of them didn't know how to do easy homework problems, and they also take forever to grade your homework. Positives - Very manageable class. Stay on top of your problem sets, which aren't hard and can be done if you just spend time mating with the textbook. MIdterms and finals are straightforward, but there was a curve ball problem in our first midterm and on the final. Also, the fact that he doesn't go beyond textbook in his lectures can be a positive thing - if you're like me, and you feel like textbook learning is not bad and when a teacher goes off a textbook, that usually means the teacher is easy because you could just master the textbook and you're set, no taking notes in class bullshit lol. Also, some of the jokes he cracks in class are stupid, but I find them hilarious just because they're so stupid while everyone else complains. Hey, lighten up and find the good in things sometimes ya'll. Overall, if I had to take micro again, I probably would just stick with Olley.
This was a very interesting class, with plenty of real world applications; the scope includes consumer theory and risk preferences, tax policy and welfare economics, several types of competitive equilibrium, and plenty of everything else in between. Professor Elmes is extremely knowledgeable in all of these areas and lectures are thorough and engaging. I rarely yawned. The biggest issue with the class lies in the actual graded work - the quizzes, problem sets, and exams (surprise, I know). As mentioned, Professor Elmes gives one hell of a lecture, but in most cases, the lectures are not sufficient ammunition for the assignments. At this common juncture, most students turn to the textbook, but unfortunately, those mentioned on the syllabus do not supplement material discussed in class in a symmetrical fashion - most of the time, Perloff (author of the required textbook) goes into depth in areas that the Professor glosses over in lecture, and vice-versa. Many weeks were spent reading hours of intricately developed systems in the book, only to incorrectly apply them on homeworks and tests. What the class lacks, then, is a solid reference for the material covered (you know, that moment at 2 AM where you've typed "concavity test for expected value of homogenous utility functions" into Google); in short, Elmes could probably write her own economics textbook, instead of assigning one and recommending two others for additional reading. Recitations and office hours were helpful, but the questions asked are so nuanced that recitation needs to be coupled with several office hours each week in order to succeed here. In many cases, the TA's had as little of an idea as to what a problem asked as I did.
Professor Dutta is an amazing professor. I came into the class with a terrible experience in both Principles and Macro, and was thinking of switching majors. However, the way Professor Dutta taught this class made econ easy - or even fun from time to time. He uses very little calc, a lot of intuition and real life examples. Anyone who attends lecture can do really well even without reading the textbook (I barely ever read anything and got a 96 on the midterm). The workload is extremely light. 1 problem set per week, more or less. Very easy midterm. A final that shouldn't be too bad either. If you want an easy micro class that still teaches you all the concepts you need to know, take Professor Dutta. He is also just such a nice person.
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.
Professor Arkonac is a nice person, but not the greatest professor. She definitely isnâ€™t one of those bomb-terrible professors. I would say sheâ€™s right about in the middle. Things I do want to point out: If you really want to learn about economics well, then take Elmesâ€™ class. Her explanations are very confusing sometimes and she makes a LOT of mistakes in her lectures. She also canâ€™t answer questions that students ask her sometimesâ€¦which is a little sad and the students correct a lot of her mistakes too. But sometimes someone doesnâ€™t and while Iâ€™m looking over my notes, there have been a few times where I was really confused by my notes, only to find later that there was actually a mistake she made in class that no one corrected. Homework is sometimes confusing. The PSets are very long and some of the questions took me a long time to figure out because they were never talked about by Arkonac or the textbook. Sheâ€™s not too bad and if you arenâ€™t going to be majoring in Econ (which is probably not the case if you are taking Intermediate), then take her, but if you are going to be majoring in Econ or any related major, then definitely definitely definitely try to get into Elmesâ€™ class. Iâ€™ve learned that while there are professors who might be more tough like Elmes, they are the ones who really inspire students and make you want to learn more. I guess for some people she 'could be considered' a silver nugget, but not really for me.
I'm in this class right now, and, pre-final, I'm going to advise you not to take it. Why, you ask? (1) The professor has no idea what she's doing in lecture. She makes algebraic mistakes and doesn't look at her "notes" even once (I suspect her notes are actually just copies of the textbook pages). It's completely unorganized, and you hardly learn anything. (2) Her problem sets are riddled with mistakes. TAs sent out corrections for almost every problem set. The same goes for solutions to the problem sets. (3) She doesn't understand her own problem sets. I went to her office hours to ask her about a question, and she sent me to a TA's office hours! Shouldn't the professor know more than the TAs? I will say that this class is run like a well-oiled machine. The TAs grade things within 10 days (I think), and you're allowed to ask for a regrade up to two weeks after the problem set is returned. If you want to actually learn micro, don't take this class. If you're looking for a confusing, easy A, just take this one and suffer through.
The reviews below, while understandable, do not fully reflect my experience of the class - so I thought I should offer my own impressions of Olley. In so doing I will violate the trend of all reviews being on the extremes, as I felt that Olley's teaching is neither exceptional, nor horrifically bad. He does an okay job; maybe verging on mediocre, but generally fairly average I would say. He succeeds in explaining concepts in a relatively straightforward, clear way for the most part. While he does, as others have said, stick pretty closely to the slides that are provided as a complement to the textbook, and I'm sure one could skip most lectures and still do fine, his explanations are sometimes helpful. The lectures are not particularly inspirational, but they generally get through the material in an acceptable fashion. My biggest criticism would be that he does not seem to care very much about presenting the material in an interesting way; he has a somewhat tired and unenthused demeanor about him. As a result, I found myself rarely excited about this class, and also losing some interest in economics as a whole. But, nonetheless, it is a class that manages to get across the limited range of concepts that one expects to learn in micro. And, as the workload is not too bad (weekly problem sets that rarely take more than 2-3 hours) and he is fairly laid back, the class can be considered less stressful than others. The exams were a bit on the difficult side (averages of around 32/50 for both midterms), but the curve is decent. So overall mixed feelings for me.
The single worst professor I have ever came across at Columbia, Musatti was a paragon of economic beauty compared to this man. This man, jesus, is the Canadian equivalent of Salanie, but worse. His lessons are basically him reading the slides he got from the textbook chapters from the textbook maker's website and are absolutely useless to attend. He is very passive-agressive, and shows agitation at the fact that 60% of the class does not attend lecture. The problem sets are short but stupid, and his TAs are absolutely useless. He is the worst. Never take his class. Elmes is almost worth taking despite her insane problem sets. Run. run. run.
I read the previous review and I can't disagree more. It's not that the person was wrong, it's the fact that my experience was different. First, Olley makes it obvious that he doesn't want to teach. He is too busy complaining about his low salary and how Columbia is taking advantage or something. Sure, that might be true, but I am paying a lot to have to sit there and listen to his nonsense!!!! I can do better things with my money! Second, he reads the power points and that's it. I don't see a reason to even go to his class. Plus, his midterm reviews are a joke. He doesn't go over the important material so, you are never prepared for the test. He will tell us to study a theorem very hard and then you won't see it on the exam. What's the point of confusing us? Third, he grades the midterms and I have to tell you--he is harsh. He takes point for anything and everything. Most of the class does really bad on the midterms. Forth, his homework is a challenge. He doesn't teach anything so, you have to figure out how to do the homework on your own. Most of us worked in groups and had to find extra help. We went to all the recitations, but he gives his TAs problems that were mostly different from the homework. The man is arrogant and intimidating!!!!! He doesn't want to teach at Columbia and the students are paying for that. If you are great at figuring things out on your own--take his class; however, if you are student that needs more help and clear explanations--stay away from him!! Honestly, I have seen worse professors, but Micro is a difficult class and he makes it painful!!!!
It was hard to follow along with Professor Vogel. He went way too fast for people who were not familiar with the concepts. He seemed to assume that everyone was naturally going to understand the concepts. Yes we all go to a prestigious school where there is the expectation that most students are fast learners but it was hard to follow and even harder to catch up. Professor Vogel was also intimidating. I was afraid to ever ask him questions or go to his office hours. I went once and when I asked him something he told me I was suppose to know it. Though he did explain it to me, that comment really made me feel bad. I went to two separate TA's. Asher was much more helpful than Sam who made it apparent that he did not care about the students and the class. Everytime it turned 9, he would rush out and said he wasn't going to take any more questions. In addition, Sam was never sure about the problems. A general problem about the two TA's are that they never looked at the material before recitation so they were never familiar with the questions we asked them. They worked on the problems on the spot which took more time. I have never felt so helpless in any other class. The homework assignments were fair. But the exams were incredibly ridiculous and did not reflect what we learned in class. I understand Vogel wanted to challenge us with the concepts we learned in class but it is unbelievable how confusing the questions were on the exam. Most of the people who did well, did so because they had extensive math background. Other than that, having spoken to multiple students, they either did average or really bad. Yes there is the curve but the class average was around a 50/60. I don't understand the rationale behind preparing such hard tests.
For starters, Professor Vogel is actually a good lecturer. He will repeat key concepts and make it so that you will know them by heart. I don't think that I will ever forget that a Nash Equilibrium is a set of strategies such that no individual player has a unilateral incentive to deviate given the strategies of all other players. With all that said, there are some drawbacks to being in his class. The two midterms and final account for 85% of your final grade, and neither the problem sets that he assigns nor the lecture slides he posts are of any help. Since Professor Vogel likes to bring up baseball from time to time, let's do that here. Taking one of his tests is like hitting a curveball. Actually, it's more like hitting a knuckleball, as in you have no idea where the test is going to go, and no amount of studying can truly prepare you for one of his tests. You just have to close your eyes, swing as hard as you can, and hope to make contact. On the plus side, almost all of your classmates are doing the same exact thing. Finally, a note on grading. Professor Vogel tries to curve the median to a B+ and the mean to somewhere between a B+ and a B. This could wreck your GPA if you're not careful.
This class was exhausting. Not only does the class take up so much time (at least twice as much time as any of my other classes did), the material is very challenging and I felt constantly overwhelmed by the amount of it. In addition, Elmes covers a lot of material per lecture so it was essential to pay attention for every second of class in case it would show up later on a problem set or midterm/final. The textbook is useless, I don't think most people even bought it. That being said, it is difficult to deny that Elmes is an outstanding professor. She is clear, concise, and extremely knowledgeable. Her lectures are often very interesting (I found the trade lectures to be boring but that's my preference only, others seemed to enjoy it) and she makes it easy to take notes that will be your study material for the midterm and the final. Whether the notes actually prepare you well is debatable-- the problem sets can be much more difficult than the class examples, but the midterm and final questions were not as difficult. Overall, I think this is an important class to take. As head of the Economics department, Elmes clearly knows her subject material, is a great lecturer, and is also a pretty nice person. However, be prepared for late nights and a lot of self-doubt in your abilities as an economics student. Also, free up all your Tuesday evenings, nights and sometimes Friday mornings.
I simply don't see how Prof. Vogel does not have a silver / gold nugget (well according to experience it seems gold ones are reserved for professors who hand out grades in the A-range for free). He is by far the most interesting professor I have ever had. The best thing about him is that he goes through everything through first principles. He makes the class look back, slow down and think, rather than immediately turning to cranking out the math. If you want to improve your attention to detail and learn to how to systematic, I recommend taking Microeconomics with Prof. Vogel if you can. The course is pretty manageable and the way he taught it, it was quite engaging (although I have to say that I did not attend every class). He teaches Microecon through game theory and the amount of game theory he covers in the second-third of the class, was pretty much exhaustive for a semester-long Introductory Game Theory class (sans the formalism). His exams were really engaging, and I loved solving them: I would not agree with any reviewer for the part of calling them "hard". They are more of the thought-provoking type. For example, he makes you think of the corner solutions in an optimization problem, and sometimes makes things a little abstract. Considering the homework and the final, I would agree that his homeworks are in comparison easier to work out, but similar in concept to the exam. If you are the kind who likes "honors" classes better than regular ones or you love heavy curves, this is the class to attend. Prof. Vogel says that he plans to get the average to around 50 (it ends up being around 50 - 60), so get used to that. Remember there exists a curve. Oh yes, he sometimes reads CULPA reviews. Hi Professor!
