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Hello, and welcome! My name is Robert Irons, and I am an associate professor of finance at Elmira College. The finance major at Elmira is designed to give students a balance of theory and practical application, including skill sets they can add to their resumes. Finance is the study of value, and in the finance major, students will learn the methods used to value a stock or a bond, a derivative security, a capital investment project for a firm, or even the firm itself. Students will combine the math they learned in high school with the statistics they will learn here at Elmira to determine what return they should earn from an investment, based on how risky the investment is. 

Courses in the major introduce the theory and methods used in capital budgeting, creating pro forma financial statements, determining a firm's cost of capital, and calculating the intrinsic value of a firm's stock or bond. Students will learn how to value a firm's common stock using the methods commonly used by Wall Street investors, how to build financial models that are used to value different types of investments, and how to recognize and manage risk. 

Finance is a strategic discipline; firms continually face strategic choices, and these choices have different impacts on the firm's value. Therefore the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is very involved in choosing the firm's future strategic path. It is not uncommon for CFOs to move up into the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) position when the opportunity arises.

The analytical and critical thinking skills developed in the finance major are highly valued by both large and small businesses, as well as investment firms and insurance companies. Students who are comfortable working with numbers and spreadsheets can achieve highly satisfying careers using the knowledge and skills offered by the finance major. 

During this time of high risk-taking and unethical behavior on Wall Street, it is important for finance majors to have an understanding and appreciation of the need for ethics in the practice of finance. In my classroom, students will learn the lessons of Wall Street's excesses, the negative impacts on the people and the economy of the United States, and what can be done to avoid these problems in the future. The need for ethical behavior is strongly promoted; it is my hope to train a new breed of financial analyst that will change the way business is done on Wall Street. This may seem like pie in the sky to some, but it is a necessary change, and well worth the effort.