Tag Archives: business

#Exports – Look Don’t Touch

23 Apr

#Mercantilism at its worst 😂😂😂 No buying #exports here!!! ONLY #IMPORTS ALLOWED!

*Mercantilism is the belief that you should encourage exporting and limit imports’ – I just taught it in class the other day 😉

Job Interviews are a #Negotiation, not a Grocery Purchase

20 Apr

So many of my amazing #students are up and off to internships and their first jobs. Proud and thrilled for them!

But it recently reminded me of one of my early interviews for a position while in law school. I had applied for a job with #LexisNexis at my University to work as a recruitment / trainer kind of person (for those of you who don’t know – they operate one of the big legal research websites and hire students to train other law students in how to use the system). 

During the first meeting, the interviewer asked me what I was looking for in a workplace. I answered very honestly. Nothing outrageous — I needed something flexible to work around my school schedule and a job that did not involve a lot of weekly meetings and reports. At the time, I was swamped with school and couldn’t afford a job that was extremely time-consuming. I’ve had those jobs (#teaching happens to be one) where they say you’ll work 5 hours but the reality is more like 12. I had also recently come out of a job where the manager would give us orders, but never explain how to accomplish the assignment (it wasn’t something you could just pick up). If you did it wrong, they were furious because it wasn’t how they wanted it. All of the student workers quit in about a month. So I also mentioned that I was willing to go the extra mile for a company, but I really appreciated managers who were clear about their expectations and specific if they wanted things done a certain way.

In the second meeting the interviewer took me aside to explain that I should never tell a company what I’m looking for. That they may not fit that description and then won’t hire me. You should only talk about how you benefit them. 

It was the worst advice I’ve ever received.

Jobs are not a one-way-street! It’s a negotiation. Recruiters are not walking into a shopping mart looking over the selections, picking the best employee for them, and then making a wonderful masterpiece out of the pieces. They may be considering you, but you are also considering them.  If the company does not suit you, if the management sends your stress through the roof, if the job is inconsistent and changing while you work better under consistent and clear guidelines — those are important factors in job success. The masterpiece relies on both parties doing their best.

It’s called the ‘job market‘ for a reason — there are both buyers and sellers. While the buyer’s interests and needs are very important, the seller also has a role to play. There may be some buyers you just aren’t willing to work with because they don’t have what you want.

It is true that if you are extremely picky, you may put off potential hiring opportunities.

However, if you have a list of reasonable requests — issues that may determine whether you like a job and are satisfied with a position — it’s okay to discuss them.

In my last workplace, they got a little crazy with “evaluations” of professors. While I strongly support the concept of evaluations, we had student evals, management evals, and peer evals. I had random people in my classroom at least once a week and then I was (without pay) expected to visit anywhere from 3-5 people myself to evaluate them during busy mid-term sessions. It didn’t work. Everyone was stressed, the students didn’t respond well to the constant flow of new and unfamiliar faces. We would have as many as 5-6 meetings just to explain, catch-up, update, explain, and re-update information about evaluations. There was a lot of unnecessary frustration. So in my next job search, I asked recruiters how evaluations were completed and explained that I wanted a program where the system was solid but well-planned. Finally came a recruiter who said “Totally! That drives me crazy too. Our system includes X, Y, and Z — it’s all done at specific times and with forward planning. We get it done as quickly as possible so that it doesn’t disrupt the classroom.” Great! This is what I was looking for! They explained what they were looking for (I fit). I explained what I was looking for (they fit). I took the job, and we’ve both been very satisfied (I received some of the highest student evaluations of 2017).

If a company cannot fit your needs and requirements, it isn’t going to be a happy relationship. If you and the company are both satisfied and all needs are met — it’s market equilibrium (the best trade for everyone).

So don’t let recruiters try to shop you over. Negotiate. Talk. Remember — Job interviews are cooperative and involve two sides.

Vote Sugar for Participation!

26 Dec
Me: Your assignment is NOT a presentation — you are supposed to lead a class discussion.
 
Student:  I don’t understand.
 
Me: You ask the class questions and get them to participate and talk. 😐
 
Student:  Our grade means the class has to TALK to us? But teacher, this is not the China way. Maybe we do not like to talk in class. Maybe we will all have a very bad grade.
 
Me (in my mind): Welcome to the life of the laowai laoshi (foreign teacher) and the struggle for participation!
 
Me (in reality): You can do this. Maybe call on people one by one. Or ask your friends to help you. Or offer the first person to talk candy.
 
