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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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176 - 200 of 204 Reviews for Investments I: Fundamentals of Performance Evaluation

By Eric H

Nov 8, 2020

Very good fundamentals course in investments and market models.

By Tasha F

Nov 9, 2020

Good class, but concepts require a lot of practice!

By David O

Mar 17, 2021

Fully focused on stock performance

By Giulio P

Feb 16, 2020

Really usefull and really clear!

By Francis D

Oct 7, 2018

Very good class. Thank you

By Arain M

Dec 13, 2020

Very deep....

By Mahmoud E A

Nov 16, 2018

too long.


Apr 22, 2017

Not what I was expecting as part of the program at all. Being more a visual learner I had a very hard time with how the math was covered in this in the course, I need a slide that is specifically V is XXXX, R is XXXX so I have a reference point and I found with most examples given I was having to go back and forth between multiple items and transcripts to gt what I needed. The other thing that I think would have helped me would have been less presenting and maybe a couple of quizzes for knowledge checks vs the pause and think items that were included. I did like Scott's humor, or at least humor attempts overall and I think a live class with him would be better than video. Additionally I felt that the course was a bit out date already, it was recorded in 2015 and I think I would have liked it more if had only been a year behind vs. a year and a half.

By Kendra G

Nov 1, 2020

The professor is very long-winded and that makes this course unnecessarily long. It would be better to use that time to practice applying concepts to practice problems (of which there are very few). Prof could very much improve this course by getting more to the point, and providing more specific/clear answers/outcomes to questions as he goes through the content--I often have to dig through the transcripts to try and interpret what he is saying and find the outcome of a question. It would be great if these are shared on slides or in answers to questions to improve the learning process.

By Zoe T

Aug 22, 2021

The course lost focus on what it wants to deliver, go ways into unimportant matters yet spending little time on tutorials. I have to do extra research to answer assignment questions. There is no active moderator so discussion forum isnt very helpful if students got questions.

By Rohit M

Jul 17, 2020

Too much content in a single course. Some topics are off the track and not explained properly as discussed before.

By Michalis V

Nov 11, 2016

Ok up to Module 3. Module 4 very convoluted.

By Nistha C

Jul 18, 2017

very long

By Tajaey T Y

Nov 24, 2021

Awesome topic, but videos are WAY too long. So many sidebars, tangents, and extra details that ultimately detract away from the lesson. I found myself finishing videos not understanding what it was I had just learned. My recommendation would be to really consolidate the information down to only what is critical to understand the topic.

By Shahid N

Nov 17, 2019

The professor needs to use more examples with illustrations. I thought I could get more from the videos. There were so many places where I felt he just read the slide without explaining the formula or concept with numbers of figures etc.

By Ty D

Nov 11, 2021

This is NOT a Beginner level course. At best, its intermediate. There is a lot of math that is expected to have already known which puts the learner behind.

By Terng Z W

Aug 15, 2020

It is way too long. Things can be summarize further to get the learning objectives across. Please.

By Yechin Z

Nov 7, 2020

Hardest classes I've taken. Soooo much content. Way too technical and in-depth for my taste

By Vinícius S C

May 7, 2018

The professor could be more straight to the po

By Emi K

Aug 4, 2019

Course lectures are too long between quizzes

By Remco B

Feb 11, 2018

Good content, overly talkative instructor.

By Murtaza P

Nov 14, 2017





















By Manohar A

Dec 2, 2018

I did not like the course. I am a visual learner and learn by reading and seeing. Most of the times important material (like formula, conclusions etc.) were left out from the course material. Formulas are given without explanations of individual components. It means that you have to go back to lectures and listen really hard to understand. Maybe the teachers should have given a text book instead.

I don't understand the concept of peer graded assignments - seems to me an absolute waste of everyones time

By Victoria F

Nov 16, 2020

Will never use this information again, wish it was created so that no matter your background and job it would help you understand the market. The use of excel to calculate numbers I will never be able to find on a company does not help my career in anyway.

By Jason D

Feb 5, 2019

Instructor know's his stuff, but there are sooooo many "ahh" and "umm". It is impossible to follow. I expect better from U of I. Really ashamed. I counted it up and on average in one video he says it about every 10-12 seconds.