Category Archives: General

The mobile revolution yet to come

To me it’s pretty nice to see all these changes with the mobile world. I’m 29 now and I’d consider myself as old school. I’ve been using the Internet for one and a half decade now but this new generation is nuts. Not negatively. It’s just so different. We can’t even understand them and it’s astonishing to us how they communicate and also learn these days.

I always thought they revolutionize the Internet with Facebook but it seems to be uncool already. I’ve been following political revolutions like in Egypt and was sure that this is the future. That we can build movements, organize and change the world with the social web. But I’m missing something here. To me, there’s a missing link between the social web and the Internet that consists of websites. I’m not talking about user generated content. This was the start of Web 2.0. I’m talking about a real connection between these two worlds. Sure, you can use Facebook connect and comment function for all your sites. This is also a link between social networks and web content. But that’s not what I mean. I mean a linkage between mobile apps, social networks and static content. Sure, you can add BBC.co.uk to your Facebook timeline. And yes, you can click on links in your Facebook app directing you somewhere else. Right now we can share content and enjoy content from the old school web. But is this how the revolution will look like? I really doubt it. I also don’t think that there’s an evolutionary way. That we can get this link with incremental improvements. I highly doubt that this will be the case. Whoever can get this link done could become the next global player. I’m 100% sure about that! Whoever wants to aim for this should not think about developing games for iphone, another social network or how to profit from existing systems like Facebook or Google. This parasite approach won’t succeed.

How Games can help you at university

Poker PlayerI’ve been studying for 7 years and it’s highly likely that I’ll come back sooner or later, in another position of course. In retrospective I have to admit that there was something that helped me a lot during my studies. It’s not some soft skill I learned and also nothing you can buy. It’s about skills with games especially poker. This game doesn’t have the best reputation because most people think it’s about tricks and lying and exploiting weaker players. This may be true to some extent but the beauty of this game is that everybody knows what one is doing. You know that when you sit down at a table and don’t have solid skills chances are that you will go broke sooner or later. But more important than winning is what you can learn from it. Most people don’t even recognize these opportunities but they are for real.

This game taught me to see everything from another perspective. In poker you can make a good move and still lose and vice versa. Most people see results as a consequence of their decisions but that’s not what they are. If you have this approach you won’t succeed because you will make it differently next time just because the results are not what you were looking for. So you learn how to make bad decisions over and over again and nobody will stop you. That’s the most important lesson from poker.

You will also learn how to manage risk and accept it. If you’re up against an opponent that is really playing badly but he’s incredibly lucky and beats you every single time this night there’s nothing you can do. You should just play like you think it’s best and in the long run you will succeed. Ironically corporations, especially banks, hedge fonds, etc. are looking for graduates with experience in playing poker. Because they know that when one is a good poker player he already lots of the skills that are needed. And since I’ve been working as asset manager I can guarantee that I need these skills all the time.

Overall, I can only recommend learning how to play. Usually you have some leisure during your studies. Use them wisely. Learning how to play poker is something you won’t regret.

Btw, I’m talking about poker with real players especially Texas Hold’em. That’s a huge difference to games like Blackjack or Casino Hold’em or any other card game like that. Only with Texas Hold’em Poker you can learn these skills, don’t play casino games where you can’t win in the long run (except you know it and just want to have some fun…)

The changing economy

When you talk to your parents you will notice that they have a completely different view on the economy and the markets. They still think that the stock exchange is a place where you can buy and sell stocks and where investors give money to companies that they can employ people, produce their products and so on. But this is far away from the truth. Nowadays it’s all about arbitrage and how to make more money. All participants are looking for the best opportunities to make more profit. They don’t even care about the risk any more as everything is “high risk”, so it won’t matter much if you have a bit more risk with one trade than with another one. And this is toxic. That means that investors and banks need to look for opportunities to make more profit and they are willing to take more and more risk. The result is that participants create products they don’t even understand. Just to offer other an opportunity for higher profits. (see also occupy wallstreet)

Best example are CDOs, one of the reasons for the subprime crisis. Banks where bundling mortgages to sell them to other investors. This is generally a good thing – when done properly. But the started to take the mortgages from customers with the best ranking, sold them and then took the rest of the bunch and they bundled it again and again. So when you decided to buy such a bunch of mortgages you did not cover the mortgages itself but just other CDOs where you don’t know what’s in there. And the main problem is that these mortgages correlate with each other – more than everybody thought. So once the prices for real estates went down, there were more and more defaults and a lot of these CDOs were hit.

