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Back to Investments I: Fundamentals of Performance Evaluation

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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51 - 75 of 204 Reviews for Investments I: Fundamentals of Performance Evaluation

By Palito J E

Jul 11, 2020

very good combination of learn material, how the professor teach, through case of real world examples, thanks a lot!

By Mauri M

Nov 28, 2016

Professor Weisbenner provides practical, data driven analyses to investment management in a fun and engaging manner.

By Matthew S

Oct 19, 2020

Excellent Professor with a sense of humor to a somewhat dry subject. I would definitely take a class of his again!

By Andre L S F

Sep 10, 2019

I've been using Coursera for almost four years. This course was my best experience so far. Extremely recommended!

By Yingyi Z

Jun 9, 2019

Very informative (in fact it's more informative than most Coursera courses I've encountered), but easy to follow.

By Bo L

Nov 21, 2018

love the course! professor is very funny and extremely knowledgeful! very educational, learned alot in the class.


Aug 10, 2020

Very good class, i really liked the explanations and cases discussed; the module is very well connected, Congr

By John Y

Apr 10, 2021

This course helped me a lot as a retail investor. Maybe I should look at mutual funds instead of stonks now.

By Stephen K

Apr 9, 2019

This course takes hard work, but if you put in the time, it is well worth it. The professor is top-rate.

By Trung N P

Mar 21, 2017

Thank you, Professor Scott Weisbenner, for an excellence course that you put your heart and passion into.

By Pierre L

Dec 9, 2016

Absolutely excellent course. Excellent introduction to investment even without a background in Finance.

By Deepak

Dec 30, 2016

Great learning experience. The video's are long but will definitely help you and your personal wealth.

By Alexandros C

Sep 14, 2020

Excellent course with plenty of historical data with thorough analysis and very nice presentation.

By Irfan K

Oct 27, 2018

A great course for learning the fundamentals of Investments and an equally great instructor.

By Terrence X

May 20, 2020

clear instructions on a very important and useful topic. best lesson in the program so far.

By Sultan

Nov 29, 2020

although the lector is very talkative, the course is useful and is a must in modern world

By Gustavo P

Nov 12, 2019

Really good. Best course so far. Professor really took the time to make a quality course.

By Diogo G d M

Sep 23, 2020

The professor Scott Weisbenner is one of the best professors that i ever had! for sure!

By Linh P

Dec 3, 2016

Very interesting lecture full of hands on practical knowledge in the field...Love it!

By Rajendra P

Nov 7, 2016

Great Course. I now have way much better knowledge and understanding of Investments!

By Heng F

Nov 3, 2016

Very good course. a lot of contents of theory and practical problems. Good teaching!

By Mozhdeh G

Apr 14, 2024

These course is substantially improve my knowledge about CAMP and 3-factor model.

By Noah M S

Nov 20, 2018

Insightful, informative, and entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed this course.

By Vivek B

Nov 17, 2018

Excellent course. Thank you for introducing to great world of investments.

By Jayant K

May 17, 2020

Its very helpful and so relative to understand the investment techniques.