There’s no such thing as a free lunch

A bit of digression from the hedge fund front this week:

The recent news that NYU Medical School is giving students free tuition is really quite something.

The school said that it would cover the cost of tuition for all students, regardless of need or merit, because, well, no one could afford it. The financial burden of attending medical school at NYU was, to say the least, overwhelming and caused students to take on enormous debt. While some on both the left and right will call this a victory for students and their parents – as it clearly is – I think it is a travesty.

Clearly NYU, as well as other fine institutions of higher and specialized learning, have been run so poorly and mismanaged so badly that the academic management realized that the only way they could survive is to give away the one thing that has any value – a degree.  The costs were so out of control at NYU that the head of the school said that the moral imperative to address the issue of price led to the decision. The lesson here is that advanced education should not mean a massive burden. Still, it needs to have value and the only way something has value is if there is a cost associated with it.

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting take on the NYU news (read it here). Simply put, it is because of men and women who did well under the capitalist system – i.e., made lots of money and donated some of it to organizations like NYU – that the venerable university has the money to implement its tuition-free program. The higher education model is clearly broken and perhaps this is a good first start. Still, the real way to bring costs under control is to manage your organization more effectively, not to give your product away.

Have you taken a look at the IMDDA website lately? It’s been totally redesigned and offers even more good, solid and interesting information. There is a very cool members-only forum – no jacket required — that’s worth a look. Check out the site here.

Things that drive me crazy

I hate it when people don’t take responsibility for their actions. Recently, I brought my car in for some body work. The job was supposed to take one week. It took two. And while this was a bit helpful for a while – I walked more – the result was a problem. When I went to pick up the car, it was covered in a red blood-like substance that turned out to be bee pollen mixed with sap. When I asked what the heck, I was told I’d brought the car in that way. When I said “Wait, you just painted the car,”  I was met with a blank stare. Nobody, it seems, knew nothing…  Come on really, step up and take responsibility. A manager finally come over and said he would look into and get it right. In the meantime, well, I’m still walking.

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