Core Requirements

The MFin curriculum consists of required fundamental and advanced subjects, restricted electives, an Action Learning course, and general electives. Students have an option of writing a 24-unit thesis or 12-unit independent study, which may replace one or more of the program’s general electives, pending approval by the faculty director.

MIT’s motto, "Mens et Manus" or "Mind and Hand," is very much a working credo. Putting ideas into action is the fundamental principle underlying the Institute’s approach to knowledge creation, education, and research. In the MFin program, "Mens et Manus" manifests itself in a rigorous hands-on curriculum that offers students the chance to build a deep reservoir of finance knowledge and immediately put that knowledge to work in the world. MFin students participate in many Action Learning experiences including, but not limited to, Proseminars and a Finance Research PracticumTM.

Proseminars offer students an outstanding opportunity to work with leading industry practitioners on authentic industry problems. The two Proseminars for MFin students — Proseminar in Corporate Finance/Investment Banking and Proseminar in Capital Markets/Investment Management — help students bridge the gap between theory and practice and introduce them to the broader financial community. The Finance Research PracticumTM similarly offers an opportunity to work on projects proposed by external sponsors, but more intensely. The projects are motivated by real business problems of the sponsor companies and provide an opportunity for students to apply skills they have learned in class in a business setting.

The following courses are required:
 

Required Core
 

15.415 – Finance Theory

Core theory of capital markets and corporate finance. Topics include functions and operations of capital markets, analysis of consumption and investment decisions of investors, valuation theory, financial securities, risk analysis, portfolio theory, asset pricing models, theory of efficient markets, as well as capital budgeting, financing and risk management decisions of firms. The course provides a theoretical foundation of finance and its applications.

15.516 – Corporate Financial Accounting

Preparation and analysis of financial statements. Focuses on measuring and reporting of corporate performance for investment decisions, stock valuation, bankers' loan risk assessment, and evaluations of employee performance, for example. Emphasizes the required interdisciplinary understanding of business. Concepts from finance and economics (e.g., cash flow discounting, risk, valuation, and criteria for choosing among alternative investments) place accounting in the context of the business enterprise.

15.S24 - Fundamentals of Financial Mathematics

Provides an overview of essential math tools utilized throughout the MFin Program.
 

Required Advanced Subject
 

15.450 – Analytics of Finance

This course covers the main quantitative methods of finance. It covers three broad sets of topics: financial econometrics, dynamic optimization, and derivative pricing using stochastic calculus. The emphasis is on rigorous and in-depth development of the key techniques and their application to practical problems.
 

Required Action Learning

Choose one from the following:

15.451 – Proseminar in Capital Markets/ Investment Management

The proseminar provides students a unique opportunity to tackle original research problems in financial engineering that have been posed by leading experts from the financial community. Students are assigned to teams and each team is assigned one such problem. The team's solution is then presented at a seminar which is open to the entire MIT community.

15.452 – Proseminar in Corporate Finance/ Investment Banking

The proseminar has two principal goals: to bridge the gap between finance theory and finance practice; and to introduce students to the broader financial community. Both are accomplished by student participation in a series of proseminars with industry guest speakers. Each guest, in collaboration with finance faculty, provides a problem and materials to a team of students. Each team then prepares a report and presents their analysis to the guest speaker and other students for evaluation and feedback.

15.S26 – Finance Research PracticumTM

The Finance Research PracticumTM is an Action Learning course intended primarily for Master of Finance students but open to all students who have completed 15.450. Taking place over IAP and Spring H-1, the entire course is focused on working in a team on a finance project or research question posed by an external sponsor, and reporting back to the class one’s findings. Most sponsors are asset managers, banks, and related businesses. Projects are real business problems or research questions which must be addressed to solve a real business problem.
 

Required Professional Development Course
 

15.S23 – Core Values, Regulation, and Compliance for Finance Professionals

 This course is mandatory for all MFin students and will take place during Spring H-2.
 

Restricted Electives
 

Typically two (but no less than one) per term to meet the required minimum of four courses from:

15.431 – Entrepreneurial Finance

Examines the elements of entrepreneurial finance, focusing on technology-based startup ventures and the early stages of company development. Addresses key questions which challenge all entrepreneurs: how much money can and should be raised; when should it be raised and from whom; what is a reasonable valuation of the company; and how funding, employment contracts and exit decisions should be structured. Aims to prepare students for these decisions, both as entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. In-depth analysis of the structure of the private equity industry.

