Studying Success

What else has been going right?

In the midst of a market correction, it helps to understand what we do well. Sure, like everyone else, I’m concerned that the current correction could spiral out of control and turn into a rout. But the US economy has been getting stronger, companies have been hiring new workers, and consumers have been making up for lost time. So what’s going well?

One clear success has been the American research university. Whether public or private, American universities are the envy of the world when it comes to scholarship and education. In 2009, all of the academic Nobel prizes were awarded to men and women who teach or recently taught in the US university system. What do we do right?

One unique aspect is the combination of education and research. By focusing on education, professors are continually challenged to develop the next generation of researchers. But by focusing on research, they have to look into new questions that keep their approach to the material fresh. As a Shakespeare scholar recently noted, “If I didn’t do research, I’d be bored out of my skull and would bore my students to tears.”

The last thing universities do well is struggle for funding. Let’s face it: schools never get all the money they want. But this keeps them tied to their communities—of either alumni or State officials. People engaged in the real world are less likely to fly off on tangents. This keeps our system grounded.

Because of our universities, folks from around the world come to America for their education. This is one more strength of our open society.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
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