Undergraduate Course Descriptions

FNCE100 - CORPORATE FINANCE (Course Syllabus)

This course provides an introduction to the theory, the methods, and the concerns of corporate finance. The concepts developed in FNCE 100 form the foundation for all elective finance courses. The main topics include: 1) the time value of money and capital budgeting techniques; 2) uncertainty and the trade-off between risk and return; 3) security market efficiency; 4) optimal capital structure, and 5) dividend policy decisions. ACCT 101 + STAT 101 may be taken concurrently. Honors sections require MATH 114 as a prerequisite.

Prerequisites: (ECON 001 AND ECON 002) OR ECON 010 AND (MATH 104 OR MATH 110)

FNCE101 - MONETARY ECON & GLOB ECO (Course Syllabus)

This is an intermediate-level course in macroeconomics and the global economy, including topics in monetary and international economics. The goal is to provide a unified framework for understanding macroeconomic events and policy, which govern the global economic environment of business. The course analyzes the determinants and behavior of employment, production, demand and profits; inflation, interest rates, asset prices, and wages; exchange rates and international flows of goods and assets; including the interaction of the real economy with monetary policy and the financial system. The analysis is applied to current events, both in the US and abroad. Students cannot receive credit for taking both FNCE 101 and ECON 102. Wharton students are required to take FNCE 101. Honors sections require MATH 114 as a prerequisite.

Prerequisites: (ECON 001 AND ECON 002) OR ECON 010 AND (MATH 104 OR MATH 110)

FNCE202 - CON FIN DECISION MAKING (Course Syllabus)

Research shows that many individuals are profoundly underinformed about important financial facts and financial products, which frequently lead them to make mistakes and lose money. Moreover, consumer finance comprises an enormous sector of the economy, including products like credit cards, student loans, mortgages, retail banking, insurance, and a wide variety of retirement savings vehicles and investment alternatives. Additionally, recent breakthroughs in the FinTech arena are integrating innovative approaches to help consumers. Though virtually all people use these products, many find financial decisions to be confusing and complex, rendering them susceptible to fraud and deception. As a result, government regulation plays a major role in these markets. This course intended for Penn undergraduates considers economic models of household decisions and examines evidence on how consumers are managing (and mismanaging) their finances. Although academic research has historically placed more attention on corporate finance, household finance is receiving a brighter spotlight now-- partly due to its role in the recent financial crisis. Thus the course is geared toward those seeking to take charge of their own financial futures, anyone interested in policy debates over consumer financial decision making, and future FinTech entrepreneurs.

FNCE203 - ADVANCED CORP FINANCE (Course Syllabus)

This course discusses the theory and empirical evidence related to the various investment and financing policies of the firm and attempts to improve decision-making ability in these areas. This course covers aspects of financial management not covered in FNCE 100, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, financial planning and working capital management. It also offers a more rigorous coverage of topics discussed in FNCE 100, such as investment under uncertainty, cost of capital, capital structure, pricing of selected financial instruments and dividend policy.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE205 - INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT (Course Syllabus)

This course studies the concepts and evidence relevant to the management of investment portfolios. Topics include diversification, asset allocation, portfolio optimization, factor models, the relation between risk and return, trading, passive (e.g., index-fund) and active (e.g., hedge-fund, long-short) strategies, mutual funds, performance evaluation, long-horizon investing and simulation. The course deals very little with individual security valuation and discretionary investing (i.e., "equity research" or "stock picking"). In addition to course prerequisites, STAT 102 may be taken concurrently.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE207 - VALUATION (Course Syllabus)

The focus of this course is on the valuation of companies. The course covers current conceptual and theoretical valuation frameworks and translates those frameworks into practical approaches for valuing companies. The relevant accounting topics and the appropriate finance theory are integrated to show how to implement the valuation frameworks discussed on a step-by-step basis. The course teaches how to develop the required information for valuing companies from financial statements and other information sources in a real-world setting. Topics covered in depth include discounted cash flow techniques and price multiples. In addition, the course covers other valuation techniques such as leveraged buyout analysis.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND ACCT 101 AND STAT 101

FNCE209 - REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS (Course Syllabus)

This course provides an introduction to real estate with a focus on investment and financing issues. Project evaluation, financing strategies, investment decision making and real estate capital markets are covered. No prior knowledge of the industry is required, but students are expected to rapidly acquire a working knowledge of real estate markets. Classes are conducted in a standard lecture format with discussion required. The course contains cases that help students evaluate the impact of more complex financing and capital markets tools used in real estate. There are case studies and two midterms, (depending on instructor).

