Joseph R. Woolridge

Color portrait of Joseph R. Woolridge

Professor of Finance, The Goldman Sachs & Co. and Frank P. Smeal University Fellow, President

Department Finance
Office Address 302 Business Building
Phone Number 814-865-1160
Email Address

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Valuation Consequences of Corporate Strategic Investment and Financial Decisions. Analysts Stock Recommendations and Earning Forecasts.


Ph D, Finance, The University of Iowa, 1979

Courses Taught

Nature of finance function; risk and return concepts; working capital; dividend policies; mergers; security markets; acquisition and management of corporate capital; analysis of operations, forecasting capital requirements; raising capital; and planning profits. Available to Baccalaureate students only. Not available to students who have taken B A 301. FIN 301 Corporation Finance (3) Finance 301, Corporation Finance, is a 3 credit course. FIN 301 is offered, at minimum, once a year during either the fall or spring semester. FIN 301 may not be used to satisfy Smeal College baccalaureate degree requirements. A student may not receive credit toward graduation for both FIN 100 and 301, or for both B A 301 and FIN 301. FIN 301 provides a basic understanding and framework of how firms acquire, allocate, and control their financial resources. It covers the acquisition and management of corporate capital; analysis of operations, forecasting capital requirements, raising capital, and planning profits. This is an introductory finance course focusing on basic financial principles and practices essential to managing a business. In addition, this course also covers financial markets, institutions, organizational forms and investments. FIN 301 relies heavily on accounting and economic principles with a strong emphasis on problem solving and decision making. One objective of this class is to be able to assess the past and present performance of the firm. This can be achieved through vertical and horizontal analysis of the financial statements as well as ratio analysis. Another aspect of this course is the financial planning process. This includes concepts such as pro forma statements, developing the statement of cash flows, as well as the budgeting process through the preparation of the cash budget. Another facet of this class is to understand how financing and investment decisions are made. Students will learn about the time value of money as well as fundamental techniques for valuing financial assets such as stocks and bonds. Additionally, capital budgeting techniques such as the net present value and internal rate of return are explained. Other important objectives include the management of working capital, the determination of the cost of capital, operating and financial leverage, and risk and return. The concepts and tools covered in this class allow the student to gain a fundamental understanding of how the finance function works within the business environment. Finance 301 promotes critical thinking and will enable the student to better integrate the individual functions of a business in order to make good business decisions.

FIN 496 – Indep Studies (Variable)
Creative projects, including research and design, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses.

FIN 497 – Special Topics (3)
Formal courses given infrequently to explore, in depth, a comparatively narrow subject which may be topical or of special interest.

FIN 301H – Honors Finance (3)
FIN 301H honors course provides insight into real world issues that are needed to effectively run a business. Students will utilize the fundamental concepts learned in finance (integrated with accounting, marketing, management, logistics, operations, and business law/ethics) as a foundation for running a business in the classroom. The "product" in this business will be a comprehensive strategic business plan for a real, live local, state, national, or international business that will serve not only as an articulation of understanding of core course concepts, but also as a supplement to the existing core package of introductory business courses. The honor students in this course will be building their strategic business plan products in electronic format in closely-knit, high performance teams. The strategic plan product development process in this course inherently involves integration across the functional areas of business: marketing, logistics, finance, and management. There is also inclusion and integration of courses in accounting, business law, management information systems, and statistics as applicable. Each student team will allocate product development responsibilities according to areas of expertise and interest. An appropriate balance of students from several majors will be assigned to each group. Class time will involve exchanging information within and across groups and coordinating activities between groups where necessary. Students will periodically meet with individual and team-based corporate mentors who will provide one-on-one advice on an as-needed basis. Students will also receive specialized training in team-based processes, leadership, and technology tools required to implement the products under development. Select members of the Penn State faculty and Smeal College alumni will be on hand at times to provide this specialized training and consulting expertise. Company owners and principals will provide periodic (monthly) reviews of honor students' work to assist them in the development of a first-class, professional business plan product.

FIN 395A Nittany Lion Fund - Associate Fund Manager Practicum (3 per semester/maximum of 6) While the Lead Fund Manager is accountable for all work done by a given sector, an Associate Manager often does much of the behind the scenes work. Specific assignments include: putting together the weekly reports for investors, creating reports that are sent out to the Nittany Lion Fund (NLF), and providing assistance with pitches. In general, an Associate Manager is supposed to be well informed about the sector's current holdings and with that, an Associate should be able to provide support for the Lead Manager during a stock pitch or class discussion. Although Associate Fund Managers are the workhorses of the fund, often performing some of the more tedious tasks, the position offers the opportunity to learn from the Lead Managers as well as make an impression by delivering quality work. While Lead Managers are responsible for and have the final say in stock pitches and sector strategies, it is highly encouraged that the Associates provide their Lead Managers with pitch ideas as well as inform them of their opinions about current market trends. Ultimately, the Associate Manager position is more detail and task oriented than the Lead Fund Manager position. However, there is always room to provide high quality insight into the market by asking thought provoking questions during pitches and staying current on market news. Students use financial software, such as Bloomberg Professional, Reuters Station, TradeStation, and FactSet, and must have working knowledge of various forms of financial modeling. The Penn State Investment Association (PSIA), which co-exists with the Nittany Lion Fund, LLC (NLF) assists the NLF in ensuring students are appropriately trained in these skills. The PSIA is open to students of all majors and experience levels and is the starting point for students interested in participating in the NLF.

