professor
Giacomo Santangelo

Feb 2007

In the first week of the course, he was unconventional, even brilliant. He depicted the complex interaction between firms and consumers by simply drawing a few diagrams: a house with stick figures and factories with chimneys. Wow, brilliant, this guy just reduced the complex system into concepts we could actually understand. But after the semester was over, it was evidently clear his simplistic reduction wasn't a product of a brilliant, illuminating mind: he simply didn't have the depth of understanding. If he did, then he didn't know how to present the material and with what priority. With many of the key concepts that all students of FinEcon class should take away, like CAPM and Arbitrage Pricing Theory, he glossed over, flipping through the PowerPoint slides. And he barely explained the CAL line in the class. A day before the mid-term, someone asked a rather blunt question to the professor after he announced that there would be five questions on the exam: "how could there be five questions on the exam, when we haven't yet learned five things?" He ridiculed the student; but everyone in the class could knew it was a legitimate question. I've had many a great courses from some of the best economic thinkers in this great Econ department. So it boggles my mind how this the department ever chose to hire someone as poor and inexperienced as Prof. Santangelo.

Jan 2007

Well..... Prof. Santangelo's class was a lot like his jokes: a big lead up with no punchline. I was waiting the whole semester for this magical insight to the financial world only to be left at the end of the semester wondering what was the point of the class. The first description of his class on CULPA is fairly accurate, but here are some additional observations: The class was a circus. To be fair to Sangangelo, he didn't exactly draw the sharpest tools in the shed with his students. Many missed the whole semester, didn't bother to look up how to compute simple interest, but expected an A+. But Santangelo was a mean one though, forcing them to learn what a bond is and all. Oh that Santangelo was such a hard a*s! When I looked across the classroom at many of my peers who will be the future investment bankers of the world, I could only wonder what major global financial crisis they will be responsible for creating one day. Now, instead of wasting his time selling PS3's on e-bay, Santangeo should've charged a cover charge to watch people taking the midterm and the final. I've never seen anything like it. These people were like pack hunters. One student would quitely ask Santangelo for a little help on a question, and then suddenly, 1/2 the class would swarm around Santangelo's podium. The questions naturally progressed from "Where do I write my name?" to "How do I do this problem?" to "TELL ME THE ANSWER TO THE DAMN QUESTION SANTANGERLOW! DO IT NOW!!." Now the biggest star in the Jack Santangelo Show was none other than the TA, Thanavadee Rewatbawornwong. People were mad about her misgrading our homework, midterms, and (more likely than not), our finals, but people just need to lighten up; grading papers just wasn't her thing. We all have our natuarl talents, and grading just wasn't one of hers. Yeah, Santangelo could've given her the right answer key a few times instead of another student's homework with the wrong answers, but hey, sh*t happens. Besides, standing in the 30 man line for half an hour after class to get her to fix her mistakes when we got our homework and midterms gave us the opportunity to talk about the last hour of the George Santangelo's Stand Up Commedy routine we just watched and speculate about how much we weren't learning. It also gave me the chance to compute her average error on the midterm (about 15%). Some people say he wasn't that funny, but they are dead wrong. For example, the midterm had all the formulas we needed. Then, he told us not to worry about the formulas we would need for the finals either. But, guess what? He didn't give us the formulas on the final. So hardly anyone remembered the formulas, and boy were we shocked when we found we had been duped by Jack Santangelo. Isn't that hysterical? LOL How could you not find commedy in that? Besides, grades are over rated. Getting lower grades builds character. If a book exist labeled anything similar to "The Lazy Man's Guide to Half-Assedly Teaching Financial Economics," Santangelo probably wrote every edition.

Jan 2007

I can say one good thing about Prof Santangelo - he is entertaining. i'm not sure how much of his stories are true and how much of them are made up, but they are funny anyway. However, there were times when we spent the WHOLE lecture talking about movies and play station 3 (ok, so selling toys on ebay at a higher price is an arbitrage opportunity but he spent way too many lectures repeating that). I learned what I needed to know only by reading the assigned textbook, which he emphasized in the first class that it is a complete waste of money to buy one but I honestly don't see how I would learn anything from this class without it. Also he gave a rather vague syllabus and didn't really follow it, so we didn't really know what we had to study for the exams until he gave out practice exams which was maybe one lecture before the exam itself. The material overall was easy though since we covered so few things so briefly. This class wouldn't take half as much of your time as other econ electives usually take. If you just want to complete your elective requirement without putting in too much effort (and without actually learning too many new things) this is a class for you. If you actually want to learn, take it with another professor!

Dec 2006

STAY AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!! While at first you think Santangelo is simply this querky guy... he is really an awful teacher. I use the word teacher lightly simply because i havent learned anything this semseter. This is my first culpa review and i am a senior so i know how classes at columbia are and should be, Santangelo belong back in your local elementary school. Beyond not knowing the material well enough, Santagelo makes no effort before class to learn it. He simply reads of the presentation provided by the textbook and doesnt explain anything. Thank god i had taken Accounting and Finance and knew some of the stuff, because if you didnt this would have been a nightmare for you. Santagelo will come in on a monday and spent half an hour talking about the films he or the class saw over the weekend. Then he will proceed to tell us random dumb stories that are supposed to be funny, granted some are, but most arent. He loves telling us that he bought a play station for $600 and sold it on ebay for $1200-- he must have said this 400 times and must have waisted hours of class time. If you know the material before hand, you'll do ok. Santangelo wont teach you anything because he doesnt know it. For everyone else STAY FAR AWAY!!!