Flexible MBA Specialization in Investments

three students working on a white board in a study room pointing to a data tree

Add a specialization in investments.

Asset management companies, trust departments, brokerage firms, and investment bankers require professionally trained financial managers. Today’s fast-paced, technology-driven investment environment demands that market participants understand and employ the latest financial tools and techniques.

This specialization is designed to meet the demands of professionals in the rapidly developing field of investments and finance. The curriculum is both rigorous and contemporary, applying modern investment theory to real-world scenarios. Case studies and projects are used at various points of the curriculum. The certificate program is structured to complement preparation for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) examinations.

Required Courses

BU.232.701 Investments (2 Credits) required

Learn the financial theory and quantitative tools necessary for understanding how different kinds of financial instruments are priced and used for investment decisions. Rather than delving into the details of current practice, take a rigorous and critical view to the process of investing. And gain a lasting conceptual framework in which to view and analyze investment decisions. Learn how to value assets, given forecasts of future cash flows and the risk characteristics of different asset classes. The focus is mainly on common stocks, but fixed income securities (bonds) and derivative securities (options) are also analyzed. Topics covered include time value of money, optimal portfolio selection based on mean–variance analysis, economic and statistical models of the relation between risk and return (including the CAPM and multifactor models), term structure of interest rates, no-arbitrage derivative pricing, and market efficiency (including asset pricing anomalies and behavioral finance).

BU.232.710 Derivatives (2 Credits) required

This course offers a rich overview of forwards, futures, swaps, and options. The course will cover both the actual working of derivatives and the analytical tools needed to effectively understand derivatives. Skills are developed in pricing analysis, use of pricing models, trading, and hedging strategies. The strategies are developed to match specific economic goals, such as portfolio risk reduction.


BU.231.790 Advanced Corporate Finance (2 Credits)

By employing a case study approach, learn how the theoretical concepts and tools learned in corporate finance and other finance classes are applied in solving real-world problems. Through key concepts such as financial forecasting, cost of capital, capital budgeting, optimal capital structure, dividend policy, and firm valuation, learn the analytical techniques necessary to make rational financial decisions.

BU.232.750 Advanced Portfolio Management (2 Credits)

This is an advanced course designed as a comprehensive study of primarily institutional investment analysis and portfolio management. It approaches investment management as a rational decision-making process based on the theoretical foundation and best practice techniques of investments. Because of the increasing globalization in the capital markets, portfolio management has become an international business. Thus, a good understanding of valuation of equities and fixed income securities, options and futures, and other investment instruments within a global setting is necessary to maintain optimal investment in this dynamic environment. The course emphasizes portfolio management as a dynamic process in which the concepts from security analysis are factored into the dynamics of strategic and tactical investment decision-making criteria. The course also covers the formulation of appropriate investment portfolio objectives for a key institutional investor, and alternative techniques for achieving them. Determination and allocation of asset classes — including bonds, equities, and alternative investment instruments into efficient portfolios — will be discussed, along with such topics as portfolio optimization, risk management, asset selection and allocation, investment management, monitoring, and revising and rebalancing a portfolio. Finally, criteria for evaluating portfolio performance will be discussed. You are encouraged to incorporate corporate social responsibility and sustainable investing concepts into class discussions and deliverables.

BU.520.710 Big Data Machine Learning (2 Credits)

Gain a firm understanding of the mathematical and statistical theories that underlie the foundations of big data and machine learning. Engage in solving real-world problems by directly applying their data science skills through the implementation of code and rigorous analysis of financial data sets. In particular, this course will highlight some of the challenges and limitations of applying such machine-learning algorithms. Focus will be on understanding the subtle differences in each technique. This course will be hands-on with weekly homework assignments and a final presentation geared towards fully immersing you in the data science process. You will program in Python (e.g., Pandas, NumPy, Scikit-Learn, Matplotlib, pattern, NLTK, etc.). Topics to be covered include Principle Components Analysis, Multinomial Logistic Regression, Naïve Bayes, Perceptron, Support Vector Machines, Random Forest, Neural Networks, model evaluation ROC/AUC, k-fold cross-validation, etc.