Student: . . . . . . . 😑
 
WeChat 5 minutes later . . . . “You may use every way to force your classmates to work for you. Teacher Olivia recommends sugar.”
 
Me: Bwahahahahahahahaha . . . Behold, the power of sugar! 😝😆🤣🍡🍨🍬🍭🍫🍰🎂🍪🍩

OFO Bike Sharing Market Research

3 Dec

Image result for OFO

My students in microeconomics were recently studying quantity demand and ways to improve profits. Before we moved onto changing prices, we spent some time discussing ways they can change or alter the other 5 factors of demand (Income, Price of Related Goods, Taste, Future Price, and Number of Buyers in the Market).

This brought us to Consumer Research and how companies gather information about their buyers, products, and demand markets.

I recently noticed that the OFO bicycle system has just started operating on the Northeast Normal University campus this semester. For those of you unfamiliar with the system, OFO is an app that allows users to rent bicycles and drive them around town with no designated pick-up or drop-off site.

It was originally founded in Beijing in 2014, but has since spread to cities around China and more countries besides.

The theory of the system is rather simple.

Users download the application on their cell phones and set up an account. The start-up deposit fee has traditionally been 199RMB in China (about $30) which then goes to your account. Then it costs a small amount (1-2RMB) per hour (about $0.16) that you ride. To get a bicycle you locate the familiar yellow bike and use the Code Scanner on your phone to read the bicycle’s bar code. That registers the bicycle to you, and you then ride around wherever you want to go. When you are finished, you cancel the agreement and leave the bicycle wherever you stopped.

There are many conveniences to the program (handy for local transportation, students enjoy the system). But there are some inconveniences as well (too many bicycles left lying in the way of sidewalks and doors, bicycles can be difficult to find, etc).

So I arranged a small market survey and sent it out to my students. They shared it with the freshman (and a few with their parents / siblings) and we used KwikSurveys.com to analyze our results.

Although it is not official, it was a lot of fun and we did learn some interesting results that I thought I would share.

Income

We started by testing the income level of our respondents. We agreed that 199RMB was a lot for students with less than 1000RMB per month. There were a few students who thought it was too expensive as a start-up deposit. Especially since most of them felt they may not ever use that much money in the long run. Some of the students complained that since Changchun is in the north (with very cold weather very early in the fall and late in the sprint), their time to use it was limited. This much money for something they would only use a few months was a stretch.

Demographics

To get a feel for our response bias and the real category of people we reached, we also established some demographics.  

Most of the boys agreed they had tried it, but we had a difficult time getting them to take the survey. 🙂

The students also agreed that, although our survey never reached them, their parents and grandparents were a possible market for OFO. Several students said their parents had already tried it as well. The 21 – 25 year olds were mostly our Junior students. The 15-18 year olds were Freshmen.

Reputation of OFO

At this point, most of the students were familiar with the system. Those who did not recognize the same were aware of the “Yellow Bicycle”

PAST PERFORMANCE

The students also agreed that 24% was a high number for a company like OFO. Although it has only been in Changchun this year, it has been operating in China for a while. They recommended that OFO help teach people how to ride bicycles or show people how to set up the account. They felt like there was not enough information about OFO or people introducing them to OFO.

Some students (and me) had trouble setting up the OFO account. Most of the unhappy users felt like the system was clear, but it often didn’t work or was broken. They complained that they would try to put in all the information and then would get an error code. But quite a few thought it went pretty smoothly.

The Bicycle “easy to reserve” part was must less satisfying amongst the students. The majority complained that there weren’t enough bicycles. They paid a high start-up deposit fee, but then could not ever find bicycles in their area. The bicycles were far away or were already being used. They wanted OFO to provide more bicycles in the area. At the same time, we discussed Beijing and Shanghai’s problems where there are TOO many bicycles available. The bicycles are parked on the sidewalks, and with so many taking up the space, people are forced to walk in the busy streets.

Most agreed that they enjoyed the experience overall. Some felt that it was too cold when they tried it (October — people in the far north are already bundling up for winter and heaters are turning on). Perhaps after summer they will have a different impression. Others felt like it was a lot of money and aggravation to get it all going. Many felt like it was a lot of fun for entertainment, but would not replace taxi or DiDi services.

FUTURE INTEREST

Overall, students seemed to feel that the program had a lot of potential and possibility. They did however think there were areas where it could be improved. It was a fascinating discussion, and the students responded very well!

