Course Offerings


For students, the Center provides a platform to learn about the Alternative Investment industry while networking with experienced practitioners. In addition to classes, students have the opportunity to take advantage of the Center’s extensive alumni network and internship program abroad. We look forward to your participation in the Center. There are also several opportunities to participate in case competitions and other extra-curricular work (video).

Core Course Offerings

Venture Capital & Private Equity

The course surveys the private equity industry, with an emphasis on the financial and economic tools useful for leveraged buyout and venture capital investing. The course is divided into three modules. We begin with an introductory module on the organization and strategies of private equity funds. The second module covers examples of the basic types of private equity transactions, and the third module expands on these types by studying transactions with options and hybrid financing structures. The primary audience for this course is finance majors interested in careers at private equity funds. The secondary audience is students planning careers that have significant interaction with private equity funds, either as providers of these funds (pension fund managers, institutional investors, investment advisors) or as consumers of them (managers/owners of startups or buyout candidates). The class meetings are split about equally between cases and lectures. There are nine written assignments & presentations by student-formed teams, and an in-class final.

After completing this course, students should understand deal structure and valuation for a broad range of private equity transactions. They should also know the current institutional and contractual practices in the private equity industry, and understand how these practices are driven by the particular information and incentive problems faced by the key players.

Distressed Investing

The course surveys distressed investing with a focus on real estate. The course is divided into five two-hour sessions. We begin with an introduction to valuation in private equity. The next four sessions will take detailed looks into the following topics: (i) The General Partner and Limited Partner Relationship, (ii) Deal Structuring and Investment Approaches, (iii) Distressed Securities Valuation. The primary audience for this course is finance majors interested in careers in real estate finance or in private equity and hedge funds. The secondary audience is students planning careers that have significant interaction with real estate finance and/or private equity and hedge fund industries, either as providers of these funds (pension fund managers, institutional investors, investment advisors) or as consumers of them (managers/owners of companies). The class meetings are split about equally between cases and lectures. There are two written assignments & presentations done in teams.

Doing Deals: Private Equity

The course is designed as a workshop in which law students and business students will work together to structure and negotiate varying aspects of a private equity deal, from the initial term sheet stages, through execution of the purchase agreement, to completion of the financing and closing. Private equity deals that are economically justified sometimes fail in the transaction negotiation and documentation phase. This course will seek to provide students with the tools necessary to tackle and resolve difficult deal issues and complete successful deals. Students will be divided into teams of lawyers and business people to review, consider and negotiate actual transaction documents. Issues presented will include often-contested key economic and legal deal terms, as well as common ethical dilemmas.

The course will be co-taught by a professor from Emory¿s Goizueta Business School and a partner from a large international law firm, whose practice focuses on private equity transactions. The first two weeks of the course will be specifically designed for the law students and will focus on contract drafting and interpretation. Since these two weeks are prior to the start of the business school semester, attendance at those sessions will be optional for business school students.

Illiquid Frontiers in Alternative Investments

This course examines in depth the illiquid aspects of modern alternative investing. The explosive growth of investments in highly illiquid instruments, driven in part by increased competition for excess returns and in part by changes in views of portfolio allocation, has made this an important area for students. Just as private equity and venture capital were relatively esoteric topics over a decade ago, today sparse attention is paid to the important activity at the periphery of the alternative space.

The course is centered on three modules which offer an illustration of the principals that influence investments in alternative assets. These areas are at the frontier of investments by hedge fund, venture capital, and private equity managers. The first module is alternative energy, followed by reinsurance, and then art. These three topics highlight for the student the common themes facing alternative managers investing in illiquid assets. The course begins with a series of introductory sessions on the history and theory of illiquid investing before moving on to an exploration of the principals in the three modules. The course concludes with an examination of the market correction of 2007/2008 and the role that illiquidity played in the collapse of the financial markets. Through the examination of these topics, the student will develop a deeper understanding of the dynamics which have led alternative managers to seek ever more illiquid investments; the challenges such investments pose to valuation techniques; and the role such investments play in a various types of portfolios. As a result, the course has as its primary audience finance students interested in careers in as principal investors in the alternative investment space. The secondary audience is students planning careers with significant interaction with alternative managers (i.e. investment advisors, pension fund managers, institutional investors, and fund of fund managers). While there are no firm prerequisites, a working knowledge of private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds industry is assumed. The class is primarily taught in a lecture format complemented by cases and features a number of guest lecturers with deep expertise, both practical and theoretical, in their respective fields.

Applied Investment Management

This course uses academic studies, practitioner oriented readings, articles from the popular press, and homework projects to cover both conventional wisdom and state of the art methods used in managing a stock portfolio. Together with the BBA class, enrolled students comprise the Goizueta Business School Student Investment Fund, LLC, responsible for managing $1.1 million of assets. The entire investment portfolio consists of student stock picks, where students work alone or in groups to select stocks under no constraints¿ that is, using whatever criteria they wish. Students pitch their recommendations to the class three times during the semester. As a term project, students will develop and present to the class their own quantitative model using the Zacks Research Wizard database and software package.

Course topics include: active stock selection emphasizing quantitative selection methods, databases and software, brokerage accounts, trading, transaction costs, performance evaluation, and the money management industry. Valuation (e.g. fundamental analysis) will not be covered in detail. Valuation is covered in greater depth in a number of other GBS courses, including BUS 621, BUS 628, and BUS 681. This course relies heavily on class participation. Given this emphasis, the course is not recommended for students who are unable to attend class regularly.