It reflects poorly on Columbia that a teacher like this is part of the economics department. Having had teachers like Gulati and Xavier I had come to have a lot of respect for my economics professors. However, Vogel's class was nothing but an excuse for him to please himself. The class was not cumulative at all, or at least not in a way that Vogel showed us. His classes were conducted by projecting the relevant functions on the board and then having us sit there solving problems in class for another 30 minutes (this mostly was comprised of people saying pass and the same 2-3 kids grudging through the problems every time). Needless to say, you don't really get the feeling that he teaches you anything. We were given 4 problem sets.The questions on these were easy and simplistic, there was absolutely nothing similar on the test except for the first gimme question. The problem with how he sets up his tests is that there is 1 very easy question worth about 40 points and then another 2 questions worth the other 60 points on average. I completely understand the motive for wanting a class average of around 50 so that there will be a nice spread around the mean and it will be easier to curve up. However, the average ends up being around 50 but without any spread and kids who end up being great at economics but not being able to answer his brain teasers on tests will end up lumped in with the kids who only know the basic materials. Basically everyone gets the easy question and a handful end up being able to decipher his page-long convoluted questions. Honestly, if you end up taking this class don't worry about studying the material for 12 hours to get an A, this isn't possible. Instead you pretty much hit a wall at some point once you have the knowledge to answer all the questions, the only problem is you need to be able to figure out how it factors into a problem which is a lot easier said than done. The midterms were not cumulative, they only focused on the sections that preceded them: utility and game theory. After the second midterm we went over about 5 chapters (which is a lot - each of the other midterms covered about 3 chapters). We didn't have a single problem set on this material and Vogel ended up rushing through it so we could fit it all in. On the last day he announced that he would post information on his review session for the final - didn't happen. Instead he posted 2 final review question sheets covering problems we had never seen on the latest 5 chapters. Most people took this as meaning the final would focus on this material and when we got to the test and opened it, he was asking us for esoteric terms from the 1st few chapters on the "easy" questions. The new material showed up on one question in the exam and it was the hardest one (it was only worth 20 anyways I'm pretty sure). The absolute worst and most frustrating part about this class was Vogel's nasty attitude in the class. He was snarky and full of himself. He constantly talked of himself as a master of mathematics yet was skittish when it came to solving out the basic math on his practice questions. He was 100% reliant on his slides all the time (none of my other teachers in economics really even used slides). The post-test classes were the worst. We would come in and he would yell at everyone to put their pens and pencils away and that they were not allowed to have anything out. No test could leave the room. In reviewing the first test we spent most of our time going over the easy problems that everyone knew how to do and skimmed through the last two that barely anyone knew how to do. We weren't allowed to take notes to go back and figure out where we went wrong either. One girl even asked him poignantly, "How are we supposed to learn from our mistakes?" to which he pretty much replied, "Too bad." He seemed extremely distant from the class and could only remember one or two students' names in the entire 70 person class, even though half the class relied on us walking him through problems that we had never seen before. Additionally his slides were useless and were posted online but missing all calculations, answers and steps. This was particularly problematic if you were unable to write down all of the information or missed a class for an interview for example. My recommendation for anyone who is an econ major taking this class. DO NOT TAKE IT AT ALL COSTS. He is the worst teacher I have had at Columbia and by far the worst in the economics department. You will have a very difficult time getting a respectable grade in the class (he curves to a B from what I understand) and you will have an even more difficult time enjoying it. Take Elmes and get a group together for the problem sets, you will retain the information and have a much more enjoyable experience learning from someone who has earned her spot in the economics department.
Other reviewers maintain that Vogel is "amazing", but if you want to learn microeconomics, this couldn't be farther from the truth. If you want to take a class on mathematical brainteasers that are tangentially related to economics, then take this class. For example, production functions, cost functions, perfect competition, monopolies, etc. make up the bulk of economics; however, in Vogel, we rushed through these topics at the end of the course without any practice on problem sets. Also, the final only included one question on production optimization, while all of the others were brainteasers in game theory and utility optimization. You should be able to leave this class with a firm knowledge of Cornout, Bentrand, etc. Sadly, I'll forget all of these important topics in a week or so. In a subject where constant application is key to learning, Vogel decided to give us 4 extremely short and easy problem sets. Reptition and application are necessesary for learning micro, but you won't get this in Vogel. This class is about excessive pressure and tricks. If you want to learn in a productive environment, then don't take this class. Take Elmes. The problem sets are much longer in Elmes, but the tests will make sense, and you'll walk out with a better grade and better understanding of the material.
Let me start by saying that I did not want to take Elmes, not because she is a bad professor, but because i wanted to focus on my other classes as well. Steven used to teach 10 or 15 years ago, and he just came back. Olley covers exactly what the book says, he goes over the slides from the book, but in a good way, he doesn't just reads them, he actually explain them. In any case you get lost just read the book. Int. micro is a hard class, but Olley make it seem not to bad, giving real examples and always using cobb-douglas or doable utility functions. I am very glad I am taking him. Before i forget the exams are very fair. Soooo if you want a challenging class and learn micro like your own hand take Elmes, buuut if you want to learn micro in a fun way and also have some time for your other classes, then Olley is the guy.
Ah where to begin with this course? Seyhan seems to be a sweet lady, no doubt about that. I attended all the lectures, which were at best mildly helpful. She stumbled upon her algebra and made plenty of mistakes in class, practice exams, and problem sets. You were usually guaranteed a weekly email about corrections. Her lectures were generic slides with examples straight from the textbook, which is somewhat nice so you can reference everything. It was a disaster any time she tried to deviate from the given examples. I basically read the entire textbook and it wasn't as painful as it sounds. The grading was very lenient on assignments and the midterm(average was 75). TA's were very helpful. The class overall was manageable and didn't require much outside work apart from maybe 2-3 hours a week including recitation. However, the final was horrendous and I probably shouldn't have even studied. She likes to use crazy fractions and decimals... so if your answer looks wrong don't worry.
Touted as one of the most sought-after yet demanding professors to teach Microeconomics, Susan Elmes' reputation precedes her. Although she has an intense and perhaps over-confident persona and commands attention in the classroom, she is approachable - even almost grandmotherly, as classmates of mine have described her. Although many students do prosper with her highly dogmatic style of lecture, I happen to be in the camp that flounders with such a prescribed learning format. Despite her rigorous and thorough class instruction, Elmes' lectures do not adequately prepare you for her problem sets. While the examples demonstrated in class are sufficient for the tests, the problem sets are significantly more challenging. Often times, the problem sets will test material that has only been glibly and hastily taught... In many other classes - especially in the hard sciences - the textbook is the primary source from which you are able to decipher exactly what your barely cogent non-english speaking professor is expostulating. In Microeconomics, however, the lecture notes are the sole resource available to you as a student in Elmes' class. Thus, you will encounter much difficulty in completing the problem sets, especially on areas Elmes' skims over in lecture, with the expectation that the Gods of Economics (or Google) will miraculously install this knowledge into your brain. As a student enrolled in Xavier's Macroeconomics and Elmes' Microeconomics simultaneously, I would also like to point out the disparity in workloads. Realistically, I spent around 4-5 times the total number of hours I spent studying Macroeconomics in Elmes' Microeconomics. It's curious why one is so much more academically rigorous than the other if they should be analogs of each other... All in all, Elmes' is a great teacher but her problem sets are certainly unrealistic in their expectations. That said, her tests are fair and Elmes' ensure that her T.A.'s are very accessible.
This class is amazing. Vogel teaches you not only how to do microeconomics, but also how to break down problems and progress in a logical manner. He teaches you the mindset that you need to go on in future economics courses and careers. He actively engages the class, calling on anyone and everyone and attempting to learn everybody's names. He's funny and brought up a couple real-world solutions in class as well. That said, I could see why people hated his class. It's a hard class - this isn't one of those grade inflation classes. You have to know your shit to make an "A." The TA's aren't much help, and he actually acknowledges that a lot of people don't go to recitation. One of the TA's used the wrong version of the midterm to grade, so the grades were off by a couple points for the entire section. DON'T BUY THE BOOK. It is completely and utterly useless. He used two example problems from it the whole year, and you can just borrow one or get it from the library for those. REALLY don't buy the book. No matter what he says at the beginning of class or whatever. It's not worth it. If you like a challenge and really want to learn economics, then take this class. If you just want to ace a part of the core, then take a different teacher. Great class, great experience.
This class isn't nearly as bad as the rest of the reviews make it seem. I actually liked it for the most part, and it's way less work than Elmes' section. Vogel's lectures are pretty entertaining, which is good since going to class is really the best way to do well on tests, and he has a very specific way of teaching the material and sets up his exams accordingly. There are only a couple problem sets and they're quite easy, which is a nice boost to your grade if you don't blow them off entirely. The exams are pretty hard, but they are curved generously. If you go to class and make sure you know how to do the problems, you can get a decent grade with only a few hours of studying. Everyone who complains about the math is just stupid--the most complicated thing you'll ever have to do is take a derivative. I wouldn't say it's an easy A, but you can get an A-/B+ with almost no effort compared to what you would have to exert with other professors. Also he reads these reviews and talks about them in class. (Hi professor Vogel!)
Vogel (a fairly recent Columbia grad) admits to wanting to be like Xavier Sala-i-Martin. He says it, and you can tell in the jokes he attempts to make. He can be a little awkward, but in a couple of years he truly will be a great professor. He explains what's on his slides, and you have them for reference later. He's open to quesitons, even though he can't remember more than 4 students' names for the life of him. He is renowned for his difficult tests; this is true. Practice as much as you can beforehand, but know that you probably WON'T get an entirely correct solution on the exam - or even remotely correct. Just keep plugging through the simple-but-ugly algebra, and know that the curve will carry you the rest of the way. I think Vogel is a great choice for understanding the material.
While I agree that Vogel's classes are sometimes entertaining as a result of his self-deprecating humor and vague SNL references, he is not a particularly good teacher. He rushes through all the material and certainly relies much more on the math side of econ than the theory side. This would be fine if he himself were able to do the math that he is trying to teach us. He consistently messes up his calculations on the blackboard and has to turn to either his TAs or his slides to rectify his errors. The upside to the class is that he does not focus too much on graphs (unlike Elmes), and his problem sets are short and relatively easy. That being said, it is not worth it to suffer through his impossible exams for easy problem sets.
Professor Elmes is an intense professor. She's got a good understanding side though. The lectures are organized, but very fast-paced. She draws LOTS of graphs, and uses many colors of chalk. The lectures are mostly examples, and you're supposed to learn how to do problems in general off of those. Sometimes it's possible, sometimes it's really difficult. The lectures don't always relate to the homework. Also, be sure your question makes sense, is pertinent to the topic at hand, and hasn't been answered before you ask it, because Professor Elmes will NOT hesitate to throw you down. A student once asked a question, and she gave him two reasons why it wasn't a relevant question, and then told him that even if it was relevant, it was still pretty much a stupid question. It was the classroom equivalent of getting dunked on. She was good humored about it though. She had plenty of recitation sections, in which TAs did problems similar to what would be seen in the problem sets. The exams and quizzes weren't always fair. Sometimes she would throw things on the exam to see who would really understand how to do problems in general. I consider this unfair, however, because she never wrote general cases down in class, and the book didn't do a very good job either. Standard Columbia curve: half the class gets at least a B+. And of course, the thing Elmes is most famous for: the longest problem sets in the university. Each problem set has between 8 to 10 problems, split at minimum a-d, and usually going through at least g. And each subproblem usually has two, three, or four subproblems. And lots of graphs. You get to work in groups of three, which normally results in each person taking 1/3 of the problems. Still, you shouldn't plan on having Thursday nights free.
If you're somewhat of a logical person, know your basic calc, and remember most of what you've learn in Principles, then this class will be a piece of cake. Dutta tries hard to be detailed and let every single student understand every concept, but sometimes the few students who are not as bright really hold back the class. Because of that, it's really not worth the time to go to class if you're willing to skim the textbook for 20 minutes every week. If you do the homework and study the past exams that Dutta posts on courseworks, you'll get a decent grade.
First things first, you will learn in this class. Vogel is a great teacher who actively engages the class (you will not avoid the random Vogel interrogations) and legitimately teaches the material in efficient fashion. Funny, self-deprecating, and brilliant, Vogel epitomizes what a good Econ teacher should be. Do not let any of what follows take away from this fact. Vogel is awesome. The flipside to this are his tests. These, in short, are a barrel full of monkeys worth of mathematical fun. Making up pretty much the entirety of your grade (only 3 easy homework assignments which are worth a negligible portion of your grade otherwise), these test are fair yet surprisingly brutal. They solely focus on material covered in class, yet combine individual concepts into single problems that range from doable to utterly insane. You will be pushed to the limit trying to finish these tests. Means on the tests were 70, 55, and 40 for first midterm, second midterm, and final respectively. Oh, I forgot to mention that the class is curved to a 3.0 GPA average. If you inordinately care about your GPA, then buyer beware regarding this class. If what you learn matters, then I highly recommend Vogel's class.
Vogel's class...always entertaining and engaging but prepare to get shafted on the tests. Maybe he gave a generous curve last year but he definitely did not give a generous curve this year. He curved to a B this time around. You also need to realize that in taking the class, you are going to compete against the smartest econ students since you're confident enough in your econ abilities to be willing to take his class. His tests are much tougher than Elmes', as much as Elmes' students might think otherwise. Nevertheless, Vogel's tests are fair; you are given enough time to complete all of the questions and each of his questions are reasonably challenging to the point that if you looked at the solutions to any given problem, you would realize that you were capable of completing it. I got whacked on the first two midterms because I studied the basic content of his lectures and I made the algebra in his problems more complex than it needed to be (note to future students: while Vogel's problems are hard, the algebra in them should not be, otherwise you're probably on the wrong track). Vogel forces you to go beyond the given content and learn "how to think"...as cliche as that phrase has become. The problems on his tests are interesting and challenging, not recycled from the problem sets as is often the case. But once you figure out how to approach his test problems, it becomes more straightforward (my final grade was a lot better than my two midterm grades. If you care much more about learning than grades, take this course. That being said, I have mixed feelings about taking this course since I got a whole lot out of this course but my grade was far less than spectacular.
