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Wisconsin MS in Finance: Applied Security Analysis

The Wisconsin MS in Finance: Applied Security Analysis is a two-year graduate degree designed to prepare students for a career in investment research and portfolio management.

Triangle The program is ONLY available to Finance BBA students at the Wisconsin School of Business, and involves one incremental year beyond the BBA requirements.

This program is NOT open to students with degrees from other institutions.

All other applicants interested in our nationally recognized applied investment learning opportunity should visit our MBA website

About the Applied Security Analysis Program

The Applied Security Analysis Program (ASAP) at the Wisconsin School of Business was founded in 1970 by Professor Stephen L. Hawk. Approximately 500 students have graduated from the program. Each graduate enters the investment community with the unique educational experience of learning the investment business through hands-on management of real portfolios. Beginning with $100,000 in 1970, students now manage over $50 million in equities and fixed-income assets. We are proud to be a pioneer among student-managed investment programs and a CFA® Program Partner.

The ASAP has earned its reputation as a top student investment education program for a variety of reasons:

  • We combine general business education with hands-on money management using the latest tools.
  • We are a CFA® Program Partner, meaning our students are preparing for the CFA as they study for classes.
  • Our two-year, fully structured program provides constant interaction with industry professionals.
  • We give students the ability to manage real money using their own philosophy and process.
  • Our students have the opportunity to manage fixed income and long/short equity portfolios.
  • Forty years of history have produced a great network of alumni to teach students and help them obtain jobs.
  • Our highly selective admission process ensures students will be surrounded by peers from which they can learn.

Applying to the Program

Interested students should apply during their Junior year. Fall 2015 enrollment is closed.


Previous essay questions have included the following:

Essay question #1:Describe a unique attribute or personal accomplishment that sets you apart from your peers.

Essay question #2: Why do you think a career in asset management would be a good fit for your personality and skill set (please relate any past experience with investing as part of this answer if applicable)?

Essay question #3: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a college student?

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available from the following sources:

  • Paid internship (during the summer between the first and second year of the MS program)
  • Project assistant (PA) appointments
  • Scholarships

Tuition Information

2016-2017 Academic Year

Tuition, Fees,
Minnesota Resident*
Tuition* $15,893.60 $32,164.00 $32,164.00
Segregated Fees** $1,214.80 $1,214.80 $1,214.80
Program Fees $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Yearly Total $17,108.40 $33,378.80 $33,378.80
*Note: Minnesota reciprocity is not offered.

Tuition prices vary from year to year. The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents reviews and sets tuition prices annually in June. For additional information on tuition and fees, please visit the website for the Office of the Registrar. Use the "Business Masters" category under "Student Career."

If You Are Admitted

If you are admitted to the program, you will be required to take the GMAT. Our GMAT code is 79K-2S-72. GRE scores will NOT be accepted in lieu of a GMAT score. You will also be required to complete the formal application through the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School, which includes the following:

  • A completed online application form
  • Two personal essays responding to the application questions
  • Standardized test scores (GMAT)
  • Two letters of reference, preferably from a professional colleague or supervisor
  • All official transcripts, validating completion of a four-year degree or equivalent
  • A current, sequential résumé of educational and professional accomplishments

Summer After Junior Year

Complete an internship at an investment firm

Fall Senior Year

  • FIN 735 Intro to Applied Security Analysis
  • FIN 765 Portfolio Theory and Applications
  • Continue working to fulfill requirements for undergraduate finance major 
  • Take GMAT

Winter Break

Attend ASAP winter trip to New York and Boston

Spring Senior Year

  • FIN 740 Fixed Income (If you have not already taken this course)
  • FIN 635 Security Analysis (If you have not already taken this course)
  • FIN 736 Intro to Applied Portfolio Management
  • Complete remaining requirements for undergraduate finance major
  • Officially apply to the graduate school

Summer after Senior Year

  • Complete an internship at an investment firm
  • Take level 1 of the CFA exam
  • FIN 835: Summer Project, Portfolio Management Responsibilities

Fall MS Year

  • FIN 835 Security Analysis & Inv Mgmt I
  • Three additional electives

Spring MS Year

  • FIN 836 Security Analysis & Inv Mgmt II
  • Three additional electives

*At least three of the six total electives during the MS year must be Finance and Accounting courses.  The remaining electives must be School of Business courses unless there is specific advisor approval to substitute a non-business course.  All electives must be courses numbered above 300, excluding 399 and 799.

To help our students learn more about the investment industry and assist them in developing their career goals, we provide a network of resources. ASAP students are supported by finance faculty members, Hawk Center staff, ASAP alumni and industry contacts, the Career Management Center, the Business Library, and programming and resources from the local CFA Society. The generous gifts of our alumni have made this support possible.

Academic Director

Professor Mark Ready is the Applied Security Analysis program (ASAP) faculty director. Mark served on the NASDAQ’s Economic Advisory Board from 1998-2000, and he was the chief economist and director of the Office of Economic Analysis at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from April 2000 through January 2001. Mark has done extensive research in the area of investments and has published many scholarly articles in top finance journals. He also served as associate editor for the Review of Financial Studies and is currently an associate editor for Financial Management.

Hawk Center Co-Directors

Dan Pickett and Betsi Hill serve as co-directors of the Hawk Center.

Dan Pickett has substantial investment experience in investment leadership roles and has a wealth of knowledge that he shares with students. Dan is a program alumnus and advisory board member, and has held roles as the Principal and Chief Investment Officer of Nakoma Capital Management and former Director of Research of Columbus Circle Investors.  Dan teaches the first year Intro to Applied Security Analysis course and second year Intro to Applied Portfolio Management course. As a mentor, Dan actively works with students in the management of the equity portfolios. 

Betsi Hill is a program alumnus and advisory board member, who has extensive industry experience in fixed income and credit research. She started her career as a credit analyst for Liberty Mutual and rose to senior level positions. Most recently she was a partner and head of global credit research at Napier Park Global. Betsi provides an invaluable perspective to students with her experience and knowledge of the industry. With her experience, Betsi focuses on working with students in the management of the fixed income portfolio.

Hawk Center Assistant Director

Cara Fish serves as assistant director of the Hawk Center. Cara is your contact for all MBA student related services. In her role in the Hawk Center, Cara focuses on student services, marketing, alumni engagement and administrative support. Prior to joining the program, she worked in event planning, public relations and community relations.

Technical and Other Support

The Hawk Center for Investment Analysis employs various project assistants and a technical support assistant. The Technical Service Center of the Wisconsin School of Business also provides computer-related support.


Over the course of 35 years, approximately 500 students have participated in the ASAP, and many remain very loyal and active in working with our students. We typically have 15-25 guest speakers on campus each year, and every two years ASAPers gather for the Fall Investment Conference and approximately one-third of the alumni attend. The tight alumni network is a key differentiating factor for the ASAP, creating benefits that last a lifetime.

Core and Finance Faculty

The ASAP benefits from the excellent quality of faculty responsible for teaching the core and finance curricula. These professors are leaders in research and devoted to creating great classroom experiences for the students. Please click here to read the bios of the Finance faculty.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Mark Ready
Jeffrey J. Diermeier Chair of Finance
Academic Director of the Hawk Center for Investment Analysis

Betsi Hill
Co-Director of the Hawk Center for Investment Analysis

Dan Pickett
Co-Director of the Hawk Center for Investment Analysis

Cara Fish
Assistant Director of the Hawk Center for Investment Analysis