15.433 – Investments

Financial theory and empirical evidence for making investment decisions. Topics include: portfolio theory; equilibrium models of security prices (including the capital asset pricing model and the arbitrage pricing theory); the empirical behavior of security prices; market efficiency; performance evaluation; and behavioral finance.

15.434 – Advanced Corporate Finance

Advanced topics in corporate finance including complex valuations, static and dynamic capital structure, risk management, and real options. Considers the asymmetric information and incentive problems, security design, restructuring, bankruptcy, and corporate control and governance issues.

15.437 – Options and Futures Markets

Examines the economic role of options and futures markets. Topics: determinants of forward and futures prices, hedging and synthetic asset creation with futures, uses of options in investment strategies, relation between puts and calls, option valuation using binomial trees and Monte Carlo simulation, implied binomial trees, advanced hedging techniques, exotic options, applications to corporate securities and other financial instruments

15.438 – Fixed Income

This advanced course is designed for students seeking to develop a sophisticated understanding of fixed income valuation and hedging methods, and to gain familiarity with the major markets and instruments. Tools for quantifying, hedging, and speculating on risk are emphasized. Topics covered include: duration; convexity; modern approaches to modeling the yield curve; interest rate forwards, futures, swaps and options; credit risk and credit derivatives; mortgages; and securitization. 15.437 Options and Futures is highly recommended but not required. Students without that background may find some of the material requires additional self-study.

15.439 – Investment Management

The course studies financial markets, principally equity markets, from an investment decision-making perspective. The course develops a set of conceptual frameworks and tools, and applies these to particular investments and investment strategies chosen from a broad array of companies, securities, and institutional contexts. Case studies are central to the course, and students are expected to prepare each case before class and participate extensively in class discussions.

15.445 – Mergers and Acquisitions

Probably the most dramatic events in a corporation's history involve the decision to acquire another firm or the decision to oppose being acquired. This is also one of the areas of management most thoroughly documented in the financial press and the academic literature. Subject explores three aspects of the merger and acquisition process: the strategic decision to acquire, the valuation decision of how much to pay, and the financing decision on how to fund the acquisition. Class sessions alternate between discussions of academic readings and applied cases.

15.447 – International Finance – Capital Markets

Analysis of financial markets and instruments in context of globalization. Currency market; exchange rate determination; statistical properties of exchange rates. Currency futures and options. Hedging foreign exchange risk and managing foreign exchange exposure. Euro-currency market and related derivatives market. International bond market, swap market, and equity market. Asset allocation and asset pricing in face of volatile real exchange rates. International portfolio management and performance measurement.

15.460 – Analytics of Finance II

This course covers the practical aspects of the analytics of finance, i.e., how it is used in practice. To that end, all of the topics covered—investment strategies, backtest simulation, data and computational architecture, portfolio construction, trading implementation, and risk management—will be developed in the context of a specific quantitative equity trading strategy. Because concepts are most easily grasped in the particular context in which they are applied, the course is designed to follow the natural sequence of research, development, testing, and implementation for a quantitative investment manager. While the objective of this course is far broader than simply to train students in the art and science of investment management, organizing the material in this manner will provide students with a clearer and more stimulating sense of industry practice. Mathematical and statistical techniques will be covered in some depth—along with their computational implementation in Matlab—however, the emphasis will be on financial applications, not on methodology.

15.466 – Functional and Strategic Finance

This is a course organized around applying finance science and financial engineering in the design and management of global financial institutions, markets and the financial system. The approach is used to understand the dynamics of institutional change and the design of financial products and services. We also examine the needs of government as user, producer and overseer of the financial system, including the issues surrounding measuring and managing risks in financial crises. In the fast changing environment of the financial system, we try our hand at predicting where things will be in the impending future instead of focusing on where they are now. We will develop the necessary tools of derivative pricing and risk measurement, portfolio analysis and risk accounting, and performance measurement to analyze and implement concepts and new product ideas. We will apply these tools to analyze aspects of the financial crisis of 2007-2009.

The course focuses on a functional perspective in which institutions, markets and financial instruments are all considered tools of the financial engineer for implementing financial functions in the most effective manner at a given time and in a given geopolitical environment. The broad categories of institutions considered are governmental, private-sector, and family-based.