There are also other trends in the economy like day trading. I don’t say that these are a generally bad thing. It’s also just a market. It’s a zero sum game. When you think that the yield for Greece bonds will go up, you can bet on it and somebody else has to bet against it. So you can speculate that a certain country or company is in trouble. Some say that these traders that are going short are responsible for crisis like the subprime crisis or the EU debt crisis. But that’s not true. You can even say that these traders make any crisis less worse because they help to find the correct price faster and taking out uncertainty. This uncertainty is an accelerator for every crisis! And there are other trends that are more or less gambling. They don’t have a real effect on the economy as these trading practices are made by very small investors with amounts like $10. Best examples are Forex trading and binary options trading.

U.S Education System – Where Is It Lacking?

The U.S. education system is slipping behind China and even countries like India. In fact, in the recent elections that were conducted, Barrack Obama brought to light the issue that the system is failing to produce individuals competent to compete as an effective workforce.

According to a report published by Harvard University, it was found that school vouchers were introduced claiming to remedy school failures. However, the grave reality is that no such significant impact has been observed in enrollment. The influence of these vouchers was only that a handful of African American students found assistance through them.

The government should take measures to introduce reforms, grants and programs in order to encourage more people to pursue education further. It cannot be denied that the education an individual receives has a principal role in shaping up his personality. Also, it is education that can make an individual a more responsible and useful contribution to society.

Another report published by American Progress/Next Generation revealed that countries like India and China are consistently improving their education system so that their children are promptly hired in key industries. The report further established that by 2030, the number of students graduating from college in China will reach 200 million, which is a number to completely eclipse America’s workforce.
Also, the number of graduates from India will be four times than those produced by the United States. This is indeed an alarming situation and the factors further jeopardizing the scenario are briefly listed below.

No Flexibility to Unconventional Approaches

The educational system fails to acknowledge that given the technologically sound society we live in, it is more important than ever to let go of traditional ways. A study conducted revealed that on an average, a child belonging to the age group 11-13 sends 50 text messages to parents and peers. However, if a student needs to communicate to his teacher, he is required to either email or meet him in person.

Teachers debate that they only want to prepare students so that they know how things will be in the real world. They may be doing well for the students on their part, but this approach is short-sighted. Somewhere, teachers do not understand that they have the responsibility to prepare kids so that they can operate in today’s world.

No Room for Entertainment

Most students complain of boredom. Teachers don’t understand that learning doesn’t always have to be boring. It could be fun and interesting as well and will cater well to children’s short attention span. Students are penalized for getting distracted all the time and most of them suffer from attention deficit disorder. Instead of blaming students, shouldn’t teachers take time and find out if the problem lies with them?

Not Trusting the Resources

Kids have developed a mindset that they no longer view teachers or parents as the most reliable sources. They ask questions, and even after getting answers, they Google it just to make sure. Technology suggests that parents and teachers should take up the role of knowledge facilitators instead of authoritative information sources.

Interest in Only Job-Oriented Skills

Perhaps students have seen adults worrying so much about money, they believe it is all there is to life. Instead of enriching their knowledge base, students are now concerned about whether or not they will land a job with a handsome salary package.

Disappointing Global Standing

It was found that when American students were tested in areas of math, reading and science, they stood 23rd, 17th and 32nd respectively. This is well beyond the average score internationally.
On a final note, one can only say that it is high time the government realizes that educational system has to be revised.

Ace Your Medical School Interview – Practice Makes Perfect

Congratulations, you have received that much-awaited interview invitation from that coveted medical school. While it is a great achievement in itself, you still have a long way to go. Merit has gotten you there but the way you take things ahead from this point will shape your future.
As an endeavor to establish convenience, we have outlined some tips that will help students significantly increase their chances of success at interviews.

Scheduling an Interview

A common mistake made by students is scheduling their interview at a date that does not leave them a lot of time to prepare. When it comes to medical school interview, two weeks aren’t enough. It is, therefore, recommended that you schedule the interview a month after receiving the invitation so that you have ample time to prepare for it. Try your best to schedule it on a Friday or Monday. If the campus requires you to travel, try to stay in the area a day before scheduled interview.

