The Dragon Fund

FIN 342 Syllabus Sample

Course objectives
The focus of the course is on the active management of an actual equity portfolio, the Dragon Fund, which is part of Drexel University’s endowment. The course will build on the skills developed in FIN 341 and expose you to more advanced topics in quantitative portfolio management. Relative to FIN 341, FIN 342 requires more independent work and emphasizes interactions with and presentations to investment professionals.

Prerequisites and enrollment
This four-credit course is the second in a two-course sequence related to the management of the Dragon Fund. You should have completed FIN 341 (Applied Portfolio Management), which is the first course in the sequence.

Course materials
In addition to relevant passages of a recent edition of Bodie/Kane/Marcus’s “Essentials of Investments” (BKM), we will make use of handouts and read recent finance research papers. You will also have access to various financial databases (such as Datastream and FactSet). Proficiency in using Microsoft Excel is expected.

Course contents
As part of the on-going management of the Dragon Fund, we will:

  • Prepare the 2014 Q2 quarterly report for the fund
  • Perform a 2014 Q2 update for each covered sector
  • Present a stock trade recommendation for each covered sector

Additionally, we will
4. Review recent research on stock characteristics and returns
5. Apply this research in an internal stock screening competition (using FactSet)
6. Think about the challenges associated with accumulating and exiting large positions in the context of a trading simulation
7. Enrich class content with field experience: FactSet demo, guest lecture on value investing, guest lecture on quantitative strategies

Course Grade
The overall course grade will be determined from individual and team requirements as follows:
* 25% sector update
* 25% formulate, backtest, and present characteristics-based trading strategy
* 25% stock research report/trade recommendation
* 25% class participation (this also includes work on, e.g., sector stock briefings, ad-hoc projects such hold versus sell decisions on large losers)

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. Unexcused absences or repeated 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, comments in threaded online discussions, feedback on recommendations, and interactions outside of class. “Meaningful” refers to contributions that enhance 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 two peer evaluations. Also, if the workload in a group appears to be unequally distributed, I may ask you to identify your contribution to team submissions. Free-riding or inadequate contributions to team submissions will earn a failing participation grade.

As for FIN 341, please note Drexel University’s policy available at Any violations of this policy, in particular plagiarism, will result in an F for the corresponding deliverable and, as part of the policy, will need to be reported to Drexel’s Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

Tentative Course Outline
Week 1 Trading
Week 2 Sector stock briefing
Trading simulation
Week 3 Guest lecture on Value investing
Work-in-progress meetings on sector updates
Week 4 Presentation of Sector Update
Week 5 Independent work on stock research report
Week 6 Work-in progress meetings on stock research report
via email or Zoom
Week 7 Presentation of stock recommendation
Week 8 Guest lecture on Quantitative Strategies
Week 9 Implementation of trading strategy in FactSet
Week 10 Presentation of trading strategy