Finance Coursework

Experiential Electives & Application Based Courses

Please refer to information below to learn more about Special Topic, Distinguish, and application based finance-related courses available this spring.

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BUAD 323: Distinguish Financial Management

Fall | 3 Credits
Prof. Katherine Guthrie

The Distinguish Financial Management course is designed to prepare rising sophomores for advanced study in finance up to one year before the traditional curriculum path. This is an application based course. Students are selected based on a personal statement, strength of applicable coursework, GPA, and if deemed necessary, an interview. Selected students will be enrolled for Fall 2021 in BUAD 323 Financial Management with Professor Katherine Guthrie.

Application required and can be found on the Registrations page.

BUAD 421: Distinguish Student-Managed Investment Fund

Fall & Spring | 3 Credits
Prof. Hugh Marble

The purpose of this course is to provide real-world portfolio management and security analysis experience through the
management of the Mason School Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF). Increased interaction with the investment
community through the SMIF will provide enhanced learning opportunities and exposure to recent industry practices.
Investment decisions will be made according to both quantitative and qualitative analysis performed by student investment teams. Different investment teams will focus on alternative financial models, industries, and/or sectors of the market. Each team will thoroughly research and present their analysis to the SMIF Executive Board. Security selection will be based on a diversified portfolio approach seeking to enhance risk-adjusted returns. The underlying investment theme of the fund will be based on the principles of “Fundamental Analysis.” Faculty and professional mentors will train students in the application of Fundamental Analysis and Security Selection through several lecture/workshop sessions. Faculty and professional mentors will also expose students to different investment styles and performance evaluation tools through assigned reading materials from academic and practitioner journals such as Journal of Portfolio Management and Financial Analyst Journal, and in-class discussions.

Standard grading. May be used to satisfy the Finance elective requirement for majors, minors, or concentrators.

Application required and can be found on the Registrations page.

BUAD 422: Applied Financial Concepts

Spring | 3 Credits
Prof. Glenn Crafford

The goal of this course is to expose students through the case method of instruction to practices and recent developments within several specialized areas of the financial services sector. Key objectives are to develop the student’s problem solving
ability and written and oral communication skills through the quantitative and qualitative analysis of actual business situations. Students gain facility at interpreting financial and business information, researching and seeking expert advice, working in groups and synthesizing data into an actionable analysis. Active student participation in case discussion and analysis is required, and a meaningful portion of the student’s evaluation is based on class participation. In addition, students, divided into small groups, analyze and present a group case study toward the end of the semester. The group case study includes both a written case analysis as well as an oral group presentation.

Application required and can be found on the Registrations page.

BUAD 426: Fundamentals of Hedge Fund Management

Spring | 1 Credit
Prof. Matt Siano, Esq.

Fundamentals of Hedge Fund Management is a multi-faceted course that gives students a broad overview of the hedge fund industry and what is needed to launch your own hedge fund(s) and hedge fund manager(s). It is designed to provide students with an overview of hedge funds, including (i) typical structures; (ii) primary internal and external parties; (iii) key regulatory, legal and ethical considerations; and (iv) selected managerial considerations for those interested in establishing a hedge fund manager and managing hedge funds. This course is not designed to teach students particular trading strategies, but instead focuses on the question: “What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur in the hedge fund industry?” The course instructor is W&M alumnus Matthew B. Siano, Esq, Managing Director & General Counsel for Two Sigma Investments, LLC et. al., in New York. This course will take place over the weekend prior to the start of the spring semester. Course participants are required to complete a team project during the following week and the teams will make a presentation summarizing their completed project. Attendance at all sessions is
mandatory.
Pass/Fail grading.
Pre-requisite: BUAD 323; Highly Recommended: Training the Street

Application required and can be found on the Registrations page.

 

BUAD 492 01: Budget Issues

Spring | 1 Credit
Prof. John Gilmour

*This course is strongly recommended as pre-req for BUAD 492 03 Policy Research Seminar*
*This course is for Junior, Senior academic standing* 

This course will be a brief introduction to the federal budget. It will cover the following topics: debt and deficit in the US; growth in entitlement spending — its causes and consequences; tax policy; appropriations.

BUAD 492 03: Policy Research Seminar – Public Debt in America

Spring | 3 Credits
Prof. John Gilmour

*This course is for Junior, Senior academic standing*

*Strongly recommended to take BUAD 492 01: Budget Issues as a prerequisite*


This course will explore the growth of public debt in the United States and the causes and consequences of large-scale public
borrowing. An important goal of the class will be to create a publicly-accessible website to help educate the public about
issues related to the public debt, building on work of a previous course that created a website about Social Security.
The amount of public debt in America has been rising rapidly, for reasons that are multiple and complex, and it will pass
100% of GDP soon (if it has not already). While there is universal agreement that too much debt is bad, there is a great deal
of disagreement about how much debt is too much, what the consequences of higher debt levels will be, and what should
be done about it. One concern is that rising debt will lead to a sovereign debt crisis like the one that occurred in Greece in
2009. A sovereign debt crisis occurs when a sovereign state is incapable of borrowing except at ruinously high rates. Debt
in the US is higher than it was in Greece at the time of their crisis, but much lower than Japan’s, which has had no trouble
borrowing despite a public debt exceeding 200% of GDP. Another issue is that adding to the public debt shifts on the costs
of today’s consumption to a future generation, raising concerns of inter-generational fairness.

