Course Descriptions

Finance Courses

FIN 130: Applied Statistics

This course covers three standard topics in statistics at the introductory level: probability theory, statistical inference, and regression analysis. Among the individual topics covered are descriptive statistics, probability rules, discrete probability distribution functions including the bivariate and binomial distributions, continuous density functions including the Normal and t distributions, sampling, hypothesis testing, test statistics, p-values, correlation versus causation, and an introduction to multivariate linear regression analysis. All topics are applied to techniques important to analyze economic, business, and financial behavior. Students who have taken this course will not receive credit for MATH 150. (Under the Forester Fundamental Curriculum, this course meets the Quantitative Reasoning requirement. Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)
cross listed: ECON 130, BUSN 130

FIN 140: Introduction to Insurance

The insurance industry, operating from the fundamental principle of managing risk, interacts with a wide variety of disciplines and practices, from actuarial work to sales to modern advertising and sports marketing. Accordingly, this course provides a broad overview of the field, covering topics such as the definition of insurance, marketing, premiums, underwriting, instrument design and actuarial science, investing, claims processing, and the difference between personal and commercial insurance. Further, the course focuses on how the insurance industry drives global innovation, how it integrates with financial planning, how it uses technology to keep up with the pace of innovation, and how its driving principle, protection against future risk, plays a major role in daily life. No prerequisites.

FIN 210: Financial Management

This course provides an overview of the questions and problems faced by financial managers, as well as an introduction to the basic set of tools they use to help them make optimal investment and financing decisions under conditions of risk and uncertainty. The main topics include time value of money, the valuation of bond and stocks, the trade-off between risk and return, the efficient markets hypothesis, the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), cost of capital, and a brief introduction to derivative securities and international finance issues. Prerequisites: ECON 110 and ECON/BUSN/FIN 130 with grades of C- or better. (Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)

FIN 250: Business Information Systems

Business Information Systems introduces students to commonly used business software programs, including Excel, SQL, Tableau, and Power BI. Students use the software to frame, analyze, and communicate decision-relevant information. Students employ business information systems to design graphs, develop data relationships, develop best strategies, understand opportunity costs, and communicate strategies to deliver on the needs of an organization. The course emphasizes data analytics and analysis (descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive) within the capabilities of each of the software programs. Prerequisites: COLL 150, ECON/BUSN/FIN 130, must have declared a major in Business, Finance, or Economics, and junior or senior standing or approval by instructor. (Under the Forester Fundamental Curriculum, this course meets the Technology requirement. Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)
cross listed: BUSN 250

FIN 310: Corporate Finance

This course studies the theory, methods, and issues of corporate finance. The emphasis throughout is on the economic principles that underlie business financial decisions and their impact on wealth maximization. The content includes capital budgeting, optimal capital structure, payout policies, financial planning, working capital, and corporate restructuring issues related to ownership and control. Prerequisites: FIN 210 and BUSN 230, both with a grade of C- or better. (Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)

FIN 320: Investments

This course provides an examination of financial securities and financial markets from the perspective of individual investors. The main topics include securities markets, security analysis, portfolio theory, mutual funds, derivative securities, market efficiency, behavioral finance, and industry regulations. Prerequisites: ECON 210, BUSN 230 and FIN 210 with grades of C- or better. (Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)

FIN 330: Financial Modeling

(Financial Modeling and Valuation) This is an advanced course in firm valuation. It covers conceptual and theoretical valuation frameworks with heavy emphasis on practical implementation using industry standards and best practices. Students develop in-depth knowledge of valuation using the methods of discounted cash flow analysis, multiples, and precedent transactions. Relevant accounting topics, economic theory, and finance theory are integrated into a step-by-step implementation of different valuation frameworks. The objective is to evaluate risks and opportunities of a firm from an investment perspective. Students learn about the advantages and disadvantages of different valuation methods, assumptions, and trade-offs inherent in each. Students use financial statements and other information sources to conduct a full firm valuation and develop a professional valuation models in Excel. Topics covered might also include advanced valuation scenarios such leveraged buyouts (LBOs), mergers and acquisitions, and start-up companies. Strong emphasis on advanced excel formulas and techniques used in practice. Solid foundation in Excel is expected from students in this course. Prerequisites: FIN 210, BUSN 230 and ECON 210 (Under the Forester Fundamental Curriculum, this course meets the Social Sciences and Technology requirements.)

FIN 340: Risk Management and Insurance

Risk management is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by a coordinated response to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of adverse events. Strategies used to manage risks typically include transferring the risk to another party and reducing the probability of the risk. This course provides students with an in-depth analysis of insurance and risk management, focusing primarily on business risks but personal risk management issues are also covered. In addition to discussing risk management in general, topics include an overview of the private insurance market, how insurance is used in risk management, alternative methods for transfer risk, insurance asset management, and insurance company regulations and ratings. Prerequisite: FIN 140 or FIN 210. (Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)

FIN 365: Fundamental Equity Analysis

Fundamental equity analysis is a stock investment technique based on the economic concept that markets are not implicitly efficient, but instead trend towards efficiency in part using fundamental analysis as a tool to outperform markets by arbitraging inefficiencies in the market. The goal of fundamental equity analysis is to seek out discrepancies in consensus views on equity securities that impact valuation using a combination of financial statement analysis and forecasting, industry/sector analysis and forecasting in tandem with disciplined approaches to valuation based on various objective quantitative criteria. Upon completing this course, students will have a rudimentary working understanding of the methodology fundamental analysts use to pick sectors and stocks. The course is heavily writing-intensive, with weekly case studies. Prerequisites: FIN 210, BUSN 230, and FIN 320. (Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)

