Problems in Finance
Instructor: Jim Mahar
OFFICE phone: 716-375-2359 (will give cell phone in class)
Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org Also email@example.com
Class time: Monday and Wednesday 2:30
MBA 610 is a required course, and supports the program learning goals and objectives as shown below:
Program Learning Goals
Goal 1 – Knowledge of Business Disciplines: Our graduates will have advanced knowledge and proficiency in the key functional areas of business.
1. Our graduates will demonstrate an understanding of the major concepts, theories and practices in the key functional areas of business.
2. Our graduates will integrate knowledge from the key functional areas of business.
To understand finance you must have a working knowledge of all other areas. So this class, which is somewhat a capstone in finance, will build on all functional areas.
Goal 2 – Skilled Decision Makers & Problem Solvers: Our graduates will be skilled decision makers and problem solvers.
1. Our graduates will use appropriate problem-solving techniques and appropriate decision making skills to plan, evaluate, make recommendations and implement.
2. Our graduates will demonstrate proficient quantitative reasoning skills.
In the cases you will be required to make sound decisions backed with quantitative reasoning.
Goal 3 – Effective Communication Skills: Our graduates will build on existing written and oral skills to become proficient communicators.
1. Our graduates will produce written projects that are well structures, resourceful, concise, and informative.
2. Our graduates will deliver oral presentations that are well organized, engaging and informative.
3. Our graduates will communicate effectively within a team setting.
Each case will be submitted by a team of students and each will have a written as well as oral presentation.
Goal 4 – Global Perspective: Our graduates will have a multinational perspective.
1. Our graduates will demonstrate a knowledge of cultural, economic and legal international business issues.
We will deal with international topics throughout the semester and in a few of the cases.
Goal 5 – Ethical Issues: Our graduates will understand how legal and ethical issues impact their professional lives.
1. Our graduates will identify, discuss, and develop conclusions regarding ethical issues facing the business profession.
2. Our graduates will relate Franciscan values to contemporary business practices.
Ethics will be stressed from day one as to the need for honesty and transparency in business dealings.
Text: No text, just cases and WSJ
Google Documents account
FinanceProfessorblog Wall Street Journal
finance cases (bought online)
You must have successfully completed all prerequisites as explained in the class description (finance 401). This class is designed to be a capstone class and as such you need the underlying classes.
This course should synthesize many of the finance program goals located at http://ms.sbu.edu/SLAP_goals/slap_goals/Finance.doc
Finance is crucial to any business dealing and as such is one of the most
important things you can learn in you plan on entering the business world.
This class will provide you with "real world" practice in many areas and on
many of the skills you learned in earlier Finance classes. This class is
designed as a "cap-stone" class in the area of finance and as such you will be
expected to be able to draw on your expertise in all areas of Finance.
The Case Method (and other assorted ramblings):
This class is largely a "case" class. That means it will be predominantly
taught using cases to illustrate points and to give you "hands-on"
experience. If past history is your guide, you will both love and hate this
class. It will be very fun (indeed I will be disappointed if it is not your
favorite class this semester and possible ever (as an undergrad it was my
second favorite class!) BUT it will also be one of the most frustrating classes
you have ever had. It is difficult and we cover a great deal of material. It is
definitely not a "cake" class. I apologize in advance for the fact that this class
will take a great deal of time, but there really is no other way.
If you speak to employers one of their biggest concerns is that students do
not have enough experience. This class will try to alleviate this problem. We
will be examining many companies (both real and fictional) to learn from
their successes as well as their failures. Through the experiences of those in
the cases, we will be expanding our own knowledge while also learning how
to deal with real business experiences.
The case method of learning is beneficial in that is allows students to get
their hands dirty" and actually use the tools and techniques that we learned in
previous classes (both Financial Classes and other classes). You will
find yourself using not only NPV, IRR, derivatives, but also EOQ, JIT,
market research, and even a little common sense! ;-)
Another point about the case method that bears mention: you will rarely be
given the entire picture. There will be important pieces of information that
missing. This will force you to research the topic and also you will
frequently be required to make assumptions. The reason for this is not that
the case-author forgot the details, but to make the case more life-like.
With perfect information decisions are easy. Unfortunately perfect
information is rarely, if ever, available. Decision making includes
determining what is important, finding as much information as you need, and
then making assumptions about what you do not have. The same will be true
in this class. The difference is that if you make the wrong assumption in a
case I will not fire you, whereas your future boss may.
Most of the class will be spent "doing" (note this involves much more than
just reading!) the cases. This will involve you reading, analyzing, and
frequently presenting your findings.
To continue with the "real world" theme, we will be breaking our class into
teams. For each case will have two teams presenting. The management team
will be responsible for a quick overview of the case and for introducing the
important points. The second team (the consultants) will be responsible for
making a presentation answering any of management's questions, thoroughly
discussing the issue, and recommending a course of action. Both of these
teams will be responsible for submitting a written report of 5-10 pages
(excluding appendices). Assignments will be shared
The teams that are not presenting will be required to turn in a one-page
memo that hits the high-points of the case and identifies the key points.
Additionally these teams will be the "audience" and will help evaluate the
presentations and are expected to question both presenting teams.
Grading: Grades will be based on three main areas:
Your Presentations: 35%
Class Participation 30%
Test 1 15%
Extra credit on standardized univ test: if above 90% percentile =5 points added
80-89.9 4 points etc
You will be graded on your ability to present your findings in a clear and understandable format. I will be as hard on you as I can be. Expect difficult questions. Therefore your financial knowledge is only a portion of the grade. You will also be graded on your presentation skills and your interpersonal skills. I do not want you to get to the “real world” and not be prepared to make presentations.
Now that the administrative trivia is complete, I do want to say that I truly hope this is a fun class. I want it to be a learning experience but learning need not always be painful. I do not want to (nor do I want you to) dread the class. It should be fun. Thus the class will be quite informal but also rigorous. I am sure that you will learn a great deal and have fun doing it!
Week 1: Ethics & Creating value through finance
Week 2: Mergers and acquisitions
Week 3: Text book overview and Class case discussion
Week 6: Test 1
Weeks 4-15: Case presentations 2 cases per week so 22 cases.
Class discussion instead of presentations on Monday after Spring Break.
6 teams of three. Two teams go each week.
Each group picks one of their own (this will be a full class presentation). Only one group goes per class.