Published: Dec. 13, 2016

By David Gross, PhD; Faculty Director, MS Finance

Hello blog readers. My name is David Gross. I’ve been teaching finance at the Leeds School for over 20 years and have been the Faculty Director of the MS Finance program since its inception. In this post I will briefly describe the field of finance and what an MS in Finance is all about.

So what is finance all about? Economics is the study of the allocation of resources. Finance is the application of economics to business. We have a business idea. Should we allocate resources to this idea? Well, does our idea make money? Does it make enough money? Enough for whom?

The answer to that is, “Enough for our investors.” But, how much do our investors need to make? The answer to that is, “Enough to be compensated for the business idea’s risk.”

What is an MS in Finance blog post - David Gross TeacingSo Finance focuses on understanding the risk associated with an idea. This is the essence of Corporate Finance and Consulting – determining if a business idea makes enough money to compensate our investors for the risk that they will incur. What if the idea doesn’t make enough money? Then we won’t be able to get investors to fund the idea! Or if we do manage to fund it and later the idea doesn’t realize sufficient profits, our stock price drops!

Of course the other side of the finance coin is buying claims on other people’s business ideas. This is the essence of Investment Management. Are we buying a claim on a soap company or a steel company? And is it a debt claim, so we get paid first, or is it an ownership claim, so we get paid last, but might get paid a lot?

So this brings us to our MS program. The Leeds School’s MS in Finance is designed for students with a strong quantitative aptitude, but not necessarily a background in finance. The three-semester curriculum is designed to give students the practical knowledge and tools necessary for an accelerated career in these areas of finance - a career for which they might otherwise not qualify.

Parallel to the strong finance-focused curriculum are our professional development and career and placement services. Students receive career counseling, resume and interview prep, placement guidance as well as access to the Leeds School’s Burridge Center for Finance. The Burridge Center is the school’s nexus between finance practice and academics through which we run multiple speaker series, student trading and valuation competitions and finance-focused student “Treks” to meet employers in cities throughout the country.

There are many rewarding career opportunities in finance. The Leeds MS Finance program may be the best way for you to prepare for a finance career.