"TIME IS THE ENEMY OF THE POOR BUSINESS AND THE FRIEND OF THE GOOD BUSINESS"

- Warren Buffett -

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Value Investing Program

Value Investing Program

The Value Investing curriculum at Columbia Business School permeates many of the second year electives. There are approximately 7 courses specifically focused on value investing, 4 of which require students to apply to the value investing program. (This may change at any time, depending on the availability of adjunct professors). Additional courses in Earnings Quality and Turnaround Management are also suggested courses of study. The application process for the intensive, strictly value-focused electives occurs at the end of the first year and is sponsored by the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing.

Information about the faculty and courses offered as part of the Value Investing Program can be found on the Heilbrunn Center website.

Faculty / Courses

 

Notable CBS Value Investors

BRUCE C. N. GREENWALD is the Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management at Columbia University Graduate School of Business. A leading authority on value investing, productivity, and the economics of information, he teaches executive seminars on value investing for professional investors from leading Wall Street firms. He holds a PhD in economics from MIT.

Professor Bruce C. N. Greenwald holds the Robert Heilbrunn Professorship of Finance and Asset Management at Columbia Business School and is the academic Director of the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing. Described by the New York Times as "a guru to Wall Street's gurus," Greenwald is an authority on value investing with additional expertise in productivity and the economics of information.

Greenwald has been recognized for his outstanding teaching abilities. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Columbia University Presidential Teaching Award which honors the best of Columbia's teachers for maintaining the University's longstanding reputation for educational excellence. His classes are consistently oversubscribed, with more than 650 students taking his courses every year in subjects such as Value Investing, Economics of Strategic Behavior, Globalization of Markets, and Strategic Management of Media.

 

WARREN EDWARD BUFFETT is a famous American Investor - Stock Market Guru, who is famous for the successful Berkshire Hathaway Company, 2nd Richest man in the world, & Philanthropist

Warren Buffett was born in Nebraska, Omaha USA on the 30th of August in 1930. He is one of the worlds richest men, with a fortune that is only surpassed by Bill Gates of Microsoft fame. He is considered one of the most successful investors of all time and has picked up the nickname of the "Oracle of Omaha".

Buffett was born to Leila and Howard Buffett and was the second of three children, he being the only boy. Buffett's father, Howard was a stockbroker and also became a member of congress. Warren Buffett showed early signs of being entrepreneurial through being involved in various business dealings as a child, including purchasing bottles of cola cheaply and selling them for a profit. He also made his first investment in the stock market when he was just 11 years old.

Buffett began studying at the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, but transferred to the University of Nebraska where he graduated. He then went on to the Columbia University to do a Masters in economics. This was where he met the influential value investor Benjamin Graham.

Buffett was very influenced by Benjamin Graham and went to work for him in his company "Graham-Newman". It was here that Buffett developed many of his stock market investing skills that have now become legendary. Graham developed a method where investors could work out the intrinsic value of a company and make intelligent investing decisions by comparing the stock price to the intrinsic value.

After Graham's retirement, Buffett returned to Omaha and began a limited investing fund partnership with a group of friends, family and associates. The "Buffett Partnerships Ltd" fund racked up amazing returns for its investors over a ten year period, with returns 10 times higher than the Dow Jones Industrial average for the same time. Buffett liquidated the fund and took control of the textile company Berkshire Hathaway.

It was a difficult time for the textile industry and Buffett eventually wound up Berkshire Hathaway's textile activities, but kept the name for Buffett's portfolio of companies and investments. The insurance industry was the first major area of success that Berkshire Hathaway had, with the funds used to acquire carefully selected investments each year. Major undervalued companies that Buffett took advantage of included "American Express", "Coca-Cola" "The Washington Post" and "Gillette". Berkshire Hathaway owns large holdings of each of the above major brand companies (more than 5% each).

Buffett is a generous philanthropist and was giving more than $USD12 million each year to the Buffett Foundation (no called the "Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation"). His largest charitable donation was to be upon his death when he had planned to give 99% of his massive fortune to the foundation.

In June 2006 Buffett announced plans to give much of his wealth away while he is still living. The majority of the Buffett billions will go to the foundation of his Bridge partner and friend of fifteen years, Bill Gates.

