Professor Parham is easily one of my favorite professors at UVA. Not only is he extremely intelligent and knowledgeable about finance, but he is a very reasonable and interesting guy. Not only should you look forward to his Cinco de Mayo office hour, but I cannot think of a single time during which he was unnecessarily harsh or unfair when it came to grading. This is not to say, however, that he is not a demanding professor who will push you. You will be asked to complete 9 difficult, albeit enjoyable homework assignments and an ultra in-depth valuation project, read several classic academic papers on financial topics, take a few pop quizzes each class, and take two very difficult exams that are virtually impossible to finish in the allotted amount of time. Not to fret, however, if you didn't do well on an assignment, you almost certainly weren't the only one and everything is fully curved! Parham maintains that the average in is his class is above the McIntire average of a B+, and I fully believe him.
A lot of people seemingly suggest that Chen is the better professor and that you should avoid Parham at all costs. I fully disagree with this assertion. From what I heard, Chen's exams are quite difficult and they are not curved (at least not to the same extent) to my knowledge. Additionally, you will learn an incredible amount about finance in Parham's class. He dives much deeper into certain topics, such as beta, as far as I understand. I am sure that Chen is a fine professor, but please do not avoid Parham's class because you think it will be too "hard."
This was one of my favorite classes at UVA. I am concentrating in finance in the Comm School and was honestly unsure about my concentration until I took this class. Parham pushes you hard, but his emphasis on understanding everything conceptually made the class so interesting. I got a B+, but I loved it so much because does a great job of applying the course to history, current events, and life in general. Finally, he responded to our midterm feedback and altered his course slightly to fit our liking for the rest of the semester.
-Read the textbook, understand it conceptually
-Do the textbook problems
-Work closely with your group, it will help you all
-Listen intently and ask questions
-If you do poorly on quizzes (they're hard), make up for it by participating as much as possible!
-Go to his office hours and Happy Hour! He has great stories.
Don’t trust the older reviews, this class is awesome. Parham seems tough at first (and he is), but the class is graded on a normal distribution with the lowest grade possible being a B-. While the assignments and exams are challenging, everything works out in the end.
That said, this was probably the best class I’ve taken at McIntire and UVA in general. Parham definitely pushed us hard, but in the end I learned an insane amount about finance and critical thinking in general. Parham is genuinely passionate about teaching finance, and I’m feeling extra prepared for my internship this summer.
Tips for getting the most out of the course - read the stats notes he sends out at the beginning. You’ll end up using those concepts A LOT in the class. Aside from that, read the textbook and go to office hours if necessary and you should be in good shape.
This is a challenging class, but it's also a class absolutely worth taking. Despite his unconventional grading style, Parham is a kind professor who loves teaching. He goes above and beyond for his students. During his lectures, he connects finance and economics concepts with historical anecdotes to make the subject matter more interesting and memorable. Through these anecdotes, he explains the "why" behind finance rather than just the "what" and the "how." This has been the most interesting class that I have taken at McIntire so far.
Aside from this, Parham has a ton of wisdom to share from his international travels, military experience, and computer-science background. I would often go to office hours just to get his take on things.
Some other useful tips for this class if you're aiming for a high grade:
1. Participate early, participate often - Go to office hours. Raise your hand in class to answer questions. Ask questions after class. Point out possible errors that Parham has made in assignments/lectures for bonus points.
2. Actually read the textbook. It'll teach you the "what" and the "how" of finance better than lectures.
3. Maximize your scores on earlier assignments, as the material is easier. Brush up on your statistics before the class begins, it will help.
I am not going to lie and say I did not struggle in this class, but it was definitely worth it. Parham is probably the most intelligent and interesting professor I have had at UVA and has taught me more than any other professor by a significant amount. His goal is to teach you as much as he possibly can in a way that is both understandable and challenging. If you work hard in this class, you will know far more than the average person taking Chen. If your goal is to learn and master financial skills/concepts there is no doubt that Parham is the right choice. He may seem intimidating at first, but he really isn't. He takes his job very seriously and cares a lot about students getting the most out of their time while also having interesting lectures that keep you engaged. He is eager to help students in whatever way he can, while also making sure you are truly challenging yourself. Take this class if you are serious about finance and its implications on life/history.
Despite what you may hear about this class being terrible and this professor being the hardest out of the two, I could not be more glad that I took this course with professor Parham. I learned more in this class about life, decision making, and critical thinking than I have in any other course at UVA. He's a brilliant professor and is eager to help his students with questions. Also from talking to my friends in Chen, Parham gave us a much more in-depth learning experience for Corporate Finance. While I would be lying if I said the class was easy, the challenge is well worth it.
