Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ten Essential Time Management Tips - by Dumb Little Man

Ten Essential Time Management Tips - by Dumb Little Man:
"Over the past six years, I’ve picked up a lot of time management tips. Some of them have been helpful and, frankly, some have been useless. Here, I’ve compiled the ten that have served me best. And yes, I’m sure you’ll have heard some of them before ... but are you actually doing them?"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Next Wall Street Hiring Hot Spots -

The Next Wall Street Hiring Hot Spots -
"Wealth management, investment banking and research are expected to see a hiring surge in the coming years, according to Joseph Logan, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Group International, a New York executive recruiting firm specializing in the financial services industry.

'A strong background in accounting plus financial [knowledge in] evaluation is the key—and being well-rounded will help a lot,' says David Smith, an associate professor at the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia who specializes in corporate finance and banking. Strong social skills and the ability to think creatively are important to round out more technical and quantitative talents."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

kaChing Raises $7.5 Million To Turn Mutual Funds On Their Heads

This might be something SIMM wants to look into. I can imagine many paper ideas out of it as well!

kaChing Raises $7.5 Million To Turn Mutual Funds On Their Heads:
"...invites top traders to publicly share all of their trades, revealing information that until now was only revealed to the likes of Ivy League institutions. Rachleff says the top traders benefit because they can accept many amateur investors as clients with very little extra work on their part. And everyone else benefits because they gain access to this data.

Here’s how it works: kaChing has gathered a dozen top investors, many of them professionals, which it has certified to be “Geniuses”. Anyone who comes to the site is free to look at the full trading history of these Geniuses, free of charge. If you like what you see, you can sign up for kaChing and create a brokerage account through its partner, Interactive Brokers (a well established and publically traded brokerage firm). Deposit some money (the minimum is $3,000) and you’re set. From then on, the site will automatically execute trades for you to exactly mirror the Genius you’ve signed up for."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Assessing the Value of a College Degree -

Assessing the Value of a College Degree - WSJ.:
"...a long-term study of 6,335 college grads published in 1999 by the National Bureau of Economic Research found graduating from a college where entering students have higher SAT scores—a sign of exclusivity—didn't pay off in higher post-graduation income.

What matters more, it seems, is graduates' personal drive. In a surprising twist, a stronger predictor of income is the caliber of the schools that reject you. Researchers found students who applied to several elite schools but didn't attend them—presumably because many were rejected—are more likely to earn high incomes later than students who actually attended elite schools. In a summary of the findings, the Bureau says that 'evidently, students' motivation, ambition and desire to learn have a much stronger effect on their subsequent success than average academic ability of their classmates.'"

Monday, December 14, 2009

70 Words of (Unconventional) Wisdom for 2010 - Bill Taylor -

70 Words of (Unconventional) Wisdom for 2010 - Bill Taylor -
"The idea is simple: Each of us suggests one word — literally one word — that all of us should think about in 2010, and then takes one page to explain why and how that word matters.

The result is an intriguing, inspiring, and at times downright moving collection of unconventional wisdom that is available free to everyone as of this morning."

What Matters Now

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

You Think The Google Interview Is Tough? Try Getting A Job At A PE Firm

You Think The Google Interview Is Tough? Try Getting A Job At A PE Firm:
"The Business Insider's story on Google's interview process sounds pretty fun to one banking analyst trying for a job at a major PE firm.

On his search for a job in private equity at KKR and TPG, two asset management
funds, he has been in interviews that are grueling in comparison.

First, he says, the typical interviewee is walked into a little room and told he has two hours to write out the steps necessary in something like an LBO (leveraged buy-out), for example."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Research from Rollins MBA Disputes Myth about the Financial Value of Pre-MBA Work Experience -

Research from Rollins MBA Disputes Myth about the Financial Value of Pre-MBA Work Experience -
"The study investigated the economic benefits and costs associated with choosing to delay matriculation to a full-time MBA program to gain work experience, rather than enrolling immediately after completion of undergraduate studies. It concluded that there is a financial disadvantage to delaying matriculation into a full-time MBA program.

While students who have less work experience had lower starting salaries, the difference was overcome by the advantage of getting an early start on careers"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

MBA 610

MBA 610: "Famous ' Smith-Masulis ' papers"

this is what we used in class for 401.

