The course gives students the opportunity to hear financial market experts discuss the most current financial issues in the headlines. Topics will span issues of concern to Wall Street as well as corporate America. Each class will feature a new speaker who will either introduce a new issue to the class or will bring a different perspective on the issue of a previous speaker. Students will be asked to prepare readings and/or online research for each class. The course is offered in the fourth quarter in order to serve as a capstone experience for students interested in finance careers in investment banking, corporate finance as well as money management. Most speakers will be Darden alumni who will be identified from the joint efforts of finance faculty members and the Finance Alumni Advisory Council. The content of the course will vary according to what topics are in the news as well as the availability of speakers and will cover all segments of finance and financial markets such as banking sector crises, capital market innovations, capital investment trends, CFO challenges, corporate and personal taxation, corporate scandals and ethics, emerging markets, investment performance by asset classes and economic sectors, M&A news and trends, risk capital and capital formation, and risk management. Students will be assigned readings in advance of class and/or a topic to research prior to class. Speaker will run classes according to their own style, but a significant amount of time will be interactive with questions and answers and debate.


Academic course objectives:


·         Teach students to apply the theoretical and practical concepts accumulated from the Darden finance curriculum to current topics of interest to leading practitioners

·         Teach students how to express themselves in the language of practitioners

·         Guide students in intelligent debate with business leaders on critical issues

·         Teach students how to see the links between issues from such different career paths as investments with corporate finance, etc.


Elements of the course grade:


Class contribution                   50%

Final exam                               50%