15.467 – Retirement Finance, Lifecycle Investing, and Asset Management

This is a course organized around applying finance science and financial engineering in three related financial activities: retirement finance, lifecycle investing and asset management. We will develop the necessary tools of derivative pricing and risk measurement, portfolio analysis and risk accounting, and performance measurement to analyze and implement concepts and new product ideas. It is expected that the student has familiarity with basic portfolio-selection theory, CAPM, options, futures, swaps and other derivative securities.

15.481 – Financial Market Dynamics and Human Behavior

This course develops a new perspective on the dynamics of financial markets and the roles that human behavior and the business environment play in determining the evolution of behavior and institutions. Although neoclassical economic theories such as expected utility maximization, rational expectations, general equilibrium, and efficient markets have dominated the literature on economic behavior and market structure, recent advances in the cognitive neurosciences, artificial intelligence, computational social science, and evolutionary biology provide a number of new insights into market dynamics. We will draw on these diverse disciplines to develop a more complete understanding of human behavior in the specific context of markets and other economic institutions.

15.491 – Practice of Finance: Advanced Corporate Risk Management

Focuses on how corporations make use of the insights and tools of risk management. Taught from the perspective of potential end-users of derivatives (not the dealer), such as manufacturing corporations, utilities, and software firms. Topics include how companies manage risk, instruments for hedging, liability management and organization, and governance and control.

15.496 – Data Technologies for Quantitative Finance

This course introduces students to financial market data and to data architecture & design, with applications to financial asset pricing, quantitative investment strategies, algorithmic trading, portfolio management, and risk management. Students will use MATLAB, SQL, Bloomberg, Access and other tools to develop data-driven analysis and applications.

15.535 – Business Analysis Using Financial Statements

Presents a framework for business analysis and provides students with tools for financial statement analysis, including strategic, accounting, financial, and prospective analysis. Concepts are then applied to a number of decision making contexts, such as credit analysis, company performance assessment, merger analysis, financial policy decisions, and securities analysis.

 

MFin students are required to take at least one Restricted Elective each term. Restricted electives must be taken while enrolled in the MFin program. Courses taken while an undergraduate at MIT may not be counted toward the MFin requirements.

 

G-LAB: NAM MEE BOOKS, THAILAND Helping a book publisher mature

“It was really rewarding that they wanted to know what we thought. We left there being fairly certain that they will do some of the things that we suggested.”

Lia Cavalcante
MBA
SLOAN FELLOW Merging disciplines for climate change
"I needed to get a better understanding of the interaction of management and technology. And I think MIT is an obvious place for that. There’s probably no better place in the world [for learning] how technology and management interact."
Pascal Marmier
SF
G-LAB: WARMBATHS HOSPITAL, SOUTH AFRICA Improving staffing at a maternity ward

“The assistant to the CEO was like our host mom while we were there. She arranged our housing for us, she took us out to her friend’s game farm, and we got driven around in 4x4s. She was just wonderful to meet, and we developed a personal as well as professional relationship with her.”

Kelsey McCarty
MBA
MFIN STUDENT TAKE Collective Brainpower

"The classroom itself is filled with so much collective brain power . . . it's obvious that I'm caught up in a room full of 124 of the brightest, most curious people from around the world."

Tiffany Wetherell
MFin
INDIA LAB: BANGALORE Working toward market expansion

“[The India Lab] program is one of the reasons I came to Sloan. ... The hands-on learning that MIT offers was a huge differentiator.”

Katie Baron
MBA
G-LAB: PRIVATE HEALTH CARE IN AFRICA Defining growth at a for-profit clinic

“At MIT Sloan you have a lot of opportunities to explore entrepreneurship. Especially in a place like Kampala where you have a lot of development, entrepreneurship can be very exciting.”

Anne Reilly
MBA
SLOAN FELLOW Getting serious about going global
"I had interviews and visited other business schools, and it’s nothing like the environment that we have here at MIT Sloan."
Abner Oliviera
SF
$100K 2010 WINNERS: C-CRETE TECHNOLOGIES Reducing the environmental impact of concrete

“One of the reasons I came to Sloan was because I wanted to be at a top MBA institution worldwide. But I also wanted access to working with the latest innovations and the highest technology that was coming out of the MIT labs.”

Natanel Barookhian
MBA
CENTER FOR INFORMATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH Bringing people and machines together

“The concept behind enterprise architecture is that you have all these machines, you have all these business processes, you have all these people doing things, how do you make sure they all come together and achieve business objectives that make you more competitive.”

Jeanne W. Ross
Director and Principal Research Scientist, CISR
G-LAB: INTERGRUPO, COLOMBIA Growing a business by cultivating relationships

"After we gave our recommendations, the great part was that the very next day the CEO was in the boardroom implementing them with his top vice presidents."

