Harvard Business and Law School Professor Mihir Desai Launches Wisdom of Finance Video Contest for High Schoolers

BOSTON–Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School Professor Mihir Desai has introduced a Wisdom of Finance Video contest for high schoolers. The contest is sponsored by the Learning Economics and Finance Network, Inc., known as LEAF. (Links for the rules for the contest and registration are given below.)

LEAF is a Boston-based organization of teachers, academics, and business professionals working together to improve the quality of economic and personal finance education.  LEAF will offer cash prizes of up to $1,000 for the winner.

In the contest, students will follow in Desai’s footsteps by producing a short, four-minute, video in which they explain and dramatize how an economics or finance concept is part of  a novel, short story, play, movie, television show or video game of their choice.

This contest challenges students to be creative in applying their knowledge of economics and finance to what they have learned about literature and art in their humanities classes.  As Desai says to his readers in his book, “I can issue you the invitation to cross the terrain between finance and the humanities to develop your own wisdom.”

Desai’s new book, “The Wisdom of Finance, Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return,” was published  earlier this year. The book is more than a book; it is a jumping off point for a contest.

Secondary school students, ages 14-18, studying business, finance and economics can demonstrate their understanding by participating in an online video contest called “Exploring the Wisdom of Finance,” which challenges them to creatively connecting financial concepts to the insights of the humanities.

In his book, Desai examines how concepts from finance and economics are central to everyone’s lives and a common feature in literature and the humanities.  Desai uses examples ranging from Mel Brooks and Shakespeare to Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy to show how finance and economic concepts are woven in the narrative of popular culture.

At a deeper level, Desai argues that this connection is important because both finance and the humanities are driven by the same question: How do people pursue and create value? The book humanizes finance and shows that students of finance and economics should know the humanities.

Desai is the Mizuho Financial Group Professor of Finance at Harvard Business School and a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He received his Ph.D. in political economy from Harvard University; his MBA as a Baker Scholar from Harvard Business School; and a bachelor’s degree in history and economics from Brown University. In 1994, he was a Fulbright Scholar to India.

Desai’s areas of expertise include tax policy, international finance, and corporate finance.  His academic publications have appeared in leading economics, finance, and law journals. His work has emphasized the appropriate design of tax policy in a globalized setting, the links between corporate governance and taxation, and the internal capital markets of multinational firms.

His professional experiences include working at CS First Boston (1989-1991), McKinsey & Co. (1992), and advising a number of firms and governmental organizations. He is also on the Advisory Board of the International Tax Policy Forum and the Centre for Business Taxation at Oxford University.

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