This is a ridiculous class. No matter what, do not take it! Professor Vogel rushes through the problems in his class and even though his slides are very structured, he doesn't teach the material on them at all. No matter how much you study, there is no way you will be able to answer the ridiculous questions that he comes up with in the final. Vogel almost finds it entertaining when students can't do his problems. There is a reason the averages on the exams in this class are so low. Don't be like me and think "I will do fine because I do better than the average in every other class". This class is just not the same. Trust me.. Stay away!
Prof Elmes definitely lived up to my expectations. homeworks are long and hard but it's definitely worth it. i'm really glad i chose her class and she's just amazing. the TAs this semester however are extremely disappointing, especially WooRam. the other two are better i suppose. Numerous typos in homework solutions and we still haven't gotten our homeworks back from 3 weeks ago. plus the fact that WooRam never responds to any questions/emails, administrative or homework/exam-related. very very disappointed and i think the TAs are just trying to minimize their work/effort. i really wish that for some class like this (where u need to put in a lot of effort for the hwks, etc.), we could have slightly better TAs and at least get our homeowrks back in time and questions/concerns answered.
I agree with most of the other reviews on here. Vogel's class was pretty engaging and entertaining, and he made me look forward to going to class each day. He made the book useless, and his slides were excellent materials. He even put the slides online so you didn't have to go to class, but not going put you at a disadvantage as he really explained the slides well. After I took his class I felt like I knew everything that he had taught and I knew it well. His class wasn't as mathematical as some other econ classes I took. The only exception being his first class which was (necessarily) full of math as it described how to maximize with Lagrange (which was essential). He didn't particularly explain this well and his slides/first homework were very math-scary (this was my worst homework grade by about 20 points. Luckily he drops the lowest homework grade). But once you figure out how to do it (unfortunately, you have to do so through his examples, but they are very fluid and understandable), the rest of the class becomes much more understandable. After the first class, probably about 25% of the class dropped it because they were too scared. His tests, the average on the first one was a 90, the second was about a 70 and the final was a 40. Yes the final was excruciatingly hard and the first one was way too easy. But, with that came a nice curve. If you go to class and pay attention, you'll really understand the material and know the answers when he randomly calls on people.
I would say that he is the probably the best teacher I have ever had in Economics. He is very clear and breaks things down so that you get them. I learned a lot and it didn't feel like work. I know there are some earlier reviews about how he likes to randomly call on people, which is true, but he doesn't make fun of you or anything for not knowing the answer. If you like interactive classes his is one to take. Also, very engaging, I never fell asleep in his class. A pretty easy grader, he takes your best scores and puts them together. I would say that from what I hear, he's pretty unavailable, but I never went to office hours so I can't really be sure. You should definitely take his course!
I learned a lot in this class and I enjoyed the lectures. Professor Musatti is a very approachable woman who is clearly passionate about teaching. Sometimes the lectures got confusing when she rushed through models whose variables I could not keep track off, but she usually went over it again the next class when she had more time. The problem sets were generally time-consuming, but not impossible. It is very important to work in a group for these. The first midterm was ridiculously long, very few people finished it. The second midterm was more manageable. The final was absolutely fine. She drops the lowest 2 problem sets and generally tries to weigh your averages in a way to give you the highest grade possible. The TAs meant well in recitations but were not generally that helpful. They were also very strict about grading. If you skipped a step or worked a problem in your own way you got very little credit. They seem to not know the definition of partial credit or error carried forward. While this class was time consuming, I am of the opinion that it was worth it.
Susan Elmes is by far one of the best instructors I've had at Columbia. I agree with the earlier reviews that she is crisp, clear and has a no-nonsense attitude with a dry sense of humor that makes class interesting and engaging. I have no doubt that I wouldn't have learnt half this much or grasped the concepts as well as their permutations and consequences half as well had I taken this class with someone else. She renders the textbook completely useless and is so thorough that you don't need anything other than to pay attention in class, and take notes, and do all the work she assigns. The weekly problem sets killed Thursday nights, but they were so rewarding at the end of the day. Leaving them until the last day is definitely not a good idea, unless you want to spent entire nights in Butler and still not get everything on them. Because she is as good as she is, she obviously expects more from her students than the other instructors, but she provides you all that you need to match up to these expectations. While I did have a few doubts during the semester, especially when the work load got a bit much and her exams were killing my morale, but never did I doubt that she was the best Columbia had to offer.As long as you put in the work, its definitely possible to land up in the A range at the end of the class. And more than that, this is the kind of class you imagine yourself taking when you first arrive on the Columbia campus, it is the kind of class that makes people passionate about the field again and deepens their understanding and interest. If you are willing to work hard, and don't want to take one of those easy and mind-numbingly boring classes just to get a good grade, this class is a must.
Musatti is clearly interested in the material, and seems pretty excited to present every topic in the class. I think her style works for some people, such as those who like bad jokes and weird voices. There were ~5 separate lectures where she "chastised" the class for daydreaming/not participating. Each time, she followed this by saying she understood that the material might be "dry," but that it was "nothing compared to econometrics." OK, it might be, but did you ever think that your method might be flawed for the audience? It wasn't the material that was not interesting, but the delivery that lost me and a lot of others (3/5 class showed up per lecture, I'd say). Along those lines, she more or less criticized the class for not working hard enough after the first midterm when the mean/median was around 60%. Well, isn't the whole point of a distribution to get the normal scores of everyone? It doesn't mean we didn't try hard, it's just that, well, your test was geared for the average to be about 60!!! (2nd midterm mean was ~60 as well, I believe) Other negative: Class rarely (never?) ended on time, sometimes going 10 minutes overboard. While the negatives outweighed the pros for me, it WASN'T the WORST class ever... -For one, it's not that difficult to be realistic and get the grade you hope for. The curve going into the final exam is: 88 and above A 80-87 A- 72-79 B+ 65-72 B 60-64 B- 55-59 C+ 50-54 C 45-49 C- 35-44 D less than 35 F
Musatti tried really hard to be a good teacher, she really did. Too hard sometimes, and the class was often boring because of it. Maybe half the class comes to lecture, and its not really necessary to come to lectures, you don't really learn much. Recitations are required and should definitely be attended, but overall, Musatti is a much easier alternative to Elmes.
Vogel is a pretty good teacher who makes the textbook worthless (it costs 110 dollars and you should not buy it. If you do buy it, buy the international version, which is cheaper but has the same things). He is entertaining and pretty funny at times. He keeps the class participating by calling on random people during lectures (you can pass on a question if you want) and goes through examples of problem types in class. There is a recitation that is very very helpful where you review what you learned in class by going more deeply into the mathematics of it, but he is nice enough to post the recitations online when you miss one. This class is very heavily math oriented and he himself said it was a little more mathy than the other sections, but he does an adequate job of teaching it most of the time. The only complain I have about this class was the difference in difficulties on the exams. The midterm was really easy where most of the class got an A, the second midterm was difficult, with an average of 72, and the final was IMPOSSIBLE, with an average of 42.4. Of course, he curved it at the end. To give you an idea of the curve, I got an average of 95/100 on the homeworks (20%), a 95/100 on the first midterm (25% since it was my higher midterm grade), a 77/100 on the second midterm (20% since it was my lower midterm), and a 59/100 (35%), and I got an A- as my final grade. This was definitely a challenging class but it was doable.
Vogel's class was so much better than my other classes. He was interactive, funny, and really straightforward with the lectures and what we need to know. A warning: he is slightly more math-oriented in what he teachers, because he was an econ-math major at Columbia. If you have a hard time with math/game theory, you might want to take another teacher. He's such a funny teacher, and tries to relate everything to real life including wall street or his favorite drink, cherry coke. His homework sets don't take that long and are either very easy, or slightly more challenging, but VERY do-able. I would advise to go to hte TA sessions because sometimes they give the answers to homework. OH yeah, and beware of the fact that he randomly calls on students in class. If you're really shy, literally just wear like a blank tee shirt or something, or else you have a chance of being called on. It's really not that scary, because practically everyone he calls on answers "pass...." so there's no need to be ashamed if you can't answer his question and he calls on you. My only complaint is he could have spent slightly less time on game theory, because I felt really rushed at the end of the class. and didn't feel as well prepared for the second midterm/final. but that could be because he REALLY prepared us for the first midterm with tons of practice questions. also, it really was not necessary to have two midterms, since the second one was literally two weeks before the final...
Worst professor at Columbia. He has no idea what he is doing, and though he may understand economics he in incapable of teaching it to anyone else. Half the class dropped out after seeing the first homework assignment which was very poorly written. It's not that microeconomics is a difficult course, it's just that all of his questions are so convoluted that you don't know how to answer them. His lectures are the only source of class material but he frequently has typos on simple algebra and can't explain how he gets his answers. On top of that he can't stop talking about how he graduate from Princeton and that he is such an expert in the Economics field. His tests got exponentially harder as the semester went on so that the final was impossibly difficult. Every question came out of left field to the point where no one knew where to start.
Lalith is not helpful at all. His lectures in class tend to be pretty clear, but if you ever have a problem, don't expect him to help you out. he is arrogant and makes you feel dumb if you don't understand. make sure to read his lecture notes before class, because he might call on you about something straight out of his notes, but if you don't know it, he makes you feel silly about it. He constantly would tell us that we were moving too slowly and that everything we were doing was "kindergarten stuff." He made intermediate micro much harder than it might be with a different professor. Also, grading seemed to be pretty random. I got an A on the midterm, bombed the final (probably) and got a B in the class. Others received Cs on the midterm, bombed the final and got A's. So it's pretty random, it seems. Also, the TA is completely useless.
Lalith's ego is suffocating. That being said, his teaching style is fast but clear. Microeconomics is tedious, and not remotely fun, but I must say that there were times when I appreciated Lalith for saying something absurd to make a concept interesting. The midterm and final were difficult, so study early and often.
I feel obliged to write another good review for professor Elmes. She is an extremely organized professor, and her TAs are amazing. They make sure all the homeworks are handed out and graded on a timely basis, and answer your emails in no time (15 minutes, and maximum 12 hours.) But be warned, as there are a lot of talented kids in class, the curve can be a bit harshed. I personally worked very hard for the mid-term (I re-did the homework for three times...), but still got an A-. The problem with her test isn't so much about memorizing the concepts, but about understanding them and able to adapt to a new scenario. Also, you need to be very accurate when doing arithmetic, as the TAs are pretty strict about numbers. Lot of times, I feel that most of people in the higher range of the class can do the test correctly with sufficient time, but it is those who are accurate that will earn the top seats. 5 A+, 11 A. for a class around 80 persons.
Prof. Jehle is a visiting professor from Vassar. He has a bit of a dry demeanor, for instance: he has a horrible habit of writing really small on the chalkboard, and when asked to write larger by members of the class, he just acts flabbergasted and offended and refuses to change his writing. But at the same time, during lectures he does make an effort to crack some jokes and make microeconomics relevant to real life, so he deserves some credit for trying to liven up material that, unless you're a microeconomics geek, is dreadfully boring. His use of Courseworks is brilliant too, definitely the best I've had at Columbia in terms of offering online study resources. He provides online multiple choice reviews that practically mirror the homework questions and midterm/final, which was great for studying. It was to my detriment that I didn't take advantage of them until the last few weeks of class: I got a 60% on the midterm because I was a real slacker, but I aced the final after studying properly. In his lectures he does use different methods from the textbook, so if you skip many lectures like I did, your ability to do problem sets and perform on tests will be degraded accordingly. The textbook by Nicholson/Snyder was pretty useless for tests and problem sets due to being so topic-based and theoretical rather than quantitative, but it does a decent job of explaining the ideas behind micro. He has a somewhat generous grading system, where if you show improvement and overperform on the final, he weights it more than indicated on the syllabus. I was given a B final grade despite turning in miserable/incomplete problem sets and a horrible midterm, because I studied my ass off and aced the final.
Generally a pretty easy class. Based on past reviews, Dutta seemed to have put in a little more preparation for classes with examples and (bad) humor. Lectures were not interactive at all, but also very simple. Everything came straight from the book, and most of the class only showed up for the midterm and final since it's at 9 am. You can easily do well by just reading the textbook and doing the weekly HW's. He skips a lot of subjects/details in the book that other professors probably cover, so your Micro knowledge from this class probably won't be very in-depth. On the flip side, his HW and tests are generally easy. It's possible that a fair number of students get perfect or near-perfect scores on the exams. Went to 1 TA session, wasn't helpful at all. They just go over past HW's to make sure everyone knows what's going on. Take Dutta if you want a good grade, not if you want a good foundation in Micro.
