How to Get An ‘A’ With: Professor Shapir

Professor Shapir talks with OCA’s Maya Spaulding and Mia Barkenaes about his experience at NYU Shanghai, the business courses he teaches, and how students can be successful in his classes.

Offer Shapir is an Associate Professor of Practice in Finance at NYU Shanghai. Shapir holds a PhD from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where he later taught as an adjunct lecturer at the Department of Economics.

Professor Shapir’s courses are a fundamental part of NYUSH’s business curriculum. He has taught courses such as Economics of Global Business, Microeconomics, and is currently teaching Foundations of Finance. For those who aren’t business students he also teaches Principles of Finance for non-majors.

Whether online, in-person, over the summer or during the semester, many students have taken a class with Professor Shapir while others look forward to doing so in their coming years at NYUSH. 

OCA has got you covered with all you need to know about getting an ‘A’ with Professor Shapir.

What is the most important study habit you’d recommend to students?

Shapir: So I think it starts in class. Students should pay attention in class and be focused on all of the stuff we are covering—that is number one. When a student loses focus for five minutes, it can be devastating. When you’re reviewing something or communicating with others, it can be problematic later on.

What is your biggest pet peeve with students? In other words, what should a student NOT do?

Shapir: I don’t want students to run away from responsibility. If something doesn’t go well, they should take responsibility and understand what went wrong. 

What are the best types of communication with you (office hours, after class, by email)?

Shapir: Many students ask for recommendation letters when they finish this class. The best way to engage is through office hours and after class, not just by email, so we can get to know each other. Face to face has a personal touch, but tons of questions by email do not.

What is the best way to ask questions during the lecture?

Shapir: On Zoom, the best way is to open the mic and ask questions, so everyone can follow the question. However, some students feel uncomfortable, so it is okay to use the chat instead. If students are going to use the chat, I prefer it to be in a private message. As long as you’re asking questions, that is good. 

Will you be returning to Shanghai in the Spring?

Shapir: I will do my best to come back to Shanghai, but it is challenging, and I cannot guarantee the spring semester. I hope I can go back to Shanghai.

What makes your grading and teaching style different from others?

Shapir: Firstly, I don’t care about grades the way maybe others do. I care about knowledge. I’m a little bit harsher maybe, so I know if you take the same class with a different professor, the class may be easier. It’s hard to compare with others because I don’t see those classes.

What does a successful student in your class look like?

Shapir: It’s not about the grade. Some of the best students don’t get an A, and that doesn’t define the student. Students that engage, participate, enjoy the material, are fascinated by the equity market, call auctions, IPOs, fixed income, etc.; I think this class serves them the best. It is not memorizing material that gets a student an A. They are still good students, but the best are the ones who engage with the material.

What is your best advice for struggling students?

Shapir: Don’t give up. The fact that you all got accepted to NYU Shanghai means you already qualify. You are smart students, you are talented, and you can handle everything in finance. I think everyone who takes this class at NYU Shanghai struggles—no worries. Put in a little more effort, and everything will be fine. Encourage each other, and help each other.

Lastly, how do you get an ‘A’ with Offer Shapir?

Shapir: I want to say everyone will get an A, but it doesn’t mean it will happen. I want to believe if you really understand the material, if you come to all lectures and all recitations, you understand everything in class, you understand problem sets, then you will get an A. When I design exams, the assumption is that students who understand all questions, problem sets, and material should get an A. If not A then A-. If students work really hard during the semester, then they are good. The percentage of A’s in my class is really high.

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