Professor Parham will leave you more prepared for upper level courses and any finance internship/job than any other class/professor I've encountered. He's incredibly smart and insightful and holds a ton of respect for his students, which subsequently means he holds them to a high standard. That means class discussion is insightful and worthwhile; he doesn't speak to his students as inferiors (which some people don't like due to sensitivity maybe). If you pay attention, do the homeworks yourself, and participate in class this course is extremely fulfilling and more beneficial than any other I've taken. I learned a ton about corporate finance and even more about money and the world in general. Highly recommend.
People hate on this class because its hard (it definitely is), but I learned so much in this class and I'm way more prepared for upper level courses/my internship than I would be if I took it with Chen. Parham is incredibly reasonable and ridiculously smart. I have a ton of respect for him and this class. He has high expectations so he pushes you, but he's a great teacher. If you are willing to put the effort in, he does everything in his power to help you succeed. Hands down hardest class I've taken at UVA, but also the most worthwhile class I've taken at UVA. I've learned more in this class alone than I've learned in all of comm school. If I had the option to choose my professor again, I would still take it with Parham.
Man f*ck this class. Every time he makes us tell him how to improve the class, everybody keeps coming up with suggestions that are just the bare minimum. His style of teaching can be effective and/or engaging for some, but he engages in such relentless comparison. If you get the wrong answer for literally anything associated with time in the classroom, he will find a way to make you feel stupid. That's why nobody raises their hands to talk in his class. It's obvious he's tired of going through the same sh*t three times in a day. For him it's just "going through the motions". Oh and btw he will never let you out on time. He will always release you late. And he often starts slightly early if it appears reasonable (everybody is in the room). He mandates that you attend at least one office hours session during the semester but then is equally apathetic during office hours. His office is stuffed because his lectures are never sufficient despite a massive supplemental textbook coming with the class. He will definitely hold your attention better than most because he has a highly abrupt way of speaking (probably due to his fairly pleasant accent). Oh and for the bullsh*t first assignment be aware that unless you're part of a group with a statistics genius you're screwed. It's not a review. The thing demands you already know incredibly advanced topics. He tosses some stats resources at you and none of them are useful. Once again f*ck this class. Do whatever is best for your Spring semester GPA. I hated this stupid class.
Having read the course forum reviews before taking this course, I was nervous about having Parham because I saw some very negative comments on his teaching style and the course. However, I have to say that I had the complete opposite experience. While Professor Parham challenges the class, especially with the weekly homework assignments, he will also teach you extremely practical and important financial lessons. I learned invaluable skills for my finance internship and for other finance classes. In addition, Professor Parham makes himself extremely available to students and he truly cares about his students. Office hours often were packed with students sitting on his carpet. He had a question on the exam about recommendations for the second half of the course. Furthermore, he went out of his way to reach out and highlight students on accomplishments in the class. To anyone not sure whether to take this course, I would just say that although there may be a transition period in understanding how Parham teaches, you will ultimately be the better for it--especially if you want to go into finance.
Try to avoid taking this class if possible. Very few things I learned in this class are actually helping me in my investment banking internship this summer. Professor Parham teaches Corporate Finance in a very distinct way, almost to the point where it seems like what you are learning is pointless beyond doing well in the class. If you aren't a good test taker, this class will only drop your GPA. I would take Corporate Finance with Chen, or really any other professor. Theres also a good amount of time you have to put into assignments every week if you want to do well. Save yourself the hassle. That being said, you're not doomed with Parham. I would just avoid him if you can.
Professor Parham's class is definitely challenging and not an easy A. But, he cares about the success of the students and that they understand the material. Midway through the semester, he asked for recommendations to improve the course and actually implemented them by the time we came back from Spring Break. Everyone learned much more than the other sections of Corporate Finance, and he is engaging and entertaining in class. The class requires a lot of weekly work, but he has office hours. Additionally, he has a grading system that weights harder questions (those that most students get wrong) more, which was a little bit frustrating but he curves everything to a normal curve. So, even if the raw scores are low, the real scores are much better. I highly recommend taking Parham's class even though it is challenging!!
Professor Parham is one of the most challenging professors I have ever had, but this class has been the most rewarding class I've taken in college because of him. He really scared us all at the beginning of the semester, because the first few homeworks were really hard and we just didn't know what to expect. But as the semester went on, we realized that he cared a lot about making the course the best he could for us, making changes to the course in the middle of the semester based on our feedback. We had a homework assignment about once a week that you could work on with other students, one midterm, a group project, and a final. He also has office hours every week before the homeworks are due, and he gives you smarties for coming! His grading is really strange, but it all works out in the end, so don't panic (he has to constantly remind us of this too). I feel very prepared for my finance internship this summer, as Professor Parham taught me to think critically and creatively about financial issues in a way that I never had before. I highly recommend Professor Parham. Be prepared to work hard, but you won't regret taking this class.
