Financial Management & Risk

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Gaining a New Understanding of Risk

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In these days of uncertain markets – and an uncertain economy – risk can seem almost omnipresent. But how do you manage risk prudently – yet still grow your company? Harvard Business School professor Robert S. Kaplan began exploring risk management in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, after he saw venerable firms such as Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns collapse – despite having risk management functions. Here are a few of his insights on the topic of risk management.

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How to Manage Risk (After Risk Management Has Failed)

Over the past decade, a number of the world’s respected companies have collapsed. A factor was these companies’ approach to risk management. Two different views have evolved on how risk should be assessed. The first — the frequentist view — is based on historical data. The second, or Bayesian, considers risk to be in part a judgment of the observer. Many measures are being deployed to prevent future crises — a shift from frequentist to Bayesian risk management should be part of this effort.

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How Much Power Do Economists Have, Really?

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There's a fabulous talk by Paul Krugman on MIT World that spells out the Nobel Laureate, New York Times columnist, and -- most important -- ex-MITer's argument that today's policymakers are moving too timidly to solve our world's massive economic problems. It's smart, convincing stuff.

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Must Economic Forecasts Always Fail?

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How can managers better understand the problems inherent in economic forecasting and still make reasonable projections for their companies? In the recent article “Why Forecasts Fail. What to Do Instead,” the authors advise that managers first accept that they’re operating with uncertainty.

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How This Financial Crisis Isn’t Different

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Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff gave a fascinating guest lecture at MIT earlier this week -- looking at commonalities in a number of financial crises. Rogoff, who recently coauthored a new book, This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly with Carmen M.

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Bank Bashing, Courtesy of a Banker

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Two of us at MIT Sloan Management Review grabbed good seats at yesterday’s MIT Sloan campus-event headliner: a downwind reflection on fallout from the financial crisis. Featured attraction: a high-level round of bank bashing, with a high-level banker on hand to help do it.

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Investing in a recession

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BusinessWeek this week highlights a number of companies that are pursuing growth despite the recession -- including Inditex (owner of clothing retailer Zara), Procter & Gamble, and small entrepreneurial businesses such as JustAnswer.

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