This review is for 106M, even though 106I is selected. There was no 106M option. The material is fascinating, very useful and very applicable. The major problem with the course lies with Tornell's incredibly unorganized lectures and his lack of availability. He will post answers to homework problems and practice problems for exams but will NOT post solutions to many of them, simply stating "see class notes for solution." The problem is there's no way to understand if you comprehend the material or not since all you can do is go back to your class notes, which are probably not even that good since the man's lectures are insanely unorganized. He also has no office hours. At all. As a graduating senior, I've never had a professor that had no office hours. I'm not even sure if this is allowed by university policy. If you can take 106M with anyone else, do it. If it's with Tornell...think twice beforehand.
Fall 2017 - Professor Tornell is very kind. He ties class materials with real-life issues and often spends a lot of time talking about and explaining economic events in class. Lab is easy and groups' grades vary between 1-2%. There's no midterm, just one cumulative final with 50 short questions.
Prof. Tornell is HORRIBLE. His lectures are completely incomprehensible, he requires you to subscribe to the Economist and the Wall Street Journal, and his tests are ridiculous. I got a B+ not understanding any of the class material because the curve was so bad. If at all possible, it would be better to wait until another professor is teaching this class. Even Swanson is better than this guy!
Fall 2020 - Easy A class. Professor Tornell cares about his student and is extremely nice. However, I learnt almost nothing from this class. All the testable materials includes only a few simple formulas which in my opinion can be covered in one class. The course would be better and more informative if Professor Tornell can cover more of how to do coding to perform transactions. He intended to do so and did talk about it a bit in discussion, but those are not at all in depth and I understood almost none of them. I don’t regret taking this class at all, since an easy A with minimal workload is ideal for me when I am busy with other stuff throughout the quarter.
Winter 2020 - Prof. Tornell is probably my favorite Econ professor so far. He's really kind and helpful, and you can tell that he cares a lot about the content and his students. Because of the coronavirus, the final was optional for us, so I opted out. However, I can talk about the midterm. TBH it was pretty tricky, but if you actually understand the content and aren't just cramming, you should do well. There isn't even a lot of content to learn; he covers like 8 scanty slides per class. His homework can be tricky sometimes as well, but you get a 100% for just turning it in. I really liked this class. I feel like I learned lots of valuable real life knowledge and it forced me to keep up with economic news. I loved that we focused more on real-life applications than just theory. That's pretty rare for an Econ class. Negatives: he teaches really slowly. It's p. annoying in the first few lectures but you get used to it, and it's kind of great because there's less content to study lol. There were some stuff on the first few homework assignments that were never covered in class. That was frustrating. The TAs NEVER respond to emails. Don't waste your time. The professor might respond if he's in a good mood.
Professor Aaron Tornell is just amazing. I took Econ 106M and Econ 123. I think these are two most useful and practical courses in my college life. Both courses have very good curve as well. Econ 106M is really good one for students who are interested in financial market. This course introduce many financial instruments and financial institutions. Also, Professor Tornell would show us many practical skills in financial market like finding data. The most surprising part of the course is that many theories professor taught are not simply from text books, and many of them is originated from profess's own experience and academic research. Last, of course, the guest speakers are amazing as well. As to Econ 123, It is a truly amazing and innovative class. It is definitely for everyone. It would be very very hard if you don't have a solid quantitative and coding background and you expect an A. However, this is also the best course I took in UCLA. The materials we leant are very useful. I used it almost everywhere. And I think it would be especially useful for those who want to enter a big buy-side companies. They would be surprised when they see your econ 123 final project. Finally, unlike some comments said, Professor Tornell is actually very friendly and supportive especially when you talk to him about academic and career problems. And I sill will go to his classes even I took them before. It is because I will meet many good friends in these classes. Many good students who want to enter financial industries will be there.