Friday, September 7, 2012

A new semester begins: Valuation class online

If you are a teacher, you measure your life in quarters and semesters. This is my fiftieth semester teaching, and, as in each of the prior forty nine semesters, I could not wait to get started. Coddled as only tenured faculty at a research university can be, I have only one class to teach this semester. The class is "Valuation", and it is about valuing any asset: stocks, businesses, sports teams and collectibles are all fair game. While the class begins with an extended discussion of intrinsic (DCF) valuation , it will extend to cover multiples/comparables and real options. The first class was Wednesday, September 5, and I will teach it every Monday and Wednesday for the next 15 weeks (with a few days off in the middle) from 10.30 to 12 at the Stern School of Business at New York University.

At the start of this year, I argued that universities have used their "monopoly" status in the education business to protect themselves from needed change. I also presented my view that "disruptive" changes were coming, largely because technology has undermined the entrenched competitive advantages that have allowed universities to charge premium prices for often below-average products. I also put my class online, using a company called Coursekit, and a few thousand people enrolled in the class. While life got in the way of completing the class for some of these students, I was gratified by the feedback I got on the class and I did learn from some of my mistakes (though I undoubtedly will make more mistakes soon). Symbolizing how quickly this business is shifting, Coursekit has changed both its look and its name (it is now called Lore), raised more capital and is aiming for bigger and better things. I wish them well, but I have decided to broaden the choices available to those who would like to take my Valuation class this semester. So, if you are interested, here they are:

1. School website: I maintain a website at Stern for the class that includes everything that I do in this class: webcasts of the classes, lecture notes and quizzes/exams. You can find them all by clicking onn the link below:
The plus is that this is my first stop when I add or update anything to the class and it is the one place where you will be guaranteed to find everything to do with the class. The minus is that I am not a master at web design and the look and it shows: things are sometimes difficult to find and it is short on eye candy.

2. Lore: I will continue to teach this class on Lore, but rather than maintain two separate classes (as I did last semester), I will consolidate the class in one location. Since I will be using Lore to keep track of those who are registered and are taking the class at Stern, you will be auditing the class on Lore, if you choose this option. To join the "audtior" list, click below:
Note that you will have all of the access to materials and webcasts of the registered students. For the moment, though, you will be able to read posts and comments but you cannot post: I will work on seeing whether I can change that, to allow you to participate in discussions. The plus is that the site is much more polished than mine will ever be, but the minus is that you have to work within the Lore structure, which may not be to your liking. 

3. Apple iTunes U: As a long time Apple user, I have watched the development of Apple iTunes U with interest. What started as a site with just class videos and no interaction is evolving into something more typical of Apple: beautiful and useful at the same time. The downside, though, is that you need an Apple device to use iTunes U, preferably an iPad. If you do have one, here is what you can do:
Step 1: Go to the Apple App store and download Apple iTunes U. Don't worry. It is free.
Step 2: On your Apple device, open your email and click on the link below
Step 3: Apple iTunes U should open up and the class should be on your shelf.
Step 4: You may need to wait until I let you into the site. (I am working on making this a public course but there seem to be some barriers in place...)
The plus is that the site is dazzling in terms of beauty but the minus is that you cannot get to it on your Android or Blackberry device.

4. YouTube:  I am using a site call Symynd to provide access to the class resources to anyone who is interested in valuation. This site, which aims to democratize education, converts the webcasts into YouTube videos and provides access to the material. You can get to the site by going to:
For those of you who have trouble downloading the large lecture webcast files (150 GB and higher) that are offered on the other channels, the YouTube videos work much better, since they are compact. There is a Facebook page for the class, where you can post and respond...

I hope that one of these four channels works for you and that you can come along for the ride. As always, I am interested in finding out not only what works, but what does not. The first session of the class was last Wednesday (September 5) and you have plenty of time to catch up before the next class on Monday. I will post the webcasts on all four channels about an hour after the class ends (between 1 pm and 2 pm, New York Time, every Monday and Wednesday).


senith said...

Hi Aswath,

Thanks for generously sharing your knowledge with everyone interested in valuation! We ( will be happy to volunteer as TAs for the course. Last year, we could read & respond in Lore. Not sure if we will be able to do that in Symynd/youtube. If nothing else, we will be happy to do it on facebook. Do let us know if this is ok with you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Aswath,

Are there any volunteers to do subtitles? It would be a great idea and support


Jason DaCruz said...

Congratulations on the big 50!

I promised myself to follow this class last year but fell off halfway through the semester. I hope to complete it this year, though!

Thanks once again for putting so much into your online resources. I hope to go to NYU to get my MBA one day - the main reason being the quality of teaching I've seen on your website.

Anonymous said...

Hi Senith ( graduate tutor)
This is SyMynd team. We welcome you to participate in the discussion section of the course and answer questions from participants or on the facebook page. The whole idea of open access course is to "crowdsource" education, where the "seed" of discussion and education is put by Prof. Damodaran, and everyone else participates in the discussion. It will be impossible for Prof. Damodaran to answer questions from thousands of people.
So your team is welcome to join in either on course page on SyMynd or the facebook page. Just remember not to market graduatetutor too much.
SyMynd team

Anonymous said...

Reply to anonymous Regarding subtitles.
When you are watching lecture video on symynd, and need subtitles, just click on youtube icon or the video title to open the video on youtube page. Just below the video, along with "flag" and embed, you will see a subtitle tool. Click it and you will see automated subtitles done by youtube. These are not perfect. Over time, we might get manually generated subtitles, or may be not.
SyMynd team
contact at symynd . com

Anonymous said...

For the problem with subtitles, it should do how the subtitles's web of film and series: creation of system for share to tranches of different users' translations. The youtube system is very bad


Belajar SEO dari Pakar SEO di SEO Academy said...

Nice info Aswath, I will recommend your post in my blog


Unknown said...

Thank you professor.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

every year better

Thanks Aswath

Anonymous said...

Dear Prof.,
Thanks for this ! I couldnt complete the class the last time around. Hope to do so this time !!

Best regards

Alvaro Salazar said...


Senith said...

Thanks for the response SyMynd team,

Will participate on the facebook page and will make sure we dont self promote too much!


senith said...

Hi SyMynd team,

Had an infographic on valuation. Its on the topic of the class. Would it be considered self promotion if I added it to your facebook page? Can you please check and let me know.


We all love Gero said...

Thank you professor for being so generous with sharing your knowledge. I wish I had taken action on your various Facebook valuation updates.

Thank you also for increasing your channels of distribution. The YouTube channel is excellent as it lets me listen to your lectures on my phone!

senith said...

Another twist since this course is about "Valuation". Try getting at the "value" of a diamond!

Might hurt but its the truth. Please read how good marketing can influence culture and our perception of value!

Maybe the real value of a diamond is close to a pebble!!

Article from The Atlantic titled "Have you ever tried to sell a diamond"

CH868 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alvaro said...

Hi, is there by any chance a way to obtain an RSS file in order to subscribe to the video podcasts? It will make much easier to follow up the class. Thanks in advance

Latvian Translation said...

I sincerely appreciate your efforts to bring your teachings to the rest of us. I have personally used your Lore lectures in assisting my interns this past summer. Thank you!

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I posted this in the facebook IPO post as we discussed drivers of value there. But thought this may be more appropriate here buy facebook fans

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