Investment Banking

This course is intended to give students an idea of the work conducted by investment banks. Areas reviewed will include debt financing, equity underwriting, merger & acquisition advisory assignments, and trading activity. Special emphasis will be placed on the methods commonly applied when conducting valuation, debt capacity, and transaction analysis. In addition, to provide context, there will be a brief summary of investment banking history and of the peripheral players (private equity and hedge funds) which increasingly interact with banks. Positions in investment bank are a common training ground for building skills that are transferable to positions on the buy-side (i.e. private equity and hedge funds)

A combination of lectures, reading assignments, problem solving drills, case study, and a team project will be used as instruction materials. At the conclusion of the course, the student should have developed stronger corporate finance analytic skills, an improved understanding of the execution process associated with certain investment banking product areas, and a broader awareness of the complex issues that often emerge during investment banking assignments.

Corporate Governance and Restructuring

Pick up the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times and you fill find some form of corporate restructuring or governance issue in the news. This course is about understanding and developing insights about such phenomena. The course begins with an examination of valuation using DCF and multiples methods. The focus then turns to synergies, deal design and risk management in the context of mergers and acquisitions. After enhancing students¿ understanding of mergers and acquisitions, the class moves to hostile takeovers where it studies the mechanisms for mounting a hostile takeover as well as takeover defenses such as poison pills, golden parachutes, etc. In the latter half of the course, students examine how restructuring the capital structure of a company can add value to the company. This part covers leveraged buyouts, and leveraged recapitalizations. In essence, it investigates the use of mechanismsthat change the mix of assets on a company¿s balance sheet (M&A) and mechanisms that change the nature of liabilities on a company¿s balance sheet(leveraged recapitalizations and leveraged buyouts).

Since these real world decisions are affected by several considerations, students must understand frameworks to think through the costs and benefits of each decision in a structured manner. Teaching these frameworks is a primary objective of this course.

Private Equity Investing: Perspectives from Practitioners 

The course provides an overview of the private equity industry from the perspectives of actual industry participants: private equity fund managers, limited partners, investment bankers, commercial lenders, corporate lawyers, portfolio company managers, and other advisers to private equity funds. The course is divided into four modules. The first module focuses on how private equity firms develop investment strategies and raise capital, and how investors (limited partners) decide how, whether, and in which private equity firms to invest. The second module provides an overview of the ¿nuts and bolts¿ of private equity: sourcing attractive companies, negotiating with sellers, structuring the deals and financing the transactions. The third module focuses on the methods private equity managers use to add value to portfolio companies operationally and transactionally. The fourth and final module provides an overview on how to exit an investment through a public offering or sale to a strategic or financial buyer. The audience for the course is students interested in private equity, entrepreneurship, investment banking, institutional investing, and commercial banking. All class meetings include case assignments and lectures. Each class will also have a panel of practitioners (usually three panelists) in the private equity industry.

Supplementary Course Offerings

Security Analysis and Portfolio Management

MBA: BUS 623, BBA: BUS 423

This course is designed to improve the students¿ understanding of the fundamental concepts of security investments. The emphasis of the course is on developing skills for portfolio management. The course is fairly quantitative and the students should be familiar with the basic concepts of probability and statistics and be comfortable using spreadsheet packages like Excel. Although much of what we cover is relevant for corporate finance, rarely will we directly take the viewpoint of corporate chief financial officer. Rather, the course is taught from the viewpoint of a user of financial markets. Moreover, we will not cover the topics in fixed income securities and derivatives valuation as these topics are discussed in separate elective courses.

This course is very beneficial to those interested in hedge funds or similar asset management career paths. The course explores relevant areas such as, industry analysis, valuation techniques, asset allocation, market efficiency, trading strategies (long-short, arbitrage etc), the use of options, and analyst report presentations, in addition to many more.

Advanced Managerial Finance

MBA: BUS 620, BBA: BUS 420

The first part of the course is a review of portfolio and capital market theory and how to estimate the divisional cost of capital. The next section concentrates on dividend policy. Specifically, the course discusses the relative importance of the dividend decision and how it impacts on firm value. The third part focuses on the capital structure decision. The basic issue is whether or not the firm¿s capital structure has an influence on the value of its common stock. Other topics include looking at the share repurchase decision process and examining the benefits of mergers, divestitures, going-private, going public and financial restructuring. Real-world cases will be used to examine and test the theoretical concepts covered in class.

Fixed Income Securities

MBA: BUS 629, BBA: BUS 429

The objective of this course is to familiarize the student with fixed income markets. Starting with plain vanilla bonds, the class progresses to the valuation of complex bond structures. Initially, the course concentrates on building the essential foundations of fixed income markets viz., pricing of bonds, bond yields, term structure of interest rates, and duration and convexity. After the basic building blocks are in place, the course delves deeper into the markets for fixed income securities. The term ¿fixed income security¿ will refer to any asset whose value depends on the level of bond prices or interest rates. Finally, the course develops the tools for valuing fixed income securities such as bonds with implicit option characteristics, bond options, caps, floors, collars, swaps, swaptions, etc.

Derivative Asset Analysis

Prof. Nicholas Valerio, MBA: BUS 624, BBA: BUS 424

This course introduces students to the valuation and use of derivative financial assets, with a focus on exchange-traded products. The overall objective of the class is to give students the skills to assess the values and risks of derivative financial assets and to develop trading and hedging strategies based on their analysis.

The first half of the class studies call and put option contracts having common stocks as their underlying assets, and covers relative pricing requirements for these contracts, which are enforced by arbitrage trading strategies. The application of this analytic technique leads to the derivation of exact valuation models. An examination of options with other underlying assets concludes the first half of the course.

Futures contracts is covered in the second half of the course, focusing on relative pricing requirements enforced by arbitrage trading strategies.