I have mixed feelings on Professor Namvar. On one hand, he's really chill and presents lectures very clearly. The homework assignments (case studies) were also very easy, which is nice. He also arranges for lots of guest speakers to come to class, which is awesome! However, I feel like I learned a lot more from the textbook than I did from the lectures, which I barely managed to pay attention to. He also didn't record Zoom classes and hosted recitations on the same day and time every week, both of which are things that made this class less enjoyable to me as an international student. (Also this was a cameras-on class if you care about that!)
I haven't taken too many Econ electives yet, but this is one of my top 3 econ classes so far at Columbia. The format of this class worked perfectly over zoom, since Tri Vi posts his slides ahead of time, and then explains and adds to them during class. He's a super clear lecturer and his slides are also super clear. It may seem like you can skip class due to how comprehensive the slides are, but I don't recommend it because Tri Vi adds important details and clarifications, and also interesting examples. I only went to the TA named Bozidar, but he was incredibly helpful for tricky homework problems. What impressed me the most about this class was how invested Tri Vi was in the success of his students in office hours. He makes plenty of time each week for questions/concerns during office hours and makes sure that every student got their questions answered. I'm sure you could have a good experience if you don't engage further in the material than just going to class, but if you need help at all or just want to learn more about a specific topic in the class, office hours make all the difference. 10/10 class, I would definitely recommend.
Honestly, I don't know where does all this hatred for Tri Vi comes from in the reviews... Yes, he is not the most engaging instructor at Columbia. But so what? I learned a fair amount from the class and more importantly, this class has a super light workload. With that being said, it's true that he didn't really teach the materials in depth. Make your own judgments here, but I do wanna put the record straight.
Ethan is a great professor. We had very straightforward assignments, intuitive explanations of core principles and formulae of Corporate Finance, 30%(!) attendance (just show up, not class participation, though that certainly doesn't hurt), and a big final project which tied everything together. He somehow also knows a bunch of famous people (Marty Kaplan, Stephanie Link, Byron Wien, etc) who came and spoke with us. Great experience!
TAKE THIS CLASS. DANG IS A BLESSING TO THE ECON'S DEPARTMENT Great Prof. The class is really interesting. It can get a lil dry ok but this is finance not an improv class, so some people commenting below really need to relax. He grades really nicely and cares an awful lot about student's success. It's a ton of slides, yes but (A) they are not super packed and (B) they explain everything super well so you don't get confused. He also provides a lot of examples on his slides that will help you with the homework/Psets. You don't have to go to class, necessarily, but don't come crying on CULPA when you messed up, because you weren't putting enough effort into it. TAs are amazing, each and every one of them, super helpful and approachable. It's finance, if you want to cry about finance being dry, I think you have the wrong major. Pros: - Awesome Prof - Problem sets prepare you very well for the exams - 5 Problem sets that are not too hard - Lots of guidance from Prof - Tons of slides that help you understand things in-depth, give great guidance for Psets and teach you a thing or two about trading. - Fun German accent, not hard to understand at all. Cons: - It can get dry, again finance tends to be dry. 10/10 for puns and dad jokes for sure.
Refer to the 2007 reviews because he hasn't changed. He could be the worst professor ever lived on this planet. Why? He practically doesn't teach us anything! He rambles about useless things that can be found in the textbook but the cases require more advanced, in-depth knowledge which he just expects us to know. On top of that his assignment instructions are SO ambiguous and poorly organized. What's the point of him being a professor if all he talks about can be found in the textbook? He's just there to call on students, not to teach. No wonder why he wants us to work in a group. This is not a difficult course if professor is decent, but the fact that he doesn't teach us anything makes it particularly difficult and impossible to do ill-organized cases. The majority of students received Cs for this course.
I just finished a term with Mesznik. He would make a great tour guide - full of knowledgable tid-bits and artifacts. But, as an instructor he is weak. Specifically, he is terribly unorganized. Both the classes and the exam felt like a roller coaster where you aren't sure what is coming up but you know it can't be good. Overall - thumbs down.