In all honesty, this class was Principles Part 2, where we learned virtually nothing new from what I had learned with Professor Gulati in Principles of Economics. Dutta moves incredibly slowly, we spent way too long on simple supply and demand problems that were already reviewed in Principles. Furthermore, Dutta is extremely boring and dull as a lecturer. While his notes are clear, he fails to command the class' interest; his occasional attempt to get the class to participate are utter failures -- his comments are met, for good reason, with the same lack of enthusiasm that he brings to class. If you want to learn something in Microeconomics that is interesting and new, PLEASE take this class with Elmes. Yes she is harder and gives a lot more work, but you develop a much greater passion for Economics and appreciation of the subject. Also, don't be afraid of the timing of Elmes' class, even if it's later in the day, you get used to it. Elmes' class talks about interesting applications of Micro, such as determining insurance premiums, while Dutta stays on the very basic topics: Supply and Demand, Perfectly Competitive/Monopolistic markets, etc... This class is not a challenge and doesn't encourage thinking or learning. If that's what you're looking for than by all means take it, but if you are genuinely interested in Economics, please take Micro with Elmes.
Intermediate Micro is HARD. this class will be difficult no matter where you take it, and taking it with Lalith certainly doesn't help. His problem sets are hard, but most answers can be found in the intermediate micro supplemental text (which i definately reccommend puchasing). his grading system is somewhat unclear, and there are huge curves on the midterm and final. also, last semester he changed the midterm to the day after halloween from the day before. he did this a week before the midterm. hes quite disorganized, and the answer keys to the homeworks never really tell you anything. but find a few good study partners and you'll be fine.
What did I do in a past life to deserve this TA twice???? She not only makes grading mistakes on problem sets and is terrible at running a recitation, she is also pretty much crazy. I was afraid to bring up her obvious grading mistakes because I did not want to push her over the edge and cause a nervous breakdown. If you have her, all I can say is sorry, and do not go to her office hours alone, you never know when she might snap.
I chose her because all the culpas for all the other professors that were teaching micro said avoid at all costs. She was just as bad. She was kind of entertaining but that did not hide the fact that her teaching skills suck. She is really nice, but cant explain anything very well. I sometimes wish I had taken micro with Elmes because although it would have been harder and more stressful, at least I would have learned.
Miyagawa's delivery for this class is extremely straightforward. For every concept, he first explains it generally and then uses concrete numbers and functions to serve as an example. Doing the homework really helps reinforce what's taught in class. The homework sets come from a whole packet which also contains many more practice problems to do. If you attend class, do homework, and do those extra practice problems, you are set for this class. His midterm and final don't test your ability to memorize random formulas. They test your understanding of the concepts and how well you can apply them to new situations.
If you are coming into this class for an easy grade, leave right away. This class isn't exactly a breeze. You will have to put the necessary effort into studying to do well on his homework and exams. That being said, Eiichi is a very straightforward teacher. I have read reviews of him saying that he is horrible, but I do not believe it. Sure, he is not as extravagant as Xavier or as exceptional as Elmes, but he is by no means a joke professor. He definitely knows his material and will try and make sure that you get it too. It is a little weird when he picks randomly on people in class but it's usually in jest. If you talk to him after class or during office hours, he is generally helpful. Just don't ask stupid things like, "so... what's going to be on the midterm?" or "can you show me how to do number 9?" If you are more thoughtful, you would ask a question such as, "what is the distinction between compensating and equivalent variations and how do they relate to the income and substitution effects?" Anyway, before I ramble on too much, I will conclude by saying that his class is not the most interesting, but you will get a decent grasp of Microeconomics afterward.
Oh, Anna, Anna, Anna. Whatever shall we do with you? You are so sweet, and obviously trying so hard to be a funny, hip, approachable teacher. And you suceed on all those points, you really do. But there's still a missing element in your class, in your teaching style...one that makes the students care, and want to try hard to do well. One that makes them want to come to class and learn. With some careful thinking and editing of your lecture notes, you could have a devoted following. My major frustrations with the class were mainly pertaining to the problem sets, which were only put online on tuesday or wednesday, and then due on friday. Great if you have time during the week, hell if you don't. Either way, you always end up rushing to get it in, sometimes accepting that you only half finished it and probably could have done the rest if only you had a bit more time. My other frustation was the typos. Typos everywhere, in the problem sets, in the lecture notes, in the exams, in the solution sets, in the recitation notes from the TA's. Studying for the final was a nightmare of frantically emailing TA's trying to figure out how on Earth some of the answers were reached; studying was full of wasted time wondering why you got the wrong answer, why weren't the numbers working. The last frustration was that, after coming from Gulati's fast paced yet clear and organized principles class, Musatti's teaching style was slow and scattered. She did make sense when you re-read your lecture notes but during the lectures you would tend to forget what it is she was doing and why. Also she would cover topics that we learnt in principles pretty extensively, and somehow skim over things we'd never seen before. The textbook was pretty useless, given that there was little math to speak of in the book, but the course was heavily math based. It was okay for the general concepts of micro. Overall, Musatti has the making of a good teacher if she gets her stuff together, but this course needs alot of refining to make it engaging and cohesive.
i too took this class because both other profs had reviews that said avoid at all costs. Ladies and gents, AVOID AT ALL COSTS. at least the other teachers TEACH, even if they are difficult. Mussati is not only unorganized and incomprehensible, she is rude to students, makes mistakes constantly, and thinks she's amusing when no one is laughing. every single problem set had "errors" that she informed us about the night before they were due. Problem sets were impossible only because she never taught. The entire, and i mean entire semester is self-taught. oh, and the textbook sucks. good luck.
Class can be a frustrating experience as her lectures seem to go in all directions and touch on all sorts of loosely-connected concepts (except for the ones listed on the syllabus). That being said, she is always very helpful during office hours and the Problem Sets are comprehensive enough for you to learn (with the help of the textbook) the basics of Microeconomics. I'm not sure how she compares with the other Micro professors but she's highly approacheable and the PSets are manageable once you read the text.
She's somewhat entertaining in class but doesn't really TEACH the material. I only chose her because reviews for the other professors said "AVOID AT ALL COSTS!" you definitely don't need to avoid her at all costs, but plan on being a little confused in class and referring to the book to get your problem sets done.
Overall a good boring class. The class lectures are extremely easy and the HWs are ok. Beware however that the midterm was hard and the average was in the low 50s. And there is a very very BIG but to the class. Honestly, it felt as if he didn't care about us at all. Everything, from choosing the HWs, grading them, explaining them and the midterm/final were done by the TAs. This was evident since the class notes were completely useless when doing the midterm or most PS. Everything was based on the book. So... if you take this class: lectures are unnecessary and keep up to date with all the readings which are much more important.
Let's keep it simple. This class covers some basic concepts with alot of added complications by Elmes. However, if you paid attention and knew how to do a little math, it was all VERY doable. Overall I thought the class served its purpose in terms of getting you prepared for the Econ electives. Granted I didn't get the grade I wanted because I'm not a great test taker, I did learn what I needed to get out of the class. If you are interested in Micro concepts and truly earned your spot at Columbia, this class won't be a problem.
Alexis is a very able T.A. I went to his review session the second half of the semester and it was very helpful. Demetris and Alexis-good TA's, some of the best I've had at Columbia so far. The TA's are great...the class, not so much.
Eiichi sucks. No way arround that. I don't even know where to start with him, but here's my try: Student: "Professor, are you going have a review for the final?" Miyagawa: "No, just know that I can cover anything from the begining of the semester" Student: "Are we going to get our problem sets back from last month?" Miyagawa: "I asked the TA to grade them, but I cannot force him to grade them. If he doesn't do it, there's nothing I can do about it." He covers easy/basic problems in class, and then gives you this rediculously hard puzzle on the mid-term that tests your knowledge of geometry (like being able to remember the equation of a circle). This is my fault because I wanted to take micro with an easier professor, but I would have been better off with Elmes. At least, she goes in-depth in her lectures. Unless you like to use Google to figure out how to solve problems, take the course with someone else.
Just finished freshman year. I had a lot of good professors this year, but Elmes was the best. As someone else said, archetypical great-but-difficult professor. The best compliment I can give her is that she renders the textbook unnecessary. Her lectures are amazingly clear, and she covers a lot of ground. If you go to class and study your notes you should be pretty set. I read the textbook as review during reading week. Problem sets are especially useful for anyone interested in public policy. In a lot of problems we had to evaluate the economic merits of different policy proposals. Elmes is really no-nonsense. She never wastes a minute, and jokes are far between (always good though). Always answers questions, though, in class or afterwards (students kept her around afterwards for ten minutes or so every class). Do your work and you'll come out with a great grasp of micro and maybe an A.
I would vote Susan Elmes as the best professor that I've had this year, and I have had some great professors this year (some with gold nuggets on culpa). First of all, Prof Elmes' lectures are always extremely clear. She teaches so that you don't actually need to read the book (even though she might tell you to) - everything you need to know and understand from Intermediate Micro, you can get from the lectures. She might present ideas that are abstract, but then she will always take you through examples that show you exactly how to approach a problem. Then, she will stop to ask for questions and will pretty much answer all of them. That said, classes, while not entertaining, actually ARE interesting and will keep you focused, because 1) the material is clearly presented, 2) Prof. Elmes engages the students by both asking and answering questions, and 3) she will make funny jokes from time to time. Besides the lectures, other aspects of the class are also very well-structured. Prof. Elmes is very approachable during office hours, which she has every week. Also, she regularly gives handouts in class that make note-taking a lot easier, and she always makes sure to post these handouts, homework assignments, and homework solutions on Courseworks. The recitations are also very, very helpful in doing the problem sets. In other words, yes, this class might be more challenging than the other Micro section, but I think it's definitely worth it, simply because Prof. Elmes is an amazing lecturer, and she makes sure that you have all the support and resources that you need to do well in her class - you just need to be willing to put in the work. To that end, I disagree with all the previous reviews that were somewhat negative. I've really enjoyed Intermediate Micro and have learned an incredible amount of economics from it. Yes, I did stay up until 4:00 a.m. once because of a problem set, but ultimately, I put in all the necessary work and did very well. This is not a class that you should shy away from - in fact, I would say that you should go out of your way to have Intermediate Micro with Prof. Elmes. P.S. If you want to save money, seriously, don't buy the book, because you really don't need it.
Go to class...the textbook is useless and unnecessary. If you pay attention in class and do the problem sets you should be fine. Material is not difficult, but the quizes and tests are long and time is an issue. She is also a tough grader.
I don't see why anyone who posted before is complaining; I and a lot of my friends would agree that this class is not as hard as everyone makes it out to be. Elmes is a solid teacher, and by that I mean that she explains stuff clearly so that you don't have to go read the book. If you pay attention and take good notes, you will do fine. Someone mentioned before that the class was repetitive; it definitely is. We learn the two first order conditions the first class, and we basically apply them again throughout the course. The problems sets were long, but they weren't too difficult, and since everyone gets to work in groups of 3, one of your groupmates should get it, and if not then ask somebody else. The midterm was long and a little difficult, but it's nothing that bad. Again, everything was covered before. I actually misread a problem and messed up on it, so I was kicking myself at the end. The final was ridiculously easy. I mean, Elmes gave out a data sheet that said that around 30% got a 90 or above without the scale. The median was in the 80s; that's pretty high for an economics class. I ended up getting a solid A without doing much work, except paying attention in class and working on the problem sets for about an hour or two a week (and the last few I slacked big time). Maybe Elmes has changed, but this class was definitely a lot easier than I expected, and overall, it was a very good course.
Alexis was my TA for Prof. Elmes Micro class, and he was simply excellent. Tough sometimes, but very fair. An excellent instructor with a real heart and gift for teaching. Any students of his in the future will be fortunate to have him.
Prof. Elmes is dedicated, knowlegeable, and very fair. She has an exceptional grasp of her subject; I never once saw her make a mistake in class, she's very, VERY competent and on top of her material. Quizzes and exams I felt were very fair. However, the one big complaint was the homework. The problems sets are STUPIDLY long and involved; I'd say they actually detract from learning. It wasn't uncommon to spend between 6 and 8 hours per week on them, and much of that time was chasing down minute details that never showed up again and didn't really assist learning. Most of the PS are 6 questions, with multiple parts; making them less involved/complex, or cutting it down to 4 questions per week would fix this I think. As it was, I spent so much time rushing to finish the details that I actually didn't have the time I wanted to focus on some of the fundamentals, and this hurt me on exams. Prof. Elmes, please consider, we do have other classes besides yours!
Excellent class and teacher. She can teach like a high school teacher (as opposed to most columbia profs) yet is sharp as can be and knowledgeable about all that goes on in the department. The class was the most organized I have had. It is not nearly so hard as many say, if you are bad at econ, don't take this class, for the only reason is for the major or minor. If you did well in principles and have a trivial knowledge of calc you will be more than fine.