 


BENJAMIN GRAHAM was an influential economist and professional investor who is today often called the "Father of Value Investing" and the "Dean of Wall Street. He was a partner in a financial investment firm in the 1920s when, suddenly, it was ruined with the 1929 Wall Street Crash. Working part-time as a professor of finance at Columbia, Graham authored his wildly successful book on financial analysis, Security Analysis (1934) with David Dodd. In this book, Graham laid out the principles of "value-oriented investment", i.e. the use of fundamentals in guiding the valuation of securities. This approach was further advanced in two other Graham classics, the Interpretation of Financial Statements (1937) and the Intelligent Investor (1949). Graham's approach acquired an avid following in the financial community. He was nicknamed the "Dean of Wall Street" and raised to almost mythic status among practitioners.

As the Great Depression wore on, Benjamin Graham turned his attention to wider economic issues. Seeing the devastation of deflation on farmers, workers, and producers, exacerbated by the irrationalities of the Gold Standard, Graham produced his famous 1937 Storage and Stability. In it, Graham proposed the creation and maintenance of reservoirs of commodities to act as buffer stocks against general price deflation. So urgent and foolproof did he believe this price-stabilization plan to be that he offered free copies of his book to anyone who asked.

Benjamin Graham's propositions were taken up Frank D. Graham of Princeton, and made into a more general proposition about a commodity-reserve currency. In World Commodities and World Currency (1944), Benjamin Graham proposed an international "Commodity Standard", where macroeconomic policies would shift from the defunct gold standard to a more general basket of commodities. Making its round in the journals, Benjamin Graham's plan was sympathetically reviewed by such unlikely bedfellows such as J.M. Keynes, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. Nicholas Kaldor resurrected Graham's propositions in his "Bancor" campaign after the 1960s and Robert E. Hall took it up more recently in the "free banking" surge.

He is perhaps best known today from frequent references made to him by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who studied under Graham at Columbia University, and was his only pupil to receive an A+. Other well known students of Graham include William Ruane, Irving Kahn, Walter Schloss, and Charles Brandes.

Buffett, who credits Graham as grounding him with a sound intellectual investment framework, described him as the second most influential person in his life after his own father. In fact, Graham had such an overwhelming influence over his students that two of them, Buffett and Kahn, named their sons after him.

His book, Security Analysis, with David Dodd, was published in 1934 and has been considered a bible for serious investors since it was written. It and The Intelligent Investor published in 1949 (4th revision, with Jason Zweig, 2003), are his two most widely acclaimed books. Warren Buffett describes The Intelligent Investor as "the best book on investing ever written." Graham exhorted the stock market participant to first draw a fundamental distinction between investment and speculation. He defined an investment operation as "one which on a thorough analysis of the facts promises safety of principal and a satisfactory return; anything else is speculation."

Graham wrote that the owner of equity stocks should regard them first and foremost as conferring part ownership of a business. With that perspective in mind, the stock owner should not be too concerned with erratic fluctuations in stock prices, since in the short term, the stock market behaves like a voting machine, but in the long term it acts like a weighing machine (i.e. its true value will in the long run be reflected in its stock price).

Graham recommended that investors spend time and effort to analyze the financial state of companies. When a company is available on the market at a price which is at a discount to its intrinsic value, a "margin of safety" exists, which makes it suitable for investment. Graham wrote that investment is most intelligent when it is most businesslike, a statement which Warren Buffett regarded as the most important words about investment ever written. Graham said that the stock investor is neither right nor wrong because others agreed or disagreed with him; he is right because his facts and analysis are right.

Graham's favorite allegory is that of Mr. Market, a very obliging fellow who turns up every day at the stock holder's door offering to buy or sell his shares at a different price. Often, the price quoted by Mr. Market seems plausible, but often it is ridiculous. The investor is free to either agree with his quoted price and trade with him, or to ignore him completely. Mr. Market doesn't mind this, and will be back the following day to quote another price. The point is that the investor should not regard the whims of Mr. Market as determining the value of the shares that the investor owns. He should profit from market folly rather than participate in it. The investor is best off concentrating on the real life performance of his companies and receiving dividends, rather than being too concerned with Mr. Market's often irrational behaviour.

Graham was critical of the corporations of his day for obfuscated and irregular financial reporting that made it difficult for investors to discern the true state of the business's finances. He was an advocate of dividend payments to shareholders rather than businesses keeping all of their profits as retained earnings. He also criticized those who advised that some types of stocks were a good buy at any price, because of the prospect of sustained stock price growth, without a good analysis of the business's actual financial condition. These observations remain extremely relevant today.

Benjamin Graham wrote that he wished every day to do something foolish, something creative, and something generous. Warren Buffett said that Graham excelled most at the last. Undoubtedly, Graham's generosity in sharing his investment philosophy has benefitted generations of stock market participants.