Abbreviations are CRAZY

28 Nov
Me: “If I give you Q, TVC, and TFC you can find TC, AVC, AFC, SMC, ATC, etc.”
 
Students: 😓😵
 
Me: 🤣 Let’s try it step by step. . .

Business Symbols & Abbreviations

18 Oct

Common Business, Economics, and Finance

Symbols & Abbreviations

 

 

Symbol & Abbreviation Meaning
Δ Change or Difference (ΔQ means the change in Quantity Demanded from time 1 to time 2
+ Plus, Rise, Goes Up, Increases, Add
Minus, Fall, Goes Down, Decreases, Subtract
QD Quantity Demanded (The number of products the consumers want and can purchase)
QS Quantity Supplied (The number of products the suppliers have available on the market)
P Profit
p price
± Plus or Minus. (QS = ±3 means that QS can either go up or down 3 depending on what you changed).
X < Y X is less than Y
X > Y X is more than Y | X is greater than Y
X the Vertical line on a graph
Y the Horizontal line on a graph

 

#Business and #Economics: Business Vocabulary with Chinese Translations (Update)

11 Oct

I’ve added new terms to the list of Business Vocabulary.

Don’t forget, the Chinese translations come from the Chinese students rather than professional translators. While I believe they are accurate, you may want to consult professionals before using them for official documents. This is mainly intended to contribute to daily conversation between English speaking Companies and Chinese companies.

Abbreviations:

v. = Verb
n. = Noun
adj. = Adjective
adv. = Adverb

(c) All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use this material. However, if you do end up using these definitions in your material (educational, informational, or professional), please include either a link to this webpage or the following reference: Blessing, Olivia. “Business Vocabulary with Chinese Translations.” DeceptivelyBlonde.com. This is for two reasons: 1) I’d like to share the resource with others. 2) I created these definitions myself. Thanks!

Divider

Bar Chart (n.) A way of showing information on a chart 图表. The chart shows the information divided up into rectangles. Each rectangle represents one factor and shows the “amount” of that factor.  Allows readers to compare and contrast different things.    条形图 – Tiáo xíng tú

Image result for bar chart

Capital (n.) ~ Wealth (usually money, but also includes other assets) used to buy the inputs and materials used in order to create products. The term has different meanings depending on whether you are an accountant, economist, or financial adviser. 资本 – zī běn

Graph (n.) ~ A way of showing the relationship between two factors in a picture or image form.  Two lines, one called “X” and one called “Y,” are each used to represent one factor.  Lines can then be drawn to show the relationship between X and Y as they change.   曲线图 – qū xiàn tú

Image result for line graph

Input (n.) ~ Resources used to create a product . . . technology, labor, raw materials, etc. Only materials used to make the product, not those used to sell, ship, etc.  用于创建产品的资源

Labor (n.) ~ 1Effort. The work you put into something (“Thomas wants a higher salary for his labor“). 劳动 – Láodòng 劳动是人类生产力为改变商品的使用价值和增加商品的价值的实际使用 2(In Economics & Finance) The number of employees (“When Capital is $15, the Labor is 4 employees“). Usually abbreviated 简短的 “L” in mathematical formulas and economic models. 劳动力 – Láodònglì

Labor (v.) ~ To work. To put effort into something.  劳动 – Láodòng

Loan (n.) ~ Money that A borrows from B and must eventually pay back. Often includes an extra “interest”息 fee.   – Dài

Marginal (adj.) ~ In Business & Economics – A factor of or something that results from small or little changes. Often the profit, cost, or revenue associated with having or making “one more” of something. 边际 – biān jì

Marginal Cost (n.) ~ The cost that comes when you make one more product. 边际成本 – biān jì chéng běn

Marginal Profit (n.) ~ The profit (revenue – cost) that comes when you make one more product. 边际利润 – Biān jì lì rùn

Marginal Revenue (n.) ~ The revenue that comes when you make one more product. 边际报酬 – biān jì bào chóu

Negative Correlation (n.) The situation when two things (X & Y) are related to one another so that if X increases, Y decreases. If X decreases, Y increases. (X & Y go in opposite directions). In economics, we often say two things are “inversely related” if there is a negative correlation. For example, if Price goes up then Quantity Demanded will go down. There is a negative correlation and they are inversely related 负相关– Fù xiāngguān

Output (n.) ~ The number of products created. 产量 – Chǎnliàng

Pie Chart (n.) ~ A way of showing information on a chart 图表. The chart is a circle divided into pieces, each representing a percent (%) of the whole “pie. 饼形图 – Bǐng xíng tú

Image result for pie chart

Positive Correlation (n.) ~ The situation when two things (X & Y) are related to one another so that if X increases, Y also increases. If X decreases, Y also decreases. 正相关 – Zhèng xiāngguān

Quantity (n.) ~ The specific amount of something. Answers the question: “How Much.” 空头 – Kōng tóu.

