What Everyone Planning to Get an MBA Should Be Reading, Every Day!


By Terry Connelly, Dean Emeritus of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University

When I first started the entry-level Wall Street training program at Salomon Brothers, our first instruction was simple: Force yourself to read The Wall Street Journal, end to end, every weekday. If you are planning to pursue Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree, that advice is still good.

Today’s vast new array of digital media offers the aspiring MBA student a range of choices to keep up with business and economic affairs. Perhaps there are too many choices—so many so that you can focus on the Web sites that fit your personal world-view. And yet..the precious time in your life that you devote getting an MBA offers a tremendous opportunity to challenge your preconceived notions, rather than reinforce them. Learning other points of view will help you as you advance in your career.

Most business magazines are like a day-old sandwich. Web sources that are committed to near real-time news are helpful.

The New York Times (front section): Don’t focus so much on the business pages—those are yesterday’s news. The front pages and even the Op-Eds will offer far more clues as to what will move events and markets and commerce today, and even more so, tomorrow.

The Economist: This British journal is the quickest way to get something all MBAs need: a world view. You will find that The Economist has its own, distinctive, world view. In reading this, you will confront ideas different than your own, early and often, in your schooling. So go ahead and argue with our British friends and figure out your own view of things, and absorb the incredible amount of carefully crafted and thoroughly researched reporting and perspective it provides every week—especially in its in-depth special sections.

Financial Times: While you are in the “British Reading Room” perusing the Economist, also look at Financial Times, which will offer you a perspective on American business, finance, and politics that, as they used to say of Schweppes soda, is “curiously refreshing.” You will want to keep up with Brexit and the doings of the European Community institutions, the Eurozone, German competitors, and French upstarts (Watch that space.).

The Financial Times does not do a bad job covering the Asian region either. You can add Singapore’s Straits Times for that, or better yet, Bloomberg’s Live TV around midnight Pacific Time—when the stock and bond and currency trading day has already started. Speaking of Bloomberg, consider its Businessweek because it is reinventing itself as a more focused journal.

Terry Connelly’s Best Websites for Aspiring MBAs

The New York Times (front section) >>
Financial Times  >>
The Economist  >>
Straits Times (Singapore) >>
Bloomberg’s Live TV >>
Bloomberg’s Businessweek >>
Recode >>
Axios >>

Sidewire >>

Expert Discussion and Commentary

No, I am not going to close with a recommendation of The Washington Post, despite their good information leaks over the decades. Instead, I suggest you get fresh information. Sign up to get the daily online D.C. webcast chats on Axios or Sidewire (the latter of which I have the privilege of contributing to). They limit discussions to those who are experts in their field and summarize current issues that are not discussed in routine press headlines. Their discussions also reveal what to look for during the day and how to stay just a smidge ahead of events related to your industry, your investments, and your general peace of mind.

These sources will help you figure out how to meet the first and mandatory challenge that awaits those who seek to be leaders: defining reality. Most people come to their new jobs with illusions which may have served them well in previous positions but will lead to poor results in their current one. Occasionally, a leader has to shatter the illusions of their team with a cold dose of truth, like the “BI Running Platform” analogy found in more than one business school case study.

Defining reality provides what successful athletes and CEOs alike refer to as acute “situational awareness.” If you want to make the most of your post-MBA moments, use your MBA “free time” to learn how to always know the score and the time left on the clock.


About Terry Connelly

Terry Connelly is an economic expert and dean emeritus of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University, California’s fifth largest private university and a nonprofit institution based in San Francisco with award-winning online cyber campus. With more than 30 years experience in investment banking, law and corporate strategy on Wall Street and abroad, Terry analyses the impact of government politics and policies on local, national and international economies, examining the interaction on global financial markets, the U.S. banking industry (and all of its regulatory agencies), the Federal Reserve, domestic employment levels and consumer reactions to the changing economic tides.

Terry holds a law degree from NYU School of Law and his professional history includes positions with Ernst & Young Australia, the Queensland University of Technology Graduate School of Business, New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore (corporate, securities and litigation practice in New York and London), global chief of staff at Salomon Brothers investment banking firm and Cowen & Company’s investments, where he served as CEO. In conjunction with Golden Gate University President Dan Angel, Terry co-authored Riptide: The New Normal In Higher Education (2011). Available on Amazon.com, Riptide deconstructs the changing landscape of higher education in the face of the for-profit debacle, graduation gridlock and staggering student debt, and asserts a new, sustainable model for progress. Terry is a board member of the Public Religion Research Institute, a Washington, DC think tank and polling organization, and the Cardiac Therapy Foundation in Palo Alto, California. Terry lives in Palo Alto with his wife.


