Well I just ran my 15th successful run with the bulls at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona. I found myself waiting in my usual spot with a young brother and sister from Tennessee on my left and four young Australians on my right, all new to the “enciero” or enclosure through which the six bulls that die in the afernoon run full tilt in the morning through the middle of the old town pushing aside hundreds of runners and sometimes goring them.
I told the newcomers to stay with me and when I said “go” to run as fast as their feet would take them up the narrow street in which we waited for the bulls about 25 yards to the plaza in front of the Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) where they would turn to the left while the bulls ran to the right. I yelled “go” when the mass of humanity with fear on their faces reached us with the six bulls and six steers in their midst. We got safely to the plaza where we shook hands and parted thankful that our run had been “clean” meaning no one was seriously injured. Other days were not so “clean” and there were several bad injuries and near scrapes with death.
One of my companions this time was an American accounting professor from the U of Minnesota in St Cloud who is in Spain for a year teaching at its most prestigious graduate school of business. It was his first San Fermin but he chose not to run. My other companion was a Spanish theater director who was with me last year and as last year also chose not to run.
I had plenty of time to chat with the professor about accounting and teaching it in the USA. He told me that it is a hard slog for American students and he is searching for better ways to present the material. He said that today’s students want multimedia presentations that he said are hard to change. He prefers the textbook that can be changed more readily.
We also talked about the dearth of accounting skills among American businessmen in general. He said he is appalled by how many don’t understand basic principles and procedures. I said that I sit on the Old Diplomats’ Club’s audit committee and said old pinstrippers have no better understanding although it is hardly their main field of knowledge.
My professor companion also alerted me to the shortage of accountants in the USA and the even more acute shortage of accounting teachers. He said there is plenty of room for newcomers in the field and starting salaries are very good.
We both agreed that lack of accounting skills was a major contibutor to the financial mess that damn near destroyed the US economy. I sure wish him well in finding a new way to get the material over to his students.