MSF

The Villanova Master of Science in Finance (MSF) offers a curriculum that combines a solid foundation in finance with exposure to the areas reshaping finance today. Over the span of two semesters, you will take an intensive course load of financial theory and principles, followed by an opportunity to explore a variety of electives in statistics, analytics, quantitative finance, investment management, real estate, machine learning, coding and more.

MSF CURRICULUM

  • Orientation
    Students get to know their cohort and the Villanova community during this pre-session course. Faculty and staff will provide information and support regarding campus life, administrative details, available resources, and opportunities in and around the Main Line and Philadelphia for students to access.
  • Professional Development
  • Quantitative Methods in Finance Bootcamp
  • Foundations of Corporate Finance
    A survey course in corporate finance with applications to investment banking. Students develop an understanding of fundamental concepts and theories in finance and apply them to a wide range of practical business problems, including those related to the financial services industry.
  • Fundamentals of Financial Statements & Valuation
    The objective of the course is to help students understand and critically analyze the primary financial statements of a firm. This includes understanding the interrelationships between the three main financial statements and key financial ratios that can be obtained from them. The course also provides a basic understanding of accounting transactions, as well as an understanding of critical accounting concepts. The course will provide familiarity with 10-K statements including footnote disclosures, as well as major valuation models and techniques used to determine intrinsic and relative values of business entities and assets.
  • Investment Banking
    A survey course in corporate finance with applications to investment banking. It develops an understanding of fundamental concepts and theories in finance and applies them to a wide range of practical business problems including those related to the financial services industry.
  • Fixed Income
    This course provides an introduction to fixed income markets and securities. Topics include techniques of valuation, interest rate determination and modeling, interest rate risk management, and bond portfolio management and strategies.
  • Portfolio Management
    A hands-on class where students manage real-dollar portfolios using various investment approaches. All students participate in live portfolio management while developing their financial analysis skills through a combination of rigorous fundamental research and quantitative techniques. Students have the chance to learn from market practitioners and industry experts.

In the Spring semester, students complete up to 12 elective credits. At least 6 credits must be taken from Group I (MSF electives), with the option to take up to 12 credits in Group I.  Students can take up to 6 credits from Group II (non-MSF electives). Please see below for a sample of elective offerings. Please note that this sample list is neither comprehensive nor final, as non-MSF electives are subject to scheduling and availability through other graduate programs.

 

  • Negotiations
    This class provides an understanding of the principles, strategies and tactics of an effective negotiation and professional relationship management. They increase awareness and understanding of ethical principles and stakeholder considerations that influence the choices offered and made in transactions and relationships. Helps students assess the variables in negotiations, develop sound planning techniques and better understanding strategies and tactics in order to effectively and ethically resolve transaction and international differences.
  • Group I Elective*
  • Group I Elective*
  • Group I or II Elective*
  • Group I or II Elective*
  • Financial Markets & Institutions
    An advanced course that surveys the key topics and inter-relationships between financial markets, financial institutions, and market microstructure design. Students apply the theories learned in this course to numerous problems facing today’s financial institutions and markets.
  • Derivatives & Risk Management
    A comprehensive introduction to the markets for options, forwards, futures, swaps, and other related derivative instruments. The course is designed to develop an understanding of how derivatives markets operate, how derivatives are priced, and how they are used.
  • Alternative Investments
    This course exposes students to the growing market for investments in non-traditional asset classes such as private equity, venture capital, hedge funds, commodities, natural resources, and real estate. The course will examine the risk-return characteristics of alternative investments, their correlation with conventional asset classes, and their use within diversified portfolios.
  • Portfolio Management II
    A continuation of Portfolio Theory and Applications I, a hands-on class where students manage real-dollar portfolios using various investment approaches. All students participate in live portfolio management while developing their financial analysis skills through a combination of rigorous fundamental research and quantitative techniques. Students have the chance to learn from market practitioners and industry experts.
  • Quantitative Finance
    The course provides a framework for understanding quantitative asset management, by first overviewing pertinent quantitative equity research then by replicating and backtesting existing research insights to provide hands-on experience for financial model building, valuation, and quantitative performance attribution. The class aims to develop student skills that are best suited for quantitative asset management, valuation and advisory, data analytics, risk management and statistical arbitrage roles, while providing students with insights into the asset management industry landscape which are particularly relevant to quantitative equity researchers.
  • MBA 8139 Topic: Programming Business Model
    This course is an introduction to programming that focuses on the design of computer applications, modern software engineering principles, object-oriented design, and systems-thinking. Emphasis is on good programming style with strong testing skills and the use of application programming interfaces to interact with real-time financial data. The course is explicitly designed for business students seeking to enhance analytical talents by developing stronger problem-solving skills, learning how to more easily manipulate data, and gaining an appreciation for the integration of business systems. The Python programming language will be used.
  • MBA 8529 Business Risk Management
    This course examines contemporary risk managment frameworks, overviews common regulatory reporting requirements, and provides practical insights on effective business risk management to help students navigate today's dynamic marketplace.
  • MBA 8800 Commercial Real Estate Investment
    An overview of commercial real estate investment. Emphasis is on life cycle from acquisition through disposition using analytical and practical tools. Topics include market analysis, valuation, deal structuring, commercial leases, financing, investment management, marketing and careers in real estate.
  • MBA 8350 Analyzing and Leveraging Data
    The course begins with a review of descriptive statistics, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. These tools will be extended into regression analysis geared towards analyzing large data sets in order to make informed business decisions.
  • MBA 8529 Programming in R 
    The statistical programming language R is rapidly becoming the language of choice for business analysts due to its full array of software capabilities for data preparation, analysis, and graphical display.  This course covers the fundamentals of the usage of R as a programming language, with emphasis on applications in business.  Students will learn how to use the software environment of R to efficiently source, manipulate, and analyze data.
  • MBA 8531 International Business Management
    Provides an overview of economic and cultural integration, trade problems, and tariff barriers, and highlights the conflicts and compromises between the executive polices and national objectives of various countries. Emphasis is on the development of marketing strategies and the problems concerning overseas investment and financing.
  • MBA 8444 – Multinational Financial Management
    Course covers globalization and the multinational corporation, foreign direct investment and political risk, international parity conditions, the foreign exchange market, the currency derivatives market, foreign exchange risk management, foreign trade financing and managing the multinational financial system.
  • MAT 7404 Statistical Methods
    Data summarization and display, distributions; binomial, Poisson, normal, t, chi-square and F, estimation, hypothesis testing, linear regression, correlation, statistical software packages.


