Finance and Investments
The programme concentration in Finance and Investments starts in September 2014 with an expected enrolment of around 120 students each year. A large part of the students are expected to be international students mainly from the Nordic countries and the rest of Europe, but also some students from other parts of the world.
Students who enrol in this programme should be ambitious with respect to both their academic achievements at CBS and their prospective careers, and they must appreciate the role of a challenging and rigorous programme in fulfilling their ambition. We expect that students actively engage in discussions with professors and fellow students both in and outside the classroom, and thus contribute to ensuring a stimulating and high-quality programme to the benefit of all. Thus, even if students may be determined and competitive, they understand that they can learn a lot from interacting and cooperating with other studentsThe first semester begins with an elaborate introductory programme which is a good way to start building good social relationships with your fellow students.
WHAT TO CONSIDER?
Compared to most other areas in business and social sciences, finance is a quantitative discipline drawing upon economics, mathematics, statistics, and IT. This is necessarily so. Simply stated, the price of a financial security depends on its future cash flow, and this cash flow is typically unknown. Therefore, potential investors need to consider both the timing and the riskiness of the future cash flows. To quantify the risks, we need probabilities. We need economic arguments to choose the appropriate discount rates in order to determine the present value. To learn from historical data and test our models, we need statistics, and to work on large data sets we need IT.
More generally, companies and households making financing and investment decisions have to determine and maximize the values of different choices. Financial institutions and companies have to understand and price complex financial products and assess their riskiness. These key tasks require quantitative methods and the use of computer programs, such as Excel.
To be a good match for this concentration, you should have a strong interest in finance and investments, but also be prepared to use mathematics, statistics, and IT tools extensively. Your background in these fields should correspond to that of a B.Sc. degree in business administration from CBS and you should be willing to apply and strengthen those quantitative skills during the Finance and Investments programme. However, we emphasize that the focus is on analysing and modelling concrete financial problems and finding and understanding the solution. The focus is not on the abstract mathematics behind the solution method. The economic intuition supporting the derived results is developed, and real-life applications are illustrated and discussed throughout. Furthermore, the programme provides a solid understanding of financial markets, financial institutions and their regulatory environment, households and non-financial companies, as well as financial accounting rules and practices. The concentration is therefore distinctively different from specialized programmes in mathematical or quantitative finance/economics offered by other business schools and universities.
The programme uses a variety of teaching methods and evaluation formats. Most courses consist of both lectures and supporting exercise classes in which students are divided into smaller groups to facilitate student-teacher interaction and class discussions. Students are expected to meet well-prepared for all classes and to participate actively in discussions. The course in Quantitative Methods focuses on hands-on financial problem solving using Excel and related computational tools with background lectures being available online. Quantitative analysis and the use of computer software tools will be integrated in the individual courses wherever meaningful. Instead of exercise classes some courses involve assignments where students write short reports based on their analysis of concrete problems with subsequent feedback from a professor or teaching assistant. In some courses guest lecturers are invited to give perspectives on a given topic from a relevant company or industry. The business project and the master’s thesis train the student in analysing specific, complex finance problems of practical interest using a scientific approach and the concepts and methods introduced in the courses, as well as presenting and communicating the results of such an analysis in the form of a written report.
At CBS each course is concluded with an examination. The exam in the first-semester course Corporate Finance takes place in October and the exams in the three other first-semester courses are in January. The exams in the three second-semester courses are in late April and early May. Following these exams, the business project is written in 5-6 weeks in May and June, and is to be submitted mid-June. Most exams are four-hour written open-book exams with access to a computer, but there is also an individual oral exam based on a 72-hour take-home group assignment.
The study programme corresponds to a full-time workload with typically 10-15 hours of scheduled teaching per week during semesters and plenty of homework in terms of reading, thinking, problem solving, and discussing with fellow students. By carefully prioritising and managing their time many CBS students are able to combine their studies with a part-time student job. In particular a student job in the financial sector is often fruitful both to better connect theory and practice and to build a valuable network for your future career. . Students are encouraged to form study groups in which they can discuss course material, problem sets, and career-related issues among other things. We also expect that students participate in – or even contribute to the organisation of - relevant social and professional events.
STUDYING IN ENGLISH
Before studying a programme taught in English you might want to consider the following:
- All literature, lectures, exams, projects and group work are in English.
- Academic English differs from the English used in everyday language – so it might be a challenge even if you are used to speaking English in other situations.
- You may have to spend more time on reading and understanding the material in English.
- You may find it challenging to express yourself with the same ease as you would in your mother tongue.
- Some will feel uncomfortable and shy when speaking English – especially when in a crowd or among native speakers.
Practice makes perfect
There is a big difference between reading and understanding texts and expressing yourself in English both orally and in writing. This is a challenge for some students. Even if you are used to reading English texts on your bachelor programme, it is still a good idea to practice your English. Try to speak it on a regular basis, watch the news, movies and TV series in English. You should also read books and newspapers in English, as this will help you read faster and increase your vocabulary. A good command of English is essential for getting the maximum learning outcome of your programme.
The concentration has its own student and alumni association – FINA.