Tag Archive: george chacko

Review: Professor George Chacko, Finance, Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business

This is the latest of my reviews on the professors I’ve had while an MBA student at Santa Clara University‘s Leavey School of Business. There are lots of sites out there that provide feedback and rates – ratemyprofessor is the most notable. The SantaClaraMBA Yahoo group also has a big database of comments and lots of additional information in its message archive. But only here can I write as much as I want  🙂

I review professors from a variety of perspectives.  First, I explain the context(s) under which I took the class.  Time of year, time of day, etc.  Then I talk about the quality of the class and the professor, and finally about the professor as a person.  After all, we are trying to learn about our interactions with people, so knowing that side of a teacher is critical, too.  So these would be interactions outside the classroom, etc.

I’m also reviewing them in reverse order of when I had them for class.  This is mostly so that I am reviewing those whom I remember the best sooner.  This also means that at some point I might skip a few professors I took a year ago or just stop outright out of concern that I will not be able to provide a proper review (the downside of these longer reviews is that I do, after all, have a responsibility to do a good job at them).  I am now back two quarters from my current term.

The facts

I had Professor Chacko for Finance 455 in Winter Quarter, 2008.  It was the 7:05 section (he also taught a 5:30 section the same days) on, I think, Mondays and Wednesdays.  The course is technically titled ‘Investments’ but Professor Chacko outright stated that regardless of what the school decided to call the course he would have taught the same material in the same manner (more on the ‘material’ in a bit, as it is indeed flexible enough to be used in several different style classes).  In fact, he taught a course in the spring that was a ‘696 experimental’ course that was basically just more of the same.

FNCE 455 is the second of two required courses in the discipline.  The first, 451, which I took the previous quarter, is about evaluating cost of capital, net present value analysis, etc.  455 is much more practical in many ways, examining specific cases on topics such as portfolio construction, payoff diagrams, and other financial analysis from the perspectives of a fund manager or a personal investor.

455 is an entirely case-based course.  We covered about 7 or 8 cases through the quarter, from books written by Chacko (and others) while he was at Harvard Business School.  We would do a write-up before each case, really as motivation to read it (I don’t think he actually read or graded them), and then discuss the case during class.  Work was generally done individually.  The final exam was also a case write-up, but much more in-depth and obviously done without a class discussion.

I took 455 when I did both because I needed it as a requirement and because I had heard good things about Chacko.  So my goals were relatively even (as compared to ‘taking it just because it was available’ or something like that).

Them’s the facts. Now read on for the review.