Absolute WORST professor IÂ’ve ever had. The other reviews area right on the point. This guy is not a teacher, you will not learn much if anything from his lectures. He cannot make the point (however simple) across during his lectures. His notes are poorly written, difficult to read and interpret, and worst of all have nothing to do with the homework assignments, which in turn have nothing to do with the exams. He does not teach out of the book and I suspect he has never even read the book himself. Homework assignments are directly related to the book. Exams are very difficult, require above average mathematical proficiency, have little to do with conventional and practical economical concepts, and are graded very harshly. If you take this class you will end up with a poor grade, hours of frustration, and a feeling like you did not learn much if anything worthwhile. I took macro during the same semester with Prof. Sala-i-martin who was one of the best professors IÂ’ve had in recent times. Luckily he salvaged my interest in economics.
Yinghua is a great TA who prepares students with exactly what they need for the midterm and final exams. He shows up prepared for each recitation with a list of the important topics of the week, reviews those topics in terms that students can understand, and solves examples of the same level as the exams. At the end of each recitation, the students usually leave with a good understanding of the topics of the week. Outside of class, Yinghua is easily accessible by email or through his office hours. He'll usually not only answer your questions but make sure you understand the entire problem. If you get Yinghua as a TA, and you are willing to spend the time going to recitations and asking questions, then you should have no problems both learning the material and doing well in the course.
This is a professor who likes to teach theories and concepts but not explain them with examples. You have to pay close attention during lectures to really understand exactly what you need to learn. You'll find yourself not taking any useful notes in lectures because 1) Professor Salanie offers his powerpoint presentations after lectures online and 2) no concrete examples are offered in class and the main points are already in the book. This means you will have to struggle to remain focused on the material during class. The homeworks are generally very short and only act to make sure you understand the concepts. I felt that the homeworks might be more appropriate for the Principles of Economics course. On the other hand, the exams take you into detailed calculations that the homeworks might not have prepared you for. However, the recitations make up for what the professor and the homeworks don't teach: the TAs show problem solving techniques and work through detailed examples during recitations. After taking this class, I felt that I have learned the microeconomics concepts AND can work through problems at this level.
WORST TEACHER EVER, HIS LECTURES ARE DISORAGANIZED, AND UNLESS YOU ARE EXTREMELY INTERESTED IN COMPLEX MATH WITH LITTLE REAL APPLICATIONS, YOU WILL NOT ENJOY THIS CLASS. His notes don't make sense, he doesnt write any of the practice midterms or the homeworks, and leaves it all up to the TAs, which go purely by the book, so if you read the book youll have no prolbem with the homeworks or the practice exams, but they have no bearing on the material covered for the actual tests, which are filled with variables and proofs and a lot of conceptual puzzles with no practical problems, the as actually worse than the midterm, and even after realizing he was achieving poor results, he still curves to a B-.
A previous reviewer referred to this class as "tough love" and I have to agree. Elmes is a very good lecturer and breaks the material down very effectively. We had some extremely annoying kids in the class who she wasn't afraid to shoot down for being annoying, which earned her some serious points in my book. The problem sets are definitely difficult and extremely time consuming, but the recititation helps a lot. The midterm and final weren't particularly difficult, the questions were totally fair, the tests were just really long. Basically, micro with Elmes is no joke but you'll learn the material pretty well, I would definitely recommend her as a professor.
this man has no place in the classroom. he is the absolute worst instructor I've had here. his teaching style is all abstract (and mostly irrelevant). he solves no in-class examples. all the other warnings *cough* "reviews" ... are dead on. please do not take this class. you are not the smart kid that will be the exception. do not take this class. it is a complete waste of time, and you will do terribly. this man made my junior year miserable.
By far the worst teacher I've ever had since kindergarden!!!!! He might as well teach his classes in french; I asure you it would not make a difference. The final was just as bad, if not worse, than the infamous midterm, discussed by all other reviewers. I attended Susan Elmes' class a fiew times to see the difference and I must say she is really great! For one she speaks a language you could follow. I think Bernard Salanie has ADD because he is constantly distracted by his own jokes that only very fiew people understand; I think only French people actually. His classes are organized as if he was drunk twenty four hours a day. In short, as he might understand Economics, his understanding is almost completely locked into his own head. Maybe he wants to gard all his knowlege so that noone can threaten his superb status in the world of Economics, or maybe he simply wants to discurage people from studying it.
this guy is TERRIBLE. his lectures were terrible. all he talks about is how much better france is than the united states. the midterm was terrible. the average was a 45 because none of the problems had anything to do with what he taught in class. this is coming from someone who has a good grade in the class, but i just hate this man. he is a terrible professor.
Outside of class, Professor Salanie seems like a nice guy. He makes funny jokes, he has a cool accent (French), and he's very intelligent. He has an affinity for computers, the internet, and technology and seems to know quite a bit about technological economics. I think I could have been friends with Salanie, had I not taken this class ... Unfortunately, this class was a nightmare. Salanie's one of those teachers who understands everything crystal clear, but seems to have tremendous difficulty conveying his ideas in a logical and understandable manner. After Salanie finished writing things on the board, it nearly always looked like Grafitti -- completely disorganized and incoherent. Salanie tried to rectify that by producing powerpoint slides (that he later made available online) but those ended up even worse. The slides eventually stopped; my guess is he got lazy. I have never missed a lecture, and throughout the course of the semester, Salanie only performed (1) practice problem, and that was a week before the final. Salanie's lectures were very abstract and I had difficulty applying what he said in class (which made sense at the time) to the problem sets. The book we used was very clear and had excellent practice problems, but it became useless when trying to solve the problem sets or when preparing for the midterm and final. Please, please, please, for your own sake, do not take this class with Salanie. It's very difficult, and you will not learn anything. Take the class with another professor -- it will be difficult no doubt, but at least you will learn something. This class was a waste of time. It was the most frustrating class I've ever taken.
Prof Salanie reminds me of a cynical, self deprecating, French version of Santa Claus. A telling example: on our last day of class he solved the practice final on the board and was stymied by one of the earlier problems (throughout the semester we only used variables, no numbers, so this was new to him) and instead of finding the real answer he said it was "six-hundred and sixty six, my favorite number." Sideways glances ensued among the class. After rolling along through the rest of the test we got to the last question, which Bernard solved in his head and, you guessed it, the answer was in his French accented words "six-hundred and sixty six, the SIGN OF THE BEAST!," and because the precise answer was 2/3 * 1000 he drew bunches of 666s after the decimal point across the board for effect. It was surreal, but in a jovial way because Bernard was smiling. Despite not doing problems on the board on a regular basis, Bernard does teach the economic concepts well, albeit in an often mathematically challenging way. However, this is micro, not macro, folks - there's supposed to be a lot more math, and that's not his fault. Bernard does intersperse his calculus with interesting stories and case examples (I hope you like bananas), so the class is not a total snooze. I'd take him again over Elmes.
Professor Salanie is a terrible teacher in all respects. You will learn very little, will do terribly, and will become frustrated. Avoid this man at all costs. This is Professor Salanie's first semester at Columbia (he is from France). It appears as though Susan Elmes, a notoriously difficult though instructional professor, is his mentor. As such, Salanie's exams are incredibly difficult given that students do not have the required knowledge to answer the exam questions. Even worse, as if to spite students, Salanie curves his class to a B-/C. Salanie's problem sets are very simple, most likely because he doesn't want to spend time creating them. Problem sets are usually 4 multiple choice questions straight from the textbook. However, DO NOT BE FOOLED, the exams are impossible (the mean was a 45 / 100). Salanie, perhaps used to French grading systems, was upset to notify the class that he "may have to curve the exam" so that some students are able to pass. That was stated with complete seriousness. Outside of the class, Salanie seems like he could be a cool guy. He says some pretty dirty jokes (the French kind of dirty -- VERY dirty), is very intelligent, and like to bike ride. Unfortunately, he has no teaching ability, is a very strict grader, and has no problem if half the class recieves a C or less. What upset me most was that the class was unfair. Oh yeah, and Salanie is totally inaccessible. Don't even bother e-mailing him or stopping by during office hours -- he won't be there. If I could do this semester over, I would have taken Elmes. Yes, Elmes is a very difficult Professor, but if you're going to get a mediocre grade anyway, at least learn something... This class was a complete waste of everyone's time.
**AVOID AT ALL COSTS ** This semester was Professor Salanie's first at Columbia. It appeared as though Susan Elmes, a microeconomics professor notorious for difficult exams and intense homework assignments, was Salanie's mentor with this course. However, unlike Elmes, Salanie lacks teaching ability. At least Elmes teaches you the required material beforehand -- she teaches you how to defend yourself before the attack. With Salanie, it's just an ambush. Imagine the most impossible midterm ever without the knowledge of how to solve the problems! Complete frustration. Since Salanie is french, and france is known for its mostly good food, here is a recipe to create a Salanie from scratch: 100 LBS LAZINESS. This includes incomplete nonsensical powerpoint presentations, a hodgepodge of chickenstratch notes with "m"s that look like "n"s so it's even more difficult to know which variables he's talking about and lectures that start 10 - 15 minutes late because he is unprepared. 25 LBS DISINTEREST. Salanie would rather have kidney stones than teach a class of American students. Each class is bombarded with jokes on why french are better than Americans. Salanie has never solved a single practice problem during class. There are no examples. When questioned about the lack of examples, Salanie responded, "I am not here to teach you what is required to pass the exams." 25 LBS MISLEADING HW. His homework assignments are so easy (mostly 4 multiple choice questions)! This is due to the massive laziness (see above). Most students complete them during class. Unfortunately, these assignments have nothing to do with the lectures or the textbook. 20 LBS IMPOSSIBLE MIDTERM. Salanie was shocked when the mean of the midterm was 45 / 100. But how is a student to expect impossible problems when the practice midterm (which he snatched from Elmes because he was too lazy to make one himself) and the homework assignments were so easy? Even worse, the midterm was curved to a B- / C. It really couldn't have gotten worse. 20 LBS INACCESSIBILITY. Don't even bother trying to get in touch with Professor Salanie. It's an uphill battle. He is never in his office during the required hours and when one does show up, he becomes disgusted by "stupid questions." DIRECTIONS: Place in a classroom, don't do anything, and hope something comes out. The concepts of microeconomics are easy. But for some reason, the professors of the department (Salanie, Elmes, etc ...) insist on making it difficult by bringing in other subjects and tedious assignments, at times unnecessarily, to add difficulty. Most of the concepts of the course involve simple equations, finding intersecting lines and differentiating; but, that becomes tedious and difficult when you involved 3+ variables, functions that you don't know how to differentiate (logarithmic derivatives, laplace transforms, etc ...), and other terms you've never encountered. If you're going to take this course, take it with Elmes. Yes she's a difficult teacher, but at least you'll learn something. This entire semester has been a waste of time. This man stole my youth.
Avoid this man at all costs. The earlier review is dead-on in all of its criticisms. Salanie is far and away the worst teacher I've had in the econ department.
This semester is Salanie's first semester teaching. I'm currently enrolled in his microeconomics class. Salanie's lectures are generally incoherent and poorly organized. He seems unprepared for lecture (even when he has lecture slides), he does not explain concepts clearly, does not solve problems in class, and occasionally loses track of the material in the middle of teaching. But that's of no consequence, because most of the time he's teaching an irrelevant proof that he does not expect the class to know anyhow. The lectures do not closely correspond to the material in the textbook. This lack of correspondence has been problematic for two reasons. a) his lectures have been unhelpful b) his midterm questions were rigorous mathematical problems. He did not solve problems of this nature in class and did not assign similar problems for homework. The fact that the textbook was not adequate to prepare students for a midterm of this nature compounded the problem. The mean on Salanie's midterm was a 45, which reflects his poor instruction rather than the difficulty of the exam. Mathematically inclined students performed much better than the majority of the class, especially those who had taken already taken macroeconomics. I scored above the mean, but with the appropriate resources i could have done considerably better. Salanie recently indicated that he plans to curve the class around a B-. Most likely, Salanie will remain the poor teacher he currently is. However, as he adapts to Columbia and to teaching undergraduates he may learn to organize his class more effectively and conduct it more fairly.
A decent professor, although he was ten minutes late to nearly every lecture. Lectures are straightforward and easy to understand; homework and tests are not very hard. However, getting help in this class if you don't understand a certain aspect of the material is very hard. His TAs could barely speak English and only held office hours at highly inconvenient times (some on Thursday and Friday evenings). If you want a low-intensity micro class, Dutta will give it to you, but you won't get a class that's very intellectually stimulating or user-friendly.
