The Dragon Fund

FIN 341 Syllabus Sample

Course objectives
The focus of the course is on the active management of a portfolio of equity securities. The students will develop and apply sector and stock valuation skills to the management of a real-world equity portfolio, the Dragon Fund, which is part of Drexel University’s endowment. In addition, they will acquire a working knowledge of popular data sources used by institutional investors. Finally, they are expected to have a chance to interact with and present their findings to senior investment professionals.

Course materials
We will use relevant passages of a recent edition of Bodie/Kane/Marcus’s “Essentials of Investments” (BKM) as well as handouts, research notes from investment banks, and academic research papers. Students will also have access to various financial databases (such as FactSet). Students should have or be willing to acquire proficiency in using Microsoft Excel, which is used extensively. Except for the textbook passages, all material will be made available on the Drexel Learn course page.

Student responsibilities and grading
This course is unique among the finance classes in that all participants work together to achieve a common goal – the successful management of the Dragon Fund – which involves students in different aspects of fund management. This goal requires a specialization of labor among the students. The fund covers different sectors of the stock market, with each student assigned to a sector at the beginning of class. Students will have the responsibility of understanding the financial principles and current industry trends driving their sector. In addition to making and evaluating investment recommendations, students have additional responsibilities, including: developing proficiency in the use of specialized financial databases, developing sector allocation strategies, tracking and evaluating investment performance, risk analysis, and performance attribution.

The overall course grade will be determined from individual and team requirements as follows:

  • 25% sector update (write-up and presentation, team grade)
  • 25% stock research report (write-up and presentation, team grade)
  • 25% exam and FactSet certification (individual grade)
  • 25% class participation (individual grade).

Given the interactive nature of the class, class participation carries a large weight. Overall, your participation should reflect the responsibilities of managing part of Drexel University’s endowment. In particular, consideration will be paid to

  • Attendance and conduct: I expect you to be present and on time for each class or group meeting and attentive in lectures, exercises and presentations. This means, for example: no absences without valid excuses (one documented medical, family, or recruiting excuse is acceptable) and no texting, emailing, or web-browsing in class. Repeated absences or disruptive behavior will earn a failing participation grade.
  • Meaningful contributions to discussions in the classroom, online, and outside of class: this includes questions answered and raised in class, quality of work on non-graded assignments, comments in threaded online discussions, feedback on recommendations, and interactions outside of class. “Meaningful” refers to contributions that enhance the student learning experience and the stewardship of the Dragon Fund. If you wish to earn an A/A- for participation, you will need to make such contributions in some form every week.
  • Performance in the sector team: this will be elicited through a peer evaluation. Also, if the workload in a group appears to be unequally distributed, I may ask you to identify your contribution to team submissions. Repeated free-riding or inadequate contributions to team submissions will earn a failing participation grade.

Academic Honesty Policy
Scrupulously following Drexel University’s academic honesty policies (available at http://drexel.edu/provost/policies/academic-integrity/) is particularly important in this class, since we will make research accessible to senior investment professionals, both at Drexel and outside of Drexel. Academic dishonesty includes cheating and plagiarism. All students are expected to do their own work on the exam. For any written work on the assignments and reports, students must avoid plagiarism. If any material from another source is used in a report, it must be clearly noted and the source must be cited. In particular, it is not ok to merely reference sources by including a “works cited” section. If you have questions about this, please contact me before submitting your work.

Any violation of this policy will result in an F for the corresponding assignment or exam and will be reported to Drexel’s Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

Tentative Course Outline
Week 1 Introduction
FactSet orientation
Week 2 Performance evaluation/quarterly report
Macro and sector analysis
Week 3 Macro and sector analysis
Sector stock briefing due
Week 4 Work on sector report
(teams meet with me individually, no class meeting)
Week 5 Presentation of sector update
Financial statement analysis/FactSet certification
Week 6 Financial statement analysis/FactSet certification
Week 7 Discounted cash flow (DCF)
Valuation/FactSet certification
Week 8 Price multiples analysis/FactSet certification
Week 9 Work on stock research report
(teams meet with me individually, no class meeting)
Week 10 Presentation of stock research report