BUAD 492 10: Business of Luxury

Spring | 1 Credit
Prof. Matthew Williams, with guest lecturer Ruggero Caterini, COO of Dolce and Gabbana

An interactive workshop where teams will develop competing business cases in the Fashion Industry with guest lecturer Ruggero Caterini, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Dolce and Gabbana. The course will give you a hands-on overview of the Luxury and fashion business, under the guidance of one of the industry’s global leaders.

 

BUAD 492 15: Financing Entrepreneurial Ventures

Fall | 3 Credits
Prerequisite(s): 1 of BUAD 340, BUAD 311, or BUAD 323

This course provides real world, on-the-ground learning about how entrepreneurial ventures are financed, with a particular focus on Venture Capital & Private Equity sources of funding. Topic areas include understanding what sources of capital are available to entrepreneurial ventures, deciding how much to raise and from what sources to raise, selecting potential investors and board members, preparing ventures for profitable exits, and learning how to “craft a deal” by creating term sheets, investment pitches, and incentive plans. This course is designed for individuals with an interest in entrepreneurship, private equity/venture capital, corporate finance and law.

BUAD 492: Inspiring Future Leaders in Finance with Fremont

Fall 2022 | 1 Credit

Fremont Group’s Inspiring Futures in Finance Program (IFFP), developed in collaboration with William & Mary finance professors and the Boehly Center, was created in 2021 to expose students of diverse backgrounds, particularly those from historically underrepresented groups, to investing in fund-of-funds, venture capital, public and private equities, and real estate.  Learn more about Fremont Group here.
IFFP is a 6-week, 1-credit hour series of interactive professional development sessions with Fremont professionals. This competitive program focuses on strengthening critical thinking and problem-solving skills by working through real-world case exercises, as well as learning about careers in finance, recruiting processes, and the Fremont Group.
The 2022 program will likely be held in Miller Hall at W&M and be scheduled for 2 hours each Friday beginning in late September 2022. Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion.
To be considered for Fremont’s Inspiring Futures in Finance Program, applicants must agree to participate in all 6 sessions and must currently be an undergraduate sophomore at W&M interested in studying at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business or interested in financial services.
Candidates who bring diverse backgrounds and experiences to the program including but not limited to female, Black, Hispanic, Native American, first-generation college student, or Pell Grant recipient are encouraged to apply.

BUAD 492: Green Energy Finance

Fall 2022 | 3 Credits

The course will introduce students to capital investing principles and financial decision-making taking into account global climate concerns and economic, social, and corporate governance values of stakeholders in today’s world.  Investment decision must meet capital requirements in the context of striving to achieve net-zero carbon goals.

In that regard, the course will focus on how project finance credit structures present an option to finance renewable energy generation and infrastructure. A distinction will be drawn between entrepreneurial initiatives and large corporate sponsorships of renewable energy projects as they relate to financing alternatives: non-recourse project finance vs. corporate finance.

Following a discussion of financial decision-making parameters and the project finance paradigm, in particular, case studies will introduce students to a range of typical stakeholders – project developers, participants, political interests and last, but not least, financial investors – playing a role in the development, construction and operations of renewable energy projects.

BUAD 492: Cryptocurrencies and Fintech

Spring 2022 | 3 Credits

Please check back for more information regarding this upcoming course.

Finance Courses

BUAD 290: Financial Services Industry

Fall & Spring | 3 Credits

The financial services industry is the country’s largest employer of finance graduates, and is a major component of the U.S. and global economy. This course will introduce students to the institutional framework of financial markets and the financial services industry, and help students to understand at a high level the financial, economic and regulatory context in which many financial decisions get made and transactions executed.

Students study the overall structure of the financial services industry as well as the specific characteristics of the major industry segments: commercial banking, investment banking, insurance and asset management. Students examine financial sector business and funding models, the industry’s approach to risk management and capital allocation and the linkages between the financial services industry and the real economy. They consider representative business transactions facilitated by the financial services industry, and discuss the regulatory environment in which financial institutions operate and financial transactions take place. The course has a significant current events component and addresses issues of public policy concern, including industry governance and professional ethics.

One cannot fully understand the current state or structure of the financial services industry without reference to the historic and transformational events of 2007 – 2009 and beyond (the “Financial Crisis”). During this course, students explore various aspects of the Financial Crisis and reflect upon the changing dynamics of the financial services industry that contributed to and resulted from the Financial Crisis. They begin and end the course term with a discussion of the Financial Crisis, and refer frequently to these events throughout the course term.

This class is a COLL 200 CSI course.

