The ability to analyze a corporation's financial status, and to implement sound financial programs for raising funds and for choosing from among competing investment opportunities is of the utmost importance to any business organization. Students graduating with a finance concentration will be prepared for entry-level positions in finance. This includes positions in financial institutions such as commercial banks, savings and loans, credit unions, brokerage and investment banking firms, investment advisory organizations, insurance companies, mutual funds and pension funds. In addition to opportunities in the financial services industry, extensive employment opportunities exist in the corporate sector as well as in government. Courses on financial institutions, financial decision making, business financial management, and security analysis and portfolio management will enable students to acquire depth of understanding in areas of particular interest.
The field of finance traditionally is divided into three sub-fields: financial markets and institutions, investments and business financial management. Financial markets and institutions examine the ways in which financial such as commercial banks, insurance companies and pension funds facilitate the transfer of funds from savers/investors to demanders of funds who engage in the production and consumption of real economic goods and services. Services provided by financial institutions include the evaluation and bearing of risk and the repackaging of funds in terms of maturity and size of investment. Also examined, on a macro basis, are the markets for financial securities created by corporations and financial intermediaries. Typical questions would be what sectors of government and the economy are the foremost demanders of funds in different segments of the business cycle and, in aggregate, what proportion of corporate financing has been provided by debt over time. Investments is the study of how individuals and institutions locate funds to financial assets such as stocks, bonds, options and futures contracts, and to a lesser extent real assets such as real estate and precious metals. Investments is itself divided into two areas: Security analysis, concerned with the valuation of individual securities; and portfolio management, concerned with the selection of combinations of assets such that return is maximized given the level of risk that is borne.
Business financial management concentrates on the management of a firm's assets, both short term working capital and longer term capital projects, and on the financing of these assets. Financial considerations include the choice of capital structure (proportions of debt and equity used in the financing mix) and dividend policy.