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Introduction to Finance

University of Michigan via Coursera

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  • Provider Coursera
  • Subject Finance
  • $ Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Finished
  • Language English
  • Effort 6-8 hours a week
  • Start Date
  • Duration 15 weeks long

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Overview

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IMPORTANT UPDATE:  This course is being discontinued after the current session June 1 - mid September is over. The content has been translated into the first two courses of a new specialization we are launching titled "Introduction to Finance: Valuation and Investing" offered by Professors Gautam Kaul and Qin Lei. The specialization has been motivated by two specific kinds of feedback consistently provided by learners over the past three years who have enrolled in this MOOC: to make the content more modular, while also providing advanced frameworks and applications. There are two introductory courses based on this MOOC, and we have added two more advanced and applied courses. All learners interested in the Introduction to Finance MOOC should enroll in the specialization instead;  the first course launches on September 15, 2015.  For more information please visit the Specialization site. If you are enrolled in the next session of this MOOC, Coursera will batch-enroll all leaners in the first course of the specialization. Anyone can choose to unenroll at any time of course.

About the original MOOC:
This course is primarily devoted to the fundamental principles of valuation. We will learn and apply the concepts of time value of money and risk to understand the major determinants of value creation. We will use both theory and real world examples to demonstrate how to value any asset.

Subtitles for all video lectures available in: Chinese (provided by Yeeyan), English, Portuguese (Lemann Foundation), and Ukrainian (Pinchuk Foundation)

Syllabus

See the detailed Syllabus. Please note that based on feedback we have received following our first offering of the course, we have decided to extend the duration to fifteen weeks for this, and all subsequent offerings.

Taught by

Gautam Kaul

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Reviews for Coursera's Introduction to Finance
3.9 Based on 43 reviews

  • 5 stars 58%
  • 4 stars 9%
  • 3 stars 5%
  • 2 stars 16%
  • 1 stars 12%

Did you take this course? Share your experience with other students.

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  • 1
Anonymous
2.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This was a frustrating class. The first few weeks were awesome, but then things started to deteriorate. There were four main problems: 1) Principles were explained in a very simple way, but never presented in their complicated real-life settings during class. Instead, a lot of the practical applications were presented in increasingly difficult and complicated quiz questions. This leads to 2) The correct answers were never provided for the quizzes, which you could only take twice. So if you got a question wrong you couldn't tell if you misplaced a period, misunderstood the question, or complete…
21 people found
this review helpful
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Wan
2.0 5 years ago
Wan completed this course and found the course difficulty to be hard.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of this class is that Professor’s Kaul’s lectures consist of a high proportion of what I would call conversational fluff. That is, the professor spends a lot of time talking about himself, his love of finance and anecdotes to amuse the student. He also repeatedly exhorts students to take time to absorb the material and to take breaks between videos.

This is not to say that Kaul is a bad professor. On the contrary, his love of finance is infectious and it is evident that his priority is to train students to adopt a financial way of thinking rather than to teach any specific set of formulas which will necessarily be overly rigid. Students are encouraged to think for themselves about why something makes financial sense rather than apply formulas by rote and he expects students to go beyond his lectures to look up information for themselves.

11 people found
this review helpful
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Yury B
5.0 3 years ago
by Yury completed this course and found the course difficulty to be hard.
I decided to wright the review because of a negative experience some had with it.

First of all, I have to say that this is definitely one of the best courses I ever took or even more the best one. It is not perfect, but still my favorite. If you ever wanted to have a deep understanding of what is DCF, IRR, CAPM and other staff this is the best course to start with.

When you first time watch the video it seems that professor Gautam over-explains some thing and even talk about completely not related to finance matter. This makes videos some-what longer. Try not to be…
3 people found
this review helpful
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Met B
1.0 4 years ago
by Met completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Warning: I don't recommend this course to anyone. Do not lose your money, do not lose your time.

Why?

- No practice questions before exams.

- They don't give the correct answers of the exams. So you don't have the possibility to understand your mistakes.

- No course notes.

- The professor writes (10 pages syllabus anyone?) and talks too much. The average length of course videos is longer than average MOOC length, because professor talks of unnecessary things. I'm not a native English speaker and I've watched all videos with x1.5 …
2 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
2.0 3 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
There are a few things I can tell you about this course that may be of value.

The professor obviously knows his subject well as he is able to conceptualize large subjects into their very essence. I do have to challenge one thing he relayed in a video; the idea that textbooks are all created equally. I was unable to integrate opportunity costs into npv equations. The textbook I used did not cover this subject in anyway. I did not use one of the textbooks he recommended, but the textbook I did use is mandatory in at least two accredited colleges.

The assignments are ac…
3 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
1.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This is the course I have taken so far with the longest videos (around 20 minutes each, lots of them), least useful information in each video, and assigments nowhere near the content of the videos. Find another course for introduction to finance.
10 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
1.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
In contrast with most courses I have taken in Coursera, this Introduction to Finance course is not self-contained and requires that you learn the subject on your own using external resources not included with this course. The provided videos are not aligned to Assignments/Quizzes complexity level and will not help address these. At the same time, after past deadlines, Assignments/Quizzes feedback/answers are not available so that you learn and improve what you did wrong.

