Darden Admissions recently hosted the first event of our ongoing series, ‘Office Hours’, presented by Darden Ideas to Action. As promised, a wide range of topics were covered during the session with Professor Rich Evans, including the correct Darden pronunciation of the word ‘finance’ (listen to find out the answer).

Senior Director of Admissions Brett Twitty spoke with Evans about his background, what led Evans to Darden, what he enjoys about teaching Finance through the case method and more. We also found time to hear Evans’ thoughts about a number of Finance-related “hot topics” – SPACs, GameStop, Bitcoin and the current state of the U.S. stock market.

Evans teaches a course on investments, a follow on class called Quantitative Portfolio Management. He has also worked with the Mayo Center for Asset Management — one of Darden’s centers of excellence and a hub of investment-related research, education and career development. Evans has also served as the advisor to Darden Capital Management, a student-run organization that manages an endowment of $20 million.

Prospective students often think about finance as being a more technical topic, yet case method is about working collectively toward a decision. Evans highlighted how these seemingly different perspectives actually lend themselves quite well to the student-centric learning approach.

When you think about case method, this is exactly the right way to teach finance. For example, in my investments class, we assess whether fund managers are good or bad. And one of the things we use is the Capital Asset Pricing Model — a very precise tool. The key is that when you come to class, you understand the quantitative skill and you have a theoretical understanding, but then we help translate that into practice. Calculating the CAPM is not necessarily as important as understanding what that information actually tells you at the end of the day. For any of these tools, you learn it and then you apply it in reality. Whether you have an endowment or a pension fund, you’re trying to choose among different fund managers and you’re assessing with this model. And then in class, we have a conversation about this real world, complex decision that in many ways is more important than ‘can I use this quantitative tool?’.

To watch the replay of the conversation, check out the recording below:

Interested in more faculty thought leadership discussions? Sign up for more ‘Office Hours’ events below!

16 April | Professor Kinda Hachem: Global Economies and Markets

7 May | Professor Dennie Kim: Strategy, Ethics and Entrepreneurship

4 June | Professor Greg Fairchild: Entrepreneurship, Business Strategy, Business Ethics, Leadership

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