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Undergraduate Program Description
The goal of finance is the efficient management of funds by an economic entity, a process that includes the acquisition of funds, long- and short-term investment decisions, and cash distribution. Financial management applies to all economic entities—households, private firms, not-for-profit organizations, and government agencies. Financial managers must understand and apply decision-making tools and techniques to the financial problems facing the organization. They must also be aware of the economic, social, and political constraints on the organization.
The Finance curriculum is designed to help students function competently and professionally in the field of financial management. Our courses cover the major areas of finance: corporate finance, investment management, and capital markets and financial institutions. Courses in corporate finance, commercial bank management, investments, portfolio management, hedge funds, tax effects/managerial decisions, venture capital, and small business finance teach the decision-making process from the perspective of several economic entities, while courses in commercial bank management, financial institutions, financial instruments, and money and capital markets describe the financial environment in which financial managers operate. The concentration in Finance requires a mixture of these two types of courses. In all courses, however, students are expected to develop and apply the analytical skills necessary to identify problems, propose and evaluate solutions, and ultimately, make management decisions.
Many post-graduation opportunities are available to finance students. While some choose full-time volunteer service or graduate school, the large majority find full-time employment after graduation, primarily in the areas of investment services, corporate finance, banking, and consulting. Our success in placing students is very high. Moreover, the Boston College Finance Department has earned a strong reputation, not only in Boston, but also on Wall Street, where we have placed many students in a number of prominent firms.
The career opportunities in finance range from line management to advisory staff positions, and encompass a variety of business concerns, both domestically and internationally. Although any classification scheme is somewhat arbitrary, it may be useful to identify five general sectors.
Financial Institutions: These include commercial banks, thrift institutions, and a wide variety of non-bank financial intermediaries such as brokerage houses, insurance companies, pension funds, investment banks, hedge funds, and mutual funds.
Manufacturing Firms: These include both privately-held and publicly-owned firms whose primary function is manufacturing saleable goods.
Service Firms: These include firms directly related to the finance function itself such as public accounting and financial consulting firms, as well as general service firms (e.g., tourism, real estate, entertainment) for which finance is a necessary function of their operations.
Entrepreneurial Enterprises: These include real estate, small manufacturing, and service firms launched by individuals or small groups.
Not-for-Profit or Government Firms and Agencies: These are entities providing services in such areas as health care, education, social services, and the arts.
What do these five types of economic entities have in common? They all need competent, up-to-date financial managers.
The Finance Department encourages students to talk to people who are active in their areas of interest in order to understand better the unique challenges and opportunities offered by the various financial functions. The Department facilitates this exchange between students and industry professionals through the alumni advisement system which serves as a supplement to regular faculty advisement. In addition, the Finance Academy, our student-run finance association, has built a good working relationship with a number of prestigious firms through its Finance Career Nights, panel discussions, and other activities.
Concentration in Finance
The undergraduate finance concentration requires successful completion of Basic Finance plus a minimum of four (4) additional finance courses (refer to this undergraduate catalog for course descriptions). Of these additional courses, three are required and are common to all concentrators; the other course or courses are elective, based upon personal interest or career goals. The student’s minimum finance curriculum follows:
MA 021 Financial Accounting (Prerequisite for Basic Finance)
MF 021 Basic Finance (Prerequisite: MA 021)
MF 151 Investments* (Prerequisite: MF 021)
MF 127 Corporate Finance* (Prerequisite: MF 021)
MF 225 Financial Policy* (Prerequisites: MF 127, MF 151)
At least one elective from the courses listed below:
MF202 Derivatives and Risk Management (Department Permission Required)
MF205 Small Business Finance (Prerequisite: MA 127)
MF235 Investment Banking (Prerequisite: MF 127)
MF245 Project Finance (Prerequisite: MF127)
MF250 Fixed Income Analysis (Prerequisite: MF 151)
MF299 Individual Directed Study (Senior Status/Department Permission Required)
MF602 Venture Capital (Department Permission Required)
MF604 Money and Capital Markets (Department Permission Required)
MF606 Economic and Financial Forecasting (Department Permission Required)
MF612 Mutual Fund Industry (Department Permission Required)
MF617 Hedge Funds (Department Permission Required)
MF619 MSF Seminar: Economic Crises (Department Permission Required)
MF631International Finance (Department Permission Required)
MF665 Fundamental Analysis (Department Permission Required)
Information for Study Abroad
The Department recommends that Basic Finance (MF 021) be taken at Boston College in the spring semester of sophomore year, which requires that the student will have taken MA 021 Financial Accounting as well. The Finance Department encourages taking no more than one finance elective course abroad unless special circumstances exist. The required University Core must be taken prior to going abroad. The Finance Department relies on the Office of International Programs to guide the student in this regard.
The Finance Department also recommends that students study abroad during their junior year, or first semester, senior year, in order to complete the final required Capstone finance course (MF 225) in CSOM.
Essentially, all students wishing to study abroad must first meet with Richard Keeley, Associate Dean or Erica Graf, Associate Director, Undergraduate Programs. Students should then meet with either the Finance Department Chairperson or Elliott Smith for course approvals. All course approvals should be sought in person, again prior to leaving, with all supporting documentation (course description, detailed syllabus, etc.) in hand.
All approvals must be obtained prior to going abroad and any student not following this policy will not be granted elective credit upon their return.