I liked that Assignments/Quizzes were challenging, specially since some of them are from real world scenarios.…
7 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous C
1.0 4 years ago
by Anonymous completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I'm not sure why the reviews seem to be so polar in that some people love the class, and others hated it. This course is by far the worst of any that I have bothered to stick to the very end. The class structure could best be described as one part finance and three parts Jedi philosophy. The professor routinely gets off on tangents and then makes unhelpful remarks like, "I'm teaching you the fundamentals," without bothering to give any motivation or derivation for where any of the formulas come from. There is a dearth of examples on how to apply the principles learned in class, which then makes the assignments all the more difficult. Homework does not mirror what is happening in the lectures, which consequently forces students to surf the web looking for other resources. The professor talks so incredibly slow that I had to watch the videos on triple speed just to keep interested. I recommend looking elsewhere for another finance course.
5 people found
this review helpful
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Martin G
3.0 5 years ago
Martin completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it.
The way the course is structured allows me to accomplish the necessary work within my schedule. There is usually about 1-2 hours of video lectures divided into roughly 20 minutes chunks, followed by a assignment that takes another 2 hours. This allows me to fit it into my schedule.

The weekly assignments contain questions that are considerably more difficult than the examples done in class. I would expect some increased degree of difficulty. Unfortunately because of the online nature, the course doesn’t give you an answer sheet after the assignment is due. If you get a question wrong, you aren’t given the right answer or even an explanation of what you did incorrectly. The Professor has made it clear that a considerable amount of work goes into creating the questions for each week. They can’t use questions from textbooks because of copyright.
4 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
A challenging class presented by a likeable lecturer. Access to Microsoft Excel or a financial calculator is a must. I give it five stars for the tremendous amount of material that I learned, but it's not quite perfect. Some of the assignment questions are poorly written and their meaning was open to interpretation. Reading the discussion boards for clarification was very helpful here. Also I would have preferred more real-world worked problems in the lectures. I took the second iteration of the class in which two modules were released at three-week intervals (15 weeks total). I think I would have preferred the schedule of the original offering (1 module per week, 10 weeks total). By the time each unit was released I had forgotten much of what I learned 3 weeks earlier.
5 people found
this review helpful
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Srdjan S
3.0 4 years ago
by Srdjan is taking this course right now.
I find professor Gautam genuine and very interesting person. I enjoyed his lectures, but what I didn't like, and what made me drop this course after 3rd week, is that tests are just to hard comparing to what is thought in lectures. I have scored ~90% at first 2 tests, but couldn't make it at 3rd, and they don't give you the answers so you don't have a chance to learn on your mistakes. Of course, If i spent much more time on forums maybe I would do better, but with job and other subjects to learn on my university I just couldn't afford it. If you have lot of time and strong willpower I strongly recommend this course, you'll learn a lot. But, I find Wharton courses in accounting and operations management much better aligned in terms of lectures/test difficulty, and I am looking forward to their corporate finance course.
3 people found
this review helpful
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Abhineet K
5.0 5 years ago
Abhineet completed this course.
The quality of the course is really good, and perhaps it is the most important factor which brings me here. I am doing the same course at Amity University, and found that quite a few things were lacking. One was the lack of doing practical, real-world problems, and the other was use of MS Excel to showcase the problems. In the online class, I am able to attend all the lectures, understand all the concepts and implement them to practical problems at hand.

I especially liked Mr. Kaul’s style of teaching. I think he tries his best to engage you in a discussion around finance, even though I’m in an online lecture, i feel the urge to find out more about the topics he teaches. This guy surely knows how to inspire you to know more about finance. As he says, he is crazy about finance, and it really shows!
2 people found
this review helpful
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Matt M
5.0 4 years ago
Matt completed this course.
The Intro to Finance course offered by Gautam Kaul is a solid choice if you have an interest in finance. The quality of the course itself was superb and I thought the problem sets were well-done. The problems were a mix of basic to advanced with many problems presenting some subtle nuances that were easily missed and turned out to be very important. This course will require some work but

This is a great beginning course in finance with a great professor that will offer some challenge without being overwhelming. I would recommend it as a great first technical course to take if you have any interest in finance.
4 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
1.0 5 years ago
Anonymous is taking this course right now.
Lack of meaningful feedback from quizzes (e.g."think about it"),endless peripheral chatter, and poor delivery of material consumes time and frustrates the learning process, if not actively working against it. I suggest giving this one a miss.
9 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I guess you'll find a lot of courses talking about the technical details of finance but what makes this course so special is the fact that Prof. Gautam Kaul will relentlessly try to make you imbibe the essence of finance in each of his lectures (which is actually the reason why videos tend to be long). I believe books can efficiently deliver the technicalities of any subject but an online lecture has to deliver what books can not which is precisely what this course intends to do.
2 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Remarkably challenging course. Entails discipline and curiosity to learn the difficult principles on your own. Best online class ever. Professor Gautam was interviewed by 'The Business Week" and stated this course is equivalent to taking an MBA in the TOP universities.

Highly recommended!
3 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Excellent class, very informative and fun to watch. Professor Kaul is outstanding instructor. Thanks a lot for your passion and wisdom that made learning not very fun subject such as finance a truly enjoyable. Highly recommended.
1 person found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Prof. Kaul is a real personage.

I liked a lot his course and the way he teach it.

This was very intersting and profound.

Thanks.
2 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
It was a great learning experience. Of course, we were expected to do our own research outside of the given material. I'm not sure why that would be a problem.

1 person found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
The class was well structured, with good video lectures and assignment problems. Can't get better in my book ! :)
1 person found
this review helpful
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  • 1

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