Ramy Hakim
MBA
LEADERS FOR GLOBAL OPERATIONS Connecting management and technology
“[LGO students] get the advantage of a small cohort that they take many courses with. But they’re also part of the larger community. They’re part of MIT, of MIT Sloan, of the MBA program. They’re part of the core program that meets every fall, they’re part of the engineering committee; they get the benefits of both the larger community and the small cohort.”
Don Rosenfield
Senior lecturer and director of the Leaders for Global Operations
SWITZER FELLOWSHIP WINNER JASON JAY Focusing on environmental research and leadership

 “I love being in a place that is such a nexus of people and ideas — people coming to learn something new and to define themselves. Being a part of that process is a real honor and a real gift.”

Jason Jay
Lecturer, Sustainability, MIT Sloan
MSTIR MIT Sloan Teaching Innovations Resources
"It’s always been a competitive advantage of MIT Sloan that faculty research gets into the classroom very, very quickly. That’s one of the things I personally enjoy about teaching here, students have the appetite and the capability for it. The cases are current and relevant to the issues that are top of mind."
John D. Sterman
Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management
G-LAB: AIDS IN TANZANIA Striving for economic empowerment

“Because of the diversity of our backgrounds, when we hit the ground in Tanzania it almost was a natural play where different people assume different roles.”

Krishna Venugopalan
SF
RETAIL AND CONSUMER GOODS Luxury beauty and the multicultural consumer
"The goal of the Retail and Consumer Goods Club is to provide networking opportunities for students at MIT Sloan, and to educate students about different functions within the retail and CPG space. We bring in executive-level speakers to educate our community on this topic."
Nga Phan
MBA, co-president of Retail and Consumer Goods Club
G-LAB, KUALA LUMPUR Assessing the future of the Smart Card
"You have to manage what you can deliver for the company and what the company is expecting. The bottom line is that the CEOs of those companies want results. Even though we have to work five months in a row with the project, we have to deliver. This experience is more pragmatic than academic. It's a good opportunity to match those two worlds."
Camilo Syllos
MBA
INSTITUTE FOR WORK AND EMPLOYMENT RESEARCH Adapting to the changing nature of work

“We’re very interdisciplinary. Among the faculty in the group are an economist, a political scientist, a sociologist, and an industrial relations specialist. We’ve always made a big effort to be open to a variety of perspectives, but also to go beyond being open to them, to want to bring them in, because it makes for a richer environment.”

Thomas Kochan
Co-director, IWER
G-LAB: MERCY CORPS, INDONESIA Using business principles to address malnutrition

“The conditions in the neighborhoods we were visiting were different than what we realized before getting there. Beyond that, what was surprising was that there weren’t surprises!”

Libby Putman
MBA
G-LAB, RAS RESORT, INDIA Marketing in Mumbai
"The project was really interesting because the scope changed a lot. We started focusing in one goal, then we changed to another, then we changed to another, all before we even left Cambridge."
Gerardo Guzman
MBA
COURAGE AND STRENGTH Supporting a student with breast cancer
"The Sloan community really rallied around me in a way that I totally didn’t anticipate. … It was just really nice to be a part of a community that I was totally comfortable in and felt completely supported by."
Kyle Maner
MBA
S-LAB: JAKARTA WATERSHED Combating a clean water crisis

“I came to Sloan because of its high rankings within the sustainability community, specifically the professors. The S-Lab class itself is part of what drew me to Sloan. And the reason I came to business school was to learn the business speak that really is what connects with people."

Ian Lavery
MBA
MIT LEADERSHIP CENTER Changing views of leadership

“Our mission, along with the mission of MIT Sloan, is to both develop leaders who make a difference in the world, and also to make a contribution to thinking about the topic of leadership.”

Deborah Ancona
Faculty Director, MIT Leadership Center
INDIA LAB: EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT Creating employable workers to boost the economy

“I knew about American business, but not enough about what’s really become a global economy. … You can read about it all you want, but there’s no substitute for being there and seeing the context and seeing how completely different these [other countries] are.”

Ted Chan
MBA

"If we do our job right here, we’ll be dealing with new problems, not old ones. We don’t want just to train people to understand what went wrong in 2008, but how will financial organizations deal in the future?"

- Stewart Myers
Robert C. Merton (1970) Professor of Financial Economics, Professor of Finance.