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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Investments I: Fundamentals of Performance Evaluation by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

887 ratings

About the Course

In this course, we will discuss fundamental principles of trading off risk and return, portfolio optimization, and security pricing. We will study and use risk-return models such as the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and multi-factor models to evaluate the performance of various securities and portfolios. Specifically, we will learn how to interpret and estimate regressions that provide us with both a benchmark to use for a security given its risk (determined by its beta), as well as a risk-adjusted measure of the security’s performance (measured by its alpha). Building upon this framework, market efficiency and its implications for patterns in stock returns and the asset-management industry will be discussed. Finally, the course will conclude by connecting investment finance with corporate finance by examining firm valuation techniques such as the use of market multiples and discounted cash flow analysis. The course emphasizes real-world examples and applications in Excel throughout. This course is the first of two on Investments that I am offering online (“Investments II: Lessons and Applications for Investors” is the second course). The over-arching goals of this course are to build an understanding of the fundamentals of investment finance and provide an ability to implement key asset-pricing models and firm-valuation techniques in real-world situations. Specifically, upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to: • Explain the tradeoffs between risk and return • Form a portfolio of securities and calculate the expected return and standard deviation of that portfolio • Understand the real-world implications of the Separation Theorem of investments • Use the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and 3-Factor Model to evaluate the performance of an asset (like stocks) through regression analysis • Estimate and interpret the ALPHA (α) and BETA (β) of a security, two statistics commonly reported on financial websites • Describe what is meant by market efficiency and what it implies for patterns in stock returns and for the asset-management industry • Understand market multiples and income approaches to valuing a firm and its stock, as well as the sensitivity of each approach to assumptions made • Conduct specific examples of a market multiples valuation and a discounted cash flow valuation This course was previously entitled “Financial Evaluation and Strategy: Investments” and was part of a previous specialization entitled "Improving Business and Finances Operations", which is now closed to new learner enrollment. “Financial Evaluation and Strategy: Investments” received an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 based on 199 reviews over the period August 2015 through August 2016. You can view a detailed summary of the ratings and reviews for this course in the Course Overview section. This course is part of the iMBA offered by the University of Illinois, a flexible, fully-accredited online MBA at an incredibly competitive price. For more information, please see the Resource page in this course and

Top reviews


Nov 11, 2016

This was a fantastic course, with a realistically attainable amount of material, and a humble, knowledgable professor whose teaching style makes a normally difficult topic very easy to understand.


Dec 6, 2017

Professor Weisbenner is fabulous! He is able to make anyone understand complex investment topics through his delivery and curriculum design. You are missing out not taking Investments from him!

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26 - 50 of 204 Reviews for Investments I: Fundamentals of Performance Evaluation

By Liudmyla L

May 28, 2024

Great course and good teaching by the professor, some jokes, some associations that help to remember everything better and a lot of repetition, which again helps to learn the material better. The only difficulty: there is a lot of material in a short time and a high speed in the video (the video playback speed of 0.75 has always helped me). My condolences to the university and family on the loss

By David J L

Jun 28, 2020

I can only repeat what others have already written. Excellent course for anyone wanting to learn more on this topic. Professor Weisbenner not only knows his subject matter very well but, more importantly, he know how to convey his knowledge to his students in an interesting and thoughtful way combined with a sense of humour. Am looking forward to starting his second course.

By Andras I

Jan 8, 2020

Entertaining and thorough at the same time. Although some of the courses I took were following more of an academic style, I don't doublt that this course covered the same subjects with as much or better efficiency. I'm used to the feeling of hard grind while learning difficult subjects - no such feeling during this course. Simply ingenious!

By A G M A T

Aug 21, 2020

This course was really amazing. I'm a mathematics student and I've done project on Black-Scholes model and in future, I intend to do thesis on CAPM, 3 factor and multi factor model which I learnt from this course. Thanks a lot to Prof. Scott Weisbenner and all others related to this course.

By Nathaniel R

Nov 7, 2020

Prof Weisbenner builds the course the same way that you would when constructing a long-lasting structure: preparing the foundation & then building upon it from the foundation up. One can be confident that what is learned will remain in mind. Presentations were very engaging.

By Johan P

Feb 20, 2021

This course takes me to the next level of knowledge and in terms of demanding and challenging path to receive most of takeaways. Professor Scott was really amazing with their explanations and his course materials. It was so hard to me but really it worth it!

By Константин В

May 3, 2019

Very useful, very detailed.

Best part for me:

- almost no extra reading needed

- perfect length and structure of videos for to/from job trips

- although coarse is focused on US stock market, I found most of the material applicable for MOEX as well

By sumit a

May 4, 2021

Scott Weisbenner does an extremely good job of consolidating difficult concepts in the easiest way. What's best he is talking about what is relevant today. Had great learning. I would recommend this to everyone. Also, exercises are very useful.

By Dhinesh A D

Nov 30, 2020

Foundation course for individuals who seek knowledge on investment strategies, portfolios and decision making. Best lectures and case studies enhance the learning experience to the next level. Highly Suggested.

By Rajesh J

Nov 14, 2018

Outstanding course. The best amongst all Coursera courses I have taken so far. The course was very comprehensive and had a great amount of detail. Looking forward to enroll in the second part of the course.

By Pranav S

May 3, 2020

Great course which adds a lot of knowledge. Highly appreciate the humor and creative ways of teaching of Professor Scott who keeps the entire course very informative, detailed and yet very interesting.

By Amod T

Apr 8, 2020

The concepts are very well explained with practical examples.The real world examples makes us understand the concepts better and gives us a better understanding of implementing them.


Nov 11, 2020

Professor Weisbenner was great in a recorded session and in live sessions. He is excellent in teaching complicated materials and providing common analogies to help us understand.


Jun 23, 2019

Excellent course with huge nuggets of theoretical wisdom complemented by practical techniques through Data analysis and solver. A must for every investment enthusiast and manager.

By Vibhor K

Nov 13, 2020

Excellent course. Lot of ground covered by Scott and his detailed explanations make some tougher topics give look more easier. His sense of humor and delivery is really nice

By Mohammed S A

Dec 16, 2016

Lectures are nicely delivered!!! BUT videos of lectures should be confined within 15 minutes and be cited data sources and how to we can see and obtain data aswell

By Kenny S

Dec 19, 2018

Amazing! Shed light on so many questions that I didn't even know to ask and corrected a lot of assumptions I had wrong. Loved this class. A must take class.

By Andres C M

Nov 5, 2020

Great course, only downside is it takes a lot of time cause its really a lots of video hours compared to previous courses in the specialization.

By Vannisastantin W

Sep 2, 2020

This course is very resourceful and full of useful information that can help me understand accounting and finance information a lot better!

By Megan S

Nov 10, 2019

This course is heavy but I learned so much and the information is very relevant and helpful for better understanding financial investments.

By Petri T

Aug 30, 2017

Great course and professor. Packs a lot of information and did not find any mistakes. Very smooth course overall. Highly recommended.

By Wolfgang K

Feb 16, 2021

Great content and excellent presentation! This was not my first investment course but certainly the most enjoyable one. Many thanks!

By Marcelo G L

Nov 21, 2016

Excellent! Professor Scott Weisbenner was brilliant and explained very carefully all lessons, one of the best MOOCs on Coursera!

By Anton A

Aug 3, 2020

The course will be usefull for those who is going to start theit career in investments or to understand basics of investments.

By Luis M T A

Apr 9, 2024

Excelente curso, me encanta como el profesor nos ayuda a ver la teoría del CAPM desde el punto de vista económico intuitivo