Category Archives: Announcements


Hello Class,

Overall, a significant proportion of you did very well on the first quiz. As a rule of thumb, be sure to show all work on your homework and test assignments, as you cannot receive partial credit without clear steps demonstrating your thought process.

There are a few of you that struggled with the computation portion of the quiz. This may indicate that you may not be familiar with some of the Calculus concepts necessary for the course, and that you need to practice taking derivatives and understand their significance.

Additionally, be sure to thoroughly check your work to identify any possible transcription errors, intermediate calculation errors, and errors in answering what the question asked for. When asked to take the second derivative some of you solved for the first derivative.

Occasionally, there may be extra credit opportunities offered by Dr. Garven that will allow you to replace a low quiz grade. Even if you are doing well in the class, it would be prudent to take advantage of these opportunities should you struggle on a future assignment.

Finally, be sure to always turn in your assignments when they are due. Even if you are present in class, if you do not turn in your quiz or homework that day, you cannot receive credit because the answers for quizzes are discussed in class and the answers to the problem sets are posted after class.

Thank you for your time and considerations.


Alexander Law

How to know whether you are on track with Finance 4335 assignments

At any given point in time during the semester, you can ensure that you are on track with Finance 4335 assignments by monitoring due dates that are published on the course website. See for due dates pertaining to reading assignments, and for due dates pertaining to problem sets. Also keep in mind that short quizzes will be administered in class on each of the dates indicated for required readings. As a case in point, since the required readings entitled “Optimization” and ” How long does it take to double (triple/quadruple/n-tuple) your money?” are listed for Thursday, August 24, this means that a quiz based upon these readings will be given in class on that day.

Important assignments for the first day of class (Thursday, August 24) include: 1) filling out and emailing the student information form as a file attachment to, 2) subscribing to the Wall Street Journal, and 3) subscribing to the course blog. A completed Student information form is graded as a problem set and receives 100 points; if you don’t turn in a Student information form, then you will receive a 0 for this “problem set”. Furthermore, I count completion of tasks 2 and 3 above toward your class participation grade in Finance 4335.

How to Succeed in 4335

Dear Students of Dr. Garven,

My name is Alexander Law, and I will be your Graduate Assistant for the course(s) you are taking with Dr. Garven. I just wanted to briefly go over some guidelines of what to expect for the class, and how to succeed in the course.

First, keep in mind that there will be quizzes at the beginning of class, whenever there are assigned readings for that day. Do also note that your homework assignments are due at the beginning of the class, and because the answer key is posted online after class, NO late work is accepted. Turning in an incomplete assignment is still better than getting a zero.

The first two homework assignments and weeks of class involve going over some of the basic math and statistics concepts you will need to do well in the course. You should expect to having a basic understanding of Calculus, particular deriving equations to solve for a maximum, as well as the standard normal distribution.

There will be three exams in the course, two midterms and a final, and approximately 10 problem sets. Since the first two problem sets are based upon your math and stats review, you should expect approx. 2-3 problem sets of content per exam. The Final can replace a low grade on a midterm, but if you are actively engaged in class and take care to study the problem sets diligently, you should be able to perform adequately on all three exams. The two midterms typically include at least 3 required problems consisting of 3-6 subsections per problem, and partial credit can awarded for each subset of the question.

Thank you for your time and considerations.


Alexander Law

Class participation in Finance 4335

Ten percent of your course grade for Finance 4335 is based upon class participation. Class participation has three components: 1) actual class attendance, 2) participation in class, and 3) participation outside of class. I think the first two components are obvious; 1) you either show up for class or you don’t, and 2) conditional upon showing up for class, you participate by being actively engaged; e.g., asking questions, offering insights, what have you. Participation outside of class is made possible by social media; specifically in the following two ways: 1) contributions via Twitter, and 2) contributions via the course blog:

The social media component consists of two sub-categories: 1) contributions via Twitter, and 2) contributions via the course blog:

1. Twitter: Twitter participation requires a Twitter account, so if you aren’t already on Twitter, register for an account at Once you are able to login to Twitter, then participate after each class by tweeting to #fin4335 either 1) the main take-away from class, 2) a question you still have concerning the day’s discussion, and/or 3) a link (preferably to a reputable news source such as Economist, New York Times, or Wall Street Journal) related to the day’s discussion. Whenever you tweet to #fin4335, your tweet (as well as the tweets of your fellow classmates) will automatically appear at

2. Course blog: Participation here primarily involves commenting on and asking questions related to my course blog postings located at To comment on any particular blog posting, simply click on the “Leave a comment” link that appears directly under the title of every blog posting. Commenting on the course blog does require some form of identification; you can do this manually or simply use your Twitter, Facebook, or Google account credentials.

I think that using social media in Finance 4335 is a win-win for students and professor alike. The benefit to students is that the discipline of briefly reflecting on course-related content while things are still fresh on your minds should help in the learning process. Furthermore, it enhances the learning process by providing further opportunities to link class concepts to the real world. The benefit to the professor is that this provides helpful and timely feedback which will hopefully enhance the overall quality of Finance 4335.