Investment Philosophies

Investment Philosophies

Investment Philosophies


Consistently winning at investing is not only difficult to do, but does not follow a standard script. In other words, investment winners range the spectrum, from chartists to value investors to market timers, and imitation seems to provide no payoffs. So, what is it that separates these winners from the losers? Is it just luck? Is it skill? Is it personality? Professor Aswath Damodaran believes it is all three working together. The combination of all three takes the form of a consistent investment philosophy built not just on fundamental beliefs about how markets work (or fail to work), but one that fits an individual’s personal strengths and weaknesses.

In this course, students will look at a range of investment philosophies with the intent of finding not only the core beliefs that animate them, but also the ingredients needed to make them work. Students will look at the historical evidence in support of or working against each philosophy and what they need to bring to the table to succeed with that philosophy. In the process, Professor Aswath Damodaran hopes that students will find an investment philosophy that best fits them, given their individual strengths and weaknesses.

Read our recent Q&A with Professor Damodaran here.

Course Trailer


Online Learning Experience

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Online Learning Terminology
Asynchronous activities are things you do independently, like watch videos and complete assignments, and interactions with others over time via email, discussion forums, collaborative documents, and other channels. The term "synchronous" refers to learning with others in real time using videoconferencing and other technologies. Our online certificate courses are asynchronous with optional synchronous elements.

The term "asynchronous" refers to courses or course elements that can be completed at any time within the parameters of the course schedule.

Software/Technical Requirements
  • An open mind and a willingness to work on your weak side
  • Desktop or laptop computer
  • A webcam and headset (preferred) or microphone for online meetups
  • Broadband/high-speed Internet (1.5 Mbps minimum/3 Mbps preferred) to ensure your ability to participate fully in online meetups
  • Operating System: Mac OS 10.14 or Windows 10 or later
  • Browser: Safari 12.0.2, Chrome 72.0.3626, Firefox 65.0.1, or Internet Explorer 11 or later
  • This program does not support mobile devices, including tablets and iPads.

  • Certificates and Credits

    This course is a non-credit, pass/fail program. To pass this course, you will need a cumulative score of at least 55%. Upon successful completion of this course, participants will receive the NYU Stern Certificate in Investment Philosophies.

    Program Takeaways

    During this course, participants will:

    • No One Path

      There is no one path to investment success that works for every investor, but there is one path that is right for you & you have to find it yourself.
    • Entitled to Opinions, but not Facts

      We are all entitled to our own opinions about what works in investing & what does not, but we are not entitled to our own facts; the data is the tie-breaker.
    • Things Change, Let Go

      The world is dynamic & constantly changing; what worked in the 20th century may no longer work now.

    Who Should Attend

    Although there are no formal education or background requirements, this course is designed for participants who meet the criteria below. While we strongly encourage global participation, please note that all courses are taught in English. Proficiency in written and spoken English is required.

    • Years of Experience

      Participants with all levels of work experience are welcome to attend
    • Job Functions

      Ideal for professional & personal investors, money managers, mutual fund managers, & PE investors
    • Prerequisites

      Intended for individuals with some experience in professional or personal investing; additionally, students must have a desktop or laptop computer with an internet connection


    The following agenda is a sample and subject to change.

    Course Access

      In order to access the course, you will receive login credentials via email on the start date of the course. Activation instructions for your login credentials will be provided.

    Required Books

    No Materials 

    Live Online Meetups with Faculty

      Our live online meetups provide you with the opportunity to engage face-to-face with Professor Damodaran. Please note that all online meetups are recorded and available for your viewing at a later time. Missing a meetup will not impact your grade, however we recommend attending all sessions.


      Please expect to invest about 8 to 10 hours of your time per week to course lessons, exercises, and assignments.

    Week 1: Jan. 22

    • Introduction
    • Understanding Risk I: The Risk in Bonds
    • Understanding Risk II: The Risk in Equities

    Week 2: Jan. 29

    • Financial Statement Analysis
    • Valuation: The Basics
    • Trading Costs and Taxes

    Week 3: Feb. 5

    • Market Efficiency I: Laying the Groundwork
    • Market Efficiency II: Testing Market Beating Schemes and Strategies
    • Random Walks and Momentum
    • Live Online Meetup 1: Feb. 6, 9am ET

    Week 4: Feb. 12

    • Temporal Patterns
    • Technical Analysis
    • Introduction to Value Investing

    Week 5: Feb. 19

    • Value Investing: The Passive Screeners
    • Value Investing: The Contrarians
    • Value Investing: The Activists

    Week 6: Feb. 26

    • Value Investing: Where is the Beef?
    • Investing on Hope: Introduction to Growth Investing
    • Get in on the Ground Floor: The IPO Story
    • Live Online Meetup 1: Feb. 27, 9am ET
    • Quiz 1: Mar. 2

    Week 7: Mar. 4

    • Growth Investing: Growth at a Reasonable Price (GARP)
    • Activist Growth Investing: Be your own Change Agent
    • Growth Investing: Against the Tide of History?