BU.231.720 Corporate Governance (2 Credits)

The value of a firm depends on good corporate governance practices that protect shareholder rights and lower the cost of capital thanks to better risk mitigation. The set of good governance practices, rules, and regulations that attract investments and creates jobs, as well as effective environmental and socially responsible considerations, promote opportunities for better access to finance and improve firm value. Explore the practical implications of the principal-agent dilemma due to separation of ownership and control. The separation leads to conflicts of interest between the principals (shareholders) and agents (management) that results in increased risk.

The three main topics in this course are the shareholders; the board; and the management. Topics cover executive compensation practices and policies, boardroom structure and practices, benefits and problems of corporate disclosure and transparency, and the value of the shareholder vote. The course also covers management abuses, takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, and the role of financial institutions and credit-rating agencies. We emphasize transparency, accountability, responsibility, and fair and equitable treatment of all shareholders to help implement good corporate governance practices that reduce agency conflicts and reduce risk. Good corporate governance practices are about building the business case rather than simple compliance. A corporate governance scoring project demonstrates how a company’s sustainable, socially responsible investing and governance standing profile can be rated as an indicator for building investor confidence and ensuring shareholder protection.

BU.210.680 Cost Measurement & Control (2 Credits)

This course emphasizes the vocabulary, methods, and processes by which managerial accounting concepts and cost management practices are applied across organizations to improve operational performance and achieve strategic goals. Topics include cost behavior, profit planning, product costing, overhead allocation, cost estimation, costing systems for short-term and long-term decision making, capital budgeting, variance analysis, responsibility accounting, and performance measurement.

BU.232.770 Cryptos & Blockchain (2 Credits)

This course introduces you to one of the most exciting financial technological innovations in modern times -- the Blockchain. Gain a strong understanding of how blocks are created and linked by cryptography. Within this decentralized peer-to-peer ledger system, you will examine in detail its construction, immutability, and security with a keen focus on the potential benefits and weaknesses of its fundamental structure as applied to businesses and organizations. Moreover, you will learn how companies are applying blockchain technologies in practice. We will review the first use case of the blockchain – Bitcoins. Additionally, the course will chart the evolution of Bitcoins to Ethereum and the advantages of Ethereum’s smart-contract framework. Additionally, we will dive into the growing alternative crypto-currencies markets. Initial Coin Offerings will be discussed with focus on their potential implications for destabilizing traditional funding sources. The regulatory challenges and current Initial Coin Offering best practices will be reviewed and analyzed. We will discuss this industry from the perspective of the academic, entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer. The course will be delivered by standard lectures, presentations, case study discussions, assignments, guest speakers, programming exercises in Python, group presentations, and a final comprehensive exam.

BU.510.650 Data Analytics (2 Credits)

Gather, describe, and analyze data, using advanced statistical tools to support operations, risk management, and responses to disruptions. Analysis is done targeting economic and financial decisions in complex systems that involve multiple partners. Topics include probability, statistics, hypothesis testing, regression, clustering, decision trees, and forecasting.

BU.232.725 Emerging Markets (2 Credits) 

What makes emerging financial markets different from those in the U.S., Western Europe, or Japan? What are the benefits of adding these markets to traditional investment portfolios? Why invest in certain countries instead of others? Within a country, which asset class should we invest in -- debt or equity? How do hedge funds approach these markets versus traditional investors? From the practical perspective of a U.S. institutional investor, this course tries to help answer these questions. Through videos, readings, and problem sets, you will develop greater abilities to analyze global macro trends and country fundamentals, master portfolio construction concepts, and implement practical investment strategies.

BU.233.730 Entrepreneurial Finance (2 Credits)

Learn to identify, access, and evaluate sources of financing for start-ups and expanding technology companies. The approach uses case studies, group interaction, and presentations from experts in the field. Attention will be given to financial theory, risk assessment, valuation options, term sheets, due diligence techniques, and the setting up of financial reports for monitoring progress toward meeting milestones.

BU.230.750 Financial Crises & Contagion (2 Credits)

What and when will the next financial crisis be? No one knows, but the past provides clues. This course takes you through the history of finance in the U.S., with a focus on the last 100 years of financial bubbles, manias, and scandals, from the crash of 1929 to the thrift crisis of the 1980s; Enron and other accounting debacles; and the mortgage meltdown known as the Great Recession. Examining the upheavals is key to understanding how the landscape and laws of modern financial markets evolved and where they might be headed. With the Great Recession of 2007–2012, the U.S. experienced the biggest economic crisis and ensuing downturn since the crash of 1929 and Great Depression of the 1930s. While every boom-and-bust is unique, all share certain characteristics — most notably, the seemingly inexhaustible ability of humans to forget the lessons of financial history. This forgetfulness comes at great expense to society. This course provides a tour of the country’s major boom-and-bust-cycles, with a focus on the last century, and particularly the last three decades, when such events became more numerous. After each debacle, laws and rules changed. Executives must know what those changes are and the reasoning behind them, but they also will have a competitive edge in recognizing future crises if they remember and understand the events underpinning those of the past.