The worst professor I have had. Ever. He has no structure at all in his teaching, he does not use any slides, he does not teach any method at all, he has no prepared solutions for the cases, and he rambles about things that are totally unrelated to the topic. I have not learnt a single thing during his lectures, everything I learned is from the book and fellow class mates.
Great guy with a sharp, slightly dry sense of humor you will grow to appreciate. At the beginning, he came across as didactic and snappy, but it was probably to show that he was serious about his job as a teacher and wanted to weed out students looking for the easy A. Very good at clarifying concepts that students usually have a garbled knowledge of from previous classes. Great at introducing new concepts and connecting what was learnt in a previous lecture with the most current lecture. Those looking for quantitative thoroughness will be disappointed, as the nature of corporate finance itself is not an exact science in many cases. But it is a must for aspiring I-Bankers, and good to know for anybody else going into the financial services industry. I highly recommend taking this class with this professor.
Overall not great. Corporate Finance is naturally pretty dry, but this class was brutal. Prof. Guirguis is very smart and qualified. However, the 2:45 Monday night lecture was pretty grueling both for him (who seems to have a day job) and for us. The class was in the hottest room in IAB (temperature wise) so everyone wanted to take a nap. Also, Prof. Guirguis just blazed through Excel spreadsheets showing us how to do different things which were, when done by hand, computational nightmares. There is no homework in the class and only a few quizzes which count for 30% of your grade. There is also no recitation. So you're pretty much given handouts, a textbook, one 2:45 minute lecture a week, and sent out in the cold to learn a lot of the stuff on your own. Also, there is no curve in the class -- you get whatever your number average is. Thus, he only gave out about 20% A-range grades -- quite a bit worse than your average economics class.
Charissa was great: engaging lecturer, helpful, attentive, plenty of lecture notes, lenient grader. Case studies were interesting and informative, there were no surprises. She took Econometrics a long time ago with Phoebus Dhrymes (Econometrics) and thus understands the shortcomings of the econ dept at Columbia, so she tries to make things better. That sweet motherly voice of hers is an added bonus.
TAKE THIS CLASS. If there is one Finance-related class you take at Columbia, it should be this one and it should be with Mesznik. You cover only case studies in the class and Mesznik presents all of the material in a very coherent, cohesive, everything-is-totally-logical manner - and... he's SUPER FUNNY too! It was great to take this class with him; he made Finance not only interesting and easy to understand, he also made it relevant to our lives by bringing in only real-world examples!
Mesznik- great teacher & a guy that has a personality...He makes the material easy to learn, but make sure to pay attention in class because he likes to pick on those who look lost. If you're at all interested in finance after graduation, you should take this class with Mesznik, he will explain the ins and outs of basic corporate finance for you. He is good with grading, if you do well enough on the midterm you dont have to take the final. Everyone gets similar grades on the case study, so basically the midterm/optional final are where your grade comes from. Really good prof.
Amir was the TA to Mesznick's Corp Finance class for the fall semester. He was never available for OH, and when he bothered to schedule an apt. he stood me up twice. He seemed embittered to be the TA and was condescending and reluctant to give out any help. Maybe he is a better professor, but as a TA, dont expect ANY help.
Proferssor Mesznik was one of the best Professors I have had yet in the finance department. His lectures were uplifting and energetic. He has a great sense of humour and goes out of his way to make sure you truly grasp the material. He is entirely FAIR on all of your grades. I truly felt like I walked away learning a great deal from this class.
Great class! He's a good professor. Definitely has a sense of humor, which can sometimes be a bit offensive, but he does it to keep you energized and alert through the 2 1/2 hour class. The presentations are a bit difficult, but he is very resourceful and willing to help you. Final was optional this year if you were satisfied with you midterm and case study grades. Highly recommended for those who want to do something withing financial services and investment banking.
Terrific class: Mesznik is probably the most interesting and clear professor I've had. The material is very interesting, and 70% of the class got A- or above. Plus, he missed 3 out of 12 lectures, and since he felt bad about that he made the final optional. Nothing wrong with that.