Don’t Get Caught In the Labyrinth of Directions

In order to steer clear of any hassles on the interview day, it is advised that you pay a visit to the medical school and find out the exact location of admission office. You can also contact any students currently studying there and ask for their assistance to give you a tour of the area. This way you will have something interesting to say when the interviewer asks for your opinion of their institution.

How to Handle Questions

Perhaps this is the most important aspect of interviews. Since the way you respond to questions plays a principal role in making admission decisions, practice cannot be emphasized enough. Ask your family or friends to act as the interviewer reading questions out loud to you. Make sure you maintain eye contact. Film yourself answering questions. Make sure you look confident. Your body language should also suggest so.

Dressing for an Interview

A business suit is a must. In case, the weather is cold, a long jacket, plain and professional-looking, is what you need. Most men dress appropriately for medical school interviews. However, women mostly spend a lot of time on their appearance. If you are a woman, make sure you don’t wear makeup. Don’t wear jewelry or paint nails.
Keep your hands free and avoid having a handbag with gaudy buckles. Don’t forget to keep a pen. You may have to do a lot of walking as some schools give a tour of the campus. In this scenario, wearing anything that clacks on the floor (stilettos or heels) is not a good idea.

Three Tips to Do Well in an Interview

Once you have met your interviewer and introduced yourself, there are some things that you need to keep in mind.

  • Act professional. You have to show that you are enthusiastic about studying in the school but in a decent manner. Also, you should try to achieve a balance between friendliness and confidence.
  • Talk about work and research. Ask them about any training programs they have initiated? Are they conducting research in some area?
  • When asked weird questions, don’t get nervous. Such questions are meant to test your confidence. Try to give a witty reply or dodge them as gracefully as possible. When asked about hobbies, don’t say anything like you love partying. Instead you can say you collect recipes or do photography.

Look around and if you find any books or journals you’ve read, ask your interviewer’s opinion about it. It can be a great way to start a conversation but make sure the interviewer doesn’t get the impression that you are trying to intimidate him/her.

At the end of the interview, ask for the interviewer’s business card. A lot of things can go smooth if you have a contact on the admission faculty. On a final note, remember that interviews can be stressful and a good interview does take a lot of effort but at the end of the day, the reward is worth the time and effort.

How games influence students performance

I have to admit that I’m a big fan of all types of games. But there’s a huge difference between playing games and playing games. What I want to say is that games add either additional entertainment to life or they are like a life. It’s obvious that there can be plenty of things you can do during your leisure. Some go shopping, in the park, to the beach, in the cinemas, play golf, whatever. All of these “typical” leisure activities have one thing in common: they can’t be addictive – at least only under very rare circumstances. But games like World of Warcraft are a totally different story. These games are so realistic and similar to everyday life that there can be confusion what is actually real life and what is fiction. This is something no other leisure activity can offer. So you can say that these games can even replace lifes. This is not a good thing but a trend we can’t ignore.

However, there are also good news. When you take a look at the Google trend for World of Warcraft it’s shrinking dramatically. It seems that a game like that won’t be a mass phenomena but something with a hard core of gamers. Same is true for casino games. As you can see it was a hot topic back in 2004 when the first online casinos appeared and offered a better gaming experience than traditional casinos. But nowadays it’s pretty common and those who like to gamble still do it but not that many new players will appear on the radar. Even the steady improvement of games and experience like the development of the best slot games won’t help in this case as it seems. But I think this is something positive. These games (and also games like World of Warcraft or Second Life) can be very dangerous and distractive especially for the younger generation. But there are also positive influences of games as you can see here. The key here is that games are not generally good or bad. It’s only bad when you tend to be addictive and are forced to play even though you’re unwilling to do so and have the impression that you have better things to do. Then it’s a very dangerous position you’re in.

Freshman Year – Surprises That Are In Store for You

Welcome to a new phase of your life. You have left high school behind and now is your chance to enter an entirely new world with new faces all around you. For some, the idea of walking through the doors of unfamiliar premises surrounded by strangers inspires anxiety and stress. Things may seem foreign to you. You may also feel completely alien, but by knowing what to expect, you can make sure that things stay right on track and you face all the challenges with confidence. Read on to find out how it should go.

