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Langues - LAN483mANG : ME6 - Finance - Life, the Universe and Everything- C2


Finance - Life the Universe and Everything


With apologies to Douglas Adams, Finance teaches us that the answer to Life the Universe and

Everything is considerably more complex and interesting than 42, but don’t panic![1]


The aim of this course is to dip into the history and practice of Finance in the sense of markets,

mercantilism, venture capital and risk management. Themes will range from the flourishing of

explorer buccaneers in 15th century Europe to 21st century issues such as Reddit day traders

taking on short seller hedge funds and ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) compliant

Investing. It will be unapologetically eclectic.


It will be seen that the manias, crashes, crises and pandemics that are such present day concerns

are reflected throughout history. The political context, instruments and the terminology change,

however market behaviorism is reassuringly, perhaps depressingly, stable.


As many students will potentially be interested in a career in financial markets, the course will

include an in-depth study of the culture, terminology and vocabulary employed by financial

professionals. We shall discuss specific topics covering the theory and application of financial

instruments such as foreign exchange and derivative products as well as concepts such as

implied volatility and put/ call skew. We shall also cover more generalized themes along the lines

of algorithmic trading, bond spreads & arbitrage, high frequency trading, dark pools, quantitative

easing and zero interest rate monetary policy, etc.


Students who are interested in any particular area of finance, are encouraged to make

suggestions and courses can be structured around those requests. Students with investment

portfolios both real and of the fantasy league variety are encouraged to share their insights.

Remember that Ken Griffin started trading convertibles whilst at university (and yes, I shall be

asking you who Ken Griffin is and what convertibles are).



The theme(s) for the following session will be communicated at the end of each lesson and a

number of students will be asked to make a short presentation with supporting material of your

choice e.g. .ppt slides. The presentation will be followed by followed by debrief, debate and



Despite the historical references, the course aims to be resolutely topical and to that end I

strongly urge you to obtain access to either printed or website versions of key financial media.

The Financial Times, the Economist, Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Bloomberg etc. are almost

mandatory reference material but I would encourage you to explore further among the multiple

trading chat rooms, crypto currency sites, blogs and more. I can provide details of recommended

web sources and a reading list on request.


Evaluation will be based upon your enthusiasm and participation.



[1] The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

effectifs minimal / maximal:


Diplôme(s) concerné(s)

Parcours de rattachement

Format des notes

Numérique sur 20

Pour les étudiants du diplôme Titre d’Ingénieur diplômé de l’École polytechnique

L'UE est acquise si Note finale >= 8
  • Crédits ECTS acquis : 0 ECTS

La note obtenue rentre dans le calcul de votre GPA.

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