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Finance: an Introduction

Finance: an Introduction

The world of international Finance is truly fascinating, and those who understand the fundamentals of the subject are on the fast-track to a multitude of lucrative career specialisms.

Master the core knowledge and principles of Finance on this one-week intensive summer course, and see where it could take you and your future career.

Residential in a college of the University of Oxford.

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Course Summary

The study and application of the international finance area is a fast changing landscape.

This course will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the world of finance and will introduce students to the most widely used financial instruments – bonds, stocks, currencies, and derivatives including futures, options and swaps.

Key models and case studies as well as extensive discussion and debate will form an integral part of the programme and will be related to real-world problems and crises. Whilst contemporary finance theory will underpin the course, the central focus will be on practical skills development of financial analysis and numerical reasoning.

Following an overview of the latest research and essential concepts in finance, the concepts of risk and return will be introduced, and students will assess how it applies to various types of financial instruments: such as stocks, bonds, futures, options. Following a rigorous introduction to the crucial concepts of the time value of money and net present value (NPV), the two main models of asset pricing (Capital Asset Pricing and Arbitrage Pricing Theory) will be put to the test in order to strengthen students’ analytical capabilities.

Students will then debate the role of arbitrage in achieving market efficiency, and will also examine investor behavior, critiquing whether investors always behave in truly rational ways.

The course will conclude with students considering the optimal means of selecting an investment portfolio to maximise returns whilst minimising risk – allowing students will see how diversification works in practice.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course students will:

  • Have acquired and used the latest financial tools, techniques and strategies backed up with a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of how finance works
  • Have a comprehensive understanding of the methods used by firms to finance their business
  • Have further enhanced and developed the essential professional skills required of an international finance professional
  • Know what the latest trends are in the field of international finance

Course Outcomes

Monday Lecture 1: Finance Essentials- overview
Seminar 1: Trends in international banking and finance – global capital flows and financial markets- case study analysis, discussion of latest research
Tuesday Lecture 2: Finance concepts 1- risk and return
Seminar 2: Practical exercises and discussion for developing analytical skills when assessing risk and return
Wednesday Lecture 3: Finance concepts 2 – Time Value of Money and Net Present Value
Seminar 3: Applying the Time Value of Money and Net Present Value to real-world cases and scenarios
Thursday Lecture 4: Finance concepts 3 – Asset Pricing Models
Seminar 4: Using the Asset Pricing Model to solve a real-world problem
Friday Lecture 5: Finance concepts 4 – Modern Portfolio Theory and Diversification
Seminar 5: Presentations, course review and action planning


Assessment Methods

1 x Written Assignment (500-750 words)

1 x Group Presentation


Oxford College Accommodation

  • Location Oxford
  • Ages Ages: 12+, 13-15, 16-18, 19+
  • Bedroom Type Single and twin
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1096 (University of Oxford)

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