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE217 - FINANCIAL DERIVATIVES (Course Syllabus)

(Formerly FNCE 206) This course covers one of the most exciting and fundamentalareas in finance. Financial derivatives serve as building blocks to understand broad classes of financial problems, such as complex asset portfolios, strategic corporate decisions, and stages in venture capital investing. The main objective of this course is build intuition and skills on (1) pricing and hedging of derivative securities, and (2) using them for investment and risk management. In terms of methodologies, we apply the non-arbitrage principle and the law of one price to dynamic models through three different approaches: the binomial tree model, the Black-Scholes-Merton option pricing model, and the simulation-based risk neutral pricing approach. The course covers a wide range of applications, including the use of derivatives in asset management, the valuation of corporate securities such as stocks and corporate bonds with embedded options, interest rate and credit derivatives, as well as crude oil derivatives. We emphasize practical considerations of implementing strategies using derivatives as tools, especially when no-arbitrage conditions do not hold. STAT 102 may be taken concurrently.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE219 - INTL FINANCIAL MARKETS (Course Syllabus)

Major topics include foreign exchange rates, international money markets, currency and interest rate derivatives, international stock and bond portfolios, and cryptocurrencies. Students learn about the features of financial instruments and the motivations of market participants. The class focuses on risk management, investing, and arbitrage in these markets. In addition to course prerequisites, FNCE 101 is recommended but not required.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE225 - FIXED INCOME SECURITIES (Course Syllabus)

(Formerly FNCE 235) This course covers fixed income securities (including fixedincome derivatives) and provides an introduction to the markets in which they are traded, as well as to the tools that are used to value these securities and to assess and manage their risk. Quantitative models play a key role in the valuation and risk management of these securities. As a result, although every effort will be made to introduce the various pricing models and techniques as intuitively as possible and the technical requirements are limited to basic calculus and statistics, the class is by its nature quantitative and will require a steady amount of work. In addition, some computer proficiency will be required for the assignments, although familiarity with a spreadsheet program (such as Microsoft Excel) will suffice. In addition to course prerequisites, FNCE 101 is recommended.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND STAT 101

FNCE230 - URBAN FISCAL POLICY (Course Syllabus)

This course will examine the provision of public services for firms and people through cities. Why cities exist, when fiscal policy fails, investments in infrastructure, realities of local governments such as inequality, crime, corruption, high cost of living, congestion, and unfunded pensions and debt, will be covered. We will pay special attention to recent topics, such as partnerships with the private sector, enterprise zones, the role of technology, environmental challenges, and real estate policies that promote housing affordability, such as rent control and inclusionary zoning.

FNCE231 - GLOBAL VAL RISK ANALYSIS (Course Syllabus)

(Formerly FNCE 208/International Corporate Finance) This course analyzes the financial management problems that result from operating in global environments. Key topics include managing currency risk through hedging and financing, calculating the cost of capital for foreign operations, assessing sovereign risks, capital budgeting from a project and parent perspective, and international taxation and financing, measuring exchange rate exposure, calculating the cost of capital for foreign operations, assessment of sovereign risks, capital budgeting from a project and parent perspective, and international taxation.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE232 - INTERNATIONAL BANKING (Course Syllabus)

(Formerly FNCE 220) This course focuses on international financial institutions, especially the activities of global, systemically important banks. We will examine how current and historical events are reshaping the industry and highlight the basic analytics of managing a bank's exposure to liquidity, credit, market and reputational risk. Most classes will begin with discussion of a current event related to course topics. Three team projects will be assigned that will give you deeper exposure to analytic techniques related to the course. Throughout the semester, we will discuss public policy issues facing the international financial system. In addition to course prerequisites, FNCE 101 is recommended.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE237 - DATA SCIENCE FOR FINANCE (Course Syllabus)

This course will introduce students to data science for financial applications using the Python programming language and its ecosystem of packages (e.g., Dask, Matplotlib, Numpy, Numba, Pandas, SciPy, Scikit-Learn, StatsModels). To do so, students will investigate a variety of empirical questions from different areas within finance including: FinTech, investment management, corporate finance, corporate governance, venture capital, private equity, and entrepreneurial finance. The course will highlight how big data and data analytics shape the way finance is practiced. Some programming experience is helpful though knowledge of Python is not assumed.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND STAT 102

FNCE238 - CAPITAL MARKETS (Course Syllabus)