Monday, October 26, 2009

YouTube - New center at Stanford to study brain's role in compassion, altruism

YouTube - New center at Stanford to study brain's role in compassion, altruism: "A new Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education has been launched at the Stanford University School of Medicine, with the aim of doing scientific research on the neural underpinnings of these thoughts and feelings"

gee, sounds like Behavioral Finance class.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Skype and Job Interviews: Webcam Meetings on the Rise - TIME

Skype and Job Interviews: Webcam Meetings on the Rise - TIME:
"Get ready for a closeup: your next job interview might be on webcam. Looking to save time and money, companies are turning to video-chat software as a cheap, low-hassle way to vet job candidates. That means a growing number of people looking for work are meeting their prospective new bosses not at the office but in the comfort of their own home."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ivo Welch, Teaching, Fall 2006

Ivo Welch, Teaching, Fall 2006:
"Recommended Curriculum For Students Interested in Finance

The following are my personal opinions for a good curriculum for students that want to specialize in financial economics. They have not been endorsed by any other faculty or committee."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Some links that might hep the assigment for fin 401

I have had a couple questions such as

* But I'm having a hard time finding a stock that has fallen because of bad news
"I am working on the assignment to research a stock that has had a major collapse. I have been on yahoofinance, but I am really unfamiliar with searching for stock. Basically, I am at a loss on how to even start. Appreciate any help you can give me."
I am guessing a few others might be having trouble:

So, let's see, if I were doing this, I would start by looking for large losers for the year. Here is a very good stock screen from MSN Money that gives us the biggest losers for year.

Power Searches: Investing - MSN Money

Listing of biggest losers

Then go to the SEC Edgar site and look up some of the losers.

Hope this helps.

Friday, September 18, 2009

YTD Assets Class Returns: ...

Twitter / Lawrence McDonald: YTD Assets Class Returns: ...:
"YTD Assets Class Returns: Leveraged Loans 44%, High Yield 41%, Emerging Mkts 25%, S&P 15%, IG Credit 13%, MBS 7%, Treasuries -3%"

A good check of if you remember your intro finance? Check the S&P return using a spreadsheet and Yahoo finance.

Links we used in class

S0me of the links we used in 401 class:

Section:Business - Google Fast Flip

The News timeline

Here is the option calculator we used in SIMM

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Here is the link to the Future Value Spreadsheet we used in 401

here you go! Future Value Spreadsheet.

From my 301/604 classes where I used it to show that small amounts do add up when you let them compound for a long period. (we used the cost of smoking as the spur)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ethics-Matters: Share Price as an Indicator for Good Corporate Governance

This is almost exactly like what we were talking about in 401 class the other day. Interesting!

Ethics-Matters: Share Price as an Indicator for Good Corporate Governance:
"...acting ethical in a business means, “Trying to maximize the long-term value of the firm”. In a simple manner, if you don’t act that way, it is a long-term loss for your party.

I’ll try supporting this with evidence from one of the most popular examples of contemporary corporate crimes in United States, “Tyco International” case."

To Multitask Effectively, Focus on Value, Not Volume - Conversation Starter -

To Multitask Effectively, Focus on Value, Not Volume - Conversation Starter -
"...let me suggest that the alternative to multitasking is not single-tasking. In this day and age, that would be too slow. Rather the answer is to shift our mindsets from a focus on volume to a focus on value. Instead of checking off all the boxes and trying to get everything done, let's identify those activities and initiatives that will truly add value. It's OK not to do certain things, or to do them later. For example, in a recent merger, a team was debating whether to adopt Lotus Notes or Outlook as the standard email system. It's an interesting discussion, but in the short term it's not a value-creator for the combined company.

We all have choices to make, as individuals and as managers of organizations. What can you do to make sure that those choices are based on value rather than volume?"

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

YouTube - CFA Exam Prep: Level 3 Preformance Evaluation

A couple of you have mentioned studying for the CFA, here is a one of many good videos to help your process.

YouTube - CFA Exam Prep: Level 3 Preformance Evaluation: "CFA Exam Preformance Evaluation."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Motivational DNA by Tamara Lowe: the #1 female motivational speaker in the world: Get Motivated! The New Science of Achievement:

As part of a "get to know you" exercise, I would like to do an experiment this year. I want each of you in class to take this test and email me the result page. It takes about 10 minutes (maybe less) and gives you (and me) a better understanding of what motivates/demotivates you.

HOPEFULLY, I can then tailor the class a bit more to you.

Motivational DNA by Tamara Lowe: Get Motivated! The New Science of Achievement:

BTW this is in no means an endorsement of the book, speaker, or even the method, but it is a low cost experiment that could be useful and if not has very little risk involved.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Duration hedge of bond portfolio [practice, market] | Bionic Turtle

Two good duration questions:

Duration hedge of bond portfolio [practice, market] | Bionic Turtle:
"...highlight the deficiency of a duration-based hedge: if it’s one-time (i.e., not dynamic rebalancing), then we know it has limited efficacy because duration (by definition as a first partial derivative and single risk factor) assumes a small, parallel shift in the yield curve. A one-time hedge (as below) can hardly be expected to perfectly immunize the bond portfolio - David"

Thursday, August 06, 2009

For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word - Statistics -

For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word - Statistics -
"Ms. Grimes is an Internet-age statistician, one of many who are changing the image of the profession as a place for dronish number nerds. They are finding themselves increasingly in demand — and even cool.

