By Keith Blincoe, Staff Writer
ATTENTION: Satire article. Reader discretion is advised.
In a bid to appeal to Thunderbird’s new, younger crop of students, Thunderbird finance faculty have formed a rap group.
“I noticed that incoming students were intimidated by finance,” explained Lena Booth. “They think it’s dry and overly quantitative. That’s why I formed MALEFICENT—to show them just how cool finance can be. And besides, people can remember things better if they’re in musical form, so our lyrics have direct educational value.”
So far MALEFICENT, which stands for Mad Asset-Liability-Equity Financial International Cash Enterprise Nucleus of Thunderbird, consists of four faculty members besides Booth: Gary Gibbons, Frank Tuzzolino, Graeme Rankine, and Michael Moffett. They meet every morning to freestyle-battle, drink irresponsible quantities of coffee, and discuss currency movements. “We have a lot of things to talk about. We each have our own ideas on the direction the group should take, and sometimes we can get a little…intense. But it’s all in good fun,” insists Moffett, who used his rap name “M&M” throughout the interview. “It stands for ‘Modigliani and Miller,'” he explained. “Not ‘Michael Moffett.’ Not ‘Marshall Mathers.’ But I’m not complaining.”
According to Graeme Rankine (who now calls himself Ray-Gray-Tonne and says he’s “representing the global south side”), the group has recorded a soon-to-be-released album titled Balance This! Rankine is proud of his financial statements-themed contribution to the album, a track called “Price Price Baby.” He grins and jumps on a table shouting, “Stop, consolidate, and listen!” The group refuses to reveal specifics, but an unconfirmed track listing was leaked anonymously yesterday:
Put a Cap in Your Ex
Back That Asset Up
Can’t Take Risk (ft. Rick James)
Price Price Baby
I Like Big Bucks
Turn That Lie-Ability Into An Asset
Financiers Do It with Models
(Check Out Them) Bubbles
@Risky in the Jar
Son of EBITDA
Multinational Business Finance—15th Edition
Tange My Intangible, Do It Now!
It wouldn’t be a music group without drama, and internal conflicts do arise. Tuzzolino (who goes by “Da Versifier”) says the other members never accept his song ideas. “I epiphanated a track called ‘WACC Attack,’ grabbed the mike and spat a few euphonic lines at the group, but the others shot it down faster than you can say ‘cash-money.’ And I’m still bitter about how they bowdlerized the lyrics to ‘LIFO Crime.’ Some musical genera are just meant to be violent.” An anonymous member shares Da Versifier’s concern: “It’s not my fault they don’t know what ‘niggard’ means. Anyway, I’m allowed to say it—lots of my friends are stingy.”
M&M wanted the group to be called FORAD, but the others rejected the idea because he refused to tell them what it stands for.
Another example of squabbling: a recent meeting ended in a fistfight after M&M wouldn’t stop pronouncing “finance” as “finn ANTS” instead of “FINE ants.” Sources say M&M was well aware of how that drives Gary “G-G-Unit” Gibbons crazy. Fortunately conflict, and even the occasional thrown punch, might help fan the flames of creativity.
Other faculty are unhappy with the toppled bookshelves, overturned chairs, and profanity-covered whiteboards the group leaves after each meeting. Preethika Sainam, who teaches statistics and data science, says, “It’s nice they take their project so seriously, but other people need to use those conference rooms. Once I booked the Burns room for a meeting, and every inch of the carpet was covered with coffee. There was graffiti on the glass walls—none of which was legible, but it looks like they were trying to brute-force calculate an IRR. It was a disgrace. They should have just used Excel.”
Are they concerned over whether their rowdy behavior or colorful lyrics will affect their distinguished reputations? “Absolutely,” Booth says, suddenly serious. “Rap already has a big enough problem being tainted with criminality. The last thing I want is to have us associated with gang violence, misogyny, or Goldman Sachs.”