BUS 104 — Investments in Today's Market: Stocks, Venture Capital, Biotech, and AI
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): May 9—Jun 6
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: May 11
Instructor(s): Ronjon Nag, Frank Sortino
Class Recording Available: Yes
An investor’s impossible dream: how to know what financial instrument to buy—and how to buy before it goes up and sell before it goes down. While we live and operate in a world of uncertainty, there is a professional way of managing that uncertainty to reduce the risk to something less than a gamble. In this introductory course on investing, we will examine how various methods and theories have evolved since the first financial instruments were traded. Specific topics we will cover include stocks and bonds (stock picking vs. bond investing, duration vs. maturity); venture capital (how it works, valuations, and due diligence methodologies); the capital asset pricing model and the Sortino ratio; and new forms of assets such as cryptocurrencies. By the end of the course, students will have exposure to methods of calculating risk and evaluating investments as well as critiquing financial articles and conversing with investment professionals. Students will also understand venture capital term sheets and structures from the investment viewpoint.
This course is open to students of all levels. No finance, investing, mathematics, or programming experience is needed. This course does not provide specific investment advice.
Ronjon Nag has been building AI systems for 40 years and co-founded or advised companies sold to Motorola, RIM/BlackBerry, and Apple. He is a venture capitalist with his firm R42, which invests in AI and longevity companies. He became a Stanford Interdisciplinary Distinguished Careers Institute Fellow in 2016. He teaches AI, genes, and ethics courses at Stanford Medicine. He received a PhD from Cambridge, an MS from MIT, the IET Mountbatten Medal, the $1 million Verizon Powerful Answers Award, and the 2021 IEEE-SCV Outstanding Engineer Award. Nag is the 2024 inductee in the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame. He is part owner of some 100 AI and biotech startups.
Adjunct Professor in Genetics, Stanford School of Medicine; Visiting Fellow, Stanford Center for the Study of Language and Information; President, R42 Group
Frank Sortino is an advisor to R42 Group and a manager of its hedge fund. For 10 years, he wrote a quarterly analysis of mutual funds for Pensions & Investments magazine, and he has written two books on postmodern portfolio theory. He has conducted research projects with Shell Oil Pension Funds, the Netherlands, and the City and County of San Francisco Retirement System, among others. Sortino received a PhD in finance from the University of Oregon.
Professor of Finance, Emeritus, SF State; Founder and Director, Pension Research Institute
Textbooks for this course:
(Recommended) Frank Sortino, The Sortino Framework for Constructing Portfolios (ISBN 978-0123749925)