A Memorable Economics Lecture

He always made it feel like economics was around us, omnipresent in our daily lives, simply waiting to be understood

Excellent professors were part and parcel of my expectations as a newly enrolled student at Symbiosis Centre of Media & Communication. However, I certainly wasn’t expecting to be introduced to an entirely new subject by a professor who was passionate, incredibly well informed, and unique in his approach to teaching. Here, I take a moment to reflect on the world of difference Professor Ashish Kulkarni made to my perspective which I will cherish towards Economics for a long time.

Having never been a student of Microeconomics, I was understandably nervous to undertake the course; but from the moment Professor Ashish Kulkarni first entered the classroom, I knew that things were going to be different. What stood out most about him was his story-telling approach; when he spoke into the microphone, it never felt like he was teaching us about an alien concept. He always made it feel like economics was around us, omnipresent in our daily lives, simply waiting to be understood.

One specific lecture during our four-month journey together stands out more than the others. It was unfortunately one of our last lectures together, in which Mr. Kulkarni tackled the topic of the 2008 sub-prime crisis. I had previously heard of the sub-prime crisis only through tiny pockets of knowledge that never fully made sense. Professor Kulkarni approached the subject in his signature unique angle; he didn’t teach us about the sub-prime crisis. Instead, he told us a story.

Once upon a time, he began. A couple of unfortunate souls sitting towards the front of the class became our stockbrokers for the hour. A bit to the left, three students were transformed into investment bankers. The concept of ‘securitisation’ (bear with me) was introduced through the analogy of chickens and eggs. Just like that, he brought the Wall Street into our classroom, and made all of us inadvertent participants in the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Only at the end of the two hours, after he had neatly wrapped up his story, did we realise that we had learnt everything there was to know about the fiscal crisis.

He would generally end his lectures with a half an hour of “random” questions. We usually jumped at the opportunity to trick him into talking about our favourite things but that day it took us a good fifteen minutes to move away from the topic we had just finished discussing.

Professor Kulkarni may not teach us again any time soon, but his lectures were some of the most amazing ones. Either way, the brilliant way in which he taught his course was one of the many reasons I thoroughly enjoyed my first semester at SCMC.

Krysanne Martis (Batch of 2020)