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The Corporate Finance Email Chronicles: Spring 2016


I confess. I send out a lot of emails and I am sure that you don't read some of them. Since they sometimes contain important information as well as clues to my thinking (deranged though it might be), I will try to put all of the emails into this file. They are in chronological order, starting with the earliest one. So, scroll down to your desired email and read on...

Email content

Happy new year! I hope you have a wonderful break and that you will come back tanned, rested and ready to go. This is the first of many, many emails that you will get for me. You can view that either as a promise or a threat. I am delighted that you have decided to take the corporate finance class this spring with me and especially so if you are not a finance major and have never worked in finance. I am an evangelist when it comes to the centrality of corporate finance and I will try very hard to convert you to my faith. I also know that some of you may be worried about the class and the tool set that you will bring to it.

I cannot alleviate all your fears now, but here are a few things that you can do to get an early jump:
a. Get a financial calculator and do not throw away the manual. I know that you feel more comfortable using Excel, but you will need a calculator for your quizzes/exams.
b. The only prior knowledge that I will draw on will be in basic accounting, statistics and present value. If you feel insecure about any of these areas, I have short primers on my web site that you can download by going to
Having got these thoughts out of the way, let me get down to business. You can find out all you need to know about the class (for the moment) by going to the web page for the class:
This page has everything connected to the class, including webcast links, lecture notes and project links. The syllabus has been updated:
You will be getting a hard copy of it on the first day of class but the the quiz dates are specified online. If you click on the calendar link, you will be taken to a Google calendar of everything related to this class.
You will note references to a project which will be consuming your lives for the next four months. This project will essentially require you to do a full corporate financial analysis of a company. While there is nothing you need to do at the moment for the project, you can start thinking about a company you would like to analyze and a group that you want to be part of.

I will also be posting the contents of the site (webcasts, lectures, posts) on iTunes U. If you have never used it, here is what you need: an Apple device (iPhone or iPad), the iTunes U app on the device and you need to link to the link below:
Like all things Apple, the set up iis very well done and it is neat, being able to catch up on a lecture you missed on your iPad, while browsing through the lecture notes on it too. I know that you are feeling overwhelmed by now, but for those of you with devices and slower broadband, I also have a YouTube Playlist for the class:
Please check it out.

Now for the material for the class. The lecture notes for the class are available as a pdf file that you can download and print. I have both a standard version (one slide per page) and an environmentally friendly version (two slides per page) to download. You can also save paper entirely and download the file to your iPad or Kindle. Make your choice.
If you prefer a copied package, the first part (of two) should be in the bookstore next week. There is a book for the class, Applied Corporate Finance, but please make sure that you get the fourth edition. It is exorbitantly over priced but you can buy, rent or download it at Amazon.com or the NYU bookstore
While I have no qualms about wasting your money, I know that some of you are budget constrained (a nice way of saying "poor") . If you really, really cannot afford the book, you should be able to live without it. I can even lend you a copy around quiz weeks.

One final point. I know that the last few years have led you to question the reach of finance (and your own career paths). I must confess that I have gone through my own share of soul searching, trying to make sense of what is going on. I will try to incorporate what I think the lessons learned, unlearned and relearned over this period are for corporate finance. There are assumptions that we have made for decades that need to be challenged and foundations that have to be reinforced. In other words, the time for cookbook and me-too finance (which is what too many firms, investment banks and consultants have indulged in) is over.

To close, I will leave you with a YouTube video that introduces you (in about 3 minutes) to the class.
I hope you enjoy it. That is about it. I am looking forward to this class. It has always been my favorite class to teach (though I love teaching valuation) and I have a singular objective. I would like to make it the best class you have ever taken, period. I know that this is going to be tough to pull off but I will really try. I hope to see you on January 25th, in class.


As the long winter break winds down, I hope you are ready to get started on classes. I also hope you got my really long email a few days back. If you did not, you can find it here:
This one, hopefully, will not be as long and has only a few items

1. Webpage for class: In case you completely missed this part of the last email, all of the material for the class (as well as the class calendar) is on the website for the class:
Please do try to download the first lecture note packet by Monday or buy it at the bookstore..
2. Book: I won’t put pressure on you to get the book, lest you think that I have some money making agenda here. I think that you can live without the book, though I tend to agree with its author most of the time, but if you do have money to spend, here is the link:
If you are in Asia still, you are in luck, because the Asian edition is much, much cheaper.
3. Pre-class prep: Are you kidding me? What kind of twisted mind comes up with a pre-class prep for the very first class. Just relax, have fun this weekend and try to be in class. If you cannot make it, never fear! The webcast for the class will be up a little while after the class, but it just won't be the same as being there in person.

For those of you who have not got around to checking, class is scheduled from 3.30-4.45 in Paulson Auditorium on January 25.


I hope that you are safe and warm, wherever you are. I do know that some of you are in locales far away, frantically trying to get flight home (and failing). Some of you seem to be a little freaked out about missing the first class (or two). Much as I would love to have you in person, in the class, don’t worry! Not only will you survive missing the classes, but I will make it easy for you to follow along. The class will be recorded and it will then be available to watch on three forums, the webpage for the class, iTunes U (if you have an Apple device) and YouTube. The links to all three were in your first email and are also listed below:
Webpage for class: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/corpfinUG.html
iTunes U: https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/id1069496444
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUkh9m2BorqnapcQ03A0a_jsbele2kKbp
You will also be able to download the syllabus, project description and lecture notes from the webpage. You can start forming your groups in cyber space and ask me questions about the sessions about unresolved issues. Come to think of it, I don’t see why you have to come back to New York at all, to take this class.

