Emphasis - Finance

Develop skills for financial analysis, decision making, and value creation


Provides a robust set of theoretical frameworks, analytical techniques, and market and industry knowledge to enable students to excel in a range of finance and economics-oriented careers.


The Finance and Business Economics Emphasis allows students to learn tools and frameworks to guide financial decisions and develop sound financial strategy. Students also learn how financial markets function and roles of various institutions. This foundation prepares students for a broad array of entry level positions and career opportunities across the financial services industry and within corporations, government and non-profits. The emphasis also provides the foundation for students to pursue graduate study in law, economics and business.

Students who choose the Finance and Business Economics Emphasis can pursue positions in investment and commercial banking, economic and financial consulting, investment management, and corporate financial management and strategy, among others.


This Emphasis is available only to current Marshall undergraduates who have attained sophomore standing and have completed at least one semester in residence at USC.

Students must complete BUAD 306 (Business Finance) or BUAD 308 (Advanced Business Finance) prior to declaring the Emphasis. The Emphasis requires completion of at least twelve (12) units of Finance and Business Economics (FBE) upper division coursework. Upper division courses are numbered 300-499. Please note most courses that have an ending of "x" may not be used toward the upper-division elective requirement. Additional details are available in the catalogue.

Please note that students can only declare one Emphasis.

Apply Here

Emphasis Faculty Advisor

Professor Ty Callahan
Email Address: twcallah@marshall.usc.edu

Recommended Coursework

View our recommended coursework here

FAQs related to the Emphasis in Finance

Which course can help students determine if this Emphasis is right for them?

The core finance course, BUAD 306: Business Finance or BUAD 308: Advanced Business Finance, is a requirement that must be completed before declaring this emphasis and is the best course to help students decide if this Emphasis is right for them. We encourage students interested in this emphasis to enroll in BUAD 306 or BUAD 308 as early as possible. In addition, BUAD 308 is recommended for students interested in pursuing this Emphasis. 

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Why should students interested in the Finance emphasis take BUAD 308?

BUAD 308 is a bit more fast-paced in comparison to BUAD 306 because it is intended for students interested in pursuing the Finance emphasis and/or a career in finance. What distinguishes BUAD 308 from BUAD 306 is its in-depth exploration of core subjects, including discussions on economic theory, additional practical application involving data and real-life cases, and an extension to other courses within the FBE department curriculum. 

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What other resources/experiences can help students determine if this Emphasis is the right fit?

In addition to the Finance and Business Economics emphasis faculty advisor, students can consult their BUAD 306/308 professor, or any professor in the Finance and Business Economics department. Student organizations and Marshall Undergraduate Career Services are also excellent resources to explore FBE-related career opportunities and connect with students, staff, alumni and professionals to gain personal insights and advice.

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What qualities/skills are good for students to have when going into this Emphasis?

There is no dominant quality or skill aligned with Finance and Business Economics-related careers. The range of positions across corporate finance, financial services, investment management and financial and economic consulting is vast. Typically, employers seek candidates who combine strong analytical and critical thinking skills with excellent communication and interpersonal abilities. Actively exploring industry and career opportunities as you enhance your skills and refine your interests throughout your undergraduate experience is the best way to align your class choices with your career ambitions.

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What skills or knowledge will students gain from this Emphasis?

Students have flexibility to choose classes that provide a breadth of knowledge and skills as a finance generalist; OR to choose classes that provide a depth of knowledge and skills aligned with a specific sub-field or career path. Some representative skills and knowledge include: financial modeling and valuation, institutional and market knowledge, financial strategy including risk management and capital raising, and investment and wealth-management strategies and techniques.

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For what careers or industries will this Emphasis prepare students?

The Finance and Business Economics Emphasis can prepare students for careers in investment or commercial banking (including sales and trading, financial strategy advisory, underwriting, valuation, and M&A advisory), investment management (including research and valuation, portfolio management, private wealth management, and private equity), financial and economic consulting, and corporate financial management (including financial planning, risk management, valuation and corporate development, corporate treasury, and financial analysis and strategy).

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Can students satisfy these requirements when they study abroad?

Students who participate in the Marshall International Exchange program (IEP) may fulfill up to 6 units towards this emphasis while studying abroad. In order for the courses to be applied towards this emphasis, students must complete approved classes while abroad (a list of approved classes for each exchange location can be found on the IEP outgoing website). Students will work with the International Programs office to ensure that the approved classes they take abroad will be applied towards their emphasis.

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For International Students

This emphasis is a STEM program

This emphasis has been approved by the university to be STEM-eligible. This allows students who have completed this degree to apply for the STEM OPT Extension. Please note that this extension is not guaranteed but is approved by federal departments beyond the university’s purview. We strongly advise students to carefully read the Office of International Services instructions (here and here) which explain the STEM OPT extension eligibility and proceed accordingly.

On my I-20, why does the degree say Management Science instead of Business Administration?

This emphasis has been approved by the university to be STEM-eligible under the Department of Education CIP code of 52.1301 designation of Management Science. The degree stated on the I-20 refers to this designation. Students can find a memo of support from the department for the CIP code designation here.

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