Chicago Shady Dealer

Finance Module Teaches First Year Students How to Set Up Tax Havens

       As part of their digital O-Week, the University of Chicago has introduced a virtual orientation module about finance taught by an Econ bro. The course’s instructor — rising third-year economics major, Bryce McKinsey III — sporadically appears in the corner of the screen to help students throughout the module, in a manner vaguely reminiscent of Microsoft 1997’s Clippy. Using colorful graphics and lighthearted YouTube videos, McKinsey gives incoming students advice on a variety of topics in personal finance, such as whether they should set up their first tax haven in Liechtenstein or the Cayman Islands. 

 

        The Module also includes an Enron simulation game. Students get to both raid pension funds to sustain executive pay and tell their hardworking employees of 30-plus years that their retirement savings are being significantly reduced. The simulation has two possible outcomes. Students who lose go to federal prison, while students who win get to “Scrooge McDuck it” by swimming in a giant vault of money.  

 

        The Finance Module has received significant backlash from some first years who claim the course was unable to address their questions. When asked about basic life skills, such as creating a budget or maintaining credit, McKinsey only responds using two possible phrases: “lol” and “idk :/ have you tried having a trust fund?” One student told The Shady Dealer that when she asked McKinsey where the financial aid office was located, he responded with random excerpts from the Wikipedia page for the Panama Papers. 

 

        Despite some of the negative feedback, UChicago has promised to bring back McKinsey and the finance module for next year’s orientation. Admin is already in talks with the company who produced the holographic Coachella Tupac performance to really bring McKinsey to life during next year’s orientation. Admin are allegedly also planning to spend $1.5 million on an augmented reality Milton Friedman rock opera entitled “Five Feet and All Meat.”  

 

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