Finance 4335 Grades on Canvas

I just performed an initial posting of numeric Finance 4335 course grades to Canvas. So far, I have assigned grades for two class meetings, one quiz, and the student survey. Each class attendance (absence) receives a grade of 100 (0); I assigned a grade of 100 (0) for all surveys completed (not completed) by the August 26th deadline, and these grades are included under the Problem Set category. Thus, I calculated the current (August 30) course numeric grade using the following equation:

(1) Current (August 30, 2021) Course Numeric Grade = (.10(Class Attendance) +.10(Quizzes) +.20(Problem Sets))/.4

Or course, equation (1) is a special case of the final course numeric grade equation (equation (2) below) which also appears in the course syllabus:

(2) Final Course Numeric Grade =.10(Class Attendance) +.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 the fall semester progresses and I continue to collect grades in the attendance, quiz, problem set, and exam categories, then the numeric course grade on Canvas will dynamically incorporate that information on a timely basis for each student. After I record midterm 1 grades, I will apply equation (3) below (also a special case of equation (2) above) to determine your numeric course grade at that point in time:

(3) Course Numeric Grade after Midterm 1 = (.10(Class Attendance) +.10(Quizzes) +.20(Problem Sets) +.20(Midterm 1))/.6

After I record midterm 2 grades, I will apply equation (4) below (also a special case of equation (2) above) to determine your numeric course grade at that point in time:

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

After I record final exam grades, I will use equation (2) above to determine your final course numeric grade, and (as also noted in the course syllabus), the final course letter grade will be based upon the following schedule of final course numeric grades:

A 93-100% C 73-77%
A- 90-93% C- 70-73%
B+ 87-90% D+ 67-70%
B 83-87% D 63-67%
B- 80-83% D- 60-63%
C+ 77-80% F <60%


Upcoming Deloitte Recruiting Event (September 8): Deloitte Tax Dallas Summer 2022 Transfer Pricing full time and internship positions

A former (Spring 2020) student of mine named Jay Munn reached out to me about an upcoming on-campus Deloitte Recruiting Event on September 8 in which he and possibly other former Baylor Bears will take part. Thanks, Jay, and Sic ‘em, Bears!

From: "Munn, Jay Dee" <>
Date: Friday, August 27, 2021 at 10:22 AM
To: James Garven <>

Subject: Baylor Transfer Pricing Recruiting – Info Request

Hi Dr. Garven!

I hope you are doing well and ready to kick-off the fall semester!

As you might remember, I was in your Options, Future, & Other Derivatives class during my undergrad (graduated in 2020) and currently work at Deloitte in a specialty service line called Transfer Pricing, which uses the disciplines of economics, finance, accounting, law, international business, and tax to value intercompany transactions for multinational enterprises.

We are starting our recruiting process for the Deloitte Tax Dallas Summer 2022 Transfer Pricing full time and internship positions,and I wanted to ask if you’d be willing to share some information regarding our practice, our recruiting process, and an upcoming in-person information session we’ll be having for Baylor students. Note that the opportunity would be for students that would intern in Summer 2022, and would potentially start full-time in Summer 2023, and for students who would start full time in Summer 2022.

You will find the intern and full time job descriptions attached (both can be found on Handshake as well), and below are details on the in-person information session and where to apply:

Date: Wednesday, September 8th

Time: 6:00 pm

Hankamer Room #: 107

Handshake Job Posting: Key word search “Consultant Intern, Transfer Pricing”, “Consultant, Transfer Pricing”

Additionally, I wanted to highlight that following the information session we are bringing in pizza for our networking portion of the event for those who are interested and would like to hear more about our practice and our team.

Thanks in advance for your help, we look forward to recruiting more Baylor Bears into our Transfer Pricing Practice!

Sic ‘em Bears!

Jay Munn

Tax Consultant II | Transfer Pricing

Deloitte Tax LLP

2200 Ross Avenue, Ste. 1600, Dallas, TX 75201

Tax Full-Time_Transfer Pricing Consultant.pdf

Tax Intern_Transfer Pricing Consultant.pdf

Z Table Extra Credit Assignment (due at the start of class on Tuesday, September 7)

Here’s an extra credit opportunity for Finance 4335. Working on your own (i.e., this is not a group project; credit will only be given for spreadsheets that are uniquely your own), build your own “z” table in Excel (patterned after the table located at; the top row should have values ranging from 0.00 to 0.09, and the first column should have z values ranging from -3.0 to +3.0, in increments of 0.1).

