Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Next Semester Should Be Interesting

We're winding down the semester at Unknown University (only one exam to go, and I'm done). So, I was looking ahead to next semester (hey - I was on the train, and had little better to do for an hour and a half), and I realized that it will be the most interesting and varied teaching load I've ever had. Here's the lineup:
  • Fixed Income: This is a new prep for me. It's an overview of the Fixed Income field, and is taught with a standard lecture approach. My goal is that students coming our of the class would be comfortable discussing anything they'd be thrown in an interview for an entry-level FI interview. At a minimum, it'll cover everything on the FI section of the CFA Level 1 exam, and about half of the CFA L2 FI material. I approach courses like this in a very structured manner - I give the students in a course like this very explicit guidlines as to what they should be able to explain or calculate (these are similar to the Learning Outcome Statements used in the CFA progtam), and give them a series of problem sets to drive home the material.
  • Advanced corporate finance: This class is taught primarily using the case method. As a result, I spend as little time lecturing as possible (mostly to give basic background on a topic that might be addressed in a case). It's highly interactive, and while I choose the cases with some major themes in mind, the actual topics discussed in any given class run from pillar to post.
  • The Student-Managed Investment Fund class: This class involves a small (10-15 students) managing a real-money portfolio. Most of them come in without experience (other than having take the Investments/Security Analysis course), so they learn the process of security analysis and portfolio management almost from square one).
So, the three classes are discinct in their approach: one is a very structured traditiona lecture, one is case-based and taught with what I've heard called the "Soft Socratic Approach", and one is a practicum.

Interestingly, I have 8 students who are taking all three classes. I'm curious to see if they comment on (or even niotice) the different approaches used in the classes.