Finance

The concentration in Finance develops the skills necessary to work at a high level of expertise in all areas of finance, in both the private as well as public sectors: asset management; commercial and investment banking in an international context; the financial management (“treasury function”) of commercial and industrial enterprises as well as of financial institutions; the financial aspects of venture capital as well as of mergers and acquisition; and in most aspects of management consulting in both the domestic as well as the international sectors. In addition, concentrating in finance equips students well for careers in law and government, and not simply in the private sector. To complete the concentration, students are required to complete FNCE 100 and FNCE 101, and any four additional courses offered by the Finance Department.

Concentration Advisor

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Student Profile: Victor Castro

Why did you choose this concentration?

I chose a finance concentration primarily because I enjoyed FNCE 100 and I thought that it would be a valuable concentration no matter what career path I chose to pursue.

What was your favorite course in this concentration and why? 

My favorite course in the concentration was FNCE 238: Capital Markets. I learned a tremendous amount about the inner-workings of financial markets and the course provided me with knowledge that has been helpful not only in other courses but in daily life.

What course did you choose to take first in this concentration and why? 

My first course in my concentration was FNCE 203: Advanced Corporate Finance. I chose this course because it provides an excellent level of baseline knowledge from which a student can build in other, more-targeted upper-level finance classes.

What advice would you give to a student who is considering this concentration? 

Take advantage of the fantastic resources available to you in terms of concentration exploration, including the peer advising fellows, advisers, information on this website and the Finance Department website, etc. to explore what exactly the concentration teaches and which courses seem interesting.

What concentration-related skills have you used during internships or other work experiences?

Thus far in my work life I have definitely gotten the opportunity to apply knowledge gained through upper-level finance courses. My understanding of finance-specific accounting and financial decision making was extremely useful for me this past summer during my management consulting internship.

Do you have a second concentration? If so, what is it and why?

I am also pursuing an OIDD concentration. Interestingly, my decision making process was very different for my OIDD concentration; I decided to begin an OIDD concentration after simply exploring the course descriptions and different tracks for concentrations in OIDD. I ultimately chose the Decision Processes track and, while I haven’t applied my OIDD concentration yet in work, I have enjoyed the courses themselves tremendously.

Student Profile: Mina Saudagaran

Why did you choose this concentration?

My interest in how companies finance their operations motivated my decision to choose a finance concentration. I wanted to understand the many ways companies grow and add value, as well as to expand my knowledge of the global capital markets that facilitate these transactions. Additionally, I was attracted to the wide range of courses offered by Wharton’s Finance Department. I knew that this concentration would provide me with a multitude of options, both in terms of courses and future career opportunities.

What was your favorite course in this concentration and why? 

FNCE 251: Buyouts and Acquisitions was my favorite course in the concentration. Having taken it as a senior, I appreciated the real-world applicability of our discussions on the processes and considerations behind each of these types of transactions. The course culminated in a deal proposal project in which each team assumed the role of a private equity firm and selected a company to buyout. This project allowed us to apply our knowledge from this course, prior courses, and past internship experiences. Finally, I enjoyed the numerous guest speakers that joined our lectures from firms such as KKR, Bain Capital, and Apollo. Many of these speakers were also Wharton alumni!

What course did you choose to take first in this concentration and why? 

FNCE 203: Advanced Corporate Finance and FNCE 238: Capital Markets were the first two courses I took for my concentration. I chose FNCE 203 because it goes further in-depth on the valuation techniques covered in FNCE 100 and covers a breadth of additional topics such as mergers & acquisitions and leveraged buyouts. I paired this with FNCE 238 because I wanted to learn about the various financial instruments often mentioned in current events, such as options and mortgage-backed securities. This combination of courses proved to be the perfect balance for me between micro and macro topics, individual and group work, and basic fundamentals and real-world application.

What advice would you give to a student who is considering this concentration? 

Take advantage of the diversity of courses Wharton’s Finance Department offers by choosing courses based on what interests you. Do not shy away from courses that challenge your natural skill set or differ from courses your friends may be taking. I have used this philosophy in picking concentration courses and had an incredibly enriching experience as a result.

What concentration-related skills have you used during internships or other work experiences?

I have definitely used knowledge from my finance concentration in my investment banking internships with Deutsche Bank. When valuing companies, I applied my understanding of the components of cost of capital, selection of comparable companies, and discounted cash flow computations. The information I learned about capital structure and various financial instruments enabled me to more effectively contribute to presentations on initial public offerings and debt issuances. Lastly, the extensive group work required by finance courses prepared me to work well in the “deal team” structure of investment banks.

Student Profile: Nicole Pollack

Why did you choose this concentration?

I chose finance because all of my older mentors who were incredibly successful concentrated in finance and I wanted to follow after them. However, I wished that I had taken a step back and analyzed my true interests. I would have found that a management or marketing concentration would have been a better fit for me. There is a large misconception that if you want to get a job in finance or want to be successful, you have to concentrate in finance. While concentrating in finance does create a more fluid understanding of why you want to go into finance in interviews, I know many people who have concentrated in other areas that have gotten very impressive internship offers in finance and were offered full-time positions.

What was your favorite course in this concentration and why? 

My favorite finance class was FNCE 209: Real Estate Investments. I thought it was very interesting to analyze the intersection of finance and real estate. The course includes three cases, where you are able to apply the knowledge in class to real life deals or modeling scenarios.

What advice would you give to a student who is considering this concentration? 

First ask yourself, “Why do I want to study finance?” If the answer is to get an internship, then drop the concentration. In determining a concentration, look thorough each concentration and find four classes that genuinely excite you and that you think you would learn a lot from, and that’s the concentration you should pick.

What concentration-related skills have you used during internships or other work experiences?

After my junior summer, I interned in consumer and retail investment banking. Finance evaluation was helpful in the modeling that I did on the job. Accounting skills were more helpful on the job.