Fall 2020 Course Evaluations for Finance 4335

At Baylor, all of your professors undergo annual evaluations concerning the quality of teaching, research, and service.  By completing teacher evaluations, you contribute importantly by providing the University with information that may affect not only faculty compensation and promotion/tenure decisions but also provide faculty with useful information concerning ways to improve teaching. Therefore, I encourage you to complete your Fall 2020 Course Evaluations for Finance 4335 along with all of your other courses!

The window for completing your Finance 4335 Course Evaluation closes on Thursday, December 3 at 10 am. I would be most grateful for your participation in this formal evaluation of the quality of my teaching performance in Finance 4335 during the Fall 2020 semester.

Midterm 2 and Current Course Grades in Both Sections of Finance 4335

I just uploaded the Midterm 2 Exam grades, along with attendance, quiz, problem set, and current Finance 4335 course grades to Canvas.

As indicated in the course syllabus, final numeric course grades will be determined according to the following equation:

Final Course Numeric Grade =.10(Attendance and Participation) +.10(Quizzes) +.20(Problem Sets) + Max{.20(Midterm Exam 1) +.20(Midterm Exam 2) +.20(Final Exam),.20(Midterm Exam 1) +.40(Final Exam),.20(Midterm Exam 2) +.40(Final Exam)}

As I noted in my September 2nd blog posting entitled “Finance 4335 Grades on Canvas”, as the fall semester progresses and I continue to collect grades in the attendance, quiz, problem set, and exam categories, then the course grade listed on Canvas will dynamically incorporate that information on a timely basis for each student; now that we have Midterm 2 Exam grades, the equation that I am currently using (until the Final Exam) is as follows:

Course Numeric Grade after Midterm 2 = (.10(Attendance and Participation) +.10(Quizzes) +.20(Problem Sets) +.20(Midterm 1+.20(Midterm 2))/.8

There are n = 63 students enrolled in both sections of Finance 4335. Here are the current grade statistics:

From this table, you can get a good idea concerning how your grades compare with all other students enrolled this semester in Finance 4335.  You can also see where you stand in terms of a hypothetical letter grade for Finance 4335 by comparing your course grade with the letter grade schedule which appears in the syllabus:

If you are disappointed by your performance so far in Finance 4335, keep in mind that the final exam grade automatically double counts in place of a lower midterm exam grade. In case if both midterm exam grades are lower than the final exam grade, then the final exam grade replaces the lower of the two midterm exam grades.  If any of you would like to have a chat with me about your grades, by all means, then set up a Zoom appointment with me.

Spring 2021 Course Announcement

Spring 2021 Course Announcement:
Finance 4366: Options, Futures and Other Derivatives (CRN 37419)
Instructor: Dr. James R. Garven
Offered 11-12:15 TR Online, With Synchronous Instruction

Purpose of this course

During the past few decades, there has been explosive growth in the use of derivative securities such as futures, forwards, swaps, and options for managing financial risk. Such securities are commonly referred to as “derivatives” because their values depend upon the values of other assets. This course presents a conceptual framework for understanding how to price financial derivatives and design financial risk management strategies.

Course Prerequisites

A minimum grade of B- in Finance 3310 or consent of instructor; while some background in economics, finance, calculus, and statistics is helpful, Dr. Garven has designed the course so that it is largely self-contained.

Expected Course Outcome

Students find that this course substantially sharpens and hones their analytic capabilities, providing the conceptual framework needed for pursuing careers (as well as professional certification) in consulting, corporate finance, financial analysis, investment banking, risk management, and financial services.

Course Syllabus

Go to http://fin4366.garven.com/syllabus.pdf for a copy of the Finance 4366 course syllabus.

Further questions?

Contact Professor Garven by email at James_Garven@baylor.edu, by phone or text at 254-307-1317, or by Zoom appointment at http://appointment.garven.com.

This course prospectus is also available at http://fin4366.garven.com/prospectus.

Next up in Finance 4335…

Tomorrow, after going through the solutions for yesterday’s midterm exam, I will introduce the topic of (financial) derivatives (specifically, options and futures) in Finance 4335. Besides their use in managing price-related risks (for more on this, see “A Beginner’s Guide to Hedging“), the basic principles behind these types of financial instruments also yield insights into how firm-specific risks affect corporate value, which is a concept that we will explore in some detail during upcoming Finance 4335 class meetings.

The assigned readings for tomorrow’s class include:

1. Derivatives and Options (Doherty, Chapter 6)
2. Teaching the Economics and Convergence of the Binomial and Black-Scholes Option Pricing Formulas, by James R. Garven and James I. Hilliard

Also, see the Quizzes section of Canvas – Quiz 8 (which must be completed prior to the start of class tomorrow) is based on these readings.

Formula Sheet for Midterm 2 (along with some Midterm 2 – related information)

The formula sheet for Midterm Exam 2 is now available at http://fin4335.garven.com/fall2020/formulas_part2.pdf. This document will also be linked to Canvas when you take the exam on Tuesday. In my opinion, the two most important Midterm 2 – related documents are the formula sheet and the Finance 4335 course synopsis for Midterm Exam 2.

Not surprisingly, the topics on the exam include insurance economics, asymmetric information, portfolio theory, and capital market theory.

Exam instructions and extra office hours on Monday, November 2, from 3-5 pm CT

Good luck to everyone on the upcoming Finance 4335 Midterm #2 exam scheduled for Tuesday, November 3. We’ll follow the same procedure as last time; i.e., everyone will be required to be logged into Zoom, with video cameras turned on.  However, this time the total time allotted for completing the exam and uploading a single PDF file comprising your written work will be 90 minutes (rather than 85 minutes). Plan on allotting no more than 80 minutes to completing the exam, and 10 minutes to creating and uploading your PDF file.

I plan to hold extra office hours at officehours.garven.com from 3-5 pm CT on Monday, November 2, in case if any of you wish to stop by.

Official Finance 4335 Course Policy Concerning the Use of Excel for Problem Sets and Exams

In Finance 4335, students may use either Excel or hand-held calculators to calculate answers for problems that appear in problem sets and exams. However, in order to earn credit, students must show their work by providing logical explanations of how they get their answers, using properly formed English grammar, coupled with references to the appropriate theoretical concepts. The best examples I can think of how to “show work” appear in the nearly 20 linked PDF documents consisting of solutions for class problems, problem sets, and sample exams @ http://risk.garven.com/?s=solutions.

Keeping this calculator policy in mind, do not upload Excel spreadsheets to Canvas related to exams and problem sets. Your grades are based solely on how well you explain and support the answers you provide in the PDF documents which you upload to Canvas.

Webinar and interview question database: Department of Finance Insurance and Real Estate

Important reminder for Finance majors from my colleague and department chair, Dr. Underwood:

Just a quick reminder that we will have another webinar this Friday 10/23 at 1:30.  Jesus Rios (BBA 2010) will be our guest.  He started his career with the BVA Group and is now the Director of Finance for Blackline Midstream.  You can register for the Zoom webinar at this link:


Also, please consider contributing your experiences to a new database we are starting.  We hope to create and maintain a database of questions asked by interviewers (both for internships and full-time positions.)  For more information, please visit this page and follow the link to the survey.  There will be a module on the Canvas home page for our Department where we will provide updates to the database periodically.

Have a great week!