“I keep saying that the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians,” said Hal Varian, chief economist at Google. “And I’m not kidding.

The rising stature of statisticians, who can earn $125,000 at top companies in their first year after getting a doctorate...”"

Friday, July 31, 2009

What is the role of the CEO?

Getting the best possible talent is high on the list.

You have to have the best people. Can I upgrade the firm? That is the role of the CEO:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Different Kind of Teacher Cheating - Freakonomics Blog -

A Different Kind of Teacher Cheating - Freakonomics Blog -
"PowerPoint makes lecturing easy, boring, and forgettable, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. That’s exactly why lazy students like it: if their teacher isn’t truly engaging with the material, they don’t have to either."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kevin J. McCue: Using the written word in tribute to a teacher : Opinion : The Buffalo News

From an SBU grad.

Kevin J. McCue: Using the written word in tribute to a teacher : Opinion : The Buffalo News:
"I suggest three ways to immediately improving your writing:

1. Be concise, avoid wordiness.

2. Use short sentences whenever possible.

3. Always proofread your writing, and then read out loud to prevent mistakes.

Simple, effective, and easy-to-incorporate tips!"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Do Elite Colleges Produce the Best-Paid Graduates? - Economix Blog -

Do Elite Colleges Produce the Best-Paid Graduates? - Economix Blog -

Yes. At least somewhat. But even at small schools, many make more than their large school counterparts.

"Majors matter. Quantitative-oriented degrees – like engineering, science, mathematics and economics — filled most of the top 20 slots in both highest starting median salaries and highest mid-career median salaries."

and later:

"There’s a lot of variation within each school, which means the lowest-paid graduates of a very elite school may earn less than the highest-paid graduates of a much less elite school.

For example, Mr. Lee suggests comparing Black Hills State University (B.H.S.U.), the school with lowest median pay, to Dartmouth College. The 75th percentile mid-career pay of B.H.S.U. is comparable to the 10th percentile mid-career pay of Dartmouth grads.

In other words, one in four B.H.S.U. grads earns more at mid-career than one in 10 Dartmouth grads.

This variation within a school is called a “spread.”"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Book Review — “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith (2007) | Perfection Consulting

How many do you have?

Book Review — “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith (2007) | Perfection Consulting:
"In his book, Marshall Goldsmith, a well-known executive coach, identifies 20 negative characteristics commonly found in corporate America. These are habits that he believes hinders many successful executives from reaching the next level of achievement. Goldsmith then follows up by offering strategies for transforming these bad traits into positive behavior."

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received - David Silverman -

The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received - David Silverman -
"Here's what I like about this cover letter: It's short. It sums up the résumé as it relates to the job. It asks for the job.

The writer of this letter took the time to think through what would be relevant to me. Instead of scattering lots of facts in hopes that one was relevant, the candidate offered up an opinion as to which experiences I should focus on.

And that means the writer isn't just showing me skills related to the job, he's showing me he'll be the kind of employee who offers up solutions — instead of just laying problems on my desk."

Three Reasons Why Your Resume Ends Up in the Discard Pile | The View from Harvard Business | BNET

Three Reasons Why Your Resume Ends Up in the Discard Pile | The View from Harvard Business | BNET:
"Fact is every hiring officer probably has his or her own unique set of prejudices that set off little alarm bells as they read through job applications. But David’s post is also a very strong reminder of resume blunders that will probably matter to any number of potential employers."

  1. Get the formatting right.....
  2. Choose verbs that mean something...
  3. Rewrite your résumé for each job application...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Free Money Finance: The One Thing that Makes a Winning Resume

Good advice!

Free Money Finance: The One Thing that Makes a Winning Resume:
"Your resume needs to scream RESULTS!!!!! You need to have a large number of quantifiable accomplishments documented concisely on your resume (in bullet points so they are easy to read). They also need to be written correctly to deliver maximum impact. And even if you 'only' have minor accomplishments, there are ways to make them sound impressive, so take the time and effort to do so."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Writing revisions

Well worth the time! (To read the article and to revise frequently :) )

The Age of the Both/And CEO - Conversation Starter -
"1 to 5 recipients = 2 to 4 revisions
5 to 10 recipients = 8 to 12 revisions
Company-wide or to Executive Committee = 30 to 50 revisions

Even the simplest missive to one person benefits from a couple of extra passes, and if it's going to the management committee, expect everyone to have changes (and changes to those changes).

