Econ Department Lecture Series Helps Students Understand Investing

Sadaf Ahmad ’17
Contributing Writer

This past Thursday, economics professor Roger Kaufman gave his fifth lecture of the Principles of Investing series. This series has been held for the past five Thursdays in the Nielson Browsing Room and is open to all students interesting in learning about fundamental concepts of investing, including stocks and bonds, portfolio diversification, and asset allocation, among other topics.

Last Thursday the topic was Fundamental Analysis. Professor Kaufman talked about analyzing the fundamentals of a company. He laid out several basic questions that his talk focused on: What is the company in question’s management like? What are their competitive advantages? Basically, what are the specifics of any given stock and why is it worth it or not worth it to invest? Professor Kaufman was careful to explain in depth what it is students should be looking for when they are considering investing in a company. Professor Kaufman also explains companies’ tactics when it comes to maintaining favorable fundamentals.“Just reading about [the stock market] is not enough,” said first-year Sakshee Chawla, a regular attendee of Professor Kaufman’s lectures and an Economics student. “Especially because you hear these terms and you don’t automatically understand what they mean.”  Her comment echoed many students’ reservations about learning to invest money – it’s difficult to dive into the world of stocks and bonds when so many technical terms can seem like they’re standing in the way of understanding the big picture. “Even if you’re not investing in anything yourself it’s helpful to know the terms and what they mean,” said Chawla.

When it came to giving examples of actual stocks, Professor Kaufman talked about his favorite company: Apple. “Professor Kaufman’s lectures are also great if you just want to know more about Apple,” said Chawla.  Kaufman readily admitted that Apple maps was a big mistake, and that Steve Jobs “wasn’t very nice,” but he still was clear about his affinity for Apple, a company he holds in high regard and claims attests to the fact that Steve Jobs was “brilliant.”

Professor Kaufman reminds students at the end of every lecture that Morningstar is a great resource for researching stocks. Morningstar is an independent investment research company that specializes in fund investing, and it is available to all Smith students through the Center for Women and Financial Independence, completely free of charge.

The sixth installment of the lecture series will be held on Thursday, November 7th on the topic of bonds. Professor Kaufman will also be providing an overview of the lecture series, so students who have not attended past events will be able to get a broad look at the various topics discussed.

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