Seniors Seem Too Big

When you are out of high school, it seems as if it will be ages before you will be done with university. Things further get tricky when you notice seniors walking around with an air of authority about them. Obviously, they have been in the university longer.

Not only do they reflect confidence, but may also seem intimidating. However, what you should not forget is that it will only be a matter of time before you will be where they are today. This will help bring that much needed confidence back.

Finding Your Class Seems To Be a Big Undertaking

The size of a university is bigger than any of the educational institutions you have ever attended so far and getting lost is quite easy. Therefore, it is strongly advised that you take orientation classes so as not to face any problems on your first day. Also make sure that you visit all you classrooms at least once beforehand to have an idea regarding their location so that you can easily find your classes on your first day and avoid tardiness.

Making New Friends

Make new friends. Don’t shy away from breaking the ice. Initiate conversations and be ready in case someone needs help, even if it is just opening a seat. Others will be going through the same situation as you, so don’t hesitate to take the initiative. However, you have to be a little discerning in your choice of friends as you will want to make sure that you are surrounded by people who respect your choices and will be a positive influence in your educational venture.

Meet Teachers’ High Expectations

Handling pressure is one of the most important aspects of university life. Teachers expect a lot more from you. You will have more research papers to write, harder assessments and lengthier assignments. In any case, you have to focus at excelling as a student and meeting and exceeding your teacher’s expectations.

Organize More

With countless opportunities to learn and do new things, organization is something that just cannot be overlooked. You have to balance your extra-curricular activities with academic obligations. Organization is something useful in every single area of life and now is the perfect time to learn it.

Embrace the Change

Acknowledging that there will be change can be the key to freshman year success. University life is going to be an entirely new experience and while it will be harder, it will be more rewarding as well. You will move forward in your life, you will grow up and you will learn to view things from a different perspective. In any case, change will come. Expect things to change frequently so you don’t have any trouble adjusting to it.

Mathematics – The Foundation of Effective Business Decision Making

Mathematics plays a principal role in almost all aspects of our daily life. However, it is the business landscape that it can influence radically. Everyone knows that most business decisions are solely based on records and mathematical calculations. When it comes to decision making, mathematics is something that cannot be emphasized enough.

Decision making is a serious undertaking as it is the thin line that demarcates success from failure. Whether it is about calculating the risk percentage or changes of success, one’s skills at mathematics can play a pivotal role in deciding his business’ fate.

From elementary arithmetic to fractions, decimals to probability and statistics, your mathematical skills can make or break your business as it potentially impacts your decision-making abilities. According to a study published in the Journal Of Mathematical Psychology, if a student is good at mathematics, there are greater chances he/she will be a successful businessman as compared to his/her counterparts.

This is also because mathematics is a vital tool used at every single step of decision making. Had it not been for the presence of mathematics, business owners would not have been able to know all the angles and make decisions that transform their business into a money making machine.

Good and fruit-bearing decisions are those that are made after the proper assessment of data. Not only in business, but in almost every single aspect of our life there is a wide assortment of data available for analytical insight and inspection. In such a scenario, a business man should not only be competent to make accurate decisions, but should also be willing to take full responsibility of his actions in case things do not go as planned.
Talking about mathematics in the U.S., an article published by CNN revealed that math and science education in our country needs improvement. There are many inequalities prevalent within the system, and instead of having all students of a certain grade level on the same page, a student’s skills are influenced by trivial factors like the state, district you live in and the school you go to.

The root of the problem is that the system is such that children are not getting equal opportunities to learn the same mathematics which is indeed disturbing. What has further made things difficult for students is that unlike Asia or Europe where certain standards are followed at a national level, the case is not so in the U.S.
Perhaps, this is this reason that despite the tumultuous economic times, our students are deterred from going down the entrepreneurship path. The country’s youth does not find itself capable of making decisions even when so much capital is at stake. While at one end, one may say that lack of financial resources are the reason entrepreneurship has not prevailed to the extent it should have, what cannot be denied is that the country’s education system deserve to be blamed.

It is not just about improving a student’s mathematical skills only. Even if students choose to work instead of setting up their own business, they can be more productive with great mathematical skills and are more likely to spell success.

In a nut shell, the government should take measures to improve the level of math and science taught at school. Only then we will be able to boast of a youth knowing how to exceed in all areas of life.

NHS: Are they Really Gearing Our Youth for Success?

