PROGRAM OVERVIEW The finance curriculum is designed to provide students with knowledge of the major concepts and practices of financial management, while at the same time helping to develop their analytical, decision-making and communication abilities. The finance major prepares students for careers in business and/or postgraduate work by educating them in the fundamental principles and practical applications of modern financial analysis.
The careers of the majority of finance graduates can be broadly classified into one of four groups: personal financial planning, financial institutions management, corporate finance, and investments. Drake’s program offers students a choice of study from specializations consistent with these classifications. Graduates are prepared for advanced study in business or finance or to assume responsible, entry-level managerial positions in financial management in business, government and not-for-profit entities included. Furthermore, they possess an excellent foundation for future growth and career development.
FACULTY There are six full time faculty who routinely teach classes in the finance program. Four of these teach exclusively in the finance program and are referred to as the department of finance below, the other two teach also teach in insurance and actuarial science. Their scholarly interests include capital structure, capital budgeting, derivatives, dividend policy, information economics, financial markets, and investments. All full-time faculty are engaged in teaching classes from the introductory to advanced levels.
ACADEMIC PREPARATION Students majoring in finance should have a strong general high school preparation, including mathematics and quantitative reasoning.
REQUIREMENTS FOR MAJOR In addition to the Drake Curriculum requirements there are 15 hours of core courses required of all majors, 12 hours of courses related to the students chosen track, 52 hours of business core requirements (required of all business majors).
Students spend two years building core business skills (accounting, law, economics, mathematics, statistics). The core finance curriculum includes introductory and advanced corporate finance; money and banking; financial institutions, instruments, and markets; portfolio analysis; and a capstone seminar in finance. Additional courses depend on the track selected and the student’s interests. The following tracks are offered.
Personal Financial Planning Personal financial planners help individuals determine their financial and personal goals, consider alternative methods to attain these goals, choose the plan that suits their situation, put it into effect and constantly review it for any needed changes. It includes knowledge of investment vehicles, tax shelters and tax planning, insurance, risk management, and personal, business, retirement and estate planning. Personal financial planning services are offered by a wide variety of financial institutions and are a growth area within the financial services industry. Students choosing this track may wish to consider an insurance concentration.
Financial Institutions Management With the deregulation of the banking and financial services industry, the need for specialists in this area is growing rapidly. Managers of banks, investment banks, insurance companies, and brokerage firms will need a background in both financial management and economic analysis as the roles of the various institutions become increasingly blurred.
Corporate Finance The finance function within the modern corporation requires a solid foundation in accounting coupled with a thorough understanding of financial management. This track requires a heavy emphasis in accounting and prepares students for a challenging career as a corporate financial analyst. Students choosing this track may wish to consider a double major with accounting.
Investments This track emphasizes the investment function within finance. It prepares students for careers with firms that have extensive investment holdings such as brokerage houses, insurance companies, and pension funds.
DRAKE CURRICULUM The Drake Curriculum, required of all undergraduates, is designed to help students meet personal and professional goals as they acquire fundamental knowledge and abilities in ten Areas of Inquiry, including communication, critical thinking, artistic experience, historical consciousness, information and technology literacy, international and multicultural experiences, scientific and quantitative literacy, values and ethics and engaged citizenship. Students work closely with their academic advisers to craft a program of study in general education that prepares students for civic and professional leadership.
The Drake Curriculum also requires first-year seminars, which foster development of critical thinking and written and oral communication skills through a topical focus; and a Senior Capstone, in which students demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills and ideas to bear on one project.
INTERNSHIPS & OPPORTUNITIES Finance majors are encouraged to participate in research and to gain experience through internships. Virtually all juniors and seniors are placed in a desired internship. The internships include positions in the financial services industry and in corporate financial management. Many finance majors receive internships with in the financial services industry due to the large number of financial service firms located in Des Moines. The internships vary in length and the type of work performed by the student.
CAREER OPTIONS Finance careers can be broadly classified into one of 4 groups: personal financial planning, financial institutions management, corporate financial analysis and investments. Drake’s program offers students a choice of study from specializations consistent with these classifications. Graduates are prepared for advanced study in business or finance or to assume responsible, entry-level managerial positions in financial management in business, government and not-for-profit entities as well as in the financial services industry. Furthermore, they possess an excellent foundation for future growth and career development.
HONORS The CBPA offers broad award for CBPA students and the finance department also offers scholarships for students interested in completing the CFA designation and a yearly finance student award.