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What Would Sir John Say?


Matson125
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Excellent article!  Interestingly enough, Sir John was Prem's mentor and Prem was also one of the few who was prepared for what has transpired.  By the way, Joe is a smart cookie and a terrific person, as are Matt Miller and Mike Pruitt.  Cheers! 

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That was a great article.

 

I also found a video clip on his blog that I really enjoyed.  Thanks for sharing.

 

Here's the video clip:http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=551&Itemid=568&lecture_id=7639

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The more I read about John Templeton's investment style, the more I wonder if Prem's investment style is not closer to Templeton than Buffett: invest internationally (i.e. ICICI Lombard), not afraid to short or hedge (US stock hedges last year), buy at maximum point of pessimism (bought stocks in Nov last year and more stocks in March of this year). Templeton is also noy buy and hold... buy when others are pessimistic, sell when securities appreciate a few years later to fair value.

 

Certainly interesting (and profitable) to watch moves being made by Hamblin Watsa... 

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The more I read about John Templeton's investment style, the more I wonder if Prem's investment style is not closer to Templeton than Buffett:

 

Definitely!  Prem is more old school Graham or Templeton.  They really need tangible assets underlying their purchases and they won't overpay even for a good business.  Although, when they do find a good business, they can often hold for a very long time...eg. their insurance businesses.  Cheers!

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Most of the methods of universities and other schools, which require residence, have become hopelessly obsolete. Probably, over half of the universities in the world will disappear as quickly in the next 30 years.

 

I have wondered the same thing, to wit, why the need for residence universities given the amazing ability to communicate via the internet?  There is no real reason for their to be a thousand econ 101 professors anymore.  Large lectures can be set up to be communicated nationwide.  All that is needed are local TAs to help with small sections. 

 

College at the highest levels will exist for the brand name, but in the future there is no real need for the residence experience as part of the college curriculum.  The residence experience is fun, and useful, but it doesn't have to take place where the learning occurs necessarily.

 

Of course this is oversimplified, but I think the basic framework makes sense.

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A very important part of the university experience in my opinion is the relationships that are gained. The gaining of many friendships and life long business contacts in school is extremely important and something that can't be had with distance learning(I do agree however that the content and learning experience is largely equal with inhouse and distance learning)

 

Being around motivated, like minded people is very beneficial and something that is missed out by not 'having the experience'!

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I think the real question is the price of college worth it and are there less expensive alternatives that can produce the same result.  The real value of the student network is with the students not the school.  The school uses this network to market its highly expensive services and the students get paid little or nothing back and the schools actually want them to subsidize their overpriced services.  I think the key to reducing education inflation is competition as more other sources of knowledge and network become available.

 

 

Packer

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A different take;

 

In very general terms, for a basic MBA.

 

The cheaper the education (no residency, internet delivery, write exams at own timing, etc.), the less its valued (perceived reputation, etc.). Its the volkswagon certificate & not glamourous, wheras the 'residency' school is the BMW. But if I just want a ride, ...... I don't care. To sell 'residency' you must 1) unsettle the audience, 2) sell the value add of the 'experience', and 3) sell the alumni 'history' of the school itself. Starbucks salesmanship.

 

Most professional designations include at least 1-3 years of residency. The focus is almost allways on application (not learning), its often legalized slavery (CA articling students), & its usually regional. It mitigates the reality that the majority of the friendships will fade as people settle down & move away. 

 

Most MBA classes are the same kinds of people, at the same stage of life (ie: highly filtered subsets). But the most value is when at least 1/3 of the class are 'outsiders' with different experience; & those 'outsiders' are increasingly going the internet route. Schools selling 3) have it worse, as that outside 1/3 also have a very strong incentive to not rock the boat.

 

Most would agree that residency is a very worthwhile experience, but you need to first get yourself as much real world experience as possible. Do it well, & you're that 1/3 - & the one making the choices versus receiving them.

 

SD

 

 

 

 

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Folks in our profession are required to get so many hours of continuing education each year.  You learn from the formal classwork. but you often learn more from discussions with your peers during the coffee breaks and lunches.  Human interaction is very important and you don't get it with computers and books.

jmho

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I agree about informal contacts.  I think forums like this help us all to refine our skills and may the future of education.  I am in the business appraisal business and you can learn all the theory in a MBA class but the there is a whole additional layer of on the job learning required to develop a decent valuation.  We have some pretty smart MBA-types that we hire and it takes them at least 2 - 3 years and performing at least 50 - 60 valuations to feel comfortable with all the aspects of a particular valuation.

 

Packer

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