Here's a checklist to consider when revising:"

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cheat sheets

All classes are allowed the front and the back of a page as a "cheat" sheet

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Nation Ready To Be Lied To About Economy Again | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

Nation Ready To Be Lied To About Economy Again | The Onion - America's Finest News Source:
"'I thought I wanted a new era of transparency and accountability, but honestly, I just can't handle it,' Ohio resident Nathan Pletcher said. ...'From now on, ....' Pletcher added. 'Tell me my savings are okay, everybody has a job, and we're No. 1 again. Please, just lie to my face.'

Oh wait it is from the Onion ;) Thought you needed a study break!

Good job Tennis Teams!!

Congrats to the tennis teams!

Bona hoops avoids academic penalties : Sports : The Buffalo News:
"Several Big 4 athletic programs were recognized for academic excellence: UB’s women’s cross country and swimming teams, Niagara’s women’s basketball and volleyball teams, and St. Bonaventure’s men’s tennis and women’s tennis teams were awarded Public Recognition Awards for the 2008-09 school year."

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Final schedule

Finance 402: Murphy 107 Monday 3:45
SIMM (Finance 410): SIMM room 2:30 Tuesday
MBA 610 WED section: Wed 5/6/09 in class room
MBA 610 Tues Section: Tues 5/12/09 in class room

Monday, May 04, 2009

Week 13--MBA 610

Derivatives and governance

Bill's Presentation on risk management (Insurance emphasis)

Bill Hammond's Presentation on risk management (Insurance emphasis) and career choices/tips

Submit your questions here!

AS I just started making the exams, reminder: you can submit your questions here. If they are selected, you get points added to your final! Last test one student had 8% (not 8 points!) added to her test.

FinanceTestquestions - home

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Corner Office - He Wants Subjects, Verbs and Objects - Question -

An interesting article on interviews.

Corner Office - He Wants Subjects, Verbs and Objects - Question -
"And so what you’re trying to find out about are the intangibles of leadership, communication style and the ability to, today, really adapt to change.

And there are a lot of ways to go at that. I like to ask people what they’ve read, what are the last three or four books they’ve read, and what did they enjoy about those. And to really understand them as individuals because, you know, the résumés you get are wonderful résumés. Wonderful education, great work history. So you have to probe a little bit deeper into the human intangibles, because we’ve all seen many instances where people had perfect résumés, but weren’t effective"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What your interviewers are likely reading

While I am sure you are all up to date on "recent" books, knowing what your interviewers are reading may help you get a job (or may help you do better at your job!) so here are some links you may want to check out:

On Long Tails:

On Nissim Taleb on what is a Black Swan:

Thomas Friedman on the World is Flat (long but very good):

Thomas Friedman on Hot, Flat, and Crowded:

Jim Collins on "from Good to Great" and "Built to Last"

Malcolm Gladwell author of Blink and The Tipping Point:

What is "Peak Oil"

NOVA on "The Wisdom of Crowds"

Made to Stick:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

MBA 610 Week 11

Derivatives (after looking at the Blog for a while)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Facebook dumbs you down, smartens you up!

Well that explains some things....

TG Daily - Facebook dumbs you down: "A study from Ohio State University, based on a study of 219 students, suggests that the more you use Facebook, the less you study, and the worse your grades get."

So here is the new strategy: spent your time on instead. I can see the headline now:
"A study from St. Bonaventure University, based on a study of 110 students, suggests that the more time you use, its blogs, and podcast, the better the grades you get. "

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Week ten after break

A fast look at dividends and Buybacks then intro to dividend

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Finance students fret over their futures - Business -

Finance students fret over their futures - Business -
"The meltdown in the financial markets has top investment banks pulling back on hiring, leaving finance students like Fernandez insecure about their future.

Growing up in a paycheck-to-paycheck household, financial security was a top priority for Fernandez when she decided on a career as a financial analyst.

But with job opportunities becoming scarce, her plans might be derailed -- at least for the time being.

And later:

"Emery, a finance professor for more than 30 years, says that students should focus less on the business sector's current situation and more on the benefits of education, regardless of their field.

''Regardless of profession,'' he said, ``the formula is simple: With a little hard work, and being at the right place at the right time, those who distinguish themselves will become successful.''"

Friday, April 03, 2009

Google's Latest Conquest: Twitter? -

Update on Twitter:

Google's Latest Conquest: Twitter? -
"Massive search engine Google is reportedly in talks to buy Twitter, the free micro-blogging Web site, expanding its ever-increasing empire.

Twitter's price tag is not yet clear but it could be above $250.0 million, according to a Thursday posting on TechCrunch."
Stay tuned! TO the group doing this as a presentation, I am really looking forward to it :).


From SeekingAlpha:
""It should come as no surprise that Twitter engages in discussions with other companies regularly and on a variety of subjects," continues Stone. "Our goal is to build a profitable, independent company and we're just getting started."