BUAD 323: Financial Management

Fall & Spring | 3 Credits

This course provides an introduction to finance. The basic principles of finance are explored here and applied not only to personal financial management but also to decisions faced by the financial manager. The course develops the basic tools necessary for analyzing and interpreting financial data and lays the foundations for understanding how securities are priced in the financial markets, and how financial managers can create value for their shareholders. Specific concepts covered include time value of money, the relation between risk and return, security valuation, cost of capital, evaluation of investment projects, and the efficient markets hypothesis.

Prerequisites are those of entering the business school, found here.

BUAD 327: Investments

Fall & Spring | 3 Credits
Prerequisite(s): BUAD 323

An introduction to portfolio management, fixed income, and derivative instruments.

BUAD 329: Corporate Valuation and Credit Analysis

Fall & Spring | 3 Credits
Prerequisite(s): BUAD 323

This course focuses on corporate valuation and credit analysis. Students will learn common methodologies for valuing corporate entities used by professionals working in investments, private equity, venture capital and investment banking. The course will familiarize students with various data sources and software used in the financial industry.

BUAD 417: International Finance

Fall & Spring | 3 Credits
Prerequisite(s): ECON 101 & ECON 102

A study of the foreign exchange markets, the relation between interest rates and exchange rates, and the current international monetary system. Specific course topics include borrowing and lending opportunities in international financial markets, international trade finance, the management of risks associated with exchange rate fluctuations, the assessment of sovereign risk.

BUAD 421: Student Managed Investment Fund

Fall & Spring | 3 Credits
Prerequisite(s): BUAD 323

The purpose of this course is to provide portfolio management and security analysis experience through the management of the Mason School Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF). Students select companies from an S&P stock universe, do research on their business model and competitive environment, make forecasts of future financial performance and perform valuation analyses, write an investment report and present orally a recommendation to their colleagues and faculty for inclusion in a real endowment portfolio of common stocks. This course may be repeated one time.

BUAD 422: Applied Financial Concepts

Spring | 3 Credits
Prerequisite(s): BUAD 323 & BUAD 329

The goal of this course is to expose students to practices and recent developments within several specialized areas of the financial services sector utilizing a case method format. The course utilizes cases from leading graduate business schools as well as original cases written by case sponsors.

BUAD 423: Corporate Financial Strategy

Fall & Spring | 3 Credits
Prerequisite(s): BUAD 323

Advanced topics in the theory and practice of financial decision-making. Cases and readings are used to examine the tools and techniques of financial strategy formulation and implementation under various environmental settings.

BUAD 424: Derivatives and Risk Management

Fall & Spring | 3 Credits
Prerequisite(s): BUAD 323 and BUAD 327

An examination of the markets of derivative securities, valuation, trading strategies, and their applications in managing risk. The emphases are on financial engineering and the quantitative methods in the valuation of derivative securities.

BUAD 426: Fundamentals of Hedge Fund Management

Spring | 1 Credit
Prerequisite(s): BUAD 323

This course is designed to give students an overview of the hedge fund industry. Topics covered include typical fund structures, primary stakeholders and partners, key regulatory and legal issues, and important items for management to consider in the establishment and management of funds. This course is offered in January prior to the start of the Spring semester.

BUAD 427: Advanced Investments

Fall | 3 Credits
Prerequisite(s): BUAD 323 and BUAD 327

An examination of the advanced topics of equity and fixed-income investments.

BUAD 428: Behavioral Economics and Finance

Fall | 3 Credits
Prerequisite(s): ECON 101 and BUAD 231 or Statistics equivalent.

A review of prominent psychological biases and heuristics affecting individual decision-making. Applications to economics, finance, public policy, and social science.

BUAD 492: CFA Research Challenge

Fall & Spring | 2 Credits
Prerequisite(s): BUAD 323

The CFA Challenge is a course designed around the national CFA Challenge competition. A small group of students works with a finance professor in looking for, valuing and pitching a company. As a capstone to the class, students compete in the Virginia State CFA Challenge. This course requires instructor permission.

BUAD 492: Financing Entrepreneurial Ventures

Fall | 3 Credits
Prerequisite(s): 1 of BUAD 340, BUAD 311, or BUAD 323

This course provides real world, on-the-ground learning about how entrepreneurial ventures are financed, with a particular focus on Venture Capital & Private Equity sources of funding. Topic areas include understanding what sources of capital are available to entrepreneurial ventures, deciding how much to raise and from what sources to raise, selecting potential investors and board members, preparing ventures for profitable exits, and learning how to “craft a deal” by creating term sheets, investment pitches, and incentive plans. This course is designed for individuals with an interest in entrepreneurship, private equity/venture capital, corporate finance and law.

Previous Courses

BUAD 420: Financial History

Spring | 3 Credits

Students will engage financial history and the people who made it by studying the evolution of financing arrangements, financial risk, current institutions, and government policies. We will also investigate the historical record regarding booms, busts, and financial panics. Since a main reason to study history is to provide context for current decision-making, students will seek to understand how lessons from financial history can help inform debates on current macro-financial problems.

BUAD 492: Private Equity/Venture Capital

Spring | 3 Credits
Prerequisite(s): BUAD 323

BUAD 492: Risk Management

Semester TBD | 2 Credits
Prerequisite(s): BUAD 323