I'm a type 2 person (if you don't know what i'm talking about look at the review halfway down the page ). This class was rough. From the very first day Elmes told us how hard this class was. HA! I laughed in the face of difficulty. Elmes told us to do well we needed to go to lecture, go to recitation, and do the reading. I did all 3 and I did "well enough". Elmes was not joking and she's no joke. I fell sleep almost every class just because I had 5 classes on those day and I got screwed over. The book teaches you concepts but you dont' want concepts you want help! and the only help you're gonna get is by paying attention in her lecture. In the lecture she explains how to do problems ACTUAL: economic problems. Her recitations are the only way to be able to do the problem sets if your'e a type 2 person. All in all I got destroyed by this class but I think Elmes did actually teach me a lot. In two words: tough love.
The class was fairly straight-forward. Kockesen has been criticized for using too much math, but I think that he only used it as an additional way to explain something and did not rely on it unless it was necessary. He is from Turkey, as is belied by his accent, but it never became hard to understand him. Overall, if you go to class and take sufficient notes, you should not have too much trouble with this class. Some benefits that may only have happened my semester: he didn't make us buy the book (the homework was online), and the final was only an hour and a half, and was on the last day of class.
Elmes is a brilliant lecturer. You will learn an enormous amount in her class. That said, it will be very difficult -- class itself is interesting but very intense and she covers daunting amounts of material in each class. Problem sets take several hours to complete and are graded and count for 25% of your grade. The midterm is the most difficult exam I have ever taken as you are forced to do difficult problems in a very short period of time. The final is difficult but time is less of an issue as you have slightly more time to finish the exam. Curve is somewhat stiffer than most classes for two reasons - 1. She curves more to a B than to a B+ as many other teachers do and 2. The kids who choose to take her class are typically of higher quality as it is understood that she is the better/more challenging professor (there is always another professor who teaches micro simultaneously). So, though you may not get an A, you will learn an enormous amount about Microeconomics which will prepare you well for future courses. It all depends on what matters more to you.... ALSO, make sure to go to recitation.
Okay, so I agree, he's not very exciting. I attended all of his lectures, and I took notes, which was both easy and tedious to do. However, his notes are incredibly thorough. Moreover, I think the problem sets would be impossible if you did not take notes. I opened the text maybe twice the entire semester, and found almost nothing helpful in it. But if you attend class and take notes, the problem sets are definitely do-able (I would say neither difficult nor easy). Additionally, the midterm was truly a joke. Whoever said that you will fail the midterm obviously spent no time whatsoever with the practice midterm exams. They were basically all that I and several of my friends studied, and we all got at or above the median, which was an incredibly high 86. As for the final, it certainly had a curve ball question, which I don't think anyone was expecting, but it was do-able if you reviewed ur notes (which I unfortunately did not spend much time doing). But he definitely intended to get people with that question to bring down the median on the final because it was obvious that a lot of people got away with high grades on the midterm just studying the practice exams. All in all, not a difficult course, but a tedious class to sit through. Nevertheless, I would recommend Prof. Kockesen over Prof. Elmes in you want the "easy way out." If you want a brutal workload and a lecture taught grad-school style, then go with Prof. Elmes.
I really enjoyed this class, and thought that Kockesen was one of the better professors I've had at Columbia. He is not a particularly engaging guy, but keeps his lectures interesting,,, while also clear and concise. I learned a lot at the lectures, but he doesn't use the book at all in his teaching, or on the tests or problem sets, so it is pretty difficult if you don't go to class. He has a pretty mathematical approach to economics, so if you aren't a math person the class may pretty difficult. You need a solid handle on calculus. The only thing that disappointed me was that he didn't include as much game theory as I thought he would, especially considering that the other class he teaches is game theory. However, I think that my semester had less than most, because we didn't have any game theory on our final, but it showed up on a few of practice finals that he posted.
Levent is a solid professor. His lectures are straight forward, comprehensive and easy to follow. Certainly not the most interesting of classes, but given that its an entry level econ class, you can't really complain. There was no textbook for the course, which was occasionally frustrating - but it forced one to pay attention in class. Overall, a good class/professor. Recommended.
Levent is a nice guy; sometimes it is difficult to understand his accent but his lectures are understandable in general. I never went to recitation but did okay in the class. He's a fair and firm grader.
This class was hell. Not because it was difficult--not at all, it was appallingly simplistic. The amount of work required for this class was unbelievable. Basically, everything you need to know for this class is taught in the first two weeks: draw the graph, take the derivative (which is always y/x ), set it equal to the slope of the line, and plug in the numbers. Admittedly, sometimes there are variations (there could be two curves! sometimes you have to work backwards!). But that was THE ENTIRE CLASS: solving the same exact problem, over and over and over and over again...in the extremely long problem sets...in the extremely long midterm and exam...and in the lectures, with her combative style of teaching. If you can figure out how to do this one problem (and you'll have many chances to practice), the only difficulty of this course will be getting all of those problem sets done on time. But if you can't, go to recitations: the TAs all but do the problem set for you (often, only the numbers are different). And don't even bother with the book, it's utterly useless (way too advanced, and written abstrusely).
I think all the reviews for this lecturer are all somewhat true. She is an amazing lecturer-articulate, intelligent, and no question ever stumps her. but it's also true it's a tough class, but not impossible. the psets are long and tough. but her TA's are amazing, recitations are well-organized and extremely helpful. my advice is...go to class, pay attention (which isn't hard actually), go to recitation, and DO THE PROBLEM SETS, and it will become a pretty rewarding class for you.
There are two types of successful Columbia economics students: the first usually understands the material immediately, applies it regularly in everyday life and problem-solving outside their coursework, typically does not need to study extensively for exams, and truly enjoys the classes in their major. The second does not easily extend one concept into new areas, gets to know the TAs and recitation times very well, may not see a connection between economics and real life, and has to study for many hours in order to manage exams. If you are of the first type (as I would consider myself), Susan Elmes' lectures will be the highlight of your day--and your week. If you are of the second type, this course will make you want to cry. And if you're somewhere in between, then so be it for your reaction. No one will contest that Elmes is quite possibly Columbia's most talented lecturer. Her presentations of the material are more carefully scripted than a political stump speech, and better-executed at that. She never misses a beat and never, ever loses her place or gets confused. She understands this material better than any of her students know arithmetic. And if you hate that person who likes to ask stupid questions, argue with professors, or question their conclusions, then you'll be amazed when Elmes, without even taking a moment to re-think her argument, will *take* *them* *down*. But for the second-type people, it's important to know that her explanations are sufficient and thorough, but if you are not the type to thoroughly understand material immediately, you may get lost once she has moved on expecting that you're all set. Don't expect any help from the book; it is completely conceptual, a stark contrast to her highly quanitative lectures. The problem sets are often longer than other professors assign in similar classes, and will frequently ask you to use your brain a bit and extend the class discussion to think about new problems--again, not much of a problem for type 1s, but a source of major frustration (and recitation attendance) among type 2s. And the exams--they're tough. In my class, no more than 5% of the class even had time to completely finish the midterm. If you're not sure if you're a type 1 or a type 2, then go for Elmes. I can't guarantee it'll be easy, but I can definitely guarantee you will not be bored in lecture, and you'll probably even learn a thing or two even despite your best intentions. You'll also forevermore go to other classes wishing that every Columbia lecturer met the gold Elmesian standard which you, as a naive freshman, had once thought would be the norm at an Ivy League institution.
Beware my friends, she is a deceiving woman. This class was outrageous! She appears to be a nice, calm, and a sweet woman, but her teaching is as bad as it gets. From the start I knew that this class was a disaster. If you see her face during class (and not her back) then you are one of the lucky ones. She teaches with her lecture notes to her face and her back to the class. If asking a question, dont expect an answer too soon. She will begin by looking to the ceiling in anticipation for an answer, after a couple of moments and copious "umms", she will indulge you with absolute nonsense. Trust me, dont ask questions! If you take this class, then all of your future upper levels are destined for failure. If you are going to be an econ major, you need a solid foundation in micro, not a bunch of crap!
Great TA, always willing to help and she even tried to learn the names of kids who came to her section.
I agree with the review above-- Pr. Mammen is 100% rookie. The examples she gave in class had little or no correlation to the theory she was trying to explain. It almost seemed as if she had no idea/interest in what she was teaching, which made the subject much more boring/annoying than it has to be. She never seemed prepared to answer questions so try looking the answers to you questions up in your book or asking a friend for help before you ask her.
Mammen is a very kind woman and seems to be very interested in economics, but she is clearly a rookie when it comes to lectures. Her classes were scattered and hard to follow and I often left class wondering what I had just scribbled in my notebook. She has trouble coming up with examples and answering questions about any topic other than the one she has prepared for. I did like how all of her examples were about women. We didn't use the book at all except for an occassional homework problem. The TA sessions were poorly attended and the midterm and final were ridiculously hard. But she must have curved the exams because my final grade was much higher than I anticipated. Overall, a nice teacher, but you have to make a huge effort to stay on track.
Atila is one of THE nicest professors out there !! He's such an endearing character who is extremely approachable as well. I totally bombed my first midterm, and when I went to him to get my test back, he told me that it was okay, but that he'd be there to go over the test with me if needed. I studied my butt off for the final, which by the way was almost the same as the practice final, and ended up getting an A in the class. This professor defintely believes in redemption. As in most econ classes, you can learn 80% of the stuff from the text book anyway, but Atila's worth going to class to... just hope he doesn't opt for the 9am slot again !
Let me start off by saying that due to schedule conflicts, I had to take this class at 9am and I am not what you'd call a "morning person". That being said, I thought this class was okay. His lecturing style is a little boring, but I'd be lying if I said that he didn't cover all of the material because Professor Dutta thoroughly goes over every bit of every chapter. Most of the time, I didn't have to read chapters to answer the problem set because he gave me all of the information I needed in class. If you show up to the lectures, you'll definitely be fine for the exams. His problem sets consist of 4 - 5 problems in the book that are usually extremely easy to answer. This means two things: 1. Easy A+ for the homework grade 2. You don't really learn as much as the other micro class. He definitely repeats some of the stuff you learned in Principles and doesn't go in-depth at all. This is definitely something to consider, especially if you're going to be an economics major. I had O'Flaherty last term for Principles and I am extremely scared to take Econometrics and Macroeconomics next year due to my poor foundation of econ knowledge. Then again, this was his first time teaching Micro in a long time, so he could get better.
Excellent TA. If it fits your schedule, go to her recitation. She explains everything thoroughly and is always willing to help.
So boring it was depressing and tiresome even to think about going to class. Nevertheless, I attended the majority of the lectures (I'm a masochist) and was delivered about the same result every time: a professor who was unanimated, uninteresting, and completely obsessed with the mathematical approach to everything. The class would probably be great for someone who is very math oriented, but otherwise, you're in trouble.
this class is not really a class of learning at all. It's actual purpose is to provide a significant barrier to entry to the economics major. The material is made difficult for the sake of being difficult, not facilitate learning. Elmes' indifference and general apathy for undergraduates is made quite clear through her "I'd rather be painting than teaching you economics" lectures. Faculty such as Elmes that are so dedicated to making academic life miserable are the reason why Columbia has the lowest alumni donation rate amongst the Ivy League.
If you are looking for someone who would not get tired of explaining economics even to the most stupid person in the world... well you founf her. She is so helpful and nice, explaing everything very clearly... What else can I say...
Look-- Micro is a tough class. Period. I made it my focus and got a good grade, but it was hard and involved lots of work and study. Given all this, Susan Elmes, while not making the class magically easy, managed to do an excellent job. She is clearly masterful when it comes to economics-- a total genius. And on top of that, she is able to present the information clearly and precisely; she never pauses to check anything and never stumbles over words. If you go to her lectures and work hard, you will do ok in the class and learn the material well. It's a classic case of great teacher, tough grader (bc of the class difficulty mainly).
Excellent TA, thorough explanations, very helpful. If you ever have a chance to take a class with her or have her for a recitation TAKE IT
Ericson's choice of textbook is suspect, seeing how the class is all about math. He presents clearly enough, and goes though all the topics, it's just a misfortune that he's quite monotonous. He does seem to care about his students, though, and is willing to answer questions. However, he seemed rather disappointed with the class, and threatened to curve the class to a B- after the midterm due to a less than 50% mean. If you're not a math person, this may not be the class for you, but otherwise, you definitely get to learn the material well.
Elmes is an awesome professor, but this class is not an easy A. Problem sets are long, and the exams--especially the midterm--are difficult. Thankfully the class is curved. I really felt that Elmes made this course increadibly interesting and gave me a very extensive understanding of micro.
Prof. Abdulkadiroglu is a great guy. He comes out in the first class and says that he doesn't want us to have to worry about the advanced math which is the bane of Intermediate Microeconomics and keeps his word. He tries to simplify every concept, some more successfully than others. His two midterms were hard as hell, and they were quite different from the practice midterms he gave us, but then in a huge surprise, the final was almost exactly the same as the practice final! He was also very approcheable about the class and the TAs for the class were great. He's the ideal choice for Intermediate Micro.
