One element of the course is to teach students how to think clearly about finance, and that involves learning a bunch of tools.
I teach a class called Capital Markets, which is about the whole range of markets where financial securities, including derivatives, are traded—among banks, between banks and institutional investors. So it’s basically about how the modern financial system works. Anybody who is going to do something in finance—working at a financial firm, a commercial bank, a hedge fund, a corporate treasury department—would be a candidate for this course.
One element of the course is to teach students how to think clearly about finance, and that involves learning a bunch of tools. Another aspect, though, is to understand that not everything you see in the world was always there—that people innovated and came up with new ideas. And those ideas are balanced with some practical, hands-on work: cases, homework, reading real-world documents.
One thing I like about Yale SOM is that the class sizes are small enough that the students can come and talk to you. They’re interested in lots of things—they come and talk about the financial crisis or other current events, or they’re looking for career advice. I pretty much don’t help them with the homework, though. I tell them, the homework may seem very hard to you, but I know you can do it because generations before you have done it.
Learning is not easy. You have to work. At the beginning of the semester, I say, "I’m going to work hard in this course, and I expect you to work hard in this course. And if we both work hard, we will get somewhere."
Interviewed on May 25, 2011.