Students interested in data analytics can now take a new Wharton class, "Data Science for Finance," which will prepare students for future careers in a range of fields, from investment banking to consulting.
Wharton finance professor Michael Roberts will teach the class, which will be offered for the first time in fall 2020, and will use big data analysis to answer finance questions. The course will serve as a guide for students aiming to enter the field of finance, due to the changing nature of the industry and the prioritization of data analytics skills, Roberts said.
He said he is building the course around two goals.
“One, I want to illustrate how data analytics can lead to better financial decision-making,” Roberts said. “Two, I want to be able to provide students with a foundation for performing data analytics.”
Roberts said the tools from the class will help students pursue careers inside the financial sector, such as investment banking or asset management, and outside the financial sector like consulting or corporate development.
Roberts said that the class is open to both Wharton and non-Wharton undergraduates. Demand will determine the class size.
The class will explore the process that companies undergo to issue an initial public offering on the stock market.
Roberts said the class will examine the history of firms that have launched on the stock market and look at their characteristics before and after they went public.
The class will also explore the pricing of cryptocurrency and analyze the risk of investing in cryptocurrency. Roberts said students will use large data to investigate ways investors might allocate funds in different investment opportunities.
“The tool we are going to use to answer questions in finance is Python,” Roberts said. “So we are going to be doing Python programming and using its ecosystem of packages to do data analytics, modeling, machine learning, all with the goal of answering questions that pop up in practice in financial areas.”
Roberts added the questions can come from various sectors within the financial services industry, including fin-tech, investment management, and corporate government.
College freshman Samantha Simon said she would be interested in taking the course.
“It would be a good integration of both business-oriented skills and also technology-oriented ones," Simon said.
College and Wharton freshman Nicolas Diaz said as a first-year student, he doesn’t know much about finance or data analytics. However, Diaz said he would be interested in taking the new course.
Diaz said the course seems like a great opportunity to expose students to real-world applications of data analytics and finance, and will also help inform students what future careers in finance look like.
“Finance now is data analytics,” Roberts said. "If you want to practice finance in any setting, it’s really all about data analytics.”
The new course is part of a bigger initiative of Analytics at Wharton, which was launched in May 2019 after an anonymous $15 million gift. The initiative aims to incorporate big data analysis to improve decision-making. Other similar projects under the launch of Analytics at Wharton include a Women in Analytics conference to be held in February 2020.
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