He's a nice guy, and was helpful explaining things at office hours.
Guido was the TA for Prof. Abdulkadiroglu's Intermediate Microeconomics class. He is a really nice guy, who was very helpful and good at explaining things. Definitely a great choice in terms of picking a recitation section to go to.
Althought I have a risk of failing the class right now, I think he is good. Interested to teach, enthusiastic. He seems to go a bit too fast though. Or economics was never my subject,
What a good teacher! GO AHEAD AND TAKE EVERY SINGLE CLASS SHE TEACHES. She explains everything step by step and when you walk out of her lectures you really know and understand more about Microeconomics. Her homeworks are not easy but they will make you understand the material even better. Her exams are challenging but doable. You will never see any weird questions. All exam questions are very similar to homework problems. So, if you understand the homework problems you should be fine in the exams. However, you should be careful with her wording since she wants to make you think and not solve the problems like a machine. You need to go to every single class if you want to do well in this class. There is absolutely no need for the book since everything is explained in the lecture. She may seem mean and tough at the beginning but you will understand what a good teacher she is at the end of the semester. Most people will screw up at the midterm (this semester the average was 57) but if you improve at the final she gives you some bonus and considers this improvement when she assings the final grade for the class. In addition, there is always a huge curve if you are worried about how low your grade is. Again, if you want to learn economics this is absolutely the right class for you.
Professor Abdulkadiroglu's a nice, passionate, light-hearted man. The problem with his class is that it's just too easy. To be more specific, in each lecture he will work out 2-3 full problems, every mathematical detail included. To me, that is mind-numbing. When he presents concepts and explains them, he is a litttle more challenging. Still, the concepts aren't very difficult, and afterwards you end up imagining that you knew all the stuff beforehand, just implicitly. That being said, if you wanna learn about Micro and aren't motivated enough to read the book yourself, then Professor Abdulkadiroglu's class certainly won't cause you any harm. Just be sure to bring light reading material to keep your mind active.
All right, after reading the many positive and negative reviews about Susan, I'd like to give my own take. I've had her the last 2 semester for Principles and Micro, and some of the stuff that people have said is downright inaccurate. To characterize her behavior as "ridiculously cartoonish," as the most recent reviewer has done, is absurd; hell, I don't even know what that means! To call her arrogant is also unfair. I would instead say that she's extremely confident in her teaching, which she should be: no one is in as much control of the class as Susan is. What's more, she is the clearest, savviest, most organized, and best lecturer that I've so far encountered in my time at Columbia. She's also funny (in a slightly sarcastic way) and more than willing to answer students' questions--as stupid as some inevitably are. Here's the catch: the problem set's are INCREDIBLY long and difficult. My best advice to anyone taking her class is to work in a group (with smart people, if you can) and always attend recitation. More about the problem sets: they are usually mathematically based, they DO often require obscure maneuvering, and the book will not help. HOWEVER, both Susan (or Elmsy, as my friend and I like to call her...not to her face, of course) and the TAs are very willing to meet with you, and they post solutions that are more detailed and helpful than anything you've ever seen (occassionally over 10 pages). Study these solutions well! One last note about the class: the 4 TAs are great. Special props to Regina Almeyda Duran for being an incredible TA; if she's there again next semester, and you need help with the material, go to her.
I agree that this class was definately taught at the graduate level when I thought at least in the beginning of the semester, she would bother to teach us the fundamentals. I found the textbook worthless because I needed to buy another one just to understand it, to then try to understand the lectures. Needless to say, this class is extremely advanced and theoretical and I would not suggest taking it unless you are dead set on being an econ major or you really, really care to quickly learn advanced microeconomics
Prof. Abdulkadiroglu (I dare you to pronounce it) is a great man. After my macro class, he made micro a breeze. Everything on his tests comes from his lectures (make sure to circle anything he suggests "could" be on the next exam -- and to be at the lectures) and he's really not out to get you. Thats not to say I did so fabulously on all his tests: while I aced his first midterm, the second for me was a miserable failure. Honestly, though, I deserved it. Looking at my notes afterwards, and then going to speak to him -- and seeing how concerned he was with my drop in grades, I can honestly say that I should have done better. I think the biggest problem you can have in this class is to feel too relaxed about it. At least thats how I felt - the problem sets were optional and not graded (and I never did them), and Atila has a way to make micro just seem ridiculously easy. The fact is this class should be an easy A if you actually do attend lectures and even make the vaguest attempts at the hw (which I didn't). And you will get a lot out of it, without the pain and horror that was warned Micro can be. Just take Atila -- need I say more?
Only in academic environment can someone get away with her rediculously cartoonish behavior. Susy is always upset because she can't differentiate betweeen an undergraduate and graduate courses. A as a result, this class is taught at the graduate level. Her problem sets are actually taken from some microeconomic theory course at SIPA. This all becomes clear as the text gives no insight to the problem sets whatsoever. Undegraduate classes are supposed to focus on learning concepts, not advanced theory and research. However, that is unfortunantely the direction of the course. Heavy student demand for the economics major has somehow pushed this woman, who shouldn't be in an undergraduate teaching position, not only to teach, but to head the department. It scary what demand can do.
Nice guy, goes a bit too quick. Math majors will do very well.
1) Imagine Ben Stein's character from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". 2) Add Australian accent. 3) Subtract 20 years. 4) Add euro-style clothing and haircare. (lots of black turtlenecks). He seems nice enough, and shows all signs of knowing the material quite well. Unfortunately, his lectures are completely unengaging, unspirited, and other than an unnecessary detour into the mathematics of consumption smoothing, follow the book to a tee. He seems to be as put off by the 9:10 start time as the students. On the upside, you'll never find yourself unable to find a seat, and the dim lighting accompanied by the lecturer's muted delivery offers ample opportunity to rest up for your next class.
Well I didn't think he was that great. He wasn't all that bad, but I wouldn't put off Macro until he is teaching it because he really isn't all that spectacular.
This guy is clearly just going through the motions and isn't at all interested in teaching. He treats his class as a chore and is noticeably disinterested when students ask him questions. His dry, monotonous, and straight out of the text lectures are made even more dull through his mush-mouthed accent. He's lazy and uses departmental administrative protocol as an excuse to be unhelpful. He won't except late work, he won't reschedule an exam, he won't hold additional office hours, he won't have additional TA office hours. As a student you'll find that Tabakis is constantly reminding you of exactly what it is that he's just not willing to do for you. He barely managed to scrape together enogh TA's for the course at the last minute and it really shows. It's amateur night in the econ department.
After one day in Professor Clarida's Intermediate Macroeconomics I believe he refered to his time at the Treasury Dept about half a dozen times. He clearly doesn't care much about his students, but nonetheless he is a clear lecturer. He moves very slowly and is able to make most of the material very understandable. While at times boring, his very dry sense of humor shines every once in a while, showing that he at least tries to make his class a little interesting.
Alexei is a funny guy, full of stories like why buying Big Macs in America and selling them in Russia wouldn't work, and also sage advice such as maintain your TVs so they don't depreciate. Seriously, though, Alexei is a good lecturer. He gets through the materials in class, and if his clear explanations and notes on the board aren't enough, he'll stay after to help you through it. He doesn't stray far (or at all) from the text, and his tests are also pretty much taken from the text. He tends to emphasize the quantitative (or at least mathematical) side of economics, but he also makes a point of explaining the qualitative reasons behind The Way Things Are. Lectures sometimes run a bit slow, but overall very helpful. I don't know about the other TA, but the one I got spent the whole recitation going over problems and getting into math that we really didn't need. Not helpful.
Alberto Martin is a wonderful lecturer. He looks for involvement from students, and expects most of the class to be able to answer the "what's the next step?" type questions he asks as he goes through examples. If you don't understand something by test time, it's really your own fault. He frequently stops to make sure the class is still with him, encourages questions, and is even willing to spend a session or two reviewing before tests. His grading seems flexible as well, allowing you to improve mediocre midterm performance with a strong final, or vice versa. In addition to the usual theoretical and math explanation most micro will provide, he'll give you plenty of numerical examples. I fully recommend him.
Alberto was the TA for my Microeconomics course. He is great! He always took a lot of time to answer our questions, and has a stunning ability to break down complex micro problems to a simple understanding. He also solved the problem sets for us BEFORE they day they were due so everybody ended up getting 4/4. A great guy! I liked him a lot, and if he was teching an advanced econ course, I would definitely sign up for him.
alberto was my TA (well, half the term) for micro ... this man saved my hide!! I went to one of his discussion sections one week cause I missed mine ... he basically did the homework problems (the ones due in 24 hours) with us. He's really great at explaining difficult concepts; suddenly the class became really easy. Those of you who can take him during the summer- DO IT. Not only is he great at explaining things, but he really seems to care about his students.
This is not a bad class for microeconomics overall. Kockesen is a relatively clear lecturer; it took me a little while to get used to his style, but eventually you realize that he presents the material as logically as possible. The textbook is never used, and the homework can be a little tricky but is not too bad. The Midterm was a bit more difficult than the final. The mean for the midterm was in the 50's; the final mean must have been higher. There's a pretty generous curve at the end. If you are a good economics student you should not have trouble getting an A or even A+.
(TA) This guy has no system for grading the homeworks. He grades on a system of check minus minus, check minus, check, check plus, and check plus plus. If you get everything right, you get a check. If he "feels" you understand the material you get a check plus... It's a hopeless case with this guy. Attempt to talk to him about your grade and see why you didnt get full credit when you got everything right....he'll start telling you about your potential. It's a lost cause.
This professor is for the conscientious - those people who go to all the classes, stay after class to ask questions, like spending time with the TAs. If you're not one of those people, then this class is horrible. His lectures are very in depth - people who said he's a machine were right. He teaches like a textbook and with more detail than one. He doesn't teach the impossible math that fills the problem sets, and makes the midterm and final even harder. Some people said he was a nice guy, but, really, who gives an 'optional' second midterm because the class didn't live up to his expectations in the first one??? If you feel like spending a semester nerding it out, go ahead - if not, skip this class.
There is really only one thing to consider when thinking about professor Ericson: are you a math person or not? That is the basic divide in the class - everyone who could handle the math didn't mind Ericson, and everyone else did not. The math is not difficult, but you have to not hate it. The class is well structured in general. He gives solved problems for each major topic, which I advise you learn cold. Basically, it's learning a math technique to solve a particular type of problem. The class, homework, and exams are all structured around those problems.
Ericson is a white bearded econ machine who works tirelessly from exactly 9am-10:25 every Tuesday and Thursday. He ouputs random calculus onto the board while pausing once every while to ask "any questions?", to which no one has ever even begun to make a sound. He then turns back to the board and resumes machine mode. The book sucks because it has no examples, and almost no solved problems. Some may say Ericson is a nice guy, but i contend that ericson is more machine than man, and as such, has no capacity for emotion or human understanding. Overall: Take econ if you like learning from a Robot. If Jesus had to take econ, he'd take it from somone else.
Ericson is a good teacher. He is clear and straightforward. Micro is inherently a heavily math-based subject so he assumes people know how to do the math (about the level of Calc IIS). Lectures may be boring but he is very thorough and approachable after class. TAs, though, were not so good.
Try to avoid if possible. If you must do the course with him, make use of the text book and try to get extra material. Attend all available TA hours, because the close to speed of light ,math extensive and lengthy explanations in class are hard to follow. Unless you are a true morning person, don't take this course early in the day with him. Typical weed out class with a prof the goes with the program. It does not seem that he wants you to understand the material as much as he wants just to finish the alloted quota he decided to "teach" that day. Something must be wrong if the prof decides to let us have a "voluntary" midterm, but does not let us know what the real (curved) grade of the first one is. Bottom line: for a course and prof that should help me build a strong knowledge base in Micro, it failed.
Ericson is really not so bad. Sure, he likes to go into the math concepts, but that's micro. Most of the time he uses the math to explain the graphs, and inevitably you're expected to learn how the math explains the theoretical concepts. He's no dancing monkey, but he explains everything clearly and pauses every once in awhile to ask if people have questions. People fall asleep because it's a 9am class, but going to class is worth it if you force yourself to stay awake...it saves you the trouble of reading the book and learning the math stuff on your own. He gave us the opportunity to take a makeup midterm and took the better grade of the two. All in all, he's a nice, understanding guy who is really into his econ.
She is almost arrogant in her presentation of the material. The lectures are based on pretty general stuff, but the problem sets involve ridiculously complicated manuevering that is almost impossible to accomplish. Better luck elsewhere
Prof Atila (thats what I call him, but that's coz I hardly speak in class anyway) is a thorough, competent lecturer once you are accustomed to his Turkish accent. He arrives on time, covers his material well and is very easy-going with his students. You are not absolutely obliged to hand up weekly problem sets as homework too! Prof Atila may not prance around, crack hilarious jokes or be the most popular prof on campus but I admire him for his diligence and sincerity. Take notes, ask questions, and this is one class you would have absolutely no complaints about.