The objective of this course is to give you a broad understanding of the framework and evolution of U.S. capital markets, the instruments that are traded, the mechanisms that facilitate their trading and issuance, and the motivations of issuers and investors across different asset classes. The course will highlight the problems that capital market participants are seeking to solve, which you can use in your post-Wharton careers to evaluate future market innovations. We will consider design, issuance, and pricing of financial instruments, the arbitrage strategies which keep their prices in-line with one another,and the associated economic and financial stability issues. We will draw from events in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis, which illustrate financing innovations and associated risks, as well as policy responses that can change the nature of these markets. In addition to course prerequisites, FNCE 101 is recommended.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE240 - CENTRAL BANKS, MARKETS (Course Syllabus)

(Formerly FNCE 393) Understanding and predicting central banking decision making and behavior is crucial for all market participants from asset managers and traders to private consumers. This course aims to provide the methods and knowledge on how central banks and governments think and implement policies to reach the goals of price and financial stability as well as support of growth and employment. The core of the course connects between the legal and actual goals that central banks follow and the related economic analysis on which these goals and policies are set. We explain the economic rationale for the policy prescriptions to reach the goals and how these policies are actually implemented by the Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) in the US, the European Central Bank (ECB), Bank of Israel (BOI) and some remarks on other countries. We use data, current events of the 2007-2018 period as the basis for discussion and assignments. All of these are aimed understanding how and why the Fed, the ECB and the BOI set their policies. For each we shall simulate in class current decisions based on assignment related to past policies and the theory presented in class.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND (FNCE 101 OR ECON 102) AND STAT 102

FNCE250 - VENT CAP & FNCE INNOVAT (Course Syllabus)

This course covers the finance of technological innovation, with a focus on thevaluation tools useful in the venture capital industry. These tools include the "venture capital method," comparables analysis, discounted cash flow analysis, contingent-claims analysis. The primary audience for this course is finance majors interested in careers in venture capital or in R&D-intensive companies in health care or information technology.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE251 - FNCE OF BUYOUTS & ACQS (Course Syllabus)

The course focuses on financial tools, techniques, and best practices used in buyouts (financial buyers) and acquisitions (strategic buyers). While it will touch upon various strategic, organizational, and general management issues, the main lens for studying these transactions will be a financial one. It will explore how different buyers approach the process of finding, evaluating, and analyzing opportunities in the corporate-control market; how they structure deals and how deal structure affects both value creation and value division; how they add value after transaction completion; and how they realize their ultimate objectives (such as enhanced market position or a profitable exit). The course is divided into two broad modules. The first module covers mergers and acquisitions, and the second one studies buyouts by private equity partnerships. FNCE 203 or FNCE 207 are recommended.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE253 - DISTRESSED INVESTING (Course Syllabus)

(Formerly FNCE 341) This course familiarizes students with financial, strategicand legal issues associated with the restructuring of financially distressed firms and investment in distressed securities. The objective is to give students the concepts and tools necessary to assess the often-complex situation facing a firm in financial distress. The course covers the various options available for distressed firms, such as out-of-court workouts, exchange offers, prepackaged and pre-negotiated, bankruptcies, distressed asset sales, 363 auctions, and Chapter 11 reorganization. We consider distressed debt as an asset class, develop techniques for investing in distressed securities and assess investment opportunities using the concepts of value investing. Students will sharpen their conceptual knowledge of finance and valuation in order to properly estimate the value of a distressed firm, and its securities. We will also address the importance of value creation and how to manage for value creation to either resolve distress or avoid it in the first place. FNCE 203 or FNCE 207 are recommended.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE254 - IMPACT INVESTING (Course Syllabus)

This course explores Impact Investing, a discipline that seeks to generate social benefits as well as financial returns. From tiny beginnings, the Impact Investment space has expanded and now commands significant attention from policymakers, wealthy and public-spirited individuals, academia and, not least, the world's largest asset managers and philanthropic foundations. Evangelists believe it may be the key to freeing the world from poverty. Skeptics think it will remain confined to the boutique. Regardless, Impact Investing is becoming a distinct career specialization for finance professionals despite the diverse skillset each must have and the uncertainty of the new field's growth. In addition to prerequisites, FNCE 205 is recommended but not required.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE256 - ENERGY FINANCE (Course Syllabus)

The objective of this course is to provide students with detailed knowledge of corporate structures, valuation methods, project finance, risk management practices, corporate governance issues, and geo-political risks in the energy industry. In general, this course seeks to provide students with an overall context for understanding energy issues and risks, and how these might affect financing and investment decisions for both providers of energy and end-users of energy. FNCE 203 or FNCE 207 are recommended but not required.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE257 - FOUNDATION ASSET PRICING (Course Syllabus)

