With the introduction of two new classes, the Finance Department proves it is on the cutting edge of business evolution.
Undergraduate advisor for the Finance Department David Musto is teaching a course entitled “Strategic Equity Finance” for the first time this semester. The class focuses making strategic decisions in actual business situations and is largely oriented to students who are looking for careers in banking or planning to start their own ventures, according to the course syllabus.
“Energy Finance” is also relatively new to Penn InTouch’s course registration page. First offered last year, the class teaches about corporate structures and risk management of firms in the energy industry. Next year, a new class based on Finance 251, which is offered currently and entitled “The Finance of Buyouts and Acquisitions,” will be made available.
Many classes have been revised and rebuilt over the years, according to finance professor Bilge Yilmaz, who led the department before Musto took over.
Business classes in general have evolved over the years. “I got here in 1995,” Musto said. “And back then there were no classes about venture capital, no private equity, no behavioral finance ... Commercial banking was the big thing back then, but nowadays it’s obviously different.”
The Wharton School and the department actively adapt to changes in the business industry so students can stay ahead of the competition with students from other schools, according to Yilmaz. “We want our students to be successful in the marketplace,” he said. “We think about what is the competitive advantage of Wharton students, which usually involves putting ourselves in the shoes of the employers to see what they want and need.”
Musto and Yilmaz said that the process of deciding which classes to create involves a lot of communication with alumni who have firsthand experience working in all sectors of the business industry.
Wharton and College sophomore Han Tian said that having new course offerings definitely benefits students. “Even though I might not be taking these classes right now, it’s always better to have more choices,” he said.
Tian needs to take four classes for his finance concentration in Wharton, and he said he hopes to fit one of the new classes in his schedule.
He also takes advantage of finance-related learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Musto and Yilmaz both emphasized that the Finance Department has been encouraging students to hone their skills through such extracurriculars.
“I would often go to these alumni lunch events if I have time. When I talk to them, the things I learn are less about the theories I study in class, but more about how these theories actually work in the real life,” Tian said. “They may not be that systematic, but [they are] very useful in the workplace.”
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