Merger and acquisitions class helps students specialize, diversify

In this file photo, the UConn School of Business is pictured. A new merger and acquisitions class at the University of Connecticut is helping specialize and distinguish business students in the job market and increase the reputation of the school. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

A new merger and acquisitions class at the University of Connecticut helps specialize and distinguish business students in the job market and increase the reputation of the business school.

Merger and Acquisitions (M&A) is an industry valued at $5 billion or more and increased markedly in 2014, Takeshi Shimamura, financial technology and market research department at Nomura research institute, wrote on the global M&A presentation sent to perspective students.

“M&A is a massive part of finance, and it’s the most interesting of all the topics. It’s also arguably the most exciting and where all the money is,” 7th semester finance major Chris Behrle said.

After the 2008 financial crisis there were emergency mergers of financial institutions. This basically saved our economy, Behrle said.

“Companies are looking for students who specialized in some area, such as M&A, so they can hire them with minimal risk,” UConn School of Business professor Mehmet Cihan said. “The interest for students is that it will increase job options for students.”

However, Cihan said that M&A is not just about finance, it’s also about management and strategy, so students of those majors should also consider taking it.

Finance 4895 is divided into two discrete sections: Developing an in-depth understanding of how and when to apply the appropriate tools and skills to successfully complete a transaction and the application of what has been learned to solving “real” world business problems, course Cihan, said.

Prerequisites for FNCE 4895 is FNCE 3101, the introductory finance course, Cihan said, and this course encompasses as much as 90 percent of the material learned from the intro course.

“Personally, I have never taken such a class where you apply full knowledge of another course,” Cihan said.

For finance majors, this course will count as an additional course requirement, Cihan said, and for real estate and healthcare majors it will count as a regular business elective.

“I am going into consulting but eventually I want to get into evaluation consulting. This is the best course I can take at UConn in terms of learning to evaluate a company,” Behrle said. “Overall the reason I want to take it is because I am excited about finance.”

Cihan said the most important distinguishing factor from this course and other courses is that it is case based. Students look at real life merger cases and write a merger process from top to bottom.

“Because we are living in a community where many of our graduates work at investment banking and private equity firms, where M&A is important, we should offer these specialty classes,” Cihan said.

Cihan said that UConn has been considering offering this course for a long time; it was even listed in the catalogue for the past few years. Students inquired whether or not the course would be offered, but it was not offered previously because they did not have the right instructor, someone whose research area was also in M&A.

“Students should have understanding of M&A process because during job searches it will put students apart,” Cihan said, “UConn business school is on track to rise and continues to rise to compete with other top business schools in the country.”

The course now has a waitlist for spring 2016, but Cihan said he believes the course will be offered at least once a year, but the semester may change.

“Nobody expected such a demand,” Cihan said.


Emma Krueger is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at emma.kruger@uconn.edu.