An Economic View of Asia-Pacific: MIM 513, Pacific Rim Economies, Trade and Financial Markets

Fall Term is a busy one for the Master of International Management. The incoming cohort is settling into their hectic schedules, while the part-time students get to add language classes to their already busy lives. Amidst the madness of settling in and increasing workloads, we all get to convene in Dr. Cliff Allen’s MIM 513: Pacific Rim Economies, Trade & Financial Markets. As part of the core curriculum, Pacific Rim Economies is a stepping stone for the rest of the program.

One of the main objectives of the course is to get students to understand how to apply economic models and theories to current events and the global economy–and you never thought that a college econ class would ever come in handy! For those of us who were newer to economic theory, the class also provided a great review of the basics. We covered topics such as the impact of trade and free trade and how they differ between countries, global consumption, fiscal and monetary policies, as well as the environment and sustainability and their role in economics.

The work load in Pacific Rim Economies is admittedly heavy. There is a tremendous amount of reading that is expected of students every week, but Dr. Allen gives everyone several weeks of advance notice about the readings. Students are exposed to a variety of publications, such as case studies and journal articles, while the text book is used as a reference for theories and economic models. What is different about the reading for Pacific Rim Economies, though, is that students get to choose a book to review through the lens of the theories we work on in class. Dr. Allen provides a great list to choose from, by authors as diverse as Joseph StiglitzMartin Wolf, and  Jagdish Bhagwati. He is careful in choosing well-regarded economists for the book review options, and requests that we compare the book to other readings in order to see differing economic theories in practice.

Students also have the chance to work in small groups to do a term-long research project about the current economic status of an Asian country. The project was structured in order to allow us to apply all of the economic principles that we had learned throughout the class. It was fascinating to learn about the subtle differences in the economic development of Taiwan, Korea, Thailand and China, to name a few, and to see the theories we’ve learned in class put to use in a way that is relevant for MIMers.

Overall, Pacific Rim Economies was an excellent course. We learned a tremendous amount about how economics will relate to the rest of our coursework, especially as we delved deeper into the Asian business climate throughout the remainder of the MIM program.


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