Finance Department Focused on Quality Education

According to the finance department chair, Dr. Ravi Shukla, the department has been updating its curriculum to ensure that students graduating with a finance degree are getting the education necessary to smoothly transition into their first full-time position. Specifically, the department is offering new courses and revamping and streamlining old ones.

Currently, there are three tracks within the finance major. These tracks offer students who know what type of industry they want to enter after graduation an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their chosen field. One specialized track is the Investment Banking and Value Investing track, which is typically pursued by students who are members of the Orange Value Fund group. The other two tracks students can choose to follow are Managerial Finance and Portfolio Analysis and Capital Markets. In the past year or so, two new courses have been added to the department’s regular offering of electives: Corporate Restructuring and Fixed Income. These courses can be taken as electives by students interested in the latter two tracks.

Shukla teaches a course titled Financial Modeling, which is offered as a higher level elective in both the Managerial Finance and Portfolio Analysis and Capital Markets tracks. The course is meant to prepare students for the working world by presenting financial problems and then guiding students through the process of creating an interactive financial model in Excel to solve the problem. Shukla describes the Financial Modeling course as the “capstone for finance.” While Shukla sees this as a finance course that utilizes Excel as a tool, many students take it to improve their Excel skills. Shukla recounted that even students who enter the course comfortable with their Excel knowledge learn several new functions and features in the program. Throughout the semester, students work on the projects in teams, and the newly incorporated final exam tasks the students individually with creating a financial model during the two hour exam period, confirming the skills learned throughout the semester and challenging them to think critically about how to solve financial problems.

Through revamping the Financial Modeling course, introducing two new courses – Corporate Restructuring and Fixed Income – and making the three different tracks more apparent to students, the finance department is committed to providing relevant, high quality courses to ensure students are graduating from the program with the skills needed to succeed.

Sarah Graham