Alumni find the faculty insights at Economic Outlook indispensable for the year ahead.
- By May 01, 2018
- Faculty Impact
“It’s a chance to be part of the living community of Booth, and I always welcome the opportunity to link up with classmates from my MBA experience.”
During the event in New York, John Authers, senior investment commentator for the Financial Times, moderated a discussion between Randall S. Kroszner, Norman R. Bobins Professor of Economics; and Erik Hurst, V. Duane Rath Professor of Economics and John E. Jeuck Faculty Fellow. Both economists said they anticipate strong growth this year, and neither believe there to be a threat of inflation or recession on the immediate horizon.
“While top-level US economic and employment data are very strong, and inflation remains under control, the underlying employment data for young people is very troubling. That was the most enlightening takeaway for me from Economic Outlook,” said Peter McNally, ’98, a consultant, after attending the New York event.
The following week, in Chicago, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, CNBC’s chief international correspondent, moderated the conversation. The Booth experts who convened—Kroszner; Raghuram G. Rajan, Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance; and Austan D. Goolsbee, Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics and the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers—touched on a wide range of topics, including high levels of debt (particularly in China), cryptocurrencies, and credit bubbles.
As vice president at Citi, Sabrina Hou, ’12, came to the New York session because of the rigorous inquiry that permeates Booth events such as Economic Outlook. “The professors at Booth aren’t just focused on the theory,” said Hou. “They do research that’s related to the real world.” Another New York attendee, Sabena Arora, ’01, founder and president of Acadia Lodging Brokers and Advisors, agrees. She often attends industry conferences, and she gets frustrated when experts provide examples or numbers but fail to back them up with any deep analysis. “Chicago Booth gives you the substance behind the data,” said Arora.
Hou enjoyed watching Kroszner and Hurst discuss the recent tax cut—Kroszner was particularly optimistic, while Hurst cautioned that the benefits of the tax cut might not spread to the middle class or improve productivity growth. The level of discussion back and forth reminded Hou that she was indeed at a Booth event. “The two speakers on stage didn’t necessarily share the same views,” said Hou. The willingness of Booth faculty to engage and argue their sometimes-clashing opinions helps alumni and students to form a more holistic view of current events. “That’s the beauty of Chicago Booth professors,” Hou said. At the Chicago event, Kroszner drew on the example of Walmart that he and Hurst had debated days earlier in New York to nuance his argument about tax cuts.
At both events, questions from the audience of business leaders and alumni encouraged professors to cover an array of subjects. “Economic Outlook helps me to renew my knowledge base and stay current—connecting networking with the theory, and research with the reality,” said Hou.
Bellows agreed. “I’m getting a rigor that I can’t get on my own and a perspective that is broader than what I can do working from my office,” said Bellows, who uses what he learns at Economic Outlook each year to help guide his investment decisions. “It’s a chance to be part of the living community of Booth, and I always welcome the opportunity to link up with classmates from my MBA experience.”