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!
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Despite the historical references, the course aims to be resolutely topical and to that end I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.
 The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
effectifs minimal / maximal:/16
Parcours de rattachement
Format des notesNumérique sur 20
Pour les étudiants du diplôme Diplôme d'ingénieur de l'Ecole polytechniqueL'UE est acquise si Note finale >= 8
- Crédits ECTS acquis : 0 ECTS
La note obtenue rentre dans le calcul de votre GPA.