professor
Mikhail Smirnov

Apr 2021

Professor Smirnov is great! He's very organized and his slides/chalkboard notes are clear and easy to follow. It's clear that Professor Smirnov is very knowledgeable about the material, but he goes through class material slowly and will often review concepts when they come up later in the semester. He did a really great job of adapting to Zoom, too. Professor Smirnov definitely cares a lot about whether students are understanding the material and he doesn't make us do anything unnecessarily difficult. He's also very friendly and stops often for questions

Jan 2014

This is a fairly straightforward class. If you have a tough schedule and want a clear class, that presents the material in a logical method, I would suggest you take Smirnov. I know that there are things said about his accent and teaching methods, but I found his class very palpable and comprehensible. His examples are very representative of what to expect on the exam. Don't fuck up the first exam, and study hard for the second exam. Overall, you don't want to be the one in the harder Calc IV section while all your friends are in Smirnov.

Jan 2014

Professor Smirnov's Calculus IV class is not the most inspiring. His class is usually in the evening so that's a bummer. Also, his voice is a bit monotonous thus can lead to dozing off. Professor Smirnov gives out powerpoints of his lectures. However, these lectures are pretty much verbatim from Stewart Calculus textbook so do as you please. He provides practice exams and has a mini-review session on the class before the exam. He however seems quite eager to get the approval of his students thus is very responsive to constructive criticism. Overall, he teaches a fair section of Calculus IV and just wants his students to understand the material and do well in his class. The time section is just a little annoying though. Would recommend this class for people needing Calculus IV but are not particularly interested in the subject matter

Aug 2013

Where to begin? I know where I'll begin. I'll begin by telling you, prospective Calc IV students, that the review written about Smirnov on May 29th was almost certainly written by Smirnov himself. I can hear him sounding out "deef-i-cult" as I read it. Smirnov is useless. His lectures consist of him reading directly off PowerPoint slides that are condensed versions of Stewart's textbook. (I'd argue that, in this respect, Smirnov is no different from the average math professor). His problem sets (which - by the way, are graded both inconsistently and slowly) are drawn, you guessed it, directly out of the textbook. Exam questions also come from the textbook. In other words, you could learn Calculus IV just as well from the textbook alone as you could while using Smirnov's lectures and problem sets as a supplement to it. Smirnov frequently arrived late to class, refused to give the TAs an answer key to the two midterms, answered questions condescendingly, and - in spite of all this - reminded us about a dozen times by email to write a positive evaluation about him. If you'd like to be exposed to the material that you're meant to learn in Calc IV, skip class, and do practice problems in the textbook, you might consider taking Calc IV with Smirnov. But if you'd like to have a lecturer with a modicum of interest in his students, take Calc IV with another professor.

Jul 2013

PROS + Adorable old Russian man. His English is perfectly digestible, and he's so obsessed with getting good evaluations that he'll go far out of his way to address any of your concerns. + Structured approach. C'mon, PowerPoints and hardly any handwritten notes required? Piece of cake! Although everyone else (not exaggerating) had taken advanced physics or stats or analysis before, which really intimidated me, I ended up with the highest grade by sitting down with the PowerPoints a few days before each exam to extract the most important information. Smirnov includes everything he wants you to know on his slides. Extraneous studying might actually hurt you. + Light workload and fair exams. See below. CONS - Late time slots. He must be the token professor for GS and postbac students, but even as a first-year I signed up for his section because my schedule couldn't accommodate any other Calc IV class. "Should I take a 6:10 class, or should I kill myself?" is basically what I was contemplating during registration. - Mediocre presentation of the information. Mmhmm, Smirnov is egregiously guilty of word-for-word spewing sentences you can read for yourself. You'll have to work a little harder than you're accustomed to absorb things while you're sitting in class, since you won't be writing much down or seeing concepts presented in new ways.

May 2013

Smirnov was one of the best Calculus professors that I had. He is very organized. Used slides and gave excellent handouts before each lecture. First midterm was easy, second more difficult. He provided sample midterms and sample final and put solutions on Courseworks. Also he put homework problems and then later solutions on Courseworks and that made my studying easy. Following lectures was easy because he provided handouts and he additionally did extra examples at every lecture. He is not a native speaker but accent was fine. I enjoyed this class a lot and highly recommend it.

May 2013

I was in his Calc 4 section last semester, which was the worst experience in my freshman year. I was originally in Siegel's section but had to switch out to smooth my schedule. However, Smirnov hardly qualifies as a professor. He reads literally every word on the handout and there never seemed to be anything that he could teach me. Plus, his English level is highly questionable. Despite all these complaints, I think getting an A can still be easy, though I am not sure about the percentage. If you want to learn math, plz plz plz don't go to Smirnov's section, or you would be disappointed in this subject.