 

Professional Development

The Professional Development Program (PDP) for MSF students is designed to enrich the graduate classroom experience and prepare students for success in the financial services job search process. This program is a required element of your curriculum, and successful completion of the program requires attendance and fulfillment of the following:

  • Careers in Financial Services: Financial Services professionals give a brief description of their sector, discuss how to land that first job, and what to expect in the first few years.
  • Resume Workshop: Presentation providing general tips for writing effective resumes, followed by individual resume review with industry professionals and representatives from the Career Center.
  • Networking Workshop: Interactive networking workshop and presentation to teach the basics of making professional connections and proper networking etiquette.
  • Working on Wall Street: Corporate site visits followed by a panel and networking reception hosted by the Villanova Financial Club, a group of Villanova Alumni who work in or around Wall Street.
  • Interview Skills Workshop: Learn interview techniques from a financial services recruiter.
  • Videotaped Mock Interview: The Career Services Office schedules an appointment with a counselor for a practice interview, in which the counselor videotapes the session and provides feedback on your performance.
  • Contact Mentor: Each student is matched with a mentor based on his/her area of interest within the finance industry. In mid-June, you receive your mentor’s name and contact information. You are expected to contact your mentor to introduce yourself and provide your background and interests, learn about your mentor’s role in their organization, and establish future communication to further your initial discussions. 
  • Bloomberg Essentials: Laboratory providing the basics of the Core Bloomberg Professional Service module and basic functionality of each of the primary market sectors.
  • Developing Your Online Brand: Workshop that provides tools and resources for developing a personal brand and using that brand in the job search process.
  • Ten Steps to Maximizing Your Career: Workshop that provides a high-level overview for effectively managing the job search and post-graduate studies career.

Preparing for the CFA Exam

The MSF curriculum is uniquely designed to provide our students with a strong foundation in financial services. Although our program is not designed to directly prepare you for the CFA exam, courses such as Portfolio Management, Derivatives, Corporate Finance, and Quantitative Methods will supplement your preparation for the Level I exam.

Two MSF faculty members are CFA charter holders and are available to answer questions about the CFA exam, recommend exam preparation providers, or help students organize informal study groups for you and your classmates. Additionally, Villanova MSF students can apply for a scholarship towards the CFA exam fee.

A large number of our MSF students prepare for both Levels I or II of the CFA exam during or directly after graduation; several incoming MSF students have passed these levels of the exam prior to starting the program.

Connect on Teams

Stay in the know with your fellow MSF students by joining the MSF Teams group.

Graduate Business Programs Office

The Graduate Business Programs Office is located in Bartley Hall, Suite 1064. Please visit us for general program and curriculum inquiries, as well as registration and schedule advising.

Office Hours
Monday - Friday: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Academic Advising

Each advisor is available for in-person or telephone appointments in Bartley Hall or Center City. Please see below for advisor designation.
 

Ann O’Connor
Associate Director, Graduate Programs

ann.oconnor@villanova.edu

  • Flex Track,  last names M-Z
  • JD/MBA Advising


Lindsey Kriegel
Associate Director, Graduate Programs

lindsey.kriegel@villanova.edu

  • Flex Track – last names A-L
  • Fast Track Cohorts (Center City and Bartley)


Allyson Daley
Associate Director, Specialized Masters Programs

allyson.daley@villanova.edu

  • MBA Fellows Advising
  • Specialized MS Programs Advising