This course will cover methods and topics that form the foundations of modern asset pricing. These include: investment decisions under uncertainty, mean-variance theory, capital market equilibrium, arbitrage pricing theory, state prices, dynamic programming, and risk-neutral valuation as applied to option prices and fixed-income securities. Upon completion of this course, students should acquire a clear understanding of the major principles concerning individuals' portfolio decisions under uncertainty and the valuations of financial securities. In addition to the prerequisites one of the following courses is recommended FNCE 205; BEPP 250; MATH 360; STAT 433

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND (MATH 114 OR MATH 312) AND STAT 430

FNCE280 - FINTECH (Course Syllabus)

(Formerly FNCE 385) The course exposes students to this fast-growing and exciting intersection between finance (Fin) and technology (Tech) while emphasizing the role data and analytics play. The course is structured around three main FinTech areas: (i) Lending/Banking services, (ii) Clearing (iii) Trading. It provides specific coverage and examples of developments from(1) market-place lending, (2) blockchain and distributed ledgers, (3) quantitative trading and its use of non-standard inputs. In each of these areas, we start by analyzing the marketplace, the incumbents, and then proceed to analyze the impact of the most relevant technologies have on the business. The course is built around data/code examples, cases, guest lectures, and group projects. Student are thus expected to work in teams and demonstrate a high level of independent learning and initiative.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE283 - STRATEGIC EQUITY FINANCE (Course Syllabus)

This course discusses actual situations where companies need to make strategic decisions on raising equity capital. We will address different phases of a company's life cycle. Through these cases, from the decision-makers perspective, we will explore the different paths that can be taken and consider issues This half-semester course combines lectures and cases, and will go through actual situation where companies need to make strategic decisions on raising equity capital. We will address different phases of a company's life cycle. Through these cases, from the decision-makers perspective, we will explore the different paths that can be taken and consider issues such as investor activism, governance and regulatory and valuation impact. FNCE 238 is recommended but not required.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE291 - CORPORATE RESTRUCTURING (Course Syllabus)

This course explores the highly active and sophisticated deal making environment that is the hallmark of modern corporate restructuring. The course is primarily comprised of two key components. The first is groundwork-laying lectures that focus on fundamental rights and obligations of debtors, creditors, and other parties in interest in the various types of major chapter 11 cases, providing critical insight into understanding the motivations, strategies, and available tools for chapter 11 participants (which also serve as the foundation for out-of-court deals). The second element of the course is a series of case study panels based on market trends from the previous year that bring together key participants from recent deals, including the CEO or chairman of the company, the judge, the lead banker and lead lawyer, and the lead investors to give their insight and perspectives to the class.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE297 - TAXES AND BUS STRATEGY

The objective of this course is to develop a framework for understanding how taxes affect business decisions. The key themes of the framework - all parties, all taxes and all costs - are applied to decision contexts such as investments, compensation, organizational form, and mergers and acquisitions. The ultimate goal is to provide a new approach to thinking about taxes that will be valuable even as laws and governments change. If ACCT 297 is not cross listed with ACCT 897, Undergraduate students interested in ACCT 297 will need to be permitted into ACCT 897. All prerequisites need to be completed in order to receive a permit. Please email acct-staff@wharton.upenn.edu. Also this class will follow the MBA calendar.

Prerequisites: ACCT 101 AND FNCE 101

FNCE311 - INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTING (Course Syllabus)

Infrastructure covers roads and bridges (the original infrastructure), to railroads, airports (the more recent infrastructure), to telecommunications and solar and wind power installations (modern infrastructure). There is a vast amount of public (taxpayer) and private (typically private equity or banks) money directed into infrastructure investments. This course covers infrastructure financing and investing from various angles. We will provide descriptions of types of infrastructure, examine the financing needs of different infrastructure projects, consider the historic role of public and private funding, assess the changing needs of consumers, role of technology and the increasing demands posed by a globalizing economy. We will also examine infrastructure investing as a alternative asset class from the investors' perspective. FNCE 203 or FNCE 207 are recommended.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE351 - ASP: FINANCE AND SOCIETY (Course Syllabus)

This interdisciplinary course delves into the history of different economic and financial systems around the world. Students will analyze the economic and financial interactions between individuals, financial and non-financial corporations, governments, and the media under various systems and through the pre-modern, modern and postmodern eras. After theoretically exploring each system and their underlying philosophy, students critically evaluate them through data-driven analysis. In the process, the course offers students a rigorous introduction to the scientific method and its enlightenment origins, as well as the resulting empirical tools used in the social sciences. The course will be intellectually rigorous but not overly mathematical.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND (FNCE 101 OR ECON 102)