Sources close to Twitter tell The Deal the rumor of a potential "Twoogle" is without foundation.

From ClusterStock
"If Google isn't in talks to buy Twitter, it should be. Specifically, it should offer the company $1 billion, cash"
The article goes on to state why. Some of the reasons are good, others at least interesting.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


New Videos of Rodney Paul and Carol Fischer are up.

SBUSchoolofBusiness Blog

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Q&A with Alice Schroeder, biographer of financial master Warren Buffett

We used the SnowBall book in 402...this is an interview with the author...fascinating

Q&A with Alice Schroeder, biographer of financial master Warren Buffett:
"All of these books that say you can get rich by investing like Warren Buffett, it’s a bunch of baloney. You can’t do it. He’s not only brilliant, but he works like a demon from morning until night and he’s been doing that for 70 years. So, when you see him and you’re around him, you realize the futility of trying to replicate his achievement. It can’t be done. But, at the same time, he lifts your aspirations in many other areas, including being extremely good at whatever it is you are good at. He made me far more focused in my career"

Monday, March 23, 2009

More Capital Structure

Sorry, this had been on the podcast, but I never actually linked to it from the blog.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Intro to Capital Structure

This is an introduction to Capital Structure. It covers Modigliani and Miller and some on WACC from MBA 610.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Major field Exam for all 402 students

From Mary Jo Brockel

"Please remind your students in ACCT 420, BIS 420, FIN 402 and MKT 410 to sign up for the Major Field Exam as soon as possible. They can either call Jenifer Spencer at 375-2111 or stop by her office in Murphy Room 201. We only have about 10 signed up of the 134 students who should be taking this exam. Your help in getting them to sign up is greatly appreciated.

If you were unable to hand deliver any of the letters to students, please drop them off with Jenifer and we will mail them directly to the students.

I will be sending out my first reminder e-mail to the students on Thursday or Friday to the students who have not signed up.

The exam will be given on the following dates and times:

Sunday, March 29th 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Monday, March 30th 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Wednesday, April 1st 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Thursday, April 2nd 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Sunday, April 5th 3:00 - 6:00 pm and 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Insider trading

A fast look at insider trading from MBA 610

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jobs stuff

If you are in my class (or were in a previous semester) and want me to look over resume, just let me know. Not sure if I can help, but I guess can't hurt too much. Please get it to me this week or next.

Was speaking with a SBU alum last night who said I should mention Dallas as a relatively hot job market. He also agreed wholeheartedly, that looking at the SEC, the Fed, and other regulators makes much sense right now.

Personally, I am still looking for a part time (say 10 hours a week) person looking to earn some money, improve a resume, and learn some things. Ideally someone who is back next year, but I have reached a pretty desperate spot so will be open to others as well.

Update: SBU just sent the following link to their CareerFest.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Ben Stein's advice for those college students looking for work.

"Imagine you are an employer looking at your whole college class. Would you hire you? If not, make yourself better. You can be a rebel later. For now, do what you need to do to get a job."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

David Campbell's presentation will be on the final

Could not get it uploaded in time (took almost 8 hours to do!). It will be tested on the final.

Help wanted

Ok, I am willing to pay.

Not sure the title: FinanceProfessor assistant? (instead of Assistant

Probably about 10 hours a week. If we push it hard and get a paper out of it, you might be able to get an independent study grade out of it too.

Either way, you will learn quite a bit and should look good on your resume.

Preferred traits:
  1. Honest
  2. Self-motivated (I will not be with you 99.9% of time)
  3. Good writing skills
  4. Good spreadsheet skills.
  5. Some Website (html at minimum) skills
  6. Access to transportation
Must be available for at least 10 hours the week of finals (before graduation when grades are due) and weeks leading up to BonaResponds local weekend (April 24-26).

Ideally someone who is coming back next semester. Ideally someone who will be here for the summer.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Office Hours

I am in desperate need of a fast internet connection to upload video and audio that is definitely not in my office...

So office hours will be virtual tomorrow.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes - comment necessary

Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes -
"I tell my classes that if they just do what they are supposed to do and meet the standard requirements, that they will earn a C,” he said. “That is the default grade. They see the default grade as an A.”

A recent study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that a third of students surveyed said that they expected B’s just for attending lectures, and 40 percent said they deserved a B for completing the required reading."

Spoiled Rotten? - Careers -

Just thought you might like to see what some employers are saying.

