Finance Coursework

Spring 2021 Special Courses & 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 492 01: Budget Issues

1 Credit, Asynchronous & Virtual; Jan. 11-Jan.26
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.
Important: This course is listed under Fall 2020 courses; CRN 12150.


The application form is available at 2020DistinguishCourseApp.

BUAD 426: Fundamentals of Hedge Fund Management

 1 Credit, Friday, Feb. 26 – Sunday, Feb. 28
Prof. Matt Siano, Esq.
*This course will be held IN-PERSON in Miller Hall*

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. 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
Pass/Fail grading.
Pre-requisite: BUAD 323; Highly Recommended: Training the Street
Application Required at HFM Application

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

 3 Credits, Remote & Synchronous, MW 2-3:20pm
Prof. John Gilmour
*This course is for Junior, Senior academic standing*

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 421: Distinguish Student-Managed Investment Fund

3 Credits, TR 12:30 – 2:50 PM
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 at 2021DistinguishCourseApp

BUAD 422: Applied Financial Concepts

3 Credits, MW 12:30 pm – 1:50pm, MH 1069
Prof. Glenn Crafford
*This course will be held synchronous & virtually through Feb. 10 and transition to FULLY IN-PERSON beginning Feb. 11*

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 at AFC Application

BUAD 492-13 & 492-23: ST – Real Estate Investments

3 Credits, TR 11am-12:20pm
Professor Jad Howell


Finance Courses

BUAD 290: The Financial Services Industry

Spring | 3 Credits

This course does not require admission to the business school and is available to any interested student. It will introduce students to the institutional framework of financial markets and the financial services industry, advance students’ understanding of the application of basic financial concepts to “real world” situations encountered in the financial services industry, and prepare students better for jobs in and around the financial services industry (and for getting those jobs).

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.

BUAD 324: Money & Debt Markets

Fall & Spring | 3 Credits

The goal of this course is to make modern approaches to fixed income analysis accessible and provide students with a set of concepts and tools to handle the new instruments that will inevitably arise. Topics covered include basic bond analysis, valuation of mortgage securities and bonds with embedded options, bond portfolio strategies, interest rate swaps, portfolio risk management, and securitization. If time permits, asset-backed securities, CDOs and bank loans are also covered. Students gain experience using software tools such as Bloomberg, Crystal Ball, and Excel.

BUAD 325: Equity & Portfolio Management

Fall & Spring | 3 Credits

The course introduces the theory and practice of portfolio management and of investments in equities. Emphasis is placed on hands-on development and use of financial software tools. Topics include portfolio optimization, performance measurement and reporting, use of derivatives in portfolio management, equity valuation, and security analysis. Students will emerge from this course with a thorough understanding of modern techniques in equity asset management and valuation and the ability to apply these techniques in practice.

BUAD 417: International Finance

Fall & Spring | 3 Credits

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 419: Valuation

Spring | 3 Credits

A study of enterprise valuation both from an academic and industry perspective. Topics include an analysis and application of multiple valuation approaches and an exploration of differences in valuation approaches for public, private, and distressed firms. The goal is to develop insight into how financial managers can create value for their shareholders, understand other value drivers, and learn how to incorporate them in the enterprise valuation process.

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 421: Student Managed Investment Fund

Fall & Spring | 3 Credits

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

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

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 426: Fundamentals of Hedge Fund Management

Spring | 1 Credit

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 492: CFA Research Challenge

Fall & Spring | 2 Credits

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.