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.

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.

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


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.


The objective of this course is to study the major decision-making areas of managerial finance and some selected topics in financial theory. The course reviews the theory and empirical evidence related to the investment and financing policies of the firm and attempts to develop decision-making ability in these areas. This course serves as an extension of FNCE 100 (FNCE 611). Some are as of financial management not covered in FNCE 100 are covered in FNCE 203. These may include leasing, mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, financial planning and working capital management, and some other selected topics. Other areas that are covered in FNCE 100 are covered more in depth and more rigorously in FNCE 203. These include investment decision making under uncertainty, cost of capital, capital structure, pricing of selected financial instruments and corporate liabilities, and dividend policy.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND FNCE 101


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 AND FNCE 101 AND STAT 101


This course covers one of the most exciting yet fundamental areas in finance: derivative securities. In the modern financial architecture, financial derivatives can be the most challenging and exotic securities traded by institutional specialists, while at the same time, they can also be the basic securities commonly traded by retail investors such as S&P Index Options, Beyond trading, the basic ideas of financial derivatives serve as building blocks to understand a much broader class of financial problems, such as complex asset portfolios, strategic corporate decisions, and stages in venture capital investing. The global derivatives market is one of the most fast-growing markets, with over $600 trillion notional value in total. It is important as ever to understand both the strategic opportunities offered by these derivative instruments and risks they imply. The main objective of this course is to help students gain the 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. We discuss a wide range of applications, including the use of derivatives in assetmanagement, the valuation of corporate securities such as stocks and corporate bonds with embedded options, interest rate derivatives, credit derivatives, as well as crude oil derivatives. In addition to theoretical discussions, we also emphasize practical considerations of implementing strategies using derivatives as tools, especially when no-arbitrage conditions do not hold. In addition to course prerequisites, STAT 102 may be taken concurrently.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND FNCE 101 AND STAT 101

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. During the spring semester students cannot take Professor Glode's FNCE 207 class pass/fail. This section must be taken for a grade. Professor Glode requires attendance at first class.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND ACCT 101 AND STAT 101


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


FNCE 219 is a course on international financial markets. Major topics include foreign exchange rates, international money markets, currency and interest rate derivatives (forwards, options, and swaps), 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 relations in these markets. In addition to course prerequisites, FNCE 101 is recommended.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND FNCE 101 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.


(Formerly FNCE 208) Analyzes financial problems corporations face that result from operating in an international environment. Major topics include managing exchange risk through hedging 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


(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


This course covers fixed income securities (including fixed income 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 FNCE 101 AND STAT 101


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 FNCE 101 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 AND FNCE 101

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 AND FNCE 101

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. During the spring semester this course cannot be taken pass/fail. FNCE 203 or FNCE 207 may be taken concurrently.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND FNCE 101

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. FNCE 101, FNCE 205, and FNCE 238 are recommended but not required.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND FNCE 101

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 AND FNCE 101


This course will cover methods and topics that form the foundations of modern as- set 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 under-standing of the major principles concerning individuals' portfolio decisions under uncertainty and the valuations of financial securities. In addition one of the following is recommended FNCE 205; BEPP 250; MATH 360; STAT 433

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND FNCE 101 AND MATH 114 AND MATH 312 AND STAT 430


This course combines lectures and cases, and will go through 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 such as investor activism, governance and regulatory and valuation impact. FNCE 283 is a half semester course. FNCE 238 is recommended but not required.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND FNCE 101


This course will explore the highly active and sophisticated deal making environment that is the hallmark of modern distress corporate restructuring. The course is primarily comprised of two key components. The first is groundwork-laying lectures by three of the top practitioners in the restructuring field. In particular, the lectures will 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 course also will provide a valuation framework for distressed assets. The second element of the course is a series of case study panels. The professors survey the market trends from the previous year 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. These panels will provide students real-world insights into the most current issues in the field. Other Information: Application: send a short 30 second to 1 minute video to Kyle.Ferrier@Kirkland.com stating why you want to take this course. The deadline to submit the video is June 21, 2020.

