There are no "hard and fast" rules to determine who should take Turbo Finance. There are, however, some general considerations that students should take into account, relating to their background and the pace of the class.
Most students who take Turbo Finance have some quantitative or finance background. The course does not require a high level of mathematics, but uses simple mathematics as a tool. Students will need to feel comfortable using this tool to solve finance problems. Students acquire the necessary quantitative background either in-the-classroom or on-the-job. For example, undergraduate business majors are usually well prepared for Turbo. Students with quantitative training in another field, like economics or engineering, are usually at ease with the calculations, but are not familiar with the finance context. Students with on-the-job experience, like investment banking or consulting, are typically familiar with finance applications, but may not have experience with the models and quantitative tools used in the class. Obviously, both formal training and finance experience are helpful in Turbo, but one or the other is usually sufficient. In some cases, students with no finance background and a non-quantitative academic history have also been successful in Turbo - such students worked very hard to fill in these gaps.
Turbo Finance covers the main topics in both Finance I and Finance II. This necessarily means that the pace is fast and the workload high. Even students who are well prepared work hard in Turbo and devote a substantial amount of time to successfully complete the course.
Turbo Finance allows a student to accelerate his/her studies; the student can take an additional advanced elective and begin to take those electives earlier. In particular, the student can take more advanced courses before his or her summer job begins.
Do I need a waiver to take Turbo? No, successful completion of Turbo Finance gives you a waiver out of 430 (Finance I) and a grade in 441 (Finance II). You do not need a waiver to enroll in Turbo.
Should I just take Finance II? This option should appeal to students who have mastered the material in Finance I and want a more detailed treatment of the material in Finance II. This requires a waiver of Finance I, which can be obtained by documenting that you have successfully completed a comparable course at a recognized academic institution, or by passing the waiver exam. Details about obtaining a waiver can be found at the Finance Department waiver web page.
What if I'm not sure? If you're not sure about your level of preparedness, there is a self-assessment test on the waiver web page. This test is designed to assess your knowledge of the material in Finance I and Finance II. It can help you choose whether to enroll in Turbo Finance, request a waiver and enroll in Finance II, or take Finance I.
More information about ways to satisfy the requirements of the Finance Major can be found at the department web site.