The Department of Finance prepares its graduates for professional positions in financial management, financial institutions, investments, and capital markets. The B.S. in finance provides students with the opportunity to master the functional areas of finance, including financial management of business enterprises, financial institutions, investment securities, financial assets, and insurable risks. Graduates learn and apply basic analytical and statistical tools used in finance, including accounting skills. Graduates acquire oral and written communication skills through frequent in-class presentations, writing assignments, student organization activities, and internships.
For the first three years of undergraduate study, all finance majors fulfill the same general education and finance core course requirements. In the senior year, as finance majors select a career path, elective courses in investments, banking, and/or the corporate finance area may be taken. Depending upon career path selection, upper-level course work also prepares students to sit for the Level I Chartered Financial Analyst (C.F.A.) examination, the Certified Treasury Professional (C.T.P.) examination, or the Certified Bank Auditor (C.B.A.) examination. All three of these professional certification programs have set global standards for excellence in the world of finance.
Finance Learning Goals and Objectives
Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Finance program will be prepared for entrance into the profession or graduate study. They are expected to achieve the College of Business undergraduate learning goals and objectives and the following Department of Finance learning goals and objectives:
- Demonstrate financial statement analysis skills relevant to assessing a firm’s financial condition.
The discipline of finance originated as a subset of the field of accountancy. One could even say that in large part finance is the application of economic theory to accounting data. The financial manager is using in his/her analysis the output of accounting processes-financial statements. Thus, it is important that every graduate acquire basic accounting skills and understand the derivation of the accounting data he/she is using. It is important the graduate is able to analyze a firm’s financial statements to identify and solve problems.
- Use statistical analysis to properly assess financial performance.
The concept of risk is fundamental to every functional area of the discipline of finance. The idea of risk, in turn, is inextricable from the mathematical concept of probability; with which the discipline of statistics is concerned. It is therefore imperative that every graduate from the finance program have a firm grasp of statistics, and is able to apply the tools and analyses from statistics to problems related to finance.
- Apply appropriate technology to financial scenarios.
The practice of modern business, in general, and finance in particular requires that the student be competent with several technological implements. Primary among the tools that graduates must master are the financial calculator and a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel. The students must also be familiar with presentation and word processing applications.
- Write with conciseness and clarity for audiences seeking to make informed finance choices.
Acquiring the skills necessary to perform advanced statistical and analytical analysis of a financial nature would be virtually useless if one were unable to communicate the results of said analysis to others. Thus it is necessary that graduates have strong written communication skills.
Retention in the finance major is competitive based on a student’s GPA. Transcript review must be formally requested by a qualified student by submitting a completed request form. This review must be complete before permission is granted for a student to enroll in any 300- or 400-level FINA courses. This form can be obtained from the Department of Finance.
Satisfactory completion of the finance core (FINA 330, FINA 340, FINA 350, and FINA 395) and ACCY 306 as evidenced by a grade of C or better in each of these courses is required prior to enrolling in any 400-level FINA course.
To graduate as a finance major or minor, a student must earn a grade of at least a C in each course required in the major or minor, which includes courses in the Foundations of Business and Business Core (for the major), required FINA courses, and all electives required for the major or minor.
Internships in Finance
Department of Finance internships take place throughout the year, though summer positions tend to be full time and fall and spring positions tend to be part time. Most interns receive monetary compensation from the employer. These internships are designed for finance majors with junior standing. Satisfactory completion of the finance core and consent of the department internship coordinator are required for admission to an internship. Those students selected for an internship work in a commercial bank, other financial institution or business firm, or government agency during the summer session or a semester before their senior year. Application is made to the internship coordinator. Students are limited to a maximum of 6 semester hours of internship credit within the College of Business. Course credit, which is S/U, cannot be used to meet departmental elective credit.
Scholarships in Finance
During the fall of each year, the Department of Finance awards monetary scholarships to students majoring in finance who have exhibited outstanding academic performance and the potential for success in finance-oriented careers in business. These scholarships are typically funded by sponsoring organizations such as corporate manufacturers, commercial banks, insurance companies, real estate firms, and other businesses. In evaluating candidates for these scholarships, primary emphasis is given to their overall level of academic achievement as indicated by their GPA, together with their performance in specific finance and finance-related course work.
Chartered Financial Analyst Preparation
The Chartered Financial Analyst (C.F.A.) professional designation is awarded to investment advisers, portfolio managers, and securities research analysts who have a baccalaureate degree and who have successfully completed three examinations in financial and investment analysis. No experience is required to take the examinations, although three years of work experience in investments are necessary to be awarded the C.F.A. charter. Examinations are offered on the first Saturday in June and applications are due on the preceding August 31. It is recommended that finance majors take FINA 440, FINA 445, FINA 446, FINA 455, and FINA 460 in preparation for the C.F.A. examinations. Additional information about the C.F.A. Candidate Program is available from the Department of Finance and from the C.F.A. Institute at www.CFAinstitute.org or 800-247-8132.
Certified Treasury Professional Associate Preparation
The Certified Treasury Professional (C.T.P.) credential, formerly the Certified Cash Manager, is widely regarded by treasury managers as one of the leading credentials in the field. NIU was selected by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) as one of the original 10 universities in the nation to participate in the C.T.M. program. NIU students who complete FINA 430 with a grade of B or above may sit for the C.T.P. certification examination. Successful candidates will earn the Certified Treasury Professional Associate (C.T.P.A.) designation. Full C.T.P. certification will be awarded once a student has fulfilled the required two years of full-time treasury work experience. Those students earning the C.T.P.A. designation will have up to five years after the examination date to complete the requirement. Additional information about C.T.P. certification is available from the Department of Finance and from the Association for Financial Professionals at www.afponline.org or 301-907-2862.
Gina K. Nicolosi, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, associate professor, chair
Sina Ehsani, Ph.D., University of Texas, assistant professor
Wenlian Gao, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, assistant professor
Leonard L. Lundstrum, Ph.D., Indiana University, professor
Nan Qin, Ph.D., Virginia Tech, assistant professor
Yao Zheng, Ph.D. Univeristy of New Orleans, assistant professor
Lei Zhou, Ph.D., University of Florida, professor