Dec 2006

I took this class while taking a Stats 4000 level Probability course and after taking the IEOR Intro to Financial Engineering (FE). Basically, I would have never gotten through it without the Into to FE class and the material from the Probability course. The undergrads without this background had no clue what was going on. Smirnov gives a practical view of various markets which is interesting and good to know in industry; except, none of that stuff is on the HW or Exams. You basically need to read the book to learn the actual material that you will be tested on. As for the project, I strongly suggest choosing a topic on technical trading strategies (and keep the presentation short, he says 10 min, but he would rather you do it in 6 min, otherwise, you will be cut off before you finish). I would recommend this class as an easy A for those who have had previous background in quant finance (graduate level); otherwise, you will have a tough time.

Dec 2005

Having taken Discrete Time Models in Finance before, I was expecting MoF to be a thorough introduction to continuous time asset pricing. I was sorely disappointed -- both with the material that was taught and the professor. Because there are no advanced probability thoery and differential equations prereqs, many of the results are derived through intuition instead of rigorous math. Indeed, it is necessary to understand how to derive the Black-Scholes pricing formulae from start to finish. Instead, we are pretty much asked to memorize it. Even fundamental concepts such as Ito's Lemma and risk-neutral measures are glossed over. You'll be better off reading the Hull textbook (which is an excellent primer, by the way). My advice is to take this class only as a resume stuffer, and learn the material on your own.

Sep 2004

STAY AWAY!!! Extremely difficult course, even for a senior majoring in math - the material is not explained properly. As this class is 95% filled with students in the math of finance grad school program, expect the material to be EXTREMELY difficult. You will receive homework problem sets that are designed for people with several years research exposure in finance. And NONE of it is explained in class. The lectures jump randomly from topic to topic, and most of it is not worth listening to because in won't help you on the midterm/final. As a math major, I got a B- in this class after working my butt off and spending almost no time on other classes that really mattered. And grading is also extremely random - I know people who deserved at least an A- but ended up in the C range (and vice versa)

Apr 2004

OK, so you've read the other reviews. This man does not care about undergrads and he does come late and cancel a lot of classes. If you are intrested in stocks and want to take a class with a brillent man who will talk to you about them for hours this is the class to take. I took it cause I heard it was easy and it was- he gave you a practice test just like the test you took (sometimes numbers changed but it was the same). So... what do you want?

Dec 2002

Professor Smirnov started off as a witty Russian mathematician and ended up...well, we don't know, he was hardly there. And when he was, he hardly taught. During our end presentations at the end of the semester, he fell asleep or left to buy muffins and a coffee. Every other week his lectures were substituted by other Russians in finance, perhaps his neighbors?? They were unintelligble. But as an undergraduate, the course is not too helpful. Much of the finance you're expected to know, since the class is 98% masters students who have worked in major financial firms. Don't expect anyone, particularly smirnov to explain. But the math side of it is pretty interesting-atleast you get a taste of how math is and can be applied to real world phenomena.

Dec 2002

I was very disappointed in this class. He is a really bad professor and it’s not just my opinion most of the people whom I spoke to feel the same way. He has absolutely no concept of finance, he presents the material in a haphazard way, and he does not follow the syllabus nor his notes, or a concept for that matter. He said that “there are two basic investment philosophies” that’s it, he doesn’t tell you what it is. He basically lacks the ability or the desire to teach. You never get some of your homework’s back and the ones that you get back they mark stuff wrong that is right. We never got out midterms back. I CAN NOT EMPHASIZE ENGOUGH MY DISSAPOIMENT IN THIS CLASS. I DID NOT LEARN A THING. I can't believe that they let these people teach, when we are paying TOP dollar for tuition.

Dec 2002

Horrid. Smirnov is every student's nightmare of a teacher. First, you shouldk now he hates undergraduates, and doesn't want you in this class. He does everything he can to discourage that (besides making it a graduate level course...) His accent is bearable, but annoying, and his grammar is just bad. More to the point, his lectures are terrible. He cancelled maybe a fifth ( which includes bringing in outside guest lectureres to talk about who knows what). He doesn't follow the text, doesn't follow the syllabus, doesn't even follow his own prepared overheads. doesn't answer questions. does idiotic things like reading verbatim every problem set, like it's the congressional record. Homeworks require knowledge of things not in the text or in class. Divine intervention is pretty much the only solution. He comes late to class regularly. But, he schedules office hours for about 15 minutes before class and is never there. So where is he? Most importantly, you might think that you need to take this class in order to know the math of finance. well you don't learn that here, so don't worry. we didn't learn any math until well into the second month.

Apr 2002

This class is downright unbelievable. Unbelievable in the sense that on the third day of classes, Smirnov decided to cancel half of the semesters lectures. He would consistently show up to class over half an hour late. When one student asked a question about programming in excel in the beginning of the semester, Smirnov simply stared him down, then declared "Maybe Columbia made mistake when they admitted you." You will wonder why you ever considered taking this clas.

Apr 2001

Wow, pretty much everything that is wrong with the Math department here summarized in one Professor. He has a limited comand of the language, answers questions by repeating the last five minutes of his lecture verbatim, and gives all the grading to the TA (who is unreachable) who he refers students to in regards to any questions (despite repeated complaints that the TA is unreachable). Ow, he also takes every opportunity to have guest lectures come in or combine the class with one of his graduate courses to save himself the workload.