Mind and Markets: Finance, Economics, and Psychology

Open to students entering grades 11 or 12 or freshman year of college in the fall
I - June 24–July 12, 2019 (Course Filled)
II - July 16–August 2, 2019 (Course Filled)
Days & Time:
Monday–Friday, 11:10 a.m.–1:00 p.m. and 3:10–5:00 p.m.
Zack Michaelson

“I have learned more about discussion-based classes and have learned a lot about economics and finance.”  - Allison G. | Rye, New York

Course Description

This course is an interdisciplinary study of how the realities of human psychology affect financial markets, the economy, institutions, legal systems, firms, and regulators. Material is drawn from the fields of finance and economics, as well as psychology, neuroscience, law, managerial strategy, anthropology, and philosophy.

The course serves as an introduction to finance, economics, and psychology, while also weaving the topics together into a cohesive narrative. Whereas traditionally introductory topics are taught separately in unrelated silos, here students advance to the stage of understanding how concepts fit together across disciplines.

Core areas of the course include:

  • Finance, the valuation of business and investments
  • Investing, trading, markets, and alternative investment management strategies such as hedge funds, private equity, and real estate
  • Microeconomics, including economic decision making and choices about risk and gambles
  • Macroeconomics, including business cycles, crashes, recessions, and credit cycles
  • Psychology of judgement and decision making
  • Behavioral economics, including biases and heuristics
  • Neuroscience, including social neuroscience, neuroeconomics, neurofinance, and neurojurisprudence
  • Philosophical thought on fairness, inequality, and morality
  • Game theory, negotiation, bargaining, and strategic decision making

While the course involves engagement with theories from the liberal arts and the sciences, it is drawn from graduate course material for business professionals. The intention is for each student to come away with meaningful conclusions that can be applied in their future coursework, careers, and even daily lives.

The course also serves as an investigation into the future directions of financial and economic thought and its engagement with human psychology and even biology. The intention is to inspire students to contribute to the transformation of thought that will occur in these fields over the decades to come.

The class is conducted as an interactive seminar. Participants are expected to engage with and critically analyze each topic. In-class debate is a key component of each class. By the end of the course, students will have developed a portfolio of work - both financial models and writing on economic topics.

Participants are expected to bring laptops to class.


Zack Michaelson

Zack Michaelson is an adjunct assistant professor of finance at New York University and a portfolio manager for the hedge fund advisor Prolific Capital Markets. Since 2008, he has taught courses at NYU in topics including hedge fund strategies, fixed income portfolio management, behavioral finance, neuroeconomics, hedge fund operations and due diligence, and risk management. He has been a hedge fund portfolio manager since 2003, having previously managed assets for the Fortress Investment Group, Barclays Capital, Boothbay Fund Management, and Graham Capital Management. As a human rights advocate he was twice elected to the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA by popular vote of the organization's members. His published academic research concerns the intersection of macroeconomics, finance, psychology, philosophy, and policy.  Zach holds a master’s degree in psychology from Harvard University and a bachelor’s in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


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Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.