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Finance Curriculum

Foundation Work

To prepare for the Core, students may be required to take up to 4 foundation courses which include: Economics, Statistics, Accounting and Finance.

GR521 Managerial Statistics

This course covers basic statistical techniques in a managerial setting featuring case studies and conceptual exercises. Statistical topics include effective use of numerical and graphical summaries, estimation and confidence intervals, hypothesis testing and regression. A few more advanced topics such as data mining, the Bayesian paradigm and principles of model building may be encountered during projects.

GR522 Economic Environment of the Firm

This course examines managerial decision making from an economic standpoint. The first half (microeconomics) explores how prices, wages, and profits are determined in market economies; the advantages and disadvantages of unfettered competition; and the impact of government intervention on market outcomes. The second half (macroeconomics) investigates the factors influencing Gross Domestic Product, interest rates, unemployment, inflation, and growth; the causes of the business cycle; the role of the federal government and the Federal Reserve in stabilizing the economy; the impact of technology on productivity and growth; and the influence of international trade and finance on economic activity.

GR524 Accounting for Decision Making

The course highlights how managers use cost, cash flow and financial reporting information in their decisions. It will introduce the student to (a) purpose of accounting and its role in making business decisions, (b) accounting principles, procedures and judgments underlying corporate financial statements, (c) use, interpretation and limitations of financial statements, (d) use and interpretation of cost accounting data in managerial decision-making, and (e) approaches to identify problems, analyze their financial and managerial implications, and evaluate alternative solutions.

MSF Curriculum

To earn the MSF degree, students must successfully complete 10 courses (30 credit hours). 

Core Courses (15 credits)

FI623 Investments

This course provides fundamental knowledge in key areas of investments. In particular, the course will focus on portfolio theory, asset pricing, equity valuation, fixed income valuation and risk, and option pricing and strategies.

FI625 Corporate Finance: Theory, Tools and Concepts

Extends the basic understanding of financial concepts and tools by emphasizing the modern fundamentals of the theory of finance. Develops the ability to apply financial analysis, planning and valuation techniques to solving financial problems. Covers issues related to how managers manage the assets in place, identify and evaluate future investment opportunities, and analyze sources and costs of capital necessary to fund these projects. Topics are presented in an environment that includes strategic, global and technological issues where appropriate and relevant.

FI730 Management of Financial Institutions

Analyzes the environment, structure and operation of depository financial institutions while concentrating most heavily on commercial banks. Reviews the complex role of depository institutions within a changing industry and examines criteria used to measure performance. Presents the analytical methods used to evaluate the efficiency of operations, the market position, and the development of the institutions. Factors leading to growth and profitability both internal and external to the firm are evaluated. Issues specific to the international operations of U.S. banks as well as the domestic operations of foreign banks are explored. Examines the exposure to risk of various kinds and methods used to minimize those risks. Cases and current issues are both used.

FI751 International Financial Management

Deals with the international aspects of corporate finance and investing. Areas covered include foreign exchange with emphasis on exchange rate determination, exchange risk, hedging and interest arbitrage, international money and capital markets and international financing, multinational capital budgeting, cost of capital and international portfolio management.

ST625 Quantitative Analysis for Business

Provides students with an in depth coverage of simple and multiple linear regression methods and, as time permits, an introduction to the analysis of time series data. Simple and multiple linear regression techniques are covered including the use of transformations such as squares and logarithms, the modeling of interactions, and how to handle problems resulting from heteroscedasticy and multicollinearity . Issues surrounding outlying and influential observations are also covered. The art and science of model building are demonstrated with the help of cases. Autocorrelation is then considered, and an introduction to the ARIMA modeling of times series is provided. Makes use of statistical packages such as SAS, JMP, R or SPSS.

Elective Courses (15 credits)

FI590 Internship in Finance

A 1-credit field-based educational experience for Bentley students with the opportunity to (1) observe finance practices, (2) apply and test hands-on the organizational concepts and methods learned in classes, (3) develop leadership skills, (4) test aptitude and personal preferences for various career directions, and (5) establish a basis for future professional employment. This Internship option is available to Bentley MSF students. Students must work a minimum of 240 hours at an organization suitable for the individual student's field learning experience, and complete specific requirements during their Internship in order to receive academic credit. A student is limited to doing one such 1-credit internship before degree completion.

FI627 Corporate Finance: Applications and Advanced Topics

Hones analytical skills by exploring applications of concepts and tools introduced in GR 525 and FI 625. This is a case-based course where students examine a wide range of topics in corporate finance in a real-world setting. Issues examined can include but are not limited to building financial forecasts, estimating a cost of capital, making corporate investment decisions, private equity financing, the decision to go public, long-term financing choices, management buyouts, the economics of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, and corporate risk management.

