Scott Fine, professor of banking and finance, comes from a practitioner background, having worked for much of his career at companies like Goldman Sachs and McKinsey & Co. He teaches the capstone course Projects in Corporate Finance. His goal? To recreate as closely as possible the real-world job of financial analyst. Students work in teams of four or five with an industry mentor who assigns their task.
“When many of our MSM-Finance students graduate, they’re likely to seek positions as analysts and associates,” says Fine. “The projects they tackle mirror what they’ll encounter on the job. Their industry mentor is acting in the role of their ‘boss’ for the semester.”
The Capstone Experience
The exact nature of the projects may vary from year to year, but all are real projects conducted for people who actually work in the students’ future career area, Fine explains. Students may investigate questions related to mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, or equity research, for example.
One semester, Fine’s students studied initiating equity coverage of companies that had filed to go public. The companies in question included Dave and Buster’s and Dunkin’ Brands. The students had to assess the companies to find out whether their stock would be a good bet for investors. To make a prediction about a company, they researched the industry, looked into SEC filings and public information on similar outfits, and compared the company with its main competitors. They then put together a financial forecast, applied investment criteria, and made investment recommendations.
“The student teams end up producing an equity research report approved by an industry professional who really does this for a living,” Fine says. “My job as the instructor is to help the students succeed in front of their ‘boss.’”
Fine has plenty of experience coaching teams to succeed, since he has led Weatherhead teams to victory in the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) regional case competition three years in a row (read the story here). The enthusiasm of Fine and other faculty members for hands-on work with student teams is part of what defines the MSM-Finance experience.
“The capstone is a good example of why this program is unique,” Fine says. “It’s a high-touch program where students work with quality faculty who really care about their personal and professional development.”
It sounds like a winning combination—and it is, Fine affirms: “We are really good at this.”
Learn about the Risk Management Capstone.