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.
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.
Painfully boring. Fair grader (~40% A range). Light workload (4 problem sets). Don't take this class because Prof Dang makes me want to fall asleep/drop out of school.
AVOID THIS COURSE!!! Professor Dang is extremely intelligent, but he is as just as much disorganized. Every lecture is 80 slides loaded with details, that he simply reads off to the class. I took this course anticipating it to be an easy and fun econ elective, but I was bitterly mistaken. The biggest drawback of this course is the fact that the slides are so unclear. Perhaps it is a language barrier, or maybe simply a style, but even after reading the same slide 5 times it is still not clear what is going on. There are some pros: -Exam is "open book". -Light work load. -Older problem sets that you can find online for inspiration. Cons: -Enormous amount of repetitive and irrelevant details in the slides. Huge number of slides (almost 1000 slides for each exam) -You won't learn a thing. -There is no good way to prepare to the final / midterm. Hit or miss. (the mean on the exam was 55/75 and was adjusted with a light curve. Only the upper 20% will get an A in thus course) - The curve will most likely not work in your favor (if you are looking for an A or an A-)
Best senior seminar hands down. There were no problem sets, and everyone seemed to enjoy writing about their topics. He provided a lot of guidance and encouraged everyone to conduct original research without the burden of difficult grading. EVERYONE wants his section. But if you're lucky enough to get a good lottery number, definitely take this class.
Overall, I enjoyed this class and learned a decent amount. The only issue I had with Prof. Dang is that he's pretty quiet/softspoken, so if you don't sit in the front you can't really hear him all that well, and he also doesn't tell people in class who are being rude and talking to stfu. Dang is a really nice prof and a pretty funny guy, would agree with below reviewer on his personality. He obviously cares about the students (he is super nice, super helpful, always willing to answer questions) but he doesn't take the class too seriously, in my opinion... his jokes are funny. Because of his softspoken personality lectures can get kind of boring, unless you are super into the material. The second half of the course is less theoretical than the first, and we actually look at cases, so the class gets more interesting as the semester goes on. The first half of the course is a LOT more theoretical and some of the stuff could get complicated and I didn't really get everything, but everything you need to know for exams is in the homework, and once you figure out how to do the problem you're fine. TAs also were very helpful. The BEST part about this class, in my opinion, is that it's such a laidback class. If you pay attention you will learn a lot about the topic... if you need a more low-key class though you don't really have to go to lecture b/c everything you need to know is in the slides. There are five problem sets, three pre-midterm, two post-midterm, doing them is really important because the exams are basically exactly like the problem sets. Gonna echo the last reviewer and say at least 80% of the exams are the exact same type of problems as in the homeworks, and he gives practice exams as well. Final is non-cumulative, on the last day of class. Both exams are completely open-book and open-note. This is a fairly easy and straightforward class... the material can get difficult and complex, but it's easy to do well as long as you do the work before exam day.
The review below is completely unfair. Tri Vi is generally very good, very clear, and very straight forward. It is true that he teaches a 'liberal arts' version of corporate finance. He is more concerned with the theory of corporate finance, and his grading reflects this emphasis on approach, not execution. It is also true that his lectures can seem boring. However, this is a by-product of highly structured and well-organized slides. Missing class is not a problem. And I suspect that most students in the class are happy enough taking a class in which finance is the focus. His assignments (of which there are only 5 or 6) can sometimes seem challenging, but working through them pays real dividends come exam time. And the exams are at least 80% homework problems. Despite the opinion of the reviewer below, I found the exam questions to be absolutely explicit, especially if you've done the homework. Tri Vi has a slight accent, but it is not debilitating. He obviously knows his stuff, and he's a super friendly guy. He's also refreshingly incisive and to-the-point when it comes to describing investment banking, private equity, and taxes. This makes class kind of funny.
He was horrible. His lectures were boring and unorganized, and you cant even understand what he says half the time. Literally 10 people would show up for lectures out of a 70 person class. His teaching is highly theoretical and has absolutely no real world application. Instead of teaching us the concepts behind corporate valuation, he gave us matrix problems about no-arbitrage. The wording on the problem sets and exams is like a child wrote them--you have no idea what he is looking for. He requires you to buy a textbook that is not even remotely useful--not that the book is bad, but he just makes everything up as he goes along. His problem sets--of which there were only 5 for the semester--were full of material that was not in his class notes (which he posts on courseworks...often late), or in the book. If it hadn't of been for the TA, there would be no way to solve half of the problems in the homeworks. I did not learn a thing from this guy, which really is a shame as I was looking forward to this class. Avoid this guy like the clap, he will ruin your semester--and I got an A in the class...