A 6pm class in 417 IAB (capacity 395 people) -- full? Xavier seemed to have managed it. His class was funny and he did a good job of teaching economics to those who have previously had no background whatsoever in finance and related fields. Principles of Econ is suggested by the professor, but I did fine without it. I have no complaints about the midterm or the final. If you show up to class, don't sleep through class, take clear notes, and are responsible throughout the semester, there is no way that you could do poorly in the class. It's not hard work, and students who have never taken economics are strongly encouraged to take this class to learn both basic to more intermediate economics and to get a really good laugh. And yes, you don't need to buy the book; as long as you're taking good notes, you'll get the required information for the problem sets, the midterm (which comes straight from the problem sets), and the final.
Professor Elmes' section was a good one for micro. She initially comes off as harsh and no-nonsense but relaxes during the course of the semester. By the end, she was cracking jokes with us. (I disagree with the previous reviewer's comment about her being nasty to a student who asked a question. She was never dismissive of any student's question, to the best of my memory.) Whatever you think of her personally, however, I think it is hard to argue with the fact that she is an excellent, clear, and thorough lecturer. Going to class (or at least getting someone elseÂ’s notes) is pretty necessary, since the book tends to cover topics in a much less quantitative manner. Her exams are not difficult, just a little long, with problems that require a thorough knowledge of material that was well covered in lecture. If you take the time to do the homework well each week, studying is no problem at all. By the end, I really felt like I knew the material really well, a tribute, I think, to how well she teaches.
The over-enrollment in this class ruined a potentially good class in the economics department. Yes, Xavier does spend a lot of time on jokes, etc, but considering the fact that over half the class was only there for that purpose... Its not hard to do well in this class with the enormous curve. Don't even bother getting the textbook though- you'll never use it.
At first, Susan seemed pretensious, obnoxious and just purely cruel. She'd make nasty remarks to people who asked below-par questions and seemed to want us to fail. As the term went on, she calmed down a bit, and started to joke with us more instead of trying to put us down. She's really smart and important at SIPA as well as in game theory and the math of economics. As a teacher, aside from her sometimes cynical comments, she is organized and competant. Her lectures are also good- almost no need for the book. She draws graphs and covers all the boards. However, if you don't want to go to class, you'll be fine too as long as you read the book. The midterm and final are hard - so little time to do some much work. You really need to know your stuff, and how to do it really fast. There are always TAs for the class, and if you go to the recitations, they basically do the homework problems for you.
DO NOT take a class with him unless you have to. Any professor would be better than him. Why risk your GPA taking a class with this guy? You'll have to do a lot of studying by yourself to understand the material covered in class. My friends (6) and I were very sorry we took that class with him. I managed to get an A- but it was very hard. DO NOT TAKE A CLASS WITH HIM. Period.
Simply a God among professors
He's a nervous little guy, but a good teacher and super nice. His lecturing style isn't exactly riveting, but he knows his shit. He's really accessible too, so if you've got questions about the material, he'll be there to answer them for you. Personally, I recommend taking a class with him; in general, I'd say he's one of the better econ professors at Columbia.
I guess Eiichi has changed since those first reviews. He is well-prepared for the lectures and sometimes throws in a joke or two. He is not the most experienced professor, so even more improvement can be expected in the future. Micro is not the most enjoyable class, but with him it's tolerable. As far as I know, the median in Fall2001 was B+.
I can't believe people said this guy is a good teacher. This guy is HORRIBLE. He's boring, goes too fast for people to keep up, and takes too much of a mathematical approach to everything. He makes simple concepts more complicated than they really are. Most people have to rely on the TA sections (which are quite good) for understanding of the material. The midterm is very difficult and the final is pretty easy. All things considered, I recommend taking this class with someone else.
A truly passionate professor. I had lost faith that they existed. Atila kept my interest in economics (Not IB). He has an understandable accent and good jokes. He doesn't follow the book exactly, though you can keep up better by reading it. Do ask questions, but don't go to office hours unprepared. He doens' like when you take advantage of his graciousness. And look, you can't do econ if you don't like or have some appreciaton for math. Yes, you have to take a partial derivative, but really, the math used is absolutely remedial, it's the concepts that are challenging. you've got sit and mull over them. Also, his test are tough because many people found themselves not being able to reproduce the steps in a problem that they did before. He literally gave you 20 points, but because people never did it without looking at the answer they couldn't reproduce it. So, Atila is a great professor. He gives you a direction.
I can't believe that Miyagawa has this many bad reviews on CULPA. Sure, his English is accented, as expected with any professor whose native language is not English, but if you pay attention, you can understand every word coming out of his mouth. His lectures may not be particularly entertaining, but they are very organized and understandable if you keep up with the class. His midterm was a bit on the difficult side, but it tested your true knowledge of the material rather than your ability to plug numbers into the formulas that you memorized.
Levent is a great lecturer. He's bluntly hilarious and gives examples involving beer and makes jokes about "kinky preference curves". I love this man! Lectures are easy to understand and grading is decent.. THe secret to doing well on the problem sets is to go to office hours (preferably the one with the TA who does the grading). TAs are very helpful and attending lectures is never a burden. = ) Only complaint is that he never lets out early, but otherwise this is a very enjoyable class.
Microeconomics or Calc IIIS? This class was one of the worst academic experiences of my life. Ericson complete ignores the theory of microecon and spends all his time on the math. What makes matters worse is that he doesn't explain half of his calculations, and those which he does explain are done so quickly you need three hands to take notes. He also decided to start class 10 minutes early on his own accord. Of course no one has a class that conflicts, why should he ask us?
Levent is extreamly calculus oriented. He explains every concept or theory with calc proofs and spends little time clarifying any of them. Attendance of recitations are needed if you have any hope of recieving full credit on the problem sets because the text book doesn't help at all. So all in all, he's a good prof, but make sure you have a stong background in calc.
Atila Abdulkadiroglu is a very nice and approachable Prof, at times even funny. Has a turkish accent took me a little getting used to, but after the first class you will have no problem understanding him. Intermediate Micro is very Math intensive, however, Prof Abdulkadiroglu tried to make it as manageable as possible (partially by simply ommitting the hard parts). Although this class uses Calculus, all you really have to know is simple, basic derivatives and the concept of Minimum and Maximum. It is more about the econ concepts than the math. Exams were somewhat hard but most of it, if not all, was based on the homework. "Based" means that you need to understand the homework to do many of the exam questions. So make sure you understand them BEFORE the exam! However, since he is new to Columbia, he said that we were somewhat of a trial class, adding that the exams for the following semesters will be harder and need even more of a conceptual understanding... so good luck! He wrote everything we needed on the board so do yourself a favor and attend class! Overall, I believe this is a good class to take to fulfill the Intermediate Micro requirement. He's is not out to get anyone and his grading is fair. Just do all the homework (I wish I had...) and go to all the classes, and if you put in a little work you should do fine. He curved the Midterm, mean was 50/100 = B. Textbook is actually not bad. You just have to dive into it a little and it will turn out to be quite helful.
This was Prof Atila's first semester at Columbia, so he was a bit of an unknown entity. Three words -- Micro Was Killer. I'm not sure how much of that was the course, and how much was just me -- it's a rather mathematical course, and I'm by no means good at math. If you haven't seen partial differentiation before, you'll meet it here. Very intimidating and confusing especially for the first few problem sets. It got better after a while once I figured out for myself (the hard way) what was going on. Oh, don't bother going for recitations - you'll find out, as I did, that the three TAs are absolutely no use at all. Perhaps other people had better experiences with them. My classmate and I had better luck simply picking each other's brains. Atila (calling him that because frankly, would you want to refer to him by that last name?) has a Turkish accent, but it's not that impenetrable. Lectures are reasonably interesting, though no comedy club. If you like economic debate, you won't get much of that here - the professor was more than willing to deal with any questions the class raised, but hardly anyone in class bothered to ask any at all, so it got a bit monotonous at times. The textbook (Nicholson) is not only expensive, but unhelpful. It won't teach you how to do the problem sets which come from it -- that's what the lectures are for. He'll solve questions on the blackboard, so be sure you copy down what he writes and then spend the weekend trying to figure out how you can do the same thing for the homework questions. Oh, and as far as I can tell no other Micro prof uses this textbook, so you're out of luck trying to buy a used one or trying to sell yours off. Midterm was an absolute killer; I think a sizeable number of people withdrew from the class after it (even though the midterm was AFTER the drop date). After we complained, though, the final was a lot more manageable. Nice to see that he took student comments into account. Basically, though, I'm just glad I survived this course, and that I never have to take it again. Studying for the final nearly turned me into a Comp Lit major.
Prof. Macunovich rules! She actually brought in a digital camera during the first few weeks of class and took individual pictures of all of us so that she could remember our names. She's patient and she explains something until you get it. She's organized and has a really helpful website. I'd say this was a pretty easy class, except the problems sets were a pain in the ass. She gives you all the potential questions and the answers for all midterms and finals...but, there's a lot of material that's covered. Mid-semester, she gave all of us new textbooks for free, and she let us keep them at the end if you wanted to. You really don't need too much calculus for this class...only derivatives. Take this class!!! She's awesome, and she's not looking to trick you...she's to the point.
This class is dreadful. The professor's English is very difficult to understand. Lecture notes are straight from the book and copied onto overhead slides. Take this class if you're a glutton for punishment. Expect to learn very little-unless you're planning to teach everything to yourself. Also, expect a stiff curve with mean being B-. Expect problem sets to take a lot of time.
Wow, I'm amazed that this guy got some positive reviews. It obviously shows the extremely lowered expectations of the Columbia economics major. He prepares his lectures straight from the book. Brilliant! If he's going to read in a semi-difficult-to-understand-Japanese-accent, what is the point of going to class? Believe it or not, economics majors can read too! My advice for students who are about to take this class: come into the course with extremely lowered expectations, and you just may escape unscathed at the end of the semester.
Eiichi is a terrific lecturer. All the comments about him being hard to understand and taking his lectures straigt from the book are simply untrue. He is extremely easy to understand if you're paying attention and his lectures are extremely clear and organized. The fact that they are based on the book (an excellent textbook is used) only serves to make them clear and easily followed. He adds his own mathematical examples to the concepts he teaches from the text, so attending lectures is a must. Unfortunately, these mathematical models that are brought up so occasionally in class dominate the problem sets and tests. He expects students to be able to apply the simple examples he uses in class to much more complicated questions. For those of us who aren't particularly mathy, this presents a real challenge and your grade will suffer.
Wow! It's just remarkable that a guy like this can get hired at an Ivy League school. Avoid at all costs.
This is a response to all you Eiichi-haters out there. Did you take the same class as I did- cuz this man is positively amazing. The lecture notes are basically from the book, but he explains them as he goes along and makes them very understandable. If you can't understand his accent or hear him, you obviously aren't paying very close attention. Tests are not too difficult if you concentrate on understanding the practice test he hand out before.
When I first checked out the CULPA reviews, I thought that this guy was some old bi-spectacled Japanese prof. with broken English. Well, to my surprise, he is not such!. He is a very young professor who clearly has a passion for his chosen profession. More importantly, his English is one of the best I have ever heard coming from a Japanese-sepaking mouth. He is very well prepared with his own notes and is very good at time management. He is also quite funny at times, being at his best when he doesn't realize why the students are laughing. The subject is a bit intimidating and very, very heavy on mathematics and terminology. The average on the midterm was 55! However he does grade on a curve. If you are seriously into economics, you will be happy to be in his class. If you are one of the people who are taking econ just because there is no business major at Columbia, then don't take this class with him.
I found the professor's English really difficult to understand. Coincide that with a poor teaching style, let's just say this wasn't a very good experience. Be prepared for Prof Das to lecture on random subjects outside the scope of the text and expect this material to be very difficult. I didn't enjoy this class at all.
Back in the days when Intermediate Microeconomics was divided into the Calculus and non-Calculus section, Prof Ericson taught the Calculus section. Now that there is no longer any distinction between the different sections of microeconomics, expect Prof Ericson's section to still pay homage to the great calculus gods. No, not a very fun class and lots and lots of math. I suppose you won't have much choice when you're picking your micro teacher, so let me add one positive: his English is certainly understandable, unlike quite a few other Econ professors. Yeah, you're not going to enjoy this class and you probably won't enjoy the Econ major, so sucks to be you.
I don't want to be mean, but I do want to save all you incoming freshman and sophomores. Do NOT take his course. He was probably chosen to be a professor (adjunct) because he's a genius and he can PUBLISH a few renowned works in behalf of Columbia. But we want to learn!!!! And it's high time that we students let Columbia's administrators know that we want instructors who can actually teach, not just those that might be a little famous one day.
Everything said in the previous entry plus the following: Not only is it difficult to understand Eiichi, but hearing him is quite difficult as well. He speaks too softly, and sitting in the first few rows barely help. Three quarters of the class, in the back of the room, give up on listening and start having their own conversations.