Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stocks and financial analysis

I'm finding my students here in Kiev eager to learn about the methods of analyzing a company's performance. Today, we discussed the Balance Sheet and the concept of Return on Equity. We also searched the SEC site for company financials and looked, especially, at Google's income statement and balance sheet. There were lots of good questions.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Students and businesses

In my first class, I asked students here at Mohyla University in Kiev to name five businesses that were important in their lives. I ask the same question of my US students at the start of the semester. It introduces the idea to students that they can find interesting stories about business from their own lives, and that the businesses that are important to them often are mostly unknown to them. We revisit the companies they have named from time to time to talk about financial performance, corporate governance, and corporate strategies.

The students here named many of the same companies as US students, demonstrating that we live in a commercially connected world. Their companies included Microsoft and Google. But there were also many, as you would expect, that never show up on a list in my US classes: (a social network site), Je (a bookstore), Trapezna Akademiya (fast food restaurant), Silpo (supermarket) and Krainia (a magazine).

This is interesting to me -- and is helping me learn about Ukraine as the students learn about business.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My first class in Kiev

My first impressions of the students here at Mohyla University in Kiev: bright, motivated and attentive. My business and economics journalism class here met for the first time yesterday afternoon. We got acquainted, reviewed basic b&e journalism principles and talked a little about companies (from Ukraine and elsewhere) that students are interested in. They included Microsoft, Nokia, Canon and H&M. I asked students to find a local business and bring to our next class meeting a short description of the business. The assignment will get them out into the world, as reporters, and it will teach me a lot about Kiev.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Off to Kiev

I will teach business-and-economics journalism beginning in January at the National University - Mohyla Academy in Kiev.

This is an exciting opportunity, and I will have much to report over the coming months.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Paying for value - a future for news

I take the willingness of readers to pay for their news as a good sign, and a sign of things to come.

The rich and everyone else -- the big divide

This morning's column by Bob Herbert in The New York Times summarizes the provocative and alarming argument in a new book, "Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class.” The book asserts that it globalization is not the culprit behind the troubles of America's working people. The principal force has been the pressure on government by business through effective manipulation of its levers of power. The authors of the book are political scientists Jacob Hacker of Yale and Paul Pierson of the University of California, Berkeley.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Two books

I just received two books in the mail:

"This Time Is Different - Eight Centuries of Financial Folly" by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff. Ken Rogoff is an economist at Harvard, and I ordered the book after hearing him speak at a recent Nieman Foundation event. I've just begun reading it -- I'm struck by its clarity and accessibility. It's very timely despite its long look back.

"Financial Shenanigans - How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks an& Fraud in Financial Reports" by Howard M. Schilit. I heard the author speak earlier this year at a workshop in Boston and found his presentation useful. This book offers good examples of the tricks companies employ to pretty up their financials. It's a good book for business reporters and business-reporting students.