Incidentally, on a day like today, the blog post I wrote a few years ago after a snowstorm seems relevant:
See you when you get here!


I promised you with a ton of emails and I always deliver on my promises... Here is the first of many, many missives that you will receive for me….. First, a quick review of what we did in today's class. I laid out the structure for the class and an agenda of what I hope to accomplish during the next 15 weeks. In addition to describing the logistical details, I presented my view that corporate finance is the ultimate big picture class because everything falls under its purview. The “big picture” of corporate finance covers the three basic decisions that every business has to make: how to allocate scarce funds across competing uses (the investment decision), how to raise funds to finance these investments (the financing decision) and how much cash to take out of the business (the dividend decision). The singular objective in corporate finance is to maximize the value of the business to its owners. This big picture was then used to emphasize three themes, with two more to come in the next class: that corporate finance is common sense, that it is focused and that the focus shifts over the life cycle.

On to housekeeping details.
1. Project Group: I have not described the project yet, but you don’t have until Wednesday to get started. For the moment, try to at least find a group that you can work with for the rest of the semester. Find people you like/trust/can get along with/ will not kill before the end of the semester. The group should be at least 4 and can be up to 8 (if you can handle the logistics). Each person will be picking a company and having a larger group will not mean less work. This group will do both a case and the project, both of which I will talk about next class.
2. Webcasts: The webcasts should be up a few hours after the class ends. Please use the webcasts as a back-up, in case you cannot make it to class or have to review something that you did not get during class, rather than as replacement for coming to class. I would really, really like to see you in class. The web cast for the first class is not up yet, but it should be soon. When it is, you should be able to find it at
Try it out and let me know what you think. I have been told that it come through best if you have a 50 inch flat panel TV and surround sound. You will also find the syllabus and project description in pdf format to download and print on this page. The lecture note packet is also on this page. If you were not able to come to class today, because of weather issues (or anything else), here are the links to the syllabus and project that were handed out:
Syllabus: http://people.stern.nyu.edu/adamodar/pdfiles/cfovhds/cfUGsyllspr16.pdf
Project: http://people.stern.nyu.edu/adamodar/pdfiles/cfovhds/cfUGproj.pdf
3. Drop by: I know this is a large class but I would really like to meet you at some point in time personally. So, drop by when you get chance... I don't bite....
4. Lecture note packet 1: Please bring the first lecture note packet to class on Wednesday. If you want to buy it at the bookstore and the bookstore does not have it, just print off the first 15 pages for Wednesday’s class. Here is the link to lecture note packet 1.
Lecture note packet 1: http://people.stern.nyu.edu/adamodar/pdfiles/cfovhds/cfpacket1spr16.pdf
5. Past emails: If you have registered late for this class and did not get the previous emails, you can see all past emails under email chronicles
on my web site
6. Post class test & solution: Each class, I will be sending out a post class test and solution for each class. This is just meant to reinforce what we did in class that day and there are no grades or prizes involved. I am attaching the ones for today's class.
7. Blog: If you are one of those people who cannot wait to get started and are interested in sports, movies or celebrities, here are a few of the blog posts that I referenced in class today:
Valuing the Star Wars Franchise: http://aswathdamodaran.blogspot.com/2013/10/game-on-tracking-stock-on-arian-foster.html
Valuing the Los Angeles Clippers: http://aswathdamodaran.blogspot.com/2014/06/ballmers-bid-for-clippers-investment.html
Valuing the Arian Foster tracking stock: http://aswathdamodaran.blogspot.com/2013/10/game-on-tracking-stock-on-arian-foster.html
Yahoo, the Walking Dead Company: http://aswathdamodaran.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-walking-dead-blackberry-yahoo-and.html
All of these readings are optional, but my objective is that you be able to do the valuations embedded in them by the end of the class.


I am sorry to hit you with a second email in one day, but since so many people were missing in class today, I thought it would be useful to let you know that the webcasts are up and running. As I mentioned in class, there are four ways you can access them:
1. As a stream
2. As a downloadable video
3. As a downloadable audio
4. As a YouTube video
You can get links to all of them on the webcast page, which is where all the videos for this class will go. So, even if you were in class today, please visit the page and just click on the links to see how they work.
In fact, if you are still bored, you can also check out the iTunes U page for the class and download the iTunes U app on to your iPad or iPhone. Once you have it, you can add this course, by entered ESM-CKF-EYD in the enroll code. You can also see the course by going to:
You will then be notified every time that something gets posted on the account. It is cool. Try it!

I also mentioned in class that I would create a Google shared spreadsheet to sign up. The link is below.
Please go in and sign up for a day that is open. You will have 2 minutes at the start of the class to make your pitch and I will assume that you will keep it relevant and focused.

1/26/16 I know that it is the first week of this class but it is never too early to start thinking creatively. This week’s puzzle is built around the corporate life cycle structure that I introduced in class yesterday, and particularly around what to do with Microsoft. Start by reading the description of the puzzle:
If you have the time, do read the two blog posts referenced in the puzzle:
Then, put yourself in the shoes of Microsoft’s CEO and think about what you would do, if you ran the company. In particular, I want you to think about what would make the most sense for Microsoft’s stockholders and then think about what would advance your personal capital the most and decide. Have fun with it. There is no right answer but I opened a discussion board on NYU Classes (now open for business) and you can go in and put your thoughts down.