_$ and Know: Economics with Elias Tezapsidis

By Elias Tezapsidis

Regardless of your major, you should be able to understand anything, in any subject matter you want to. In _$ and Know, I will share my experiences at a banking internship. In thish column, I will explain the first things I looked up this summer, from hedge funds to credit crunch to mortgage crisis. I’ll leave room for some juicy scandals, such as Jér“me Kerviel’s disastrous trading loss tragedy of _4.9 billion for Société Générale. While this column will not present any new views or ideas related to the economy, it will force me, and hopefully you to become more Econ savvy. Summer internships open your eyes, broaden your horizons and provide an insignificant amount of money. Oh, the sacrifices young people have to make for a competitive position in this struggling economy. With whom do we have to sleep? What do we have to know?

[Un]fortunately, I didn’t have to sleep with anyone. This past summer I had the opportunity to work with the small business segment of U.S. Bank, despite my International Studies major. Yes, Carnegie 4, you can work with banks too. Just play your “different perspective” card right, because they need a few people with a functioning brain using a different pattern.

My first day on the job, I met the members of the team I was assigned to work with for the summer. Everyone asked which school I was attending, and would always be impressed by “Macalester”-a phenomenon that gave me great satisfaction and hope for imminent career success. Of course, I was solely an intern, so everyone was amiable and polite.

My designated mission was to look up banks abroad and identify products they offered that might be adopted in the U.S. market in an innovative manner. Surprisingly, this was fine. However, banking employees tend to discuss economic trends during lunchtime. There I was, clueless, stuck at a table of financial enthusiasts throwing around complex economic expressions, terms and events.

In the beginning, the course of action I followed was effective. I would eat silently through the entire lunch period, waiting for the over-my-head discussions to end. Then, I would run back to my cubicle and google “Fannie and Freddie” or “credit crunch.” I am ashamed, yes, but we all have to learn somehow. How would a poor little Greek boy be accustomed to the American economic models and terminology? Yes, I am once again playing my “different perspective” card. Let’s hope you’re getting accustomed to learning how to use it too.

My next step was to ask my supervisor what he did to keep in sync with the contemporary economic reality. He told me he received alerts on his “Crackberry” from the Wall Street Journal and read the Economist-what one would expect to hear from any pedestrian vice president. Therefore, the logical next step was to order my very own subscription of the Wall Street Journal.

Alas, I need to gain more knowledge of many economic subjects. If you can empathize with me and do not yet belong to the Carnegie 3 aficionados, this column is designated for you. Grab a cup of coffee and join me.

If you have any ideas or economic questions, feel free to email me, and I promise my best to answer your query. Just remember, I am still innocent.