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I Learned How to Think


Text Transcript

(In this video Michael Jacoby [Miami 1979], managing director for private wealth management for the Global Family Office Group of Deutsche Bank in Chicago, IL, describes how his courses at Miami taught him how to approach and solve problems. Michael is a member of the College of Arts & Science Alumni Advisory Board.)

"I came into Miami undecided, and I had the great fortune of having an introduction to economics professor who may still be here, Jerry Miller, who completely changed my world. He introduced me to something that I was truly interested in, and taking that interest and then going through the economics curriculum and being pushed in the courses.

"Intermediate micro- and intermediate macro-economics were really the 2 courses that, I will tell you, changed me. They were incredibly demanding. And that is, if I can think of significant particular courses that did teach me how to think, it was those 2 courses. They were small classes. You had to be prepared every day. You were called on. Nothing was black and white. Everything had to be reasoned and everything had to be derived essentially from scratch.

"You know, you go to school thinking it's a game, right? Okay, how much or how hard am I going to study to get an A? How hard to get a B? What do I have to know? What do I have to memorize? And, all of a sudden, those 2 put you in class, where you had to understand it. Knowing it didn't really help you that much. Understanding it was everything.

"You know, you take these courses when you're an undergrad. And it's so common to think, why will I ever need this? I'll never use this. I would tell you, between calculus and what I learned in economics, in terms of learning how to solve problems, understanding approaches to problems, I still use them every day. And I couldn't imagine a decision-making process that, frankly, didn't at some point lead back to what I learned in those types of courses.

"And, if there is something that I came away from my experience at Miami that I will value the rest of my life, that I look at as one of the most important aspects of not only my career but my personal life, is what I learned at Miami was I learned how to think. And that is something that once you have, not only will you enjoy more of what the world has to offer, but no one can ever take it away from you."

[April 2011]


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