May 2021

DeRosa is a great person but a terrible professor. This course is way off what I expected and I learned very little from it. First of all, this course deals with very little 'quantitative' stuff. It's basically the history of finance. The is no problem set or quiz, just loads of reading on financial theories. The exams are basically mini-essays and he does not give out answers, which means you have no idea why he gives out the grade he does and has no idea how to improve. Second, he integrates too many irrelevant anecdotes in class and he has strong personal opinions on things that he expects you to agree with. A waste of time, to be honest. Third, there is no clear rubric for grading, as I mentioned. According to him, the midterm doesn't matter to the final grade if you improve a lot. However, he gives no advice on how to improve, other than going to the lectures and doing the readings. It seems that he grades the essays to his own preference. Also, the exam questions are unclear and it's hard to know what he wants from the questions. To sum up: 1) waste of lecture time on irrelevant information 2) not much quant stuff going on 3) randomness on grading 4) a LOT of reading. Maybe a little too much for a finance class. 5) No hw, just 2 exams. No exam answers are posted.

Jan 2018

First, this course is definitely not for someone wants to learn "quantitative finance", Professor Wong has no quantitative background as he mentioned in the 1st lecture. It's all about basic finance theories. Wong is not very academic. Sometimes it seems that he didn't understand the theories and audience could easily find flaws in his arguments. Wong works at Morgan Stanley as a chief risk officer, so he brought cultures of investment bank to the class, good or bad. But first and foremost, a lecturer should understand his material and be well prepared. Second, the logistics was just terrible. 1) Assignment was announced 2 days before the deadline without any prior notice. And during our final week, we were noticed that we would still have one assignment to complete between all those final exams.Crazy! 2) Assignment, midterm and final exams were ambiguous.Professor Wong mentioned that he intended to do so in order to help us get used to IB cultures.But as a student, I did feel it wasted us tons of time to guess what he really meant, but ended up with multiple correct answers. During the final exam, students were asking him questions from beginning to end. It was an incredibly unfair and tiresome. 3) In final exam, we were assigned to a small class room so that students sat next to each other. And Professor Wong said because he needed to scan all the copies so that we could only put answers in extremely small blanks between questions. I don't why he didn't prepare blue books or white paper for us. I spent much time fitting my answers to the blanks. After all Columbia is not an investment bank. Grading: I believe 70% of the class get B+ or lower though they may get 90% of the total scores. 35% final, 35% midterm, 20% homework and 10% participation. Differences are minor between A,A- and B+. Half of the class pass it's definitely not a easy class for beginner even the material is straightforward.