Today's Accounting Crop: Spoiled Rotten? - Careers -
"Enter the 'millennium generation' of finance and accounting professionals. Born in 1982 and later, they're high-maintenance types, requiring a great deal of hand-holding, mentoring, and immediate attention. Even after all that parental supervision, they can be incredibly fickle, choosing to stay at your company just until a better-paying, faster-growing offer comes along"
The article goes on to say how loyalty etc is gone and employees go to where they have a better offer. Which seemingly is a complain as old as business itself. But more than that, I do not even know why it is a complaint. For instance, firms will lay you off if they have down times, so taking a better offer should not be unexpected. Firms can not have it both ways. Corporate loyalty has to be earned.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Finance 402 Groups

Well that was more difficult than I thought....I tried hard to keep those who wanted to work together together but MUCH harder to keep those who did not want to work together, apart.

So the teams are:

(Team "no clue"): Team 1: Brian, Ryan, Kevin F, and Tori
(Team Park and Shop)Team 2: David, Brennan, Kevin E and Angelo
(Team BonaResponds) Team 3: Rob, Steve, Jed
(Team Friendship) Team 4: Mark, Bryan, Mike
(Team Car Ramrod)Team 5: Carl, Alex, Beth

Then using a random number generator:

On Tues (first mover advantage is that you are not held to quite as high of standard since you do not know what to expect)

  • Team 5 will be the management of B&J and argue for social responsibility
  • Team 2 will be the consultants (investment bankers) who want to maximize shareholder value (taking into account that they are REMMs and looking out for themselves as well)
On Thursday for the Nike Case (be sure to read Chapter 12: best practices as well)

  • Team 1 will be the Nike Management: your job is to convince analysts that you are under valued
  • Team 2 will be the analyst deciding whether Nike should be bought or sold
This week Team 4 will be have primary responsibility for having questions for each group.

Those groups not presenting on any given day will also be expected to have questions AND for using the rubric that was given in class to help grade the presentations skills of each group.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

FinanceTestquestions » home

As promised, a place to submit and share suggested test questions....

FinanceTestquestions » home: "
This will be a place to allow finance share test questions to help students prepare for tests. (As an aside, for my classes ... if you submit a question with your name and it is used on the test, you will get 2 percent added to your test."

It is pretty easy. You just click edit.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I just checked the class feedback page....

Not very much feedback. Remember I want to know what you think the three most important things you learned in class this week. So even if everything was crystal clear, be sure to take a few seconds and fill out the form. Thanks!

Speaker on Monday February 23rd.

In addition to the normal class, next week we have a great speaker coming to the University his material will be covered on tests, so you will want to either come or listen to his remarks online afterward.

It is David Campbell. He will be speaking at 12:30 and 1:30 in the Dresser Aud.

His first talk is aimed at the wider university audience (he will be talking about Business and Service) his 1:30 lecture will be aimed at a business audience (and this is what will be tested).

from his Bio on the About-Us page at
"David Campbell has been a technology executive, board member, investment banker, and humanitarian field volunteer. He went to Thailand immediately after the tsunami, and became one of the founders of, which brought over 200 volunteers and several hundred thousand dollars to assist the rebuilding of five Phuket fishing villages.

After hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast David joined with several other HandsOn volunteers to establish Hands On USA, and after one week on site the team had an operations center in Biloxi, MS, 50 volunteers committed and en route, and dozens of projects launched. In total over 1,500 volunteers helped HandsOnUSA serve the victims of Katrina.

In 2006 this volunteer response model became known as Hands On Disaster Response, and dealt with international events;
-an earthquake near Jogjakarta, Indonesia in summer, 2006
-the Fall typhoon, Durian, that caused extensive damage in the Philippines.
-in 2007 an expanded HODR responded to the Pisco, Peru earthquake. Over 550 volunteers from 30 different countries answered the call
-While Peru was still in full swing typhoon Sidr hit Bangladesh, and HODR operated simultaneous projects for the first time.
- Summer of 2008 saw a major assessment of the Sichuan, China earthquake, but a decision was made not to deploy due to lack of government approval for access. The extensive flooding occurring in the US Midwest led to a 4 month deployment... in Iowa.
- 2009 opened with a HODR project in Gonaives, Haiti, which will bring over 100 volunteers to assist in a variety of projects, including mud removal, well reclamation, and a variety of distribution tasks.

David's 40 year business background includes positions as President of BBN Technologies of Cambridge, and of GTE Labs in Waltham, as well as CEO responsibilities at public companies Computer Task Group of Buffalo and Xpedior of Chicago. Mr Campbell is currently a Managing Director of Innovation Advisors, an investment banking firm.

Mr Campbell has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Tektronix, M&T Bank, MRO Software, Gibraltar Industries, and PowerSteering software, and Niagara University and SUNY-Buffalo, as well as civic positions including Chairman of Roswell Park Cancer Institute Council, the Buffalo United Way campaign, and the Erie County IDA and Chamber.

Recognitions include an honorary doctorate from Niagara University, citizen of the year from The Buffalo News, and inclusion as a Fellow in the first year awards of the Purpose Prize.