Rate (n.) ~ 1. The speed at which something happens. For example the “Turnover Rate” 周转率 can tell us how often employees leave a company and new ones have to be hired. 率 – lǜ  2. The percentage of X compared to Y. For example, the “Tax Rate” is how much of the Revenue (Y) is used for Taxes (X). 比率 – bǐ lǜ

Scatter Plot (n.) A way of showing information on a chart or graph. A “Scatter Plot” is a graph where the information does not make a straight line 直线. Instead it is “scattered” (疏散) around the graph. 散点图 – Sàn diǎn tú

Image result for scatter plot

Short Sell (v.) ~ X borrows stock from a stock broker, sells the stock, buys it back, and then returns the stock to the stock broker. 卖空 – Mài kōng

Stockbroker (n.) ~ Someone who buys and sells stocks (a middleman – 中间人).  证券经纪人 – Zhèngquàn jīngjì rén

Stock Market (n.) ~ A place (either a physical market or an online market) where buyers and sellers trade in company shares.  股市 – Gǔ shì

Stock Price (n.) ~ The cost of purchasing one share (股of a company. 股价 – Gǔjià

Substitution (v.) ~ Using one thing instead of another. Replacing X with Y. 取代 – Qǔdài

Managerial #Economics ~ Understanding #MRTS the Fun Way!

12 Jun

As always, this lesson is not intended to be professional advice. This is simply lesson material for ESL students in a Managerial Economics and Finance class. Posted here for their use or for helping other students.

PART 1 – Key Words

  1. Quantity (量) ~ How many products = Q (# of  🚗)
  2. Labor (员工) ~ The Number of Workers = L (👱)
  3. Capital (资金) ~ The Money ($$) we need = K (💲)
  4. Change (变化) ~ How much did the # change? = Δ(🔺)
  5. Marginal (边际成本) ~ Result if you add ONE MORE (+1) Q
  6. Rate (比率) ~ Ratio
  7. Substitution (取代) ~ XK = 1L (Substitution asks “what is X?”)
  8. Input (输入) ~ All the resources you put into a product. 
    1. Ice Cream 🍦has many inputs:
      1. Milk🥛
      2. Eggs🍳
      3. Sugar
      4. Ice
      5. Salt
      6. Chocolate Sauce
  9. Output (产量) ~ The product you create 
    1. Ice Cream 🍨🍦is the output!

Part 2 – The Relationship Between L, K, and Q

Every product (产量) can have lots of inputs (输入), just like the Ice Cream 🍦 or a Car 🚗.  

Input + Input + Input + Input = Output (🚗)

But in our class, we focus on TWO inputs: Labor (👱) and Money (💲)

👱+💲=🚗
Labor (👱) + Money (💲) = Quantity (🚗)
L (👱)+ K (💲)= Q(🚗)

Example: 
Justin sells 200 cars 🚗every day. Not 201 cars. Not 199 cars. He sells EXACTLY 200 cars 🚗every day. 

L (👱) + K (💲) = 200 cars (🚗)

Justin knows that in ONE DAY🔆:

  • 1 worker 👱 can create 50% of a car 🚗~ 2 workers 👱👱can create 100% of a car 🚗(one car)
    • 1L = 0.5Q 🚗
    • 2L = 1Q 🚗
  • $5 💲 can pay for 20% of a car 🚗~ $25 💲can pay for 100% of a car 🚗(one car)
    • 1K = 0.2Q 🚗
    • 5K = 1Q 🚗

Rule #1 ~ If Land K ⬆, then the # of 🚗 cars will also ⬆

Rule #2 ~ If Land K ⬇, then the # of 🚗 cars will also ⬇

Rule #3 ~ If L ⬇  and the # of 🚗 cars is still 200 (stay the same), K must ⬆

Rule #4 ~ If K ⬇  and the # of 🚗 cars is still 200 (stay the same), L must ⬆

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today, Justin looks 🤔at his Money 💲and is NOT happy😭. He thinks he spends TOO MUCH money😡!  He wants to buy a new bicycle🚲, so he decides to SAVE $100 💲

This means today:

👱L + (💲K – 💲100K) = ? Q🚗

WHAT IS THE NEW Q (number of cars🚗) that Justin Makes Today?