FIN 495A – NLF Lead Mgt Prac (3)
FIN 495A Nittany Lion Fund -- Lead Fund Manager Practicum (3 per semester/maximum of 6) A Lead Fund Manager is accountable for sector performance as well as sector output. This means that while the Lead Fund Manager has to be an effective delegator of work to his or her Associate(s), the manager must also have great attention to detail when reviewing all aspects of pitches, weekly reports, and earnings reports. A Lead Fund Manager focuses more on knowing the big trends in his or her overall sector and in each subsector. The Lead is the strategist for the sector. He or she has the responsibility of choosing what stocks to pitch in class and at PSIA meetings. This means that the Leads must constantly reevaluate not only their current portfolio, but the sector as a whole, in order to find where to best allocate their respective funds. Another major responsibility that a Lead Fund Manager has is to lead a group of anywhere from 10-50 PSIA members. While there are weekly educations for the PSIA analysts, it is one of the most important responsibilities of a Lead Fund Manager to provide support for the PSIA analysts to help them with their PSIA certification assignments. In addition to helping the analysts understand their weekly assignments, the Lead Fund Managers are also responsible for holding weekly sector meetings to give sector-specific educations to a smaller group of PSIA analysts. The goal for any Lead should be to get as many PSIA analysts as involved and interested as possible in PSIA. The interest generated should draw PSIA analysts to apply for entrance into the Nittany Lion Fund. PSIA is the feeder system for the NLF and making sure there are intelligent and motivated applicants each semester ensures that the investment group will continue to have a strong class going forward. Consequently, once the Lead Manager has developed analysts' interest in applying for the NLF, it is an unwritten responsibility of the Lead to help the applicants to become as best prepared as possible for the interviews (Associates are encouraged to help new applicants as well). In total, the role that the Lead plays is not just that of a figurehead, the Lead must be well informed of current events and trends within their sector, and they must be able to speak eloquently of their investment strategy when speaking in class, at PSIA meetings, or to investors at the yearly investment meeting.

FIN 495B – NLF Exec Brd Prac (3)
FIN 495B - Nittany Lion Fund - Executive Board Practicum (3 per semester/maximum of 6) The Executive Board practicum affords students with intense practical experience in oversight and performance of the Nittany Lion Fund (NLF). Executive Board members and Directors are accountable for all aspects of the NLF. An Associate Fund Manager is responsible for all work that is presented to his or her Lead Fund Manager and in turn, a Lead Fund Manager is responsible for all work that is submitted for the Nittany Lion Fund (NLF) to view. While those are certainly tremendous responsibilities, an Executive Board Member is ultimately responsible for any and every document that leaves the Nittany Lion Fund, most of which are delivered to investors. It is the responsibility of the Executive Board to make sure that both the weekly news, and quarterly performance releases are flawless. Additionally, although the Lead Fund Managers are responsible for their individual sector's performance, the Executive Board is held responsible for the overall performance of the Nittany Lion Fund. This means that the Executive Board must do a number of things to keep performance awareness and accountability at high levels. Students in these executive positions are expected to ask excellent questions during stock pitches and be, in a sense, a devil's advocate for each pitch, making sure that there was proper due diligence and thought put into the strategy of the pitch. With regard to being accountable to investors, the Executive Board is responsible for conducting weekly conference calls with the NLF's investment committee as well as leading the yearly investor meeting. As for the PSIA, the Executive Board is responsible for booking locations for meetings, handling the funds for all club transactions, and developing and implementing the education for the analysts to become PSIA certified. Education is a very large part of the Nittany Lion Fund. An Executive Board Member is expected to utilize their past experience to provide helpful influence to other members of the Nittany Lion Fund as well as the large group of PSIA members. While the members of the Executive Board all have different responsibilities, in aggregate the group is responsible for the performance of Nittany Lion Fund as a whole, as well as being individual figureheads and spokesmen for the NLF.

FIN 297 – Special Topics (3)
Formal courses given infrequently to explore, in depth, a comparatively narrow subject which may be topical or of special interest.

B A 497F – Nittany Lion Fund Manager (3)
In this course students manage the Nittany Lion Fund, an investor-owned, student-managed, investment fund.

FIN 515 – Nittany Lion Fund Manager (3)
Focuses on applied issues and topics in the management of investments.

B A 301 – Finance (2)
This course provides an overview of finance. The primary focus is on financial decision making in organizations - also known as corporate finance. In addition to corporate finance, the course also covers the two other primary areas of finance: financial m

FIN 597F – Empirical Market Microstructure (3)
Focuses on applied issues & topics in the management of investments.

FIN 497F – Nittany Lion Fund Manager (3)
Formal courses given infrequently to explore, in depth, a comparatively narrow subject which may be topical or of special interest.

FIN 550 – Financial Analysis and Valuation (2)
Builds upon and reinforces the theoretical and institutional finance frame- works learned in introductory business finance.

FIN 587 – Investment Management I (1)
Applied issues and topics in the management of investments.

FIN 588 – Investment Management II (1)
Complex applied issues and topics in the management of investments.

FIN 596 – Individual Studies (variable)
Creative projects, including nonthesis research, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses.

FIN 497D – Trading Room Intern (3)
Formal courses given infrequently to explore, in depth, a comparatively narrow subject which may be topical or of special interest.

FIN 597D – Trading Room Intern (3)
Special topics course.

FIN 565 – Investment Management Portfolio Analysis Immersion (2)
An intensive familiarization with the Smeal College Trading Room in combina- tion with a visit to Wall Street trading rooms.