This course looks at persuasive elements of economic, business and financial messages in an effort to help students build critical thinking skills, gain awareness of their own and others biases and understand the importance of incentives. The course uses case studies and exercises to analyze written, oral and digital messages (1) from our government to understand how it influences our understanding of the economy (2) from businesses to understand how they try to shape our views of their products, services and opportunities and (3) from Wall Street to understand its efforts to shape our perception of markets. The course draws upon insights from behavioral finance, psychology, and communications in addition to finance and accounting. The course aims to improve students’ ability to spot, navigate and perhaps inoculate themselves from certain kinds of persuasion. In so doing the course aims to improve students’ ability to interact with various constituents including: management teams, colleagues, counterparts at other firms, regulatory and government agencies, clients, and more.
Cheryl Strauss Einhorn was a Columbia Business School faculty member from to 2016.