All posts by jgarven

The Pursuit

“How can we lift up the world together, starting with those at the margins of society?” This question inspired former American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks to travel around the world seeking answers. Released this spring, his documentary reveals insights into not only alleviating poverty, but also achieving lasting happiness for all.

Now streaming on Netflix @

Textbook for Finance 4335

The textbook for Finance 4335 is entitled “Integrated Risk Management: Techniques and Strategies for Managing Corporate Risk”. Here’s how the Baylor Bookstore lists this title:

While the Finance 4335 textbook is “out of stock” at the Baylor Bookstore, this book is available for purchase from as well as various other online booksellers. Alternatively, you may also download and print assigned chapters from the course website.

I supplement Doherty’s book with readings from various other sources, as well as readings which I have authored. See for a date-ordered list of reading assignments. Since the first reading assignment from the textbook isn’t due until Tuesday, September 10, y’all have plenty of time to order the book online, or if you prefer, source textbook readings from the course website.

Milton Friedman on CEOs

As an antidote to yesterday’s Business Roundtable decision to throw Friedman’s shareholder-centric model under the bus in favor of “… the more politically au courant “stakeholder” model”, The Wall Street Journal editorial board reminds us about Milton Friedman’s famous 1970 New York Times Magazine article entitled “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” (linked to in this article and also from

The late, great economist anticipated the Business Roundtable.

On the relationship between the S&P 500 and the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX)

Besides going over the course syllabus during the first day of class on Tuesday, August 27, we will also discuss a particularly important “real world” example of financial risk. Specifically, we will look at the relationship between stock market returns (as indicated by daily percentage changes in the SP500 stock market index) and stock market volatility (as indicated by daily percentage changes in the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX)): As indicated by this graph from page 21 of the lecture note for the first day of class, daily percentage changes on closing prices for VIX and the SP500 are strongly negatively correlated. In the graph above, the y-axis variable is the daily return on the SP500, whereas the x-axis variable is the daily return on the VIX. The blue points represent 7,465 daily observations on these two variables, spanning the time period from January 3, 1990 through August 16, 2019. When we fit a regression line through this scatter diagram, we obtain the following equation:

{R_{SP500}} = 0.0588 - 0.1129{R_{VIX}},

where {R_{SP500}} corresponds to the daily return on the SP500 index and {R_{VIX}} corresponds to the daily return on the VIX index. The slope of this line (-0.1129) indicates that on average, daily VIX returns during this time period were inversely related to the daily return on the SP500; i.e., when volatility as measured by VIX went down (up), then the stock market return as indicated by SP500 typically went up (down). Nearly half of the variation in the stock market return during this time period (specifically, 48.87%) can be statistically “explained” by changes in volatility, and the correlation between {R_{SP500}} and {R_{VIX}} comes out to -0.699. While a correlation of -0.699 does not imply that {R_{SP500}} and {R_{VIX}} will always move in opposite directions, it does indicate that this will be the case more often than not. Indeed, closing daily returns on {R_{SP500}} and {R_{VIX}} during this period moved inversely 78.43% of the time.

You can see how the relationship between the SP500 and VIX evolves prospectively by entering^GSPC,^VIX into your web browser’s address field.

Calculus and Probability & Statistics recommendations…

Since many of the topics covered in Finance 4335 require a basic knowledge and comfort level with algebra, differential calculus, and probability & statistics, the second class meeting during the Fall 2019 semester will include a mathematics tutorial, and the third and fourth class meetings will cover probability & statistics. I know of no better online resource for brushing up on (or learning for the first time) these topics than the Khan Academy.

So here are my suggestions for Khan Academy videos which cover these topics (unless otherwise noted, all sections included in the links which follow are recommended):

Finally, if your algebra skills are generally a bit on the rusty side, I would also recommend checking out the Khan Academy’s review of algebra.

How to obtain a Wall Street Journal subscription

A subscription to the Wall Street Journal is required for Finance 4335. Steeply discounted digital and print subscription options for Finance 4335 students are available from the following link:

Throughout the semester, I will often reference specific WSJ articles on the course blog and in class. Finance 4335 topics (as well as topics in many of your other business school courses) come to life in the world outside the Baylor bubble when you read make a habit of reading the WSJ on a regular basis. Furthermore, if you expect to interview for jobs or internships anytime soon, reading the WSJ will give you a leg up on the competition, since you will be better informed and have more compelling ideas and insights to share with recruiters.

In closing, the following (2 minute) video provides a helpful introduction to the WSJ, providing time-saving tips to help you get the most from WSJ and succeed not only in Finance 4335 but also your other courses and careers:

Instructions for subscribing to the Risk Management Course Blog

A course blog has been established for Finance 4335 at the address; it is also linked from the “Course Blog” button located on the course website. I recommend that you follow the risk management course blog regularly via email, Facebook, and/or Twitter.

The risk management course blog provides me with a convenient means for distributing important announcements to the class. Topics covered on the course blog typically include things like changes in the course schedule, clarifications, and hints concerning problem sets, information about upcoming exams, announcements concerning extra credit opportunities, and short blurbs showing how current events relate to many of the topics which we cover in Finance 4335.

If you are either a Facebook or Twitter user, everything that is posted on the options, futures, and other derivatives course blog is automatically posted to Facebook and “tweeted”, so you can also subscribe by “liking” the Finance 4335 Facebook page or by “following” @fin4335 on Twitter. Finally, you can also subscribe via email. The remainder of this blog entry explains how to subscribe to the risk management course blog via email.

Email Subscription Instructions:

Email Subscription Instructions: If you would like to receive the risk management course blog via email, you can do this by going to and entering your email address in the form provided on the left-hand side of that webpage:

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After clicking “Subscribe”, the following information will appear on the screen:Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 3.45.08 PM
Next, check for an email from “Risk Management Blog <> ”:

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Next, simply click the “Confirm Follow” button. This will cause you to receive the following email:

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From that point forward, whenever I post to the course blog, you will immediately receive a nicely formatted version of the blog posting via email. Also, you can opt to change your delivery preferences, or even cancel your subscription.