FI635 Fixed Income Valuation and Strategies

Covers the pricing of fixed income securities, examining topics such as bond mathematics, term structure of interest rates, repurchase agreement market, pricing of default risk in the context of high yield corporate bonds, foreign exchange risk in the context of foreign currency denominated bonds, and pricing pre-payment risk in mortgage-backed securities. More advanced topics include the tools and their application under realistic assumptions in the real world, application of duration and convexity under realistic yield curve assumptions, risk and return in the high yield bond market and related structured products, option-adjusted spread modeling in mortgage backed securities pricing, the mortgage derivatives markets, and foreign currency denominated bond investment. Requires econometric analyses that involve using the resources of the Trading Room. Assigned readings include journal articles from applied academic finance journals and research reports from Wall Street firms.

FI640 Equity Valuation

Teaches students to value equity securities, starting with the top-down approach and industry analysis/forecasting. Examines valuation theory, models and applications. Students analyze the IPO process to gain a detailed understanding of equity market operation, issues that affect these markets and where they are headed. More advanced topics include the implications of financial statements on cash flow and risk, the exploration of valuing distressed or bankrupt companies, closely held firms, and venture capital situations. Requires extensive use of applied academic journals, the financial media, and resources available in the Trading Room.

FI645 Derivatives

Provides materials and projects that will allow students to develop a detailed understanding of the design, mechanics and pricing of derivative securities in risk management. The concept of the law of one price will be stressed and includes the application of the tools and inputs (quantitative techniques as developed in ST 625) necessary to value derivative securities. The mathematical requirements of the course are primarily algebraic, but the student will also need to rely on statistical methods and some calculus. Please note that this is not a survey course. It is an intensive introduction to derivative securities pricing and market mechanics.

FI650 Advanced Portfolio Theory and Practice

This course will provide the students with the issues, techniques and methodologies associated with constructing and evaluating portfolios. The course will use material from ST 625, including both statistics and calculus, to analyze issues such as diversification, optimal portfolio selection, capital market theory and application, performance evaluation, efficient markets, and behavioral finance, among others. The course will also address ethical issues and the professional code of conduct as it relates to portfolio management.

FI685 Financial Strategy

This course has three broad objectives. The first is to examine a framework for formulating value-enhancing corporate strategies, both short term and long term. The second is to study a variety of financial policies, and develop an understanding of how financial policy is an integral part of any value-maximizing corporate strategy. The third objective is to apply the value-maximization framework and tools to conduct an in-depth evaluation of corporate strategy for a selected firm. Various strategic decisions to create stakeholder wealth will be discussed through case discussions and analysis of actual companies. Analysis of financial decisions in a framework that views a business strategy as a series of options rather than a series of static cash flows will be discussed.

FI701 Internship in Finance

Affords students the opportunity to enhance self-realization and direction by integrating classroom study with experience in professional financial environments. Requires development in cooperation with the potential employer of a proposal defining the internship experience. Consistent with the student's professional goals, the proposal should detail either a specific project or a structured development program. Includes regular meetings in which students discuss issues and business problems related to their work experience, and defend proposed solutions before fellow students and the internship coordinator.

FI735 Mergers and Acquisitions

Studies mergers and acquisitions, both as a growth strategy and as a means of increasing the market value of the firm. Students develop the skills to scan the environment for potentially attractive targets, and thereafter, to determine the terms of a merger. Through the case analysis method, students test pre-merger conditions against post-merger facts to form judgments about the soundness of a given merger. Accounting treatment of mergers, as well as the role tax and antitrust laws, is studied.

FI745 Real Estate Investment Analysis

Examines the application of investment principles and analytical techniques to the valuation of real property. Emphasizes the estimation of revenues/expenses and risk/return relationships in the investment valuation and the application of real estate economics to this process. The effects of financing, tax consequences, ownership and market conditions are integrated into the analysis process.

FI787 Large Investments and International Project Finance

Course provides an overview of project finance employing the latest techniques for structuring transactions, including risk mitigation by financial intermediaries. Students will be introduced to substantial research data and informational resources. Decision making and prioritization of tasks, policy formulation, the selection of world class partners and on-the-ground operational skills necessary to ensure timely completion of construction, budget adherence and efficient start-up are stressed. Large investment projects across a variety of geographic regions, industrial sectors, and stages of project execution are examined. The important differences in risk between domestic and export sector projects will be contrasted, including management of foreign exchange issues and the role of host governments. Case studies and an international development valuation project will add depth to the text material. Comfort with Excel spreadsheets and the analytical tools is recommended.