FIN 385: Options and Futures

This course introduces the economic functions of options and futures markets, discusses the basic underlying pricing mechanism of options and futures contracts, and provides a working knowledge of these contracts as risk management tools. Prerequisites: FIN 210 and FIN 320 (Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)

FIN 415: Corp Fin, Public Policy, & Society

(Corporate Finance, Public Policy, and Society) Theoretical and empirical issues in corporate finance are examined from the perspectives of the firm, the shareholders, and public policymakers. Topics covered include leveraged buyouts and mergers, corporate governance and managerial compensation, models of optimal capital structure and the impact of the tax system on corporate activity. Prerequisites: MATH 110, FIN 210, and FIN 310. (Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)

FIN 420: Fixed Income Markets and Management

This course will provide a thorough understanding of fixed income securities. These debt instruments are a critical source of capital for governments, corporations and individuals. The fixed income markets are about twice as large as the global equity markets. This course will study the major fixed income security asset classes including treasuries, agencies, mortgage-backed, asset-backed, commercial mortgage, corporates, municipals, and private placements. The course will then focus on managing these securities in a real-world setting using leading techniques including insurance asset management. The course will include guest lecturers who are professional fixed-income portfolio managers. Prerequisite: FIN 320. (Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)

FIN 431: International Finance

Identifies and analyzes fundamentals of international financial theory. Topics include exchange rate determination, balance of payments accounting, and international monetary systems and their evolution. Prerequisites: Economics 210 and 220; and junior or senior standing. (Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)
cross listed: ECON 431

FIN 450: Applied Value Investing

(Applied Value Investing: Special Situations) This course offers a practical introduction to value investing, with a focus on "special situation" investing. The course improves students' ability to identify the types of securities and areas of the market that are most likely to be mispriced. In other words, students sharpen their skills as good "fishermen" (general value investing skills) but in addition, they become more astute at identifying the best "fishing holes." Examples of special situations include companies that are undergoing unusual change, such as bankruptcy, financial distress, spin-off, merger, litigation, dividend-cut, etc. The class focuses on researching and monitoring, in real-time, companies whose securities meet these criteria. Additional topics include risk assessment, where to find information, and how to determine what is materially important in an age of information overload. Prerequisites: FIN 210, and either FIN 310 or FIN 320 (B or better in all these courses taken). (Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)

FIN 465: Applied Investment Management

This is an advanced course that will allow students to participate in live portfolio management while developing and implementing industry-standard investment research techniques. The class will focus on building and managing a $100 million, multi-asset class investment portfolio in a realistic asset management firm environment. The students, referred to as analysts, will engage in fundamental securities analysis and valuation in both individual and team settings. Students will present the results of their research, make investment recommendations, and evaluate the recommendations of others. The class will also involve trips to asset management firms in Chicago where students can interact with investment professionals. Prerequisites: FIN 310, FIN 320. (Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)

FIN 483: Behavioral Economics and Finance

This course surveys research incorporating evidence from psychology into economic and financial decision-making theory. The aim of the course is to understand economic and financial models that more realistically explain and predict observed outcomes. The course explores prospect theory, biases in probabilistic judgment, projections biases, default effects, self-control problems, mental accounting, fairness and altruism. Students will use these tools to understand public goods contributions, financial market anomalies, consumption and savings behavior and myriad market outcomes. Prerequisites: ECON/BUSN/FIN 130 (or ECON/BUSN 180) and ECON 210. (Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)
cross listed: ECON 483

FIN 484: Financial Crises

(Financial Crises: Origins, Forecasts, Modelling.) The aim of the course is to understand the creation of financial crises from a behavioral perspective by tying together the history of financial crises with time series properties, experimental finance and asset pricing financial models. Students will be able to understand the endogeneity of financial crises by studying the most severe global financial crashes and explore the contribution of human behavior in generating/exacerbating business cycles. At the same time students will apply time series properties for forecasting market movements and identifying the correlation between asset prices with themselves. Students will also study asset pricing models from an equilibrium perspective, to understand how systematic departures from rationality affect financial markets. Topics covered will also include how certain phases of financial crises can be tested by laboratory experiments with students being introduced to the basics of experimental finance. Prerequisites: MATH 110, FIN 320. (Under the Forester Fundamental Curriculum, this course meets the Speaking and Senior Studies requirements.)

FIN 485: Quantitative Finance

The main focus of this course is on the empirical and quantitative tools necessary for investment decisions. Topics will include time series econometrics, return predictability, asset pricing models with emphasis on factor models, market efficiency and active investment, hedge funds, trading and exchange microstructure, role of quantitative finance in the financial recession, and an introduction to behavioral finance. The main emphasis is on common stocks, but other asset classes may be covered. The class will involve the use of spreadsheets software such as Excel and/or limited application of programming language such as Python. Prerequisites: COLL 150, FIN 210 and FIN 320. (Under the Forester Fundamental Curriculum, this course meets the Technology requirement. Under the old GEC, this course meets the Social Science requirement.)

FIN 490: Internship

Provides an opportunity to supplement academic training with work experience in the field of business and economics. Interested students must work with Career Services to develop a resume and register with the instructor by the following deadlines: by April 1 for a Fall internship; by November 1 for a Spring internship; and by the week following spring break for a Summer internship. Business and Economics internships may be done for either one or two credits. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, Economics 110 with a grade of C- or better as well as other designated courses relevant to the internship and earning a C or better in combination of these courses and Economics 110. Internships need to be for different experiences therefore continuation of previous internships, part-time or summer jobs is not allowed. The department will not give credit for internships that do not build directly on prior course work. Students on academic probation are ineligible for this program. Contact the Internship Supervisor for Economics and Business regarding additional information and guidelines. (Under the Forester Fundamental Curriculum, this course meets the Experiential Learning requirement.)
cross listed: ECON 490, BUSN 490