Quite conveniently, Excel has the standard normal distribution function built right in; e.g., if you type “=normsdist(z)”, Excel returns the probability associated with whatever z value that you provide. Not surprisingly, if you type “=normsdist(0)”, .5 is returned since half of the area under the curve lies to the left of the expected value E(z) = 0. Similarly, if you type “=normsdist(1)”, then .8413 is returned because 84.13% of the area under the curve lies to the left of z = 1. Perhaps you recall from your QBA course that 68.26% of the area under the curve lies between z = -1; this “confidence interval” of +/- 1 one standard deviation away from the mean (E(z)=0) is calculated in Excel with the following code: “=normsdist(1)-normsdist(-1)”, and so forth.

The grade you earn on this extra credit assignment will replace your lowest quiz grade; that is if your lowest quiz grade is lower than your extra credit grade. The deadline is the start of class on Tuesday, September 7.

You can turn your spreadsheet for this extra credit assignment in at the link labeled “Z Table Extra Credit Assignment” under the Assignment tab on Canvas.

Week 2 readings, quiz, and problem set

Here’s a friendly reminder that the following readings must be completed prior to the start of class this coming Tuesday, August 31:

1. The New Religion of Risk Management, by Peter Bernstein
2. Normal and standard normal distribution, by James R. Garven
3. Mean and Variance of a Two-Asset Portfolio, by James R. Garven

Keep in mind that Quiz 2, which is based on these readings, must also be completed and turned in prior to the start of class next Tuesday, as will Problem Set 1.

Going forward, I will typically not post reminders like this concerning Finance 4335 assignment deadlines; however, you’ll be “good to go” in Finance 4335 if you faithfully follow the guidelines listed in my “How to know whether you are on track with Finance 4335 assignments” posting.

On the ancient origin of the word “algorithm”

The August 31st assigned reading entitled “The New Religion of Risk Management” (by Peter Bernstein, March-April 1996 issue of Harvard Business Review) provides a succinct synopsis of the same author’s 1996 book entitled “Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk“. Here’s a fascinating quote from page 33 which explains the ancient origin of the word “algorithm”:

“The earliest known work in Arabic arithmetic was written by al­Khowarizmi, a mathematician who lived around 825, some four hun­dred years before Fibonacci. Although few beneficiaries of his work are likely to have heard of him, most of us know of him indirectly. Try saying “al­Khowarizmi” fast. That’s where we get the word “algo­rithm,” which means rules for computing.”

Note: The book cover shown above is a copy of a 1633 oil-on-canvas painting by the Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrandt van Rijn.

Important COVID-19 Message from the Provost

Throughout the pandemic, Baylor’s commitment has been to the health and safety of our family. Since the spring of 2020, the University has chosen to take actions that align with the most up-to-date health recommendations. Guidelines for the Fall 2021 semester include:

  • Everyone is required to wear a mask in classrooms and labs.
  • Everyone who is unvaccinated is required to be tested twice weekly throughout the semester. For more information about Baylor’s testing program, please visit Baylor’s COVID site at To confirm your exemption from this testing, upload your vaccination record to
  • Vaccinations are available for students at the Baylor Health Center. Please call 254-710-1010 to make an appointment or
  • The symptoms for the Delta variant look very similar to the original COVID symptoms but include headaches, sinus congestion, sore throats, and a runny nose. If you feel sick, please contact the Baylor Health Center to be tested as soon as possible, at 254-710-1010 or
  • Please have a plan in place in case you get sick with COVID or are asked to isolate or quarantine. Baylor will provide limited assistance, but it is in your best interest to have your own plan in place.

We all want to return to a normal fall semester with more in-person events and traditions; vaccinations and face masks help the entire Baylor community to stay healthy.

Also featured as one of “50 Things That Made the Modern Economy”: The Index Fund

Besides insurance, Tim Harford also features the index fund in his “Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy” radio and podcast series. This 9-minute long podcast lays out the history of the development of the index fund in particular and the evolution of so-called passive portfolio strategies in general. Much of the content of this podcast is sourced from Vanguard founder Jack Bogle’s September 2011 WSJ article entitled “How the Index Fund Was Born” (available at Here’s the description of this podcast:

“Warren Buffett is the world’s most successful investor. In a letter he wrote to his wife, advising her how to invest after he dies, he offers some clear advice: put almost everything into “a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund”. Index funds passively track the market as a whole by buying a little of everything, rather than trying to beat the market with clever stock picks – the kind of clever stock picks that Warren Buffett himself has been making for more than half a century. Index funds now seem completely natural. But as recently as 1976 they didn’t exist. And, as Tim Harford explains, they have become very important indeed – and not only to Mrs Buffett.”

Warren Buffett is one of the world’s great investors. His advice? Invest in an index fund