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Let’s Be Careful with All the Violence Threats by Public Officials


By Terry Connelly, Dean Emeritus of the Ageno School of Business

I once professed fright at the loose talk about assassination of President Obama among various far right zealots. This reached probably a “peak” (or low) when radio firebrand Michael Savage and major Trump supporter referred to the President as “a rabid dog that should be dealt with accordingly” – a direct quote which I personally heard. Somehow this felonious jerk was awarded a place in the National Radio Hall of Fame about the same time he said that.

It all reminded me of what many of us lived through during the JFK Administration: threats against President Kennedy emanating from the “alt-right:’ of those days, especially folks associated with the John Birch Society and General Edwin Walker. Citizens then got used to the talk, flyers and Kennedy hate signs at rallies, but it all culminated in the actual Presidential assassination of November 22, 1963 in the Birch/Walker hotbed of Texas, followed by a whole lot of short-lived hand-wringing about all the violent talk we had tolerated –- and two more major political assassinations of the President’s brother and Dr. Martin Luther King just a few years later.

Now the shoe seems to be on the other foot, as conservative political figures – egged-on by the same far-right advocates and radio hosts that called on folks to use their ‘second Amendment rights” against the Obama administration – are aiming their own assassination threats against members of the news media, and in one recent case actually taking violent action against an “irritating” reporter. Do we really want to go down this dangerous road again?

There were as we recall numerous threats and actions of violence against news media at Trump campaign rallies and even at media events: a well-known Univision anchor and reporter, Jorge Ramos, was physically removed from a press conference. An accredited reporter from a right-wing journal, Michelle Fields, was jostled a Trump campaign manager (and then disowned by her employer when she complained). News media were kept in a pen and routinely taunted and threatened by Trump supporters at rallies, with occasional encouragement from the candidate himself. The campaign passed these eye-witnessed events as fake news or just a kind of harmless fun, effectively trying to create a false equivalence with the sarcastic portrayals on Saturday Night Live of Trump, Clinton and lately Sean Spicer, the Press Secretary).

Much more recently, as leaks published in the media of aspects of the FBI’s investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 election and possible Trump collusion in those efforts have enraged President Trump as well as his staff and supporters, a renewed pattern of purportedly “joking” threats of harm to members of the news media have emerged at the highest levels. The new Homeland Security Chief John Kelly was heard suggesting to the President that a ceremonial sword given to Trump at a Coast Guard graduation celebration be used on the press, with Trump audibly concurring. Then the Governor of Texas, a major Trump supporter, at a ceremony relating to that’s Sate’s decision to reduce the cost of gun carry permits from $70 to $40 brandished his own bullet-riddled gun target sheet and saying he would carry it around in case he meets up with reporters.. Recently, GOP candidate Greg Gianforte (pictured above) taking offense at an aggressive media question about health insurance policy at a campaign event and body-slamming the reporter to the ground, breaking his glasses and sending him to the hospital the day before election day.

The fact that he won anyway is neither surprising – given extensive early voting, or unexpected given the state strong GOP leanings. But the disturbing fact is that that some supporters in Montana and elsewhere praised Gianforte’s actions, suggesting he need not apologize, and that the newsperson seemed to have had it coming per Rush Limbaugh, who “condemned’ the attack tongue in cheek. So much for the First Amendment protection that makes you a living, Rush!

Likewise, even the respected conservative columnist David Brooks, chose to “give him a pass” for just apologizing (as Brooks shamefully did on PBS NewsHour on Friday, May 26). Is Brooks suggesting that there should be a double criminal law standard for assaulting reporters by white, rich Republicans – they get off with an apology, while a black man in America body-slams anybody in full view most likely will go to jail (at the very least). While this fact might suggest only that latent racism is surely a reality, David Brooks ought to know better. When he starts condoning violence against the media, we really are heading back down the slippery slope of that lead to the 60’s assassination of political figures. Recall all these actions occurred after our new President called the news media an “enemy of the people” .

And yes, it is appropriate to use the term “assassination” in respect to the threats against the news media, because assassinations are by definition politically motivated killings, and surely that shoe fits snugly in these recent cases – jokes or not jokes. It all started with jokes in the 60’s.


About Terry Connelly

Terry Connelly is an economic expert and Dean Emeritus of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University. With more than 30 years experience in investment banking, law and corporate strategy on Wall Street and abroad, Terry analyses the impact of government politics and policies on local, national and international economies, examining the interaction of global financial markets, the U.S. banking industry (and all of its regulatory agencies), the Federal Reserve, domestic employment levels and consumer reactions to the changing economic tides. Terry holds a law degree from NYU School of Law and his professional history includes positions with Ernst & Young Australia, the Queensland University of Technology Graduate School of Business, New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore (corporate, securities and litigation practice in New York and London), global chief of staff at Salomon Brothers investment banking firm and Cowen & Company’s investments, where he served as CEO. In conjunction with Golden Gate University President Dan Angel, Terry co-authored Riptide: The New Normal In Higher Education (2011). Riptide deconstructs the changing landscape of higher education in the face of the for-profit debacle, graduation gridlock and staggering student debt, and asserts a new, sustainable model for progress. Terry is a board member of the the Public Religion Research Institute, a Washington, DC think tank and polling organization, and the Cardiac Therapy Foundation in Palo Alto, California. Terry lives in Palo Alto with his wife.