FNCE386 - ASP - HEDGE FUNDS

This course will cover critical aspects and characteristics of hedge funds and the hedge fund industry. It will look at the legal foundations and structures of hedge funds including the primary regulations in the U.S. and abroad that are most relevant for hedge funds. It will also present the major hedge fund strategies, describe operation, control, administration, due diligence and valuation issues. Performance evaluation and investing in hedge funds from the investor's perspective will be discussed as will be issues of potential changes in regulation, risk management, and the use of leverage. The format of the course will mix lectures with presentations from industry participants, hedge fund managers, those who invest in hedge funds, those who advise them and provide services to them, and those who regulate them. Those who want to launch a hedge fund, join an existing one, invest in one, or provide services to one will want to register for this course.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100

FNCE392 - FINANCIAL ENGINEERING

This course expands the key insights from the prior quantitative finance classes such as Derivatives and Fixed Income by using more advanced tools in statistics and applied mathematics. Its focus is on devising new and innovative financial products, often employing financial derivatives and related dynamic strategies, to address portfolio and risk-management problems. The course structure involves an introductory lectures and case discussions in the first half, and a capstone "real life" group project where students will seek to address specific problems in finance faced by sell-side banks, and buy-side corporate clients or investment funds. Each project will focus on practical economic needs and standard activities of a specific client and/or bank and the use of derivatives and dynamic strategies to solve them. Programming skills and an exposure to numerical methods are an important part of the project in this course.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND (FNCE 101 OR ECON 102)

FNCE399 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

Integrates the work of the various courses and familiarizes the student with the tools and techniques of research.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND (FNCE 101 OR ECON 102)

FNCE401 - ADVANCED TOPICS IN PE (Course Syllabus)

This course will cover a variety of applied topics in private equity (PE) with a focus on growth and later-stage buyout transactions. It will have a primarily U.S.-centric view that is largely applicable to other markets. Venture capital is not explicitly addressed in this course. Course topics will address the entirety of the deal process and value creation in the post-acquisition period, and will include the following: - LBO modeling - Commercial due diligence (principles and execution) - Debt financing - Sale & purchase agreements (SPA) - Accounting diligence - Deal structuring - Operations & Value creation Throughout the course, students will learn about each element of the deal process through in-class lectures, while concurrently applying those learnings to former transactions (these must be old enough that sharing material is no longer sensitive). The in-class lectures will cover conceptual frameworks, practical considerations and real-world case studies and examples. There will be four assignments in this course. The first three assignments will apply these learnings to the art of the deal through a real world lens. In the last assignment, students will develop a value creation plan for designated public companies "TargetCo1" and "TargetCo2". Students are expected to actively engage in classroom discussions, challenging one another and the instructors about how to think through these issues in an ever-evolving investment world. In addition, throughout the course, students are expected to work as a team on the assignments.

Prerequisites: (FNCE 101 OR ECON 102) AND FNCE 251

FNCE402 - SHAREHOLDER ACTIVISM (Course Syllabus)

The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to shareholder activism. The course makes use of lectures and case studies. The lectures expose the students to the institutional and empirical facts as well as approaches followed by leading shareholder activists. The case studies are designed to provide students an experience on identifying potential opportunity for value creation through active engagement. Assignments require students to develop/practice skills on fundamental analysis.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND (FNCE 101 OR ECON 102)

FNCE403 - BEHAVIORAL FINANCE (Course Syllabus)

This course combines insights from behavioral economics and psychology to shed light on anomalous decisions by investors and possibly behavior of asset prices. Its content is designed to both complement and challenge the "rational" investment paradigms developed in the early finance classes. It introduces students to much modern theoretical and empirical research showing this paradigm to be insufficient to describe various features of actual financial markets. The course structure involves early lectures, several cases, and a final project involving "real life" examples and some modern research methods. In the capstone project students research and explore a specific behavioral bias or a profitable investment opportunity. Students will work in groups to simulate the behavior of, say: a portfolio management team looking for a new trading strategy; a consulting firm advising corporations on issues of financial management; or an entrepreneurial start-up developing a retail financial product. The main deliverable is in a form of a "pitch" to potential clients to be delivered both in the form of a group presentation in class and a formal write-up to be submitted by the due date. Completion of FNCE 203 and FNCE 205 is recommended.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND (FNCE 101 OR ECON 102)