Parham is my favorite professor at the University. He’s really different and challenges you unlike any class at comm school. He clearly took the course recommendations to heart last semester and has improved the course significantly. He goes in depth on many of the concepts, and has made me feel prepared for my internship unlike ICE finance has. I really would recommend this class over any other I’ve ever taken, but be prepared to work hard. No one gets below a B in the class so even if you just slide by, you will enjoy the experience and be way better prepared for upper level finance classes than if you took it with any other teacher.
After the first day of this class I thought, "F--k this I'm going to hate this class." And probably every other student did too, some even dropped during the first lecture. But joke is on them! Parham is definitely an intimidating guy at first, but I have grown to greatly enjoy the class. His grading is unorthodox, the homework assignments are hard(but you can work in groups) and he grades his tests using a standard normal N~(0,1), yeah you are going to need to be a stats wiz to be worthy of a good grade. I recommend this class if you actually want to learn and understand finance,(Chen's class is a joke,) and you'll be much better prepared for your internship in New York. The class gets easy during the second half and everyone gets a B or above so don't be scared.
Parham has obviously adapted his class a lot from last year based on these reviews. In terms of actually learning about corporate finance, his is the best option. We went (sometimes painfully) in depth with bonds, risk, capital structure, etc. and are definitely better versed in the important topics of Corporate Finance than the students of any other professor. Homework takes a couple hours a week, and you can work in groups so it isn't too bad. There is one midterm, a final group project, and a final exam that make up the rest of the grade outside of in-class quizzes and participation. The exams are very hard and most people don't finish, but the whole class is graded relative to each other, so your absolute grade on the exams don't really matter, just how you do compared to the class. Parham definitely seems intense at first but lightens up over the course of the semester. Many people defer to taking the class with Chen or another professor because their grade distributions are better, but the work in this class is actually more rewarding because you can leave feeling like you learned a lot about corporate finance in a fairly interesting environment -- and it really isn't that much harder to get a good grade.
This was the most ridiculous class I have ever taken. I honestly felt like my IQ level was dropping every single second I spent in the class. On top of it all I learned absolutely NOTHING about corporate finance nor did he know anything about finance in general. He assumed we all knew R and Python and made us waste time on this stupid group projects which were never turned in nor graded. Additionally, the final project was essentially an ICE project and had nothing to do with the mini projects he assigned. Grading was ridiculous and he obviously just favored kids who kissed his a** during class and went along with his wizardry bullsh*t. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS. Professor Erwin is a better teacher and that is saying something. Honestly is absurd that McIntire hired this man and that my tuition went to a full semester of his ridiculous nonsense.
This was the most ridiculous class that I've ever taken. Parham split us into groups and assumed that we knew how to code. His first few homework sets included R and Python (which is not a pre-requisite to a finance class) and would hurt our grades if we didn't know how to use them. He also had this strange theme of wizardry which was entertaining at first but when people's grades started coming back was completely absurd and annoying. Keep in mind that I got an A in this class and feel that I learned absolutely nothing. Avoid him as a professor at all costs.
DO NOT TAKE CORPORATE FINANCE WITH PROFESSOR PARHAM!
Easily one of the worst classes I have taken at UVA. Parham had no idea what he was doing the entire semester and was essentially making things up as he went along. He started the semester by breaking up the class into groups of 7 people. This was way too big of groups. It was impossible to coordinate so many people. He then promised us we would get 10 small group projects that would congregate at the end of the semester to a big group project. Not only did we only get 4 small projects during the semester, the final project was completely different and had nothing to do with the 4 we had already completed. We essentially wasted our time.
Along with this, he had us take in class pop quizzes every day that were self graded. These were extremely frustrating since most of them were too difficult for the time constraint he gave us. Also, since they were self-graded, there was no way to know if your other classmates were being honest about the grades they were receiving, and thus reporting much higher grades than they actually achieved.
The worst part of the semester was the 8 hour continuous take home midterm. According to Parham, the rules of the exam were that we had 8 hours with minimal breaks (basically bathroom and lunch) to take a 40 question test on our own, but open notes. He told us it was impossible to complete all 40 questions in 8 hours.
Not only is this a ridiculous way to make students take a midterm, there were also no consequences whatsoever for people who cheated. A large amount of students took more than 8 hours on the exam and completed all 40 questions. Along with this, he told us in class that some students obviously cheated off of one another, but since he didn't really understand honor code, he wasn't going to get them in trouble.
Finally, I learned NOTHING about corporate finance from this class. All we learned was a little bit of economics, a little bit of statistics, a little bit of accounting, and a little bit about BitCoin. I wasted so much time sitting in his class for 75 minutes twice a week. The only things I know about finance is what I learned in ICE.
Considering how horrible his class was I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see Professor Parham at UVA next semester/year, but if he somehow still has a job here, under no circumstance should you take his class. If all the other corporate finance classes fill up, please just take corporate finance next semester.
It is an embarrassment to the McIntire School of Commerce to have this man as one of its staff members and I sincerely hope they rectify this soon.