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Finance Major

The finance major provides students with a thorough understanding of the theoretical financial principles and the practical implementation of these principles in business. Students learn how financial markets operate and how to make effective investment and financial decisions for firms and individuals. The major is designed to develop students' analytical skills and problem-solving abilities. Financial markets are the major conduits through which investments are channeled in the global marketplace, and understanding these markets and how to make investment decisions are crucial for success in business.

Finance majors at Pitt Business have an excellent opportunity to gain experience in the school’s Financial Analysis Laboratory. The 3,000-square-foot facility, which resembles the trading floor of a investment bank or financial firm, is equipped with 58 computer stations, a stock ticker, and tote display boards that give students hands-on training with the equipment and technology used in the capital markets industry. Through the facility, students gain experience in interacting with real-time financial information flows and in using the industry’s analytic tools and software.

The University of Pittsburgh is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program partner. CFA program partners are academic leaders and champions of practical, relevant, and thought-provoking investment education programs around the world. Learn more about the partnership.

 

Required Core Courses

Must complete with a C or better in order to proceed with the finance major. 

  • BUSFIN 1030: Introduction to Finance
    The core course in finance focuses on how companies make sound investment and financing decisions, much of which is also relevant for individual decision making. With regard to the investment decision, the time-value of money, security valuation, capital budgeting, and the tradeoff between risk and expected return are studied. With regard to the financing decision, the cost of capital, financial leverage, and capital structure policies are studied.

    Prerequisite: BUSACC 0030, STAT 1100

Required Major Courses

  • BUSFIN 1311: Corporate Finance
    This course investigates the investment and financing decisions of firms from the perspective of the corporate manager. It provides a framework for understanding how a corporation's financing, investment, and dividend policies affect its value. It also provides the tools necessary for analyzing and making these decisions. Specific topics include capital budgeting, valuation, cost of capital determination, capital-structure decisions, and dividend policy.

    Prerequisite: BUSFIN 1030
  • BUSFIN 1321: Investment Management
    The objective of this course is to provide an enhanced understanding of financial-market operations, portfolio selection, and capital-market equilibrium. It examines how securities markets operate and the implication of portfolio theory for portfolio selection. Models of capital-market equilibrium, the trade-off between risk and return, and how to evaluate portfolio performance are also discussed.

    Prerequisite: BUSFIN 1030

Elective Major Courses

Must complete at least three courses.

  • BUSFIN 1316: Advanced Corporate Finance
    This course examines a variety of applied topics in corporate finance. Topics may include mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, leasing, pensions, short-term financial management, and the use of derivatives in corporate finance.

    Prerequisites: BUSFIN 1030 and BUSFIN 1311
  • BUSFIN 1326: The Efficiency of Capital Markets
    This course covers a central issue in finance: The efficient market hypothesis (EMH). The EMH states that security prices reflect all relevant information and implies that investors cannot earn excess profits. Evidence in support of the EMH and contrary to it is studied. The implications of efficiency impact all financial managers and individuals in their financial decisions. Topics include: What actions can a financial manager take to maximize shareholder wealth, why do prices fluctuate, and technical versus fundamental analysis. The course focuses on valuation methods like DCF and CAPM.

    Prerequisite: BUSFIN 1030
  • BUSFIN 1327: Futures and Options
    This course introduces students to the growing area of derivatives. It describes the attributes of futures and options and the markets in which they are traded. The course develops techniques for valuation of futures and options and describes ways in which futures and options are used for risk management.

    Prerequisite: BUSFIN 1030
  • BUSFIN 1328: Capital Markets
    This course provides an in-depth analysis of stock and bond valuation. The analysis of bonds covers bond-pricing principles, the term structure of interest rates, and fixed-income portfolio management. The analysis of stocks focuses on earnings and dividend-based valuation models, and a discussion of "value investing" and indexing.

    Prerequisite: BUSFIN 1030
  • BUSFIN 1331: Financial Institutions and Markets
    This course is an analysis of the behavior of financial intermediaries in the capital market. It covers the performance of capital markets and examines the role of regulations of financial markets and the effects on decision making by individuals and firms. Sources of short-term and long-term financing are also analyzed.

    Prerequisite: BUSFIN 1030
  • BUSFIN 1341: International Finance
    This course applies the principles of finance to international issues in financial management. It deals in topics such as the valuation of foreign subsidiaries, estimating the cost of capital of foreign investments, investing in foreign multinational firms, the correlation of returns across international security markets, hedging foreign-exchange risk, and the use of foreign-securities markets.

    Prerequisites: BUSFIN 1311 and BUSFIN 1321
  • BUSFIN 1345: Markets and Trading
    This course gives participants a broad understanding of the operations of various financial markets with special focus on liquidity, market structure and trading. The course concentrates on the operations of exchanges, trading systems and broker-dealer intermediaries. Students will be exposed to a range of issues regarding the formulation of trading decisions and market structure design and regulation. Simulation software will be used to provide experience making tactical trading decisions in different market structure environments. Students will manage equity portfolios using OTIS.

    Prerequisites: BUSFIN 1311 and BUSFIN 1321. BUSFIN 1326 is also recommended, but is not required.
  • BUSFIN 1347: Mergers, Acquisitions and Corporate Structures
    This course examines the major structural transactions that corporations experience from an internal perspective, based on sound financial analysis conducted with an understanding of corporate governance, firm strategy, law, accounting, and organizational behavior. Particular emphasis will be on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and include topics in venture capital, initial public offerings, buyouts, divestitures, and bankruptcy. Readings, case study analysis, and active class discussion are emphasized. Teams of students will put the M&A process into practice by searching out and analyzing potential target firms for a major corporation and presenting their analyses and recommendations.

    Prerequisites: BUSFIN 1311 and BUSFIN 1321
  • BUSFIN 1351: Financial Modeling
    The course applies economic theories to solve various problems in financial management and investments. Using a hands-on approach in building financial spreadsheet models, the student will gain knowledge of numerical and graphical practices. These include but are not limited to asset return calculations, portfolio theory, index models, the capital asset pricing model, option pricing models, bond pricing and investment performance analysis. MS Excel is the primary tool to implement these financial models, however the course will also make use of statistics and probability.

    Prerequisites: BUSFIN 1311 and BUSFIN 1321
  • BUSFIN 1355: Valuation
    This course examines the topic of value: what it is, how to measure it, and how to use it to guide managerial decisions. This is done by accomplishing three objectives: 1) provide students with a conceptual framework for thinking about value: 2) provide students with tools for estimating value and measuring value creation and destruction; and 3) teach students how to apply valuation models in different settings.

    Prerequisites: BUSFIN 1311 and BUSFIN 1321

Skills Needed

  • Quantitative skills are very important. It is beneficial to take additional courses in math, statistics, and accounting
  • Many positions in finance require the ability and to analyze and interpret data; having an eye for detail is a needed trait
  • Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills

Types of Jobs

  • Analyst/Associates
  • Equity/Credit Research
  • Institutional Sales
  • Trading
  • Structured finance
  • Emerging markets
  • Public finance
  • Credit/Ratings Analyst
  • Broker
  • Capital Market

Types of Industries

  • Commercial Banking
  • Corporate Finance
  • Financial Planning
  • Insurance
  • Investment Banking
  • Money Management
  • Real Estate