The study of finance prepares you to make successful financial decisions. What investments should a firm make? How should a firm raise money to fund potential investments? How can an individual or firm manage risks? Is some risk acceptable given a sufficient reward?
Key elements in most financial decisions are cash flows, timing, and risk. Tools for analysis are developed from solid underpinnings in economics, accounting, statistics, and decision sciences.
If you’ve dreamed of making stock trades, here’s your chance. You and your fellow finance students will manage the Cougar Investment Fund—WSU endowment funds valued at approximately $1.5 million. In a two-semester portfolio management course, you’ll work with other students to conduct research and recommend stocks from 10 industrial sectors. The Fund has outperformed the S&P 500 since its inception in 2001.
Five career tracks
To prepare you for your career, you can focus your studies in one of five areas:
- Financial management—Prepares you to manage a corporation’s investment decisions or raise money through borrowing or issuing equity in financial markets
- Investment analysis—Gives you the knowledge you need to invest funds on others’ behalf. You’ll learn how to choose a stock portfolio that meets clients’ needs and stays within their risk tolerances.
- Financial institutions management—Readies you to work within a financial institution, helping individuals and firms raise capital and invest funds
- Financial services—Prepares you to interact with individual clients in a retail setting to address their investment, real estate, and insurance needs
- Risk management and insurance—Qualifies you to help individuals and corporations identify and learn to manage financial risks
- financial analysts (commercial banks, corporations, mutual funds, and hedge funds)
- loan officers
- financial managers (CFOs)
- portfolio managers
- stock brokers
- financial planner/advisor
- brokers/agents, underwriters, claim specialists, risk managers (insurance companies)
- real estate agents or brokers, real estate managers, and real estate developers
As a finance student, you’ll gain an understanding of the global economy from professors with firsthand knowledge. Finance faculty members have taught in universities in Australia, China, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
Management Science uses advanced analytical methods to arrive at optimal or near-optimal solutions to complex decision-making problems. It applies a wide range of problem-solving methods, among them:
- probability theory
- queuing theory
- game theory
- graph theory
- decision analysis
- mathematical modeling
A major in management science prepares you for careers in both manufacturing and service organizations. Graduates find entry-level positions like these:
- management analyst
- quality control technician/statistician
- data analyst
- systems analyst
- internal consultant
- management trainee
- operations management:
- materials manager
- line supervisor
- purchasing manager
- manufacturing systems manager