BU.230.620 Financial Modeling & Valuation (2 Credits)

Explore the current practices in financial modeling and valuation using Excel. Learn how to manipulate financial data and how to perform financial analyses using various analytical tools. Using these skills, begin forecasting financial statements and building interactive valuation models for firms. By the end of the course, you will complete an equity research paper. Another important aspect of this course is to introduce you to portfolio modeling, efficient frontiers, and portfolio choice subject to constraints.

BU.231.710 Financial Institutions (2 Credits)

The financial service industry plays a significant role in the economy, and it continues to undergo dramatic changes. Financial institutions perform the essential function of channeling funds from savers to users of funds. Financial intermediation is subject to significant risk as the recent financial crisis vividly illustrated. The risk management of financial institutions is crucial not only in maximizing shareholders’ value, but also in ensuring the stability of the whole financial system. In this course, students will acquire a working knowledge of the function of financial intermediaries in the economy, and how this role has changed in the U.S.; the sources of risks banks are exposed to (e.g., interest rate risk, market risk, credit risk, liquidity risk, sovereign risk) and how they manage them; elements of capital regulation.

BU.210.650 Financial Statement Analysis (2 Credits)

Financial Statement Analysis is designed to prepare you to analyze, interpret, and use financial statements effectively, from the perspectives of both a general manager and an investor. The course will review and extend the topics introduced in Accounting and Financial Reporting with an emphasis on value creation. Specifically, the course will introduce a thorough framework for financial statement analysis, including advanced financial (ratio and cash flow) analysis, financial statement adjustments, and financial forecasting.

BU.232.720 Fixed Income (2 Credits) 

Fixed income securities represent the largest market in the world. However, given the complexity and the relative lack of liquidity in this market, we generally do not hear much about fixed income. This advanced course focuses on how to navigate the complexity of the global debt market in a practical way. The course covers major markets and instruments including treasuries, fixed income swaps, forwards, futures, term structure theories, and risk management techniques. By completing the course, you will learn actionable concepts and tools about some of the major activities on Wall Street in terms of size and opportunities. The course is both theoretical and practical.

BU.230.730 Managing Financial Risk (2 Credits)

The course offers an introduction to financial risk management. Risk management is a complex process of identifying, measuring, and controlling risk exposure. The course will balance theory and practical application. Topics include market and credit risks, liquidity, and operational and legal risks, including volatility modeling, and derivatives as tools for controlling risk. Using modern econometric models, such as ARCH and GARCH, along with widely used quantitative methods (Monte Carlo simulation and Filtered Historical simulation), the course will describe how to measure and control risk exposure towards various types of risks, especially market and credit risk.

BU.231.740 Mergers & Acquisitions (2 Credits)

This course explores the incentives for using mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and alliances as vehicles to achieve corporate strategic objectives. You will use analytical techniques often employed in mergers and acquisitions, negotiation strategies, and valuation. Also discussed are problems encountered in post-merger integration and alternative modes of market entry, including joint ventures and internal development.

BU.220.610 The Firm & the Macroeconomy (2 Credits)

This course explores the workings of an economy from a macroeconomic perspective. Although the course focuses primarily on the U.S. economy and its relation to the rest of the world, the concepts and tools apply to market economies around the world. Major topics include the determinants of an economy’s output and price level in the long-run; money and banks in the long run and short run; the role of interest rates and exchange rates in the U.S. economy and in small, open economies; the causes and nature of the business cycle and inflation; and the role of fiscal and monetary policy in stabilizing the economy and ensuring full employment and price stability.

BU.232.730 Wealth Management (2 Credits)

This course provides strategies for coordinating financial planning for high-net-worth individuals. Become skilled at identifying and dealing appropriately with clients’ goals, needs, and problems in the areas of investment and investment planning.