He is a great speaker and you will definitely want to be there! (Btw here is a link to his talk in Buffalo, the video quality is bad, but the audio is well worth it!


Students invest cash for Western Michigan University | | Detroit Free Press

Close circuited for SIMM:

Students invest cash for Western Michigan University | | Detroit Free Press: "
The 15 students in Len Harrison's Finance 4980 class in January were handed $500,000 of the roughly $200-million Western Michigan University Foundation endowment to invest.

It's the first time WMU has entrusted students with endowment funds.

Over three semesters, they will make real decisions in investing real money in hopes of preparing them for real careers. Harrison of LVM Capital in Portage said they are tentative: 'They'll come in and say, 'This is what the analysts' reports say,' and I have to remind them, 'No, you're the analysts now.' '"
And at Michigan State:
"Since 2003, Michigan State University students have invested about $3 million in endowment money that supports research. The student-run domestic-equities fund outperforms similar funds in the foundation's portfolio, said Jim Wiggins, associate professor of finance at MSU"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

MBA 610 Class 4 after break Market Efficiency

Market Efficiency introduction

MBA 610 Class 4 Before Break

After a look at current events, we review CAPM, discuss anomalies, leading up to Market Efficiency

Not reading the text before class? Maybe these will help

I realize many of you are very busy and also that you have other demands on your time, but I do want to remind everyone that class is designed to supplement the reading of the text/notes online. It seems like some of you are coming to class not having read the material.

Consequently some of the vocabulary and ideas discussed in class may seem a bit foreign. In that spirit I offer you the following videos. They are not as good as the textbook, but people learn in different ways and maybe this is your way. Additionally some of them (especially the material from Bionic Turtle is flat out excellent) are very good.

Enjoy and have fun with them!

YouTube - savingandinvesting's Channel

And a little more technical lessons from Bionic Turtle.

The stuff from BionicTurtle is HIGHLY recommended. I just spent probably an hour just watching them myself. And while some or the "art" of finance is missing in that you still need to see the big picture etc (whole idea of not just using a model blindly), the material is really good!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Extraordinary Classroom Series

Well my one 610 class can't go, but to everyone else, if you are not doing anything, this should be interesting (yes even if it is accounting!). If anyone wants to go and record it for the 610 class can see it let me know. I will give you a flip recorder to use.

The Extraordinary Classroom Series:
"Dr. Carol Fischer and Dr. Joe Coate School of Business; Department of Accounting Earnings Management and Corporate Social Responsibility: An In-Class Exercise to Illustrate the Short Term and Long Term Consequences Wednesday, Feb. 11, 3 p.m., Robert R. Jones Board of Trustees Room, Doyle Hall"

Monday, February 09, 2009

Payoff from the online feedback form

From a student input on the online feedback form:

"Please provide some sample problems/questions we can use to test our knowledge. I realize that may be a little juvenile to request, but in discussing with classmates it would seem that most have that same concern that we may be overestimating our understanding of the material. We do not want graded homework..."

You asked, so here you go:
  1. What are some of the assumptions behind CAPM? How well are they met? How might they matter?
  2. Be able to state current state of CAPM.
  3. Why do we study CAPM given it is probably wrong?
  4. What is significance of the Fama-French three factor model?
  5. Why are assumptions more important in valuing longer term assets?
  6. Graph the long term historical relationship between risk and return of different financial assets?
  7. What is Yield to Maturity? How do you calculate it?
  8. Be able to calculate duration and modified duration.
  9. What inputs change the duration of a fixed income asset. How? For instance, two bonds, equal maturity and both selling for par. One is rated AA and one is rated BA. Which probably has a longer duration and why? (hint higher coupon, shorter duration ceteris paribus)
  10. What is a perpetuity? Annuity?
  11. How does one get from Sensitivity Analysis to Scenario analysis? What is the difference between each?
  12. What is the price of a 5 year bond that pays a semiannual coupon payments, 4% coupon bond if market interest rates are 5% and pay value is $1000. Answer: $956
  13. What does a tornado diagram do?
  14. A callable bond gives the _______ the right to ______ at certain points of time.
  15. The main rationale for callable debt is???
  16. Bond investors would prefer _____ debt. (non callable)
  17. The manager-shareholder conflict is often called an ________ problem. (agency cost)
  18. Why is capital budgeting and valuation essentially the same thing? (Think of valuation as capital budgeting with zero cost, or both use present value of DCF).
  19. What can ratios do? What can they not do? How can ratios be used internally and externally?
  20. Give examples of stakeholder conflicts
  21. Why are shareholders so important?

Assessment test update

Just to confirm what I said in class on Thursday (Fin 402), you are not allowed cheat sheets for the assessment test.