What the House GOP Isn’t Telling You About Their Obamacare Repeal Bill: “If you like your workplace health care plan, you probably can’t keep it!”

Absent from the half-time celebration at the White House of the one-vote passage of the American Health Care Act (“ACHA”) by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, there was many statements about both premiums and deductibles going down and pre-existing condition coverage continuing as a result of this legislation. But no one in the Rose Garden or the Rotunda of the Capitol building was heard to utter the famous magic words associated with the ObamaCare passage from Day One: ‘If you like the health plan you have now, you can keep it!”

Certainly, it has been clear enough for a while that, under ACHA, if you are on Medicaid, you are looking at an $880 billion in overall funding reduction, so million of those depending on Medicaid coverage will lose at least part of that.

The same result applies for those who purchase policies on the ObamaCare Exchanges with direct subsidies from the Federal treasury because those subsidies will be replaced by substantially lesser advanced tax credits that will, therefore, force choices for less generous coverage.

In addition, if your state chooses to waive the Federal requirement that your individual (ie non-workplace) market plan include ten “essential” coverage elements—like maternity and infant care, mental health, prescription drugs, hospitalization)—you will lose whatever benefits are waived no matter what your pay. And there will be even greater coverage degradation of existing policies if protections for those with a pre-existing medical condition (Here’s a list of them.) are waived by your state and you somehow lose coverage for over 63 days, and in any event whatever coverage of your condition is not waived will cost a lot more.

But nobody on the GOP side has acknowledged that the famous “you can keep it” phrase regarding your family’s current health insurance policy quite possibly will no longer apply to the 160 million persons (nearly 50% of the marketplace) currently receiving their health care coverage through plans provided by their employers. How did this happen without virtually any public notice of this element of the GOP plan until the very morning it passed?

It should have been clear enough that at least those who work in many small businesses across America and get their health insurance though their employer would be at risk to losing coverage. The late-April revisions to the AHCA offering states the options to waive essential benefits and pre-existing condition protection against price discrimination would apply not only to the ObamaCare Exchange and individual marketplace but also to the small group market relevant to firms with 50-100 employees or less, depending on the relevant state regulations.

But even employees of our largest public and private companies could have their current coverage limited or eliminated, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out on the morning the House voted.  Under the ObamaCare rules now, a big company can choose the benefit package of any state to apply to its employees in all states—a rule that hardly matters while all policies are required to provide the ten essential benefits.

If just one state (as Wisconsin’s governor has already suggested he would consider) chooses to pursue the coverage waivers under the new AHCA, a big company could simply impose this ‘lowest common insurance denominator” of coverage to all its US employees, unless the current rules are changed (but the ACHA leaves them place). As a further result, the Obamacare ban on lifetime caps on insurance benefits would also be undercut for any insurance coverage remaining after the waivers take effect.  If you still think the GOP plan won’t affect you because you have a job with insurance, think again.

Neither the GOP generally, Speaker Ryan and his leadership team, nor President Trump ever campaigned on the platform to “repeal and replace your workplace healthcare policies.”  It surely seems that somebody’s got some explaining to do: the town hall meetings during the current Congressional recess might be a good place to start.

About Terry Connelly

terry-connellyTerry Connelly is an economic expert and dean emeritus of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University, California’s fifth largest private university and a nonprofit institution based in San Francisco with award-winning online cyber campus. With more than 30 years experience in investment banking, law and corporate strategy on Wall Street and abroad, Terry analyses the impact of government politics and policies on local, national and international economies, examining the interaction of global financial markets, the U.S. banking industry (and all of its regulatory agencies), the Federal Reserve, domestic employment levels and consumer reactions to the changing economic tides.

Terry holds a law degree from NYU School of Law and his professional history includes positions with Ernst & Young Australia, the Queensland University of Technology Graduate School of Business, New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore (corporate, securities and litigation practice in New York and London), global chief of staff at Salomon Brothers investment banking firm and Cowen & Company’s investments, where he served as CEO. In conjunction with Golden Gate University President Dan Angel, Terry co-authored Riptide: The New Normal In Higher Education (2011). Riptide deconstructs the changing landscape of higher education in the face of the for-profit debacle, graduation gridlock and staggering student debt, and asserts a new, sustainable model for progress. Terry is a board member of the the Public Religion Research Institute, a Washington, DC think tank and polling organization, and the Cardiac Therapy Foundation in Palo Alto, California. Terry lives in Palo Alto with his wife.