Harvard is now breaking out of its traditional mold and is now starting a class in everyday finance called “Consumer Finance.” This covers topics that were the traditional stronghold of women, household finances, rather than the focus of men, corporate finance.
Essentially, this class will allow the students to see the day-to-day workings of a normal household, something that was not even looked at before. Why is this important? The recent economic fallout made financial planners realize that thousands of these small financial decisions can make or break a corporation or even a national economy.
Students will be poring over case studies ranging from boosting savings rates to creating a household budget for an average family, including their food expenses, transportation allowances, and insurance payments. Topics discussed span boosting bank savings rates to creating better products that would entice lower income customers to save. These are the farthest the venerable business school has gotten from their usual corporate cases.
What the school is aiming for is getting their students familiar with “normal” financial statements that involve real family earnings rather than being more familiar with the millions of dollars required by large businesses. They are hoping that this will change the mindset of their students at thinking that the normal income is “small.”
Hopefully, this will allow the new batch of financial planners and businessmen to realize that it is these small households and incomes that actually dictate the growth of the larger businesses rather than the other way around. Once the basic unit of the family and the individual is focused on again, there may be a better business environment fostered that will allow a more stable growth.
After all, it is the masses and the little guy in particular that dictates the business of the titans. Recent history has just proven that.