‘Cause Women Aren’t Good at Math

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From today’s Boston Globe, this story about a firing at Harvard:

In the letter, dated May 12 of that year [2002], [a new employee of the Harvard endowment management team, Iris] Mack told Summers that she was “deeply troubled and surprised” by things she had seen in her new job as a quantitative analyst at Harvard Management Co.

She would go on to say, in later e-mails and conversations, that she felt the endowment was taking on too much risk in derivatives investments, and that she suspected some of her colleagues were engaging in insider trading, according to a separate letter written by her lawyer that summarized the correspondence.

On July 2 Mack was fired. But six years later, the kinds of investments she allegedly warned about did blow up on Harvard. The endowment plunged 22 percent last summer, in part due to the collapse of the credit markets. As a result, the school is cutting costs and under criticism that it took on too much risk in its investment portfolio.

The Harvard Crimson has more here.   My guess is that the Harvard investment doods didn’t like getting called out as would-be emperors with no clothes — and especially didn’t like getting called out by a woman who hadn’t been with the management team for very long.

-Bridget Crawford

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