Parents absolutely love watching their kids walking up a stage at school to be recognized for their achievements in academics. When a student excels at academics and personal responsibility, their family, friends and educators also get some credit for the said student’s growth and brilliance.

The National Honor Society is just a way of celebrating this distinction by publically recognizing the achievements of these students. Many notable people have been inducted into the NHS in High School; this is a huge list of people including personalities such as top model Cindy Crawford to actress Meryl Streep and business guru Lee Iococca. All these people have exhibited outstanding characteristics to earn a membership in the elite National honor Society. They have demonstrated excellence in scholarship, service, leadership and character.

NHS is routinely applauded for inspiring students to be their best, but it is also important because it provides students with prospects of better education and scholarships. If educational institutions remain true to the spirit of the National Honor Society, then there is nothing better than the spirit of competition instilled by NHS to make our children strive for the best that they can be.

The National Honor Society requires that students have an average of 90% or a minimum 3.0 GPA so they can maintain their membership. Then there is service. Students wishing to call themselves NHS members have to work in the community, without getting paid for it. The only thing they ought to get in return is gratitude. This gives kids the opportunity to see the world firsthand, whether they are junior fire fighters or community baby sitters, these kids know before their peers about how to get a job and keep it.

And lastly, there is character. Character is when a kid demonstrates responsibility and does something because it is the right thing to do and not be told to do it. NHS has had a hand in making many kids courteous, tolerant and cooperative by tempting them with the promise of scholarships. That isn’t a bad deal at all.
The NHS induction ceremony is important for those craving local recognition. Not only does it provide a lasting memory as a reward for all your hard work but is also a great morale booster. And it isn’t all about outwardly display of academic grandeur. NHS routinely sponsors national and regional conferences along with skills and leadership training workshops that allow its members to learn skills and grow into truly exceptional people. Their list of “Famous Members” is like an ode to the success of these endeavors. They also have the NHS scholarship program which gives more than $200,000 a year to outstanding NHS members to pursue higher studies.

Competition is healthy; it teaches children early on to do their best in order to get the most out of their lives. NHS prepares our students to be successful, well-adjusted, competent individuals who remain empathetic to another’s cause without sacrificing their own.

Why U.S. Lagging Behind in Science and Math Education Could Be Disastrous For Our Future

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development tanked US students 25th and 17th in math and science respectively. This downward trend of American students’ competencies in STEM fields (science, engineering, computing and statistics) can have serious consequences for the country’s future.

The future looks perilous because statistics claim that the skills required for jobs available in the 21st century will only be possessed by 20 percent of our workforce. By 2018, Americans will need three million highly skilled employees to fill up vacancies in engineering, math, and science related jobs. At least 70% of these jobs will require post secondary education. So in essence, we will have the jobs but no one to do them because our kids aren’t being trained effectively for a prosperous future.

Currently, only about of a third of our bachelor degree holders are educated in science and engineering as compared to students in Asian universities. Internationally, the United States is ranked 17th in the list of countries awarding the most number of science degrees.

American economy has always held a competitive edge over the rest of the world. But the last decade has seen a sharp decline. Economically, US is now ranked 6th among 40 countries according to a new study by a non-partisan research group. The list was created after studying 16 indicators of innovation and competitiveness. Americans are doing far worse at venture capital investment, research and education. Combine this with our ranking at number 48 for the quality of math and science education and things become much more understandable.

Considering the current dereliction of our education, it is hard to believe that only 25 years ago US had the highest number of high school and college graduates every year. And now we are 20th and 16th at these respectively.
Our decline in science and math education is particularly troublesome because these subjects are the foundation of innovation and advancement. Math is prerequisite for science, and science in turn, gives us innovations and inventions that solve problems. From cancer to global warming research, there isn’t a thing under the sun that doesn’t benefit from our being better educated as a people.

Good math and science skills are critical to our country’s ability to create a deeper talent pool needed to compete and thrive in the competitive global economy. It is important to have people educated in engineering, math and science for our future. A brief study of world history clearly shows that innovation depends on quite a large number of workers having these degrees in any economy.

It is important that the corporate sector comes together with Washington to solve the problems of our educational system. It is important that this issue is raised at public forums and policy debates to make it a priority with the decision makers. Students today are the workforce of the future, it is important for society to give them all the support they need to get ahead in the race for life. It is not just their future that is at stake here, but our own too.