Introduction to Corporate Finance
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School: Wharton School
Registration Link: Introduction to Corporate Finance
Start Date: September 7, 2015 (4 Weeks Long)
Workload: 6-8 Hours Per Week
Instructor: Michael R. Roberts
Credentials: A decorated teacher and researcher, Michael Roberts is the William H. Lawrence Professor of Finance at the Wharton School. Holding a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California-Berkeley, Roberts taught at Berkeley and Duke University before joining the Wharton faculty in 2004. His research interests include: economics, corporate investment, capital structure, empirical asset pricing, security design and the relationship between government policy and corporate behavior. Roberts earned two Brattle Prizes for his research in the Journal of Finance, as well as several outstanding teaching awards at Wharton and Duke.
Graded: Students can earn a verified certificate in this course for $95.
Description: Designed for students with a high school math background, Introduction to Corporate Finance helps students understand the fundamentals and applications of financial decision-making in both their personal and professional lives. According to Roberts, the course will cover concepts that include: “time value of money, risk-return tradeoff, cost of capital, interest rates, retirement savings, mortgage financing, auto leasing, capital budgeting, asset valuation, discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, net present value, internal rate of return, hurdle rate, [and] payback period.” The course will also touch on taxation, inflation, compounding, and forecasting, as well as provide models for deciding whether to grow organically or through acquisition and when to divest or spin off assets. The course will be taught through video lectures and accompanying problem sets, as well as optional readings. Students will also complete a final exam at the end of the course.
Review: There are no reviews for the version taught by Michael Roberts. However, here is a review for the course when it was taught by a different professor (Franklin Allen): “This is a tough class for learning finance. I suggest looking at one of the other introductory courses first, and then coming back here. Prof. Franklin’s derivations for many of the formulas and conclusions presented in class are daunting for someone who does not have the appropriate mathematics background. There are definitely some production issues with the first few videos and that the microphones in the room turned on so that I can hear every cough, sneeze, or shuffle of paper. However the issue to improve is the videos go on. It is an altogether good course on solidifying an understanding of where the principles of finance come from, but definitely not for someone who has zero background of the field.”
One thing to note about Wharton’s Foundation Courses: When the school first started them, they were up to ten weeks long. But Wharton has since changed both the course length and the depth of content in these courses, bringing them down to just four weeks. That makes them less a substitute for the real thing in the MBA program. Wharton’s officials line on this, spelled out by Brian Bushee, the professor of the Intro to Accounting course, is as follows:
“For many students, four weeks will be enough,” he told one critic. “For the rest, the remaining six weeks of my old course will be available as an additional course. A nice feature of splitting the course in half like this is that students can take the second six weeks at any future point. They no longer have to commit to a ten-week block.”
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Additional Background: This course is part of Wharton’s Business Foundation Specialization. To learn more about this specialization, click here.