Department of Finance

Graduate Certificate in Financial Services Management

You must be a current Bauer graduate student (MBA or MS) to earn one of our graduate certificates listed on this page.

The program exists to serve:

  • Houston Financial Community: Local program whose graduates have experience with the valuation and portfolio management skills commonly used in financial services.
  • Students: Rigorous year-long program integrating theory and practice that leads to a well-defined graduate credential. Complement to MBA or MS Finance.

Elements of the Program

  • Focus is on Finance and related disciplines as they apply to investment management, banking, venture finance and financial consulting.
  • Students work in 4 teams as professional staff of a financial services company throughout the entire experience: Cougar Investment Fund, L.L.C., a private investment company.
  • Small, select group of students return as “senior managers” and are responsible for leading teams and achieving overall objectives.

Target Audience

Individuals employed or who wish to be marketable as

  • Securities/Banking/Insurance Managers: Business valuation, risk-management and fund accounting techniques used in Brokerage, Mutual Funds, Trust Management, Commercial Lending, Investment Banking and Insurance.
  • Corporate Financial Managers: Understanding how financial markets assess the value of management decisions.

Certificates: You must be a current Bauer graduate (MBA or MS Finance) student to enroll in any of our certificate programs.


A Graduate Certificate in Financial Services Management will be awarded to MBA and MS Finance students who complete the following among their elective choices:

  • Financial Services Management Certificate Curriculum

    (need 15 credit hours)

    • FINA 7397 Applied Equity Portolio Management (9 credit hours Cougar Investment Fund) (REQUIRED)
    • FINA 7397 Financial Analysis and Corporate Strategy (REQUIRED)
    • FINA 7A20 Capital Markets (REQUIRED)
    • FINA 7A23 Portfolio Theory & Practice (REQUIRED)

    Elective certificates are only offered to actively-enrolled MBA and MS students. The only exception applies to MBA and MS alumni, who may also return to pursue certificates.

*Admission to these courses (and hence the Graduate Certificate program) is not automatic. Students must apply after completing the core of the MBA or MS Finance. See Application Procedure below.

** These are regular courses in the masters programs.

Specialized Course Descriptions

The Cougar Investment Fund is a $10 million private investment fund managed by students enrolled in FINA 7397: Applied Equity Portfolio Management. This course offers 9 credit hours and requires a 12 month commitment beginning at the start of fall semester. Students who take this course must also concurrently (in the fall) register for the 3 credit hour course FINA 7397: Financial Analysis and Corporate Strategy.

Students in Applied Equity Portfolio Management course are security analysts and portfolio managers for the Cougar Investment Fund, a multi-million dollar private equity fund. The objective of the fund is to identify and invest in stocks whose market prices are below intrinsic value, while maintaining a risk exposure roughly equivalent to that of a broad market index. As analysts and portfolio management teams, students will build valuation models, make security selections, monitor compliance with fund objectives and perform the accounting and reporting duties necessary in the management of an equity mutual fund. This experience will require that students synthesize and apply all the main skills covered in the other graduate courses in Finance. Class meetings often involve lecture material or speakers. Students should therefore plan for significant outside time to be spent on work for the Fund.

The first half of Financial Analysis and Corporate Strategy introduces students to the details of Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement reports as they relate to investment decisions. The main focus will be on estimating free cash flow, and identifying the components of total enterprise value. Off-balance sheet financing, pension and employee stock option liabilities will be discussed. The second half of the course covers topics relating to the business models, industry structure and the competitive environment for firms within those industries. Specific attention will be paid to the types of strategies firms can adopt in cooperating with partners and competing with rivals. Cases will be utilized to illustrate the consequences of the strategic choices firms can make. Students will come to recognize the strategies companies follow, and the implications of those strategies for corporate value creation.


Pre-requisites for these courses are Managerial Finance (FINA 6335 3cr); OR Managerial Finance (FINA 6A35 1.5cr) and Intermediate Corporate Finance: Valuation (FINA 7A10 1.5cr).

Application Procedure

Application materials must be submitted by March 31 of the calendar year in which admission is sought. Decisions will be made in early April. Enrollment will be limited to 16 students. To submit materials, click HERE to create an account and follow the instructions for uploading your contact information, resume, and course grades.