Why do I use my own book?
- My book is tightly integrated with the lecture, homework, and exams. In fact, the book is the lecture and occasionally exam problems are lifted directly from the book. In my experience, powerpoint from publishers are written by someone other than the author and just don’t flow well.
- My book is part of me. I have numerous cues in the book from my 10 years of work experience in corporate america and 22 years of living on my own.
- My book has evolved over time in response to student feedback and teaching improvement insights over the past 8 years. Those insights include recent events and articles closely connected to the material.
- My books are still in use by former students now in the workforce. For an example, see the comments from P.B. at the bottom of my Student Comments page.
- My book is < 1/10th the cost of the big-publisher book.
My required book and prior-edition optional texts
To begin, the required book is my book, Corporate Finance 4e. The optional intermediate textbook is Intermediate Financial Management by Brigham & Daves (10th or 11th edition). For the optional text, I intentionally choose prior edition textbooks (10th edition and 11th edition vs. the new 12th edition). That choice is made to save students hundreds of dollars should they decide to purchase the optional text. While textbook updates are necessary to keep up with the times, there are some fundamentals that do not change. I am not in a position to judge whether big-publisher updates are significant enough to justify spending hundreds of dollars more for “the latest and greatest.” I can only update my book and keep the cost down, which is currently $33.
Another cost reduction activity is my use of the University’s Blackboard system instead of the publisher’s homework management system. Publisher-based management systems have additional costs approaching $100. The university’s Blackboard system is already covered in the University’s budget. You need not worry about paying for the “access card.”
The last time I stopped by the bookstore (2015.08.24) I saw the 12th edition of Intermediate Financial Management (IFM) on sale for $363.50 new and $272.75 used. A ridiculous amount of money indeed. As a result, I require the purchase of my Corporate Finance 4e book ($33) and relegate the IFM book to optional reference text status. Even then, if you must purchase an optional text I recommend the 10th or 11th edition used. In addition, I have multiple copies of the IFM books on reserve in the library that you can check out from 1 to 3 days at no charge.
My choice of the same “Intermediate” optional reference text for FIN101, FIN134, and MBA220 is also related to efficiency. I reviewed both the introductory and intermediate texts written by the same author. It turns out that entire paragraphs are copied verbatim from the introductory text to the intermediate text (or vice versa). It appears that the big publishers are again trying to force students into purchasing multiple $200-$300 books. So, in a nutshell, the “Intermediate” text is a superset of the “Introductory” text.
Why I allow only non-programmable financial calculators.
Beginning Spring 2014, only one of the following four calculators are allowed on exams in my classes:
- HP12C Platinum
- Texas Instruments BAII Plus
Some students question why I impose the calculator restriction. Here are six reasons why:
- The CFA exam allows only two calculators: TI BAII Plus and HP12C.
- The CFP exam has a slightly larger list: HP10B, HP10BII, HP10BII+, HP12C, HP17BII+, TI BAII PLUS.
- CPA exams allow only a four-function calculator (and that is provided online at the time of test).
- FINRA exams (series 6, 7, 63, etc.) – you can’t bring your own calculator, one is provided.
- A colleague of mine mentioned “in order to use the HP12C you need to know a little algebra.” In my opinion, that is perfect. Juniors, seniors, and graduate students in business should have algebra mastered anyway.
- Numerous students and people in industry sing the praises of the HP12C after getting over the learning curve. See Student Comments for testimonials.
Even if you have no intention of ever taking any certification exams, limiting the allowable calculators still benefits students. Why? With the list of calculators above you must rely more on your brain and less on mini-computer graphing calculators. If you can’t learn a new tool now, what is to be expected of you on the job when you are asked to learn something new?
I would like to require only the HP12C for consistency in the classroom, but I am told that I could be [falsely] accused of receiving compensation from HP (which I am not, I just grew up using HP calculators). The HP12C requires knowledge of basic algebra. Get the 12C, exercise your brain, it is good for you.