As we begin to wrap up the first of our seven week sessions, our first set of SMF classes is coming to a close. These classes are imperative to success in the program as they provide the foundation for many of the other classes that we will take. For those students without a finance background they also give them the opportunity to learn many of the basic financial concepts and theories. During the first 7 weeks all members of the program have taken the same four classes: Turbo Finance, Financial Modeling, Industry Risk and Pricing, and Data Analysis.
- Turbo Finance: This class is taught by the SMF program director, Dr. George Pinteris, and as its name suggests, provides a full overview of the many financial theories and concepts that are necessary for success in a rigorous program such as the SMF. This course covers a set of fundamental techniques for financial analysis. In this class we have examines the investment decision in detail looking at both the NPV and IRR of projects to determine their viability. We have also spent a third of the class on valuation analysis looking at both the multiples and DCF methods. The third key focus of this course is financial statement analysis and we will focus on using a set of tools and methods to analyze companies and sectors. This class also involves a company report where we will apply all of the techniques that we have learned in the class to analyze a particular company. In my case we are working on an analysis of FedEx.
- Financial Modeling: This class is taught by Professor Daniel Oglevee, a former Wall Street Professional with a great deal of experience in financial modeling from his time in the private sector. In this class we have constructed dozens of models that could be applied in our future jobs from NPV analysis to forecasting financial statements. This class serves as one of the foundations for the program because the skills learned will be used in every other class we take. In addition, in almost any job in the business world, knowledge of Microsoft Excel and financial modeling are extremely important and employers actively seek candidates with these skills.
- Industry Risk and Pricing: This class is taught by Dr. Michael Brandl, and provides an overview of applied microeconomics. What sets this class apart from many other economic courses I have taken is not only Professor Brandl’s enthusiasm for the subject, but also the application of economic theory to real-world financial situations. He stresses for each of us to think as an analyst and in order to fully understand the influences and forces on a company or sector, you must understand the economics behind the growth or decline.
- Data Analysis: This class is taught by Dr. Daniel Magestro, explores some the most common techniques used in financial and investment analysis. One of the main focuses of the class, as evident by the title, is data analysis which is the application of quantitative methods to characterize financial datasets, including which to use in different situations. In this class we also create analyst reports on various topics that allow for students to apply many of the techniques we have learned in a real world application.