The best way to determine whether an MSF degree is a good fit is to look at the curriculum of a typical graduate program. Below is a list of real classes that prospective MSF students can expect to encounter:
Corporate Finance and Financial Accounting
This course covers the basics of financial statements, the analysis and recording of transactions, and the fundamentals of financial accounting. Topics may include stockholders equity, inventories, bonds and other liabilities, long-term productive assets, statements of changes in financial position, and many others. Students gain the skills to effectively use and interpret financial statements and disclosures.
Commodities and Managed Futures
Students will explore the cash and futures markets for commodities such as metals, grains, energy and soft products, as well as equity investments in commodity-related firms. The course also covers the role of commodity market players, including institutional investors, hedgers and speculators. Other subjects include the value of commodities in an institutional portfolio, commodity trading advisers, commodity pool operators and the managed futures industry.
Critical Thinking and Effective Writing
This course is designed to help students develop critical thinking skills. Using a number of written formats, students will study analytic and persuasive skills with an emphasis on developing reasoned positions, identifying critical issues, and composing compelling written arguments.
Venture Capital and Investment Banking
This course examines the role that venture capitalists and investment bankers play in advising, financing and influencing companies through the initial public offering process. Additional subjects include compensation valuation, interaction between venture capital and economic activity, the structure of venture capital funds, the staging of investments, and legal, social and ethical issues.
Students will learn how finance applies to econometric and statistical methods. Covered topics include linear factor pricing and portfolio problems, predictability of asset returns and volatilities, value at risk and extremal events, vector autoregressive and maximum likelihood methods in finance, estimation methods for continuous time models, nonparametric statistical methods for option pricing, and many others.
Structured Fixed Income Portfolios
This course deals with the valuation, characteristics and risk management of fixed income instruments. Specific topics include default swaps, inflation indexed securities, mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, interest rate derivatives, repos and bonds. Term structured modeling and hedging techniques are also discussed.
Business Plan Fundamentals and Communications
In addition to the development of business plans, this course also covers oral and written business communications. Students will construct their own business plans with a focus on securing financial support and human resources. They will also gain communication skills to help them identify critical issues, display data, employ visual aids, present reasoned positions, and make compelling arguments in written and oral format.
Raising Capital in Silicon Valley
Directed toward entrepreneurs, this class examines the practical side of raising capital in Silicon Valley. After a brief history of local venture capital, topics include contacting investors, valuing an idea or company, crafting an effective business plan, presenting to investors and crafting exit strategies.
Early-Stage Company Building and Valuations
This course discusses the building and valuation of early-stage companies with revenue between 0 and $20 million. Topics include potential pitfalls, team-building techniques, product definition, pricing issues and early market identification.
Carbon Markets and Climate Risk
This course provides a working knowledge of the risks and opportunities arising from climate change and policy. Subjects include the effect of carbon regulations and cap-and-trade, as well as how climate change impacts business procedures. Students will learn about emerging tools to help businesses endure the physical, operational, and financial aspects of climate change.