Day 1 (Yesterday): 👱L + 💲K = 🚗200Q

Day 2 (Today): 👱L + (💲K – 💲100K) = 🚗200Q – all the 🚗cars $100K would pay for. 

Remember!  💲1K = 🚗0.20Q (one dollar pays for 0.20 cars in a day)

If Justin does not spend $100 today, he will lose the money for 20 cars! 

1K = 0.20 cars
💲-100K = -20 cars🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗

ANSWER: Justin makes 180 cars today!

L + (K – 100K) = 200 cars – 20 cars 
= 180 cars🚗

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OK?!?🤔

NO!!!  😡Remember –> “Justin sells 200 cars 🚗every day. Not 201 cars. Not 199 cars. He sells EXACTLY 200 cars every day. ”  

PROBLEM:  How can Justin still make and sell 200 cars tomorrow if he still saves the $100 (-100K) as today.

Rule #4 ~ If 💲K ⬇  and the # of 🚗 cars is 200 (the same), 👱L must ⬆

 

QUESTION: HOW MUCH should 👱L  go up (⬆)?  

  • Step 1 ~ How many extra cars 🚗does Justin need to make? ~ Justin can make 180 cars right now if he saves $100 (-100K) but L stays the same as yesterday.  

200 🚗 – 180 🚗= 20🚗
Justin needs to make
👱L ⬆ enough to make 20 extra cars🚗 tomorrow.

  • Step 2 ~ How much L does Justin have to add (+) to make 20 more cars tomorrow?

?L + (K – 100K) = 200Q

Remember,

👱1L = 0.5Q 🚗 | 👱👱2L = 1Q 🚗
20Q 🚗= 40L

ANSWER: Justin will have to hire 40 workers (+40L) in order to make 20 more cars tomorrow.

👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫

FINAL SOLUTION

*Substitution = Adding L to Decrease K

(👱L + 👱40L) + (💲K – 💲100K) = 200 Q (🚗)

Part 3 ~ MRTS

MRTS = Marginal Rate of Technical Substitution

 CodeCogsEqn.gif

Go Back to Part 2.

  • 🔺K💲
    • Yesterday, Justin had K💲
    • Tomorrow, Justin has -100K💲
    • 🔺K = -100K💲
  • 🔺L👱
    • Yesterday, Justin had L👱
    • Tomorrow, Justin has +40L👱
    • 🔺L = +40L👱

CodeCogsEqn.gif

CodeCogsEqn (2).gif

CodeCogsEqn (3).gif

MRTS = 5K : 2L |5💲 : 2👫

This just tells us:

  1. For every 2 👫workers Justin has, he spends $5💲💲💲💲💲.
  2. For every 1 👱worker Just has, he spends $2.50💲💲½
  3. If Justin wants to hire 1 worker (+1L) , he will save $2.50 (-2.50K)
  4. I Justin wants to save $40 (-40K), he must hire 16 workers (+16L)

MRTS shows how much L👱 can be a substitute for K💲!

#Fructis – an #International Brand

8 Jun

International Business at its best! We’ve got English, Russian, German/Dutch, Spanish, Italian. . . But sadly for a Chinese website, no #Chinese! 

#Business in #China ~ #Contracts

4 Jun

One of the problems I repeatedly encounter in China is the fact that they view contracts as “guidelines rather than actual rules.” The American business system and legal system interprets a contract as law — If you agreed to it, you MUST do it. The Chinese professionals I have worked with interpret contracts as “this is what we think might work, but it’s always open to reinterpretation and change later.” One year I was actually told (after completing all of the required work) “Oh, well, what we said was really just too excessive so we’ve decided not to pay you that.”

This is a VERY big problem and a huge source of discord between the Chinese and foreign workers. Americans are expecting things by the book, but in China you need adaptability. On the other hand, the Chinese are promising more than they deliver and breaking promises. If you are considering working in an American-Chinese business or teaching atmosphere, I highly recommend you discuss this issue before signing contracts. Talk to the other side and verify how they view a contract — law or general guideline. Find a way to agree on what will be included and then keep the promises you do agree to.

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