Home Research Teaching Explore
My Ph.D.
Teaching philosophy

My teaching philosophy

I believe that…

The world does not care what you know; it only cares, and will only pay for, what you can do with what you know.

Today, with so much information easily accessible on Google, there is less and less interest in how you acquired the competence and more in proof that you have in fact mastered the competence. 

In my class, my primary concern is that you master the fundamentals and basic tools of finance. I care that you understand why you are using them. I care that you understand how to apply them in real life. I care that you become aware of the limitations of what you know.

“Education is not the learning of facts but training the mind to think” Albert Einstein

I do not expect you to remember every detail. One year after the class has ended, you will have forgotten most of them. I will have too.

In my class, I will try to help you learn the main financial logics that will allow you to reactivate your knowledge of finance tools at any time in your professional career.

I care that you develop a critical thinking aptitudes. I care that you will be able, not only to answer questions but to ask good questions. Everything in finance is questionable. I care that you develop your own philosophy of finance.

Finance will never be an exact science; it deals with human behavior and future.

My class will probably leave you with a lot of doubt and very few certainties. You may find other finance courses where financial models appear to work and fit together in a perfect way. Finance will seem well structured as an exact science and the world will seem a happier place, which may help some people sleep better (but the awakening following the next financial crises could be rude). 

In my class, you will learn not only what works but also what does not work. The real world is a lot more complex than the one described by models. As a field of study, Finance has strong roots in scientific fields such as statistics and mathematics. Many modern financial theories draw heavily on the laws of statistics and resemble scientific nomenclature. However, the financial industry also includes non-scientific elements that liken it to an art.

Finance will never be an exact science for – at least - two main reasons:

“Two factors move the market: fear and greed”. An old Wall Street adage

1. Finance deals, above all, with the preferences of economic actors (investing, buying, saving …), human emotions (fear, greed, optimism, insecurity...), as well as psychological bias (overconfidence, risk perception, pride and regret …). There is no denying the fact that human emotions (and decisions made because of them) play a primary role in many areas of the financial world. It’s difficult to design a formula that takes all factors of human behavior into consideration. Using models is recognizing our powerlessness to grasp all the aspects of human behavior.


It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future” Yogi Berra

2. Finance deals with the future. Most of financial decisions are based on expectations, namely the Expected Return. In other words, all the decision process is built on assumptions which brings  probability theory to the heart of the study of finance.  

I believe that keeping this idea constantly in mind will help you assess where you tread on safe grounds and where you do not, and will help you make better decisions.

Students learn best when they construct their own knowledge through exploration and discussion.

“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself” A Chinese proverb

 “There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers” Unknown

It is crucial to incite students to be active contributors in the classroom and take responsibility for their own learning. It is also essential that each student be publicly recognized for his or her strengths and contributions and given credibility within the classroom. This makes the classroom a safe place where students can publicly express pertinent reflections and feel comfortable taking the risk of making mistakes.

Engaging students in the learning process is the first step in effectively managing a classroom

Managing people is a difficult and complex mission. The classroom should ensure a certain discipline, but it should also be fresh and exciting - and finding the right balance is not easy. The main causes of off-task behavior are frustration and boredom. By tailoring each lesson and assignment to students’ strengths and needs, clarifying the purpose of each lesson, and connecting the material to students’ lives, the need for discipline could virtually be eliminated.

An effective teacher is always a student.

“Once you stop learning, you start dying”. Albert Einstein

I had never learned as much as I have since I began teaching. Being a teacher means never-ending dissatisfaction and the deep-seated conviction that there are always new questions to explore and new ways to improve and refine teaching practices. My greatest satisfaction is to wake the curiosity of students. My personal reward is to see the greatest possible number of students passionate about finance problems and get involved in the debate. My hope is that my students, in their professional lives, will think carefully about the impact of their financial decisions on all stakeholders and collective interests when making decisions. 


Web site of
| Fahmi Ben Abdelkader