Prerequisites: FNCE 101 AND FNCE 203 AND FNCE 207


The world economy runs on the infrastructure which has been built over the past10,000 years. Each year, this infrastructure requires updating and new additions, from roads and bridges (the original infrastructure), to railroads, airports (the more recent infrastructure), to telecommications and solar and wind power installations (modern infrastructure). There is a vast amount of public (i.e., taxpayer money directed by government officials) and private (i.e., individuals' money typically managed on their behalf and directed by private equity or banks into infrastructure investments). In this course, we will cover Infrastucture Financing and investing from various angles. We will provide descriptions of types of infrastructure, examine the financing needs of infrastructure projects, consider the historic role of government and non-government funding, and assess the changing needs of consumers and role of technology and the increasing demands posed by a globalizing economy. As private equity firms continue to build infrastructure funds, the need for, and role for, private money continues to evolve, so we will also examine infrastructure investing as a alternative asset class from the investors' perspective. FNCE 203 or FNCE 207 are recommended but not required.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND FNCE 101


This course familiarizes students with financial, strategic and 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 facing financial distress. The course will cover 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 will consider distressed debt as an asset class and develop techniques for investing in distressed securities. We will assess investment opportunities using the concepts of value investing, in which we distinguish the value of asset from price. 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 resolve distress, or avoid it in the first place. FNCE 203 or FNCE 207 are recommended but not required.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND FNCE 101


This course will address a variety of applied topics in private equity (PE), with a focus on growth and later-stage buyout transactions (venture capital is not explicitly addressed in this course), and a primarily U.S.-centric view that should be largely applicable in other markets. In addition, the course will focus on the transaction stage of PE investing i.e., the art of the deal and mostly leave aside deal sourcing, portfolio management and investor relations. The goal of this course is to educate students about the substance, process and mechanics of PE investing, through the lens of the investment professionals, counterparties and advisors that drive transactions to completion. Course topics will address the entire deal process, and will include the following: Commercial Diligence (incl. financial modeling); Debt Financing; Accounting Diligence; Sales & Purchase Agreements; Comps Analysis; and Other Advisory Work. Throughout the course, students will learn about each element of the deal process through in-class lectures, while concurrently apply those learnings to a real-time mock deal, and preparing dealmaterials that mirror a real private equity transaction. The in-class lectures will cover both conceptual frameworks and real-world examples.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND FNCE 101 AND (FNCE 203 OR FNCE 251)

FNCE385 - ASP - FIN-TECH (Course Syllabus)

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 alalyze 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 AND FNCE 101


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 AND FNCE 101

FNCE393 - ASP - CENTRAL BANKS (Course Syllabus)

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. In addition to course prerequisites, FNCE 100 is recommended.

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND FNCE 101 AND STAT 102


The course will be a survey of the private equity asset class. Its objective is to provide an understanding of the concepts, agents, and institutions involved in the late stage corporate private equity market in the U.S. and around the globe. It will examine the buyout market and the activities of buyout funds from the differing perspectives of private equity investors, private equity fund sponsors, and managers of the portfolio companies. The course will be taught almost entirely with cases. Distinguished Wharton alumni in the private equity industry will be our guest speakers for many of the cases based on transactions they concluded. PLEASE NOTE: While this course is primarily intended for graduate students, admission may be granted to a limited number of interested undergraduate students. Be aware that this course may be recorded for live or subsequent distribution, display, broadcast, or commercialization in any media, including video, audio, or electronic media. For additional information, see the course syllabus or contact the department. This is a Pass/Fail course and will not count towards your concentration.

Prerequisites: FNCE 101 AND FNCE 203 OR FNCE 251

FNCE399 - INDEPENDENT STUDY (Course Syllabus)

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

Prerequisites: FNCE 100 AND FNCE 101


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 AND FNCE 251 AND WH 101 AND WH 201 AND (WH 301 OR MGMT 301)


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 AND WH 101 AND WH 201 AND (WH 301 OR MGMT 301)


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 AND WH 101 AND WH 201 AND (WH 301 OR MGMT 301)


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 101 AND (FNCE 207 OR FNCE 235) AND WH 101 AND WH 201 AND (WH 301 OR MGMT 301)