Math 588 Writing Assignments

  • Assignment 1 (First draft due Thursday, 1/10 and the final version due Tuesday, 1/15)

    1. Write a one-page memo directing a junior member of your staff to perform a technical calculation. The staff member should write a memo describing the result of the calculation and explaining its significance. You may pick any problem you like. A typical 618 problem would work well. Be sure to pick a problem you can do yourself! Impress upon your assistant that the reader of her memo will not be a technical guru, and that the memo should not contain the calculations.
    2. Now you are the subordinate. Solve the problem and write the required memo. Remember that the memo should not contain the calculations. Please write up the solution separately and turn it in as well.

    Both Memos should be typed and printed on a laser or ink-jet printer. Your solution to the problem can be handwritten.

  • Assignment 2 (First draft due Thursday, 2/14; final version due 2/26 or 2/28)

    You are a middle manager in a financial service firm. For example, you could work for an insurance company (life, or health, or P&C), a pension consulting firm, a brokerage house, anything you want. You have to pick. Find an article in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Fortune, Business Week, The Economist, or similar newspaper or magazine that has serious implications for your business. You might want to find an article before you pick your business! Write a one-page memo to your staff describing the content of the article and requesting appropriate actions to be done in response to the article. (You have to pick the actions, too. That's what managers do.) Please make enough copies of your memo and the article itself to hand out to the group. Be prepared to discuss the article with your group.

  • Book Review

    There are a lot of "popular" books about insurance, personal finance, or the role of money in our lives. After all, Suze Orman has made a bundle selling books based on her PBS programs. There are also a lot of books about probability in everyday life floating around. Please find a fairly short, fairly readable book and read it. Then write a 2-3 typed page review of the book. The review should include enough information to help your fellow students decide if they want to read it too. Be sure to include your opinion of the book!

    Deadline for picking a book and telling the instructor and your team members the title and author: Thursday, February 14 You might want to do this sooner, since only one person can choose a given book. Don't start working on it until you check with the instructor.

    Deadline for the completed report with copies for the whole group: Thursday, March 7

(This sheet is available at