Investment Management

Investment management is a complex and challenging discipline to master, even for experienced financial professionals. This concentration is tailored to provide students with the strategic, technical and analytical skills they need to transition into investment management from another profession or improve their opportunities for advancement.

A Comprehensive Curriculum

As any financial professional knows, markets are nothing if not volatile. Investment managers are tasked with not only anticipating changes in the global economy that could adversely affect their clients’ portfolios, but also knowing how to identify and adapt to these changes quickly. With this in mind, the Investment Management concentration places significant emphasis on empirical analysis and theoretical evidence.

During the course of the program, students will learn more about the risks and potential rewards of various investment strategies, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of different types of financial securities. Students delve into a wide range of topics, including security analysis and portfolio management, capital markets, sales and trading, and private wealth management.

Investment Management students graduate with the technical and analytical skills necessary to make good investment decisions and a greater understanding of the paradigms associated with financial securities in today’s markets.

Suggested Electives

MBA@UNC enables professionals to tailor their educational experience by selecting any combination of available elective courses. Recommended elective courses for the Investment Management concentration are:

  • Derivatives
  • The course provides an introduction to the primary instruments of the derivative securities market. Emphasis will be placed on real-world applications of theoretical (or conceptual) material discussed in class. After developing the ideas of static and dynamic arbitrage, the course applies the basic concepts to different business settings, from capital budgeting to risk management. The course is particularly important for anyone going into finance, but stress will be given to topics that are of relevance for general managers. Topics covered include no-arbitrage-based pricing; binomial option pricing; the Black-Scholes model; practical issues with the Black-Scholes model; the pricing of futures and forwards; hedging with derivatives; portfolio insurance; equity and debt as options; and real options.

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  • Fixed Income
  • The objectives of this course are to describe important fixed income securities and markets and develop tools for valuing fixed income securities and managing interest rate risk. The course will cover traditional bonds, the term structure concepts, as well as more recently developed fixed income derivatives. The course is rigorous and quantitative. Students are expected to understand and apply quantitative methods. Examples illustrate important real-world applications of the theory.

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  • Corporate Finance
  • Corporate Finance is a more advanced course in corporate finance theory and policy. The aim of the course is to rigorously analyze the major issues affecting the financial policy of a modern corporation, such as the choice of its capital structure, dividend policy, share issuance and repurchase and corporate governance system. We will critically discuss costs and benefits of the strategies available to a firm’s top management to address these issues effectively.

    The course will also examine private equity and venture capital, and the process of raising capital through IPOs and SEOs. The course will conclude with a discussion of the role of corporate financial risk management. Classroom presentation will be mainly theoretical, but will illustrate the main concepts with examples drawn from the real world. Exposition will be analytical, and a working knowledge of basic mathematics and statistics is assumed.

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  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Financial Statement Analysis is an applied perspective on analyzing financial statements. There are three main skills students will learn upon completion of this course:

    1. Earnings management – how and why managers can move earnings up and down using accounting tricks, and how to detect and adjust for this.
    2. Profitability analysis – how to decompose a firm’s overall profitability into its key elements in order to tell whether the firm is really making money or losing money, where this is happening, and why it is happening.
    3. Statement analysis – how to pull apart a firm’s financial statements and footnotes so that its major business activities and results are clearly visible.

    Financial Statement Analysis is designed to be particularly useful for finance-oriented students looking at consulting, corporate finance, entrepreneurship, general management, and investment and marketing careers.

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  • Information for Decision Making, Incentives & Strategy
  • Information for Decision Making, Incentives & Strategy provides information for decision making, product–costing, and planning-control-evaluation activities. This course takes the perspective of both the user and the preparer of accounting information. The emphasis is on the fundamental concepts and the strategic importance of accounting data to managerial activity with special consideration given to the underlying accounting procedures and the underlying accounting processes.

    During this course, you should specifically: develop an appreciation for the role of accounting data in decision making, product-costing, and planning-control-evaluation activities; embrace an understanding of the data accumulation process in order to facilitate effective communication between managers and accountants; master specific techniques for using a myriad of accounting information in multiple situations; and internalize contemporary concerns with respect to U.S. productivity and the world economy along with implications for information systems.

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  • Taxes and Business Strategy
  • Most people feel that they would have an edge if they knew more about taxes, and they are right. Part of being financially savvy is understanding how taxation affects business decisions. When we examine real transactions and real companies in this class, you will see huge differences in taxes (and after-tax profits) depending on how things are structured.

    Most people also feel that taxes are incredibly complicated, and they are also right. That is one reason why tax knowledge gives you an edge, because most people are so afraid or baffled by taxes that they don’t know where to begin. Our job is to make it more understandable, to help you see through the thicket of details to the essentials, and give you an understanding of the fundamental principles of taxation and tax planning – those principles that apply today, tomorrow, and no matter what country you are dealing with.

    This course will give you a fundamental understanding of tax planning over the life cycle of a firm: starting with deciding which organizational form to use, forming a company and raising capital, operating a company, compensating employees, making distributions to owners, engaging in mergers and acquisitions, expanding across states and countries, and finally liquidating a company or bequeathing it to one’s heirs. We will make extensive use of real transactions to illustrate the impact of tax planning on earnings and cash flow.

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