This Specialization is designed for a wide audience of those interested in finance either professionally or just of curiosity, including managers of different levels specializing in finance, accounting, business planning, strategy, consulting, and project management, IT specialists engaged in the area of finance, fin-tech, big data, and valuation, etc.
Through four courses and the final Project, you will cover the theory and practice of capital markets and financial institutions, corporate finance and project valuation, financial and managerial accounting as applied to finance, as well as the M&A market as the ultimate judge of financial efficiency and value creation.
The Specialization will prepare you to understand and use the applications of financial ideas, concepts, models, strategies, and tools to build a successful career in finance and in business, as well as to take advantage of opportunities offered by financial markets.
Capital Markets and Financial Institutions – How to Survive Them
Capital markets and financial institutions are all around us. This is an enormous industry in which powerful players oftentimes challenge investors and the public at large and expose them to significant risks.This Course provides for the deep understanding of the core ideas, concepts, and mechanisms of the modern capital market in a learner-friendly way. We will analyze the market’s most fundamental problems, realize the intrinsic interests of the market participants, reveal the true meaning of certain financial terms, and uncover credible signals of the likely behavior of economic agents – all that with little math and a lot of fun.
The learners will be much better positioned with respect to the financial environment. They will see through the financial news, reveal the risks of the financiers’ wishful thinking promises, and protect themselves against dangerous adventures. The learners will get the opportunity to use the obtained knowledge, skills, and understanding for the successful professional career in the financial and other business areas, as well as in their day-to-day life.
Principles of Corporate Finance – A Tale of Value
The study of Corporate Finance seems to be a very generic part of business education. Still, it either falls in the trap of intimidating formulas or is superficially journalistic. Both extremes preclude the understanding of the core finance ideas, concepts, and models.This Course is an attempt to avoid the above extremes. We discuss the core basis and mechanisms of modern corporate finance in a learner-friendly way. We will analyze the market’s most fundamental problems, realize the intrinsic interests and preferences of investors, reveal the true meaning of specific financial terms, and uncover important issues that are so often ignored in choosing and valuing investment projects.
The learners will gain insight into the essence of corporate finance. They will be able to use the obtained knowledge and skills to successfully advance in their career at a financial institution, as well as in the area of financial management at non-financial businesses.
Core Concepts of Accounting – Numbers and People
Whenever the word “accounting” is pronounced, it is immediately associated with the need to memorize endless boring numbers. However, it is the common financial statements that contain important information that provides inputs for valuation of investment projects. The only challenge is how to properly extract them.Accounting and finance are indeed intertwined. Sometimes people that are not experienced in the area even mix them up. But most often emphasis in accounting is on numbers. Still, the deep understanding of key accounting concepts helps reveal the interests and actions of people behind these numbers. And the human dimension of accounting adds invaluable insight in the potential of successful project implementation.
This Course discusses core ideas and concepts of both financial and managerial accounting. It by no means pretends to be comprehensive to any extent. But, being rather an accounting overview, it focuses on the issues that are most relevant and important for effective valuation of investment projects.
The learners will gain insight into the essence of accounting. They will be able to use the obtained knowledge and skills to successfully advance in their career at a financial institution, as well as in the area of financial management at non-financial businesses. To pursue a career in accounting, a more detailed study is strongly recommended.
Mergers and Acquisitions – The Relentless Pursuit of Synergy
The area of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) is special in finance. Incredible amounts of money are employed in such transactions. Deals draw a lot of public attention and dispute. Oftentimes, stories look more like fairy tales rather than financial reality.The key idea in any M&A transaction is to create value through a potentially synergetic activity. To this end, it is important to have a clear motive and implementation plan. Of special importance are the correct valuation, proper financing, and actual deal completion. But this is not the end – value mostly accrues from the post-merger integration.
The understanding of the motives of various stakeholders is instrumental in the analysis of the potential creation of value.
The learners will gain insight into the core value creating M&A strategies. They will be able to use the obtained knowledge and skills to successfully advance in their career at a financial institution, as well as in the area of financial management at non-financial businesses. Finally, the Course is very helpful in successful completion of the Specialization’s Final Project.
Capstone Project – Analyzing a Real TransactionThe Capstone Project is the final part of the “Understanding Modern Finance” Specialization. The learners will be able to apply all the knowledge, skills, and understanding accumulated throughout the Specialization to study a real financial transaction that they will choose. The learners will gain insight into the reality of value creation. In a set of video instructions for the Project, some examples of similar work performed by the instructors’ students over the last 15 years will be provided as guidelines for the learners.
The best way to proceed with the Project is to analyze an M&A transaction as it encompasses most topics studied in the Specialization. In addition, such transactions draw a lot of public attention that facilitates the search of the necessary information. However, learners are welcome to choose a transaction of a different kind.
The key idea in any real transaction on capital markets is to create value for the stakeholders. To this end, learners will have to identify the motive and the implementation plan for the transaction and then to focus on valuation, proper financing, and actual deal completion and results.