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Economics in Cape Town: McGill Lawrence Internship Award, Sarah Brauner

Sarah Brauner, junior economics/mathematics major, received a McGill Lawrence Internship award to spend her summer in Cape Town, South Africa working at the Economic Policy Research Institute.

This summer has been a story of disparate images and experiences, and as I sit down to write this post, its hard not to be daunted by the task of stringing them together into a cohesive narrative. In fact, the more I reflect, the more it seems that the thread holding all that I wish to convey together is a series of sharp contrasts that I have borne witness to, participated in, and attempted—with mixed success—to process.

The backdrop for all this—Cape Town, South Africa—is in some ways one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Table Mountain, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is visible from almost every vantage point in the metropolitan area, and beaches (apparently the setting for Shark Week) surround the city. Eucalyptus and palm trees, British-colonial architecture, striking panoramas and even Baboons, abound.

Interview with Van Havig

Madeline Wagar ’16, Assistant Editor with Works & Days, interviewed Van Havig '92, Master Brewer and Founder at Gigantic Brewing in Portland, OR.

Why beer? Why brewing? How did you get into it?

I am a class of ‘92 graduate. At the time at Reed, there was the general feeling that what you do when you get out of Reed was go to grad school. So right out of Reed I went to a Ph.D. program in Minnesota, studying economics. I did that for two and half years and as I went through I lost faith in economics. I was interested in it as a social science, not as business. Then I realized economics wasn’t great as a social science. I dropped out of grad school, and I wanted to do something that allowed me to work more with my hands. I am a very mechanical person. I was still in Minnesota and I decided to try to get a job at a brewery.

Reed Winter Externship Reflections 14: Number Four, Conquest Capital, Ahyan Panjwani

The heavens had already started to rumble and give the East Coast a hard time as I flew into NYC a few days after New Year. The first day of work I took the wrong bus and ended up walking 31 blocks down Madison Avenue. Although it wasn’t the most pleasing thing, it was an experience on its own – weaving my way through herds of humans that flock midtown Manhattan every morning. Seeing those skyscrapers tower above me, the financial powerhouses of the world, was an enthralling sight.

I strode into the Conquest Capital office and all I could hear was the buzz of CNBC market tickers signaling stocks, futures, currencies, commodities and what have you. Conquest is a hedge fund involved in trading futures and currencies based on signals from the mathematical mazes underlying their strategies. As a result, most of my work was based on grasping the very elements that make up a trading strategy. I was using a combination of MS Excel and Visual Basic (VBA) to build my model which revolved around what is called a “moving average” in the financial world.

Another part of this great experience was observing traders strike out deals and place orders depending on market conditions. The release of job numbers and retail industry figures for the holiday season coincided with the time I spent there, and I got to see Economics 201 (which I had taken in the fall semester before) at work. I got a real sense of market volatilities and how significantly market indicators can impact trades in S&P 500 and the world currency market.

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