Academic Finance vs Real-World Value Investing

The consensus among practicing Value Investors seems to be that academic theories have little to do with the realities of the market.

Benjamin Graham

Benjamin Graham was a fund manager who taught and wrote in his spare time; and not an academic.

Possibly his experience as an adjunct professor — and help from students such as David Dodd — put Graham in a unique position; a practicing fund manager who could develop, refine and document an encyclopedic investment framework.

Warren Buffett

In the preface to The Intelligent Investor, you can see Graham's student — Warren Buffett — explain how he never came across anyone else with a "mind of similar scope".

Buffett has also explained in the past about how Graham was not interested in money, and was only interested in building a framework with which ordinary investors could achieve results similar to his own (Graham's).

On Academia

As far as the academic world goes, given below are some relevant notes from Warren Buffett's 1984 talk The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville.

"If it doesn’t make any difference whether all of a business is being bought on a Monday or a Friday, I am baffled why academicians invest extensive time and effort to see whether it makes a difference when buying small pieces of those same businesses... I always find it extraordinary that so many studies are made of price and volume behavior, the stuff of chartists........ It isn’t necessarily because such studies have any utility; it’s simply that the data are there and academicians have worked hard to learn the mathematical skills needed to manipulate them."
Warren Buffett, Columbia Business School: The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville (1984) [PDF].

Charlie Munger

"Much of what is taught in modern corporate finance courses is twaddle... Modern portfolio theory involves a type of dementia I just can’t even classify... By the way, maybe that’s the reason there’s so much dementia. If you believed what Warren said, you could teach the whole course in about a week."
Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting (1996).

Buffett along with other other notable Value Investors have also expressed their disdain in the past for academic ideas such as Beta, CAPM and MPT; as well as the Efficient Market Hypothesis.

Buffett and Munger Explain

On Academic Finance

Buffett talks about the problems with Academic Finance, using Beta and Volatility again as examples; and also about the courses on the Graham approach to be introduced in the University of Florida.

On B-Schools

Buffett says at the Berkshire Hathaway 2018 Annual Shareholders Meeting that he would rather hire someone who understands Benjamin Graham over a top business school graduate.