    Week 8: Mar. 11

    • Information Trading: Trade on the News?
    • Information Trading: Following the Insiders
    • Information Trading: Following the Analysts
    • Short Project due Mar. 15

    Week 9: Mar. 18

    • Information Trading: Public Information – Earnings Reports
    • Information Trading: Public Information – Other than Earnings
    • Too Good to be True? Pure Arbitrage
    • Live Online Meetup 3: Mar. 19, 9am ET

    Week 10: Mar. 25

    • Close Enough? Near Arbitrage
    • Not Riskless, not Even Close! Pseudo or Speculative Arbitrage
    • Market Timing: Setting the Table

    Week 11: Apr. 1

    • Market Timing Approaches: Non-Financing & Technical Indicators
    • Market Timing Approaches: Mean Reversion & Macro Fundamentals
    • Live Online Meetup 4: Apr. 2, 9am ET

    Week 12: Apr. 8

    • Market Timing Approaches: Valuing the Market
    • Market Timing: Does it Work?

    Week 13: Apr. 15

    • The Case for Passive Investing: Active Investors’ Track Record
    • More on Investor Performance: Continuity & Consistency
    • Live Online Meetup 5: Apr. 16, 9am ET

    Week 14: Apr. 22

    • Passive Investing Choices

    Week 15: Apr. 29

    • The Grand Finale

    Week 16: May 6

    • Live Online Meetup 6: May 7, 9am ET

    Week 17: May 13

    • Final Project due May 17

    Customer Reviews

    Based on 3 reviews
    Kenneth Wein
    Educated Buyer

    Good Courses for our fellow students in Liberal Arts.
    Good for self Direction, Avoiding fees & Taxes.
    Lifetime investment for building your nest egg.

    Nathan Thomas
    Professor Damodaran is the BEST he is definetely the Dean of Valuation

    If you want to know all the different investment philosophies that are out there, value investing, growth investing, momentum investing, macreconomic analysis, top down, bottom up, fundmanetal analysis, technical analysis, quantitative analysis etc and all of the different valuation/pricing methodologies like DCF, multiples analysis, ratio analysis etc, Than this course is for you.

    There is a reason he is called the Dean of Valuation.

    I have studied online courses at Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and Wharton but this course was by far the best because of Professor Damodaran he is really an excellent teacher, extremely knowledgable, I am going to enrol in all of his other online courses, If I wasnt living in Perth Western Australia I would enroll in NYUs MBA just so I could study more courses with Professor Damodaran.

    They even give you access to Capital IQ(huge database that investment banks use) which is what I used when I was working at a fund manager it is very expensive and only financial institutions have access to it.

    I would like it if you could ask Professor Damodaran to teach more online courses, currently he teaches Corporate Finance, Investment Philosophies and Advanced Valuation, I would take all of those if I was you

    Professor Damodaran is by far the most intelligent, knowlegable, humble and best teacher I have come across in my undergraduate/postgraduate study, he also has an excellent sense of humour which most finance/economic professors lack.

    Nitin Bajpai
    The course and practical contents that have been so sorely lacking in traditional finance courses...

    This course really makes you think, forces you to look at the facts and most importantly, leaves you with no option but to take a very serious look at how you invest, why you invest the way you do, boxes you into recognizing your own biases and forces you to re-evaluate your investment strategy and style. What could be better for an investor than these outcomes? It gives you room to develop your own CONSISTENT investment strategy based on your own investment philosophy (developing one is the goal of this course!). You get a chance to look at almost every investment style there is without getting lost in complexity, you are forced to come to your own conclusion about how markets work and how you want to invest . The key though is that you are forced to think about all the other investment strategies and why you are discarding them in favour of your chosen style - and it better match up to your investment philosophy otherwise you are missing the whole point of the course. If you are looking for a way to have an anchor for your investments and your investment strategy, take this course. This really is the missing link. I sure don't need another course in mean variance optimization and I sure don't need another white paper from robo-advisors telling me about the number of nobel prize winners on their board (and their methodology).

    This course has real practical applications. I cannot recommend this course any higher. If you want to invest, take this course.