MBA Class 3 Before Break

A long look at recent articles of class interest, a review of Valuation and then onto portfolio math-

I previously had posted the file from after break twice by mistake. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

MBA 610 Class 3 after break

More of the same class. Porftfolio math, CAPM, some of Fama-French three factor model

MBA 610 Class 3- review of valuation w discount rate focus

Class started with a fairly long review of articles and current events tied to class. Then reviewed some student questions and looked at historic returns before going over portfolio math.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

SSRN-We Don't Quite Know What We are Talking About When We Talk About Volatility by Daniel Goldstein, Nassim Taleb

Here is the paper we mentioned in SIMM class today

SSRN-We Don't Quite Know What We are Talking About When We Talk About Volatility by Daniel Goldstein, Nassim Taleb:
"Finance professionals, who are regularly exposed to notions of volatility, seem to confuse mean absolute deviation with standard deviation, causing an underestimation of 25% with theoretical Gaussian variables. In some fat tailed markets the underestimation can be up to 90%. The mental substitution of the two measures is consequential for decision making and the perception of market variability."

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Michael Milken on activism | Video on

Michael Milken on activism | Video on

I am not sure where to put this one. Milken is mentioned in my classes all the time, but this is not finance. Moreover, while posted only last month, it was filmed 8 years ago. He talks on everything from finance, to charity, to adding value. So I will put it on FinanceClass and the RandomTopics2 blogs. He talks about the difference people can make, which while not strictly a financial topic, it is a lesson that is VERY important. (oh and many of his solutions and language are financial which again shows that no matter what you want to do, having a good financial background will help immensely.)
"Michael Milken talks about using your own particular set of skills to make real change in the world. In his case, the energetic mind that once created exotic bonds is now driving the 'Manhattan Project of cancer' -- with lifesaving results."

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Element and Class ideas

I am reading The Element which is essentially based on the premise that we all learn differently and have different strengths and weaknesses. It has gotten me thinking (which is almost always a bad else could be do to make your learning experience better/more fulfilling?

So while I can not alter the syllabus, I have some ideas that could be used as a project for SIMM, used to up a poor case in 402 (or maybe as 20% bonus on the final), and/or a bonus/extra credit in 610.

This is not required and definitely not an exhaustive list. Just a few things that came to mind that sound fun.
  • A video presentation (at least 10 minutes) on anything tied to finance. For instance, do a case study but make it a video.
  • A summary of important finance papers that could be shared online with others not only in class but with anyone anywhere.
  • A presentation(?) that could be used locally at maybe the WW II Musuem (?) or on campus showing Wall Street at War? Or Wall Street during the Depression? or ???
  • A web-quality presentation on local finance jobs that could be shared with future classes (sort of a what do finance people do locally)
  • Other things??
If any of this sounds like something you would like to do, let me know.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Technology to the rescue again!

Given the large class size in a few of my classes I understand that you may not have the opportunity to ask everything you would like in class. Coupled with the inefficiencies involved with office hours (for instance you work then, it is snowy) and the fact that many students are afraid to ask questions, we are going to try to improve communication using this form.

If you have questions you can include them. You can also mention anything that I was not clear on. I will check the forms several times a week to see what I can do to make the class more beneficial for you.

And this is much better than weekly quizzes which seemingly is the alternative. :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 Podcast Podcast--
In case you want to listen to the class via a podcast (where you can download each file), this is the link. I will continue to also post the lectures on this (the class) blog.

MBA 610 Class 2 After Break

Nexus of Contracts, Human Nature, Agency costs, BH-SH conflicts, Ethics

MBA 610 Class 2 Spring 2009 before break

This class is a fast review of valuation and leads up to a short introduction of the Nexus of Contracts.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Review topics

Ok, you have spoken....

review topics you asked for include in Finance 402 (in no order)

* Capital Structure after Modigliani and Miller
* Derivatives--what is available, how to use them, hedging vs Speculating
* Free Cash flow estimation
* Equity Valuation
* Yield to Maturity Calculations

So we will hit on these in coming classes. thanks for the input!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Updated websites


Slight modifications have been made to both the MBA 610 and Finance 402 pages.

Thain's Furniture Will Hold its Value

Close circuit to the 401 students and in particular Kevin: Not sure if you were joking or not, but you seemingly were right, Michael Smith is good I

Thain's Furniture Will Hold its Value:

Bloomberg: The antiques Thain reportedly purchased will probably hold their value over time, said Clinton Howell, a New York dealer in English furniture.

“Michael Smith is a very smart guy and he buys very good things,” said Howell. “It’s very likely that what he bought was worth the money if Merrill Lynch wants to get their money back.”

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

MBA 610 class 1 Spring 2009

MBA 610 is a upper level graduate class at St. Bonaventure University. This is a fast review of the financial system, the time value of money, and basic bond valuation from the first class of the semester.