Thursday, February 14, 2008

This will teach them about the marketplace!

You're an MBA student and you want to take a popular class.

Forget about that "first come, first served" stuff.

More than one school is using an auction:

Earlier this semester, a student in an economics course at the University of Chicago tried to sell her spot online. It wasn't just any old economics course, though. The class was taught by Steven D. Levitt, co-author of the enormous best seller Freakonomics and as close to paparazzi-bait as a college professor is likely to get.

"How much is your education worth to you?!?" the ad asked. "E-mail me with your best offer."

The ad was removed soon after it came to the attention of university officials. A Chicago spokeswoman says the university "does not endorse" students' selling their seats in classes.

By contrast, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton business school actually encourages it. Wharton auctions spots to its M.B.A. students, allowing them to bid for their classes. They don't use real money; instead, students are each given 5,000 points when they enroll and 1,000 more for every credit they earn. An average course might sell for a few hundred points while the most sought-after ones can top 10,000.

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