UCL School of Management

Module Fact Sheet

MSING027: Corporate Finance


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This is a past version of this module for MSING027 16/17.
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Taught by
Paul Lawrence
Some prior accounting, economics or general business studies may be helpful, but is NOT required
MSc Management Route B students only
Term 1
Delivery method
2-hour lecture (x 10 wks) immediately followed by 1-hour workshops (x 9 wks)
2 coursework assignments worth 50% each

Course overview

This course is offered in the first (Autumn) term only. This essay-only module considers a rotating range of major strategic financial issues of importance to company financial officers (FDs and CFOs) and other financially-oriented corporate top executives today—as well as to financially-knowledgeable managers and analysts involved or interacting with these firms.

This course is value-oriented. That word, commonly misunderstood and/or mis-applied outside of the financial sphere, refers here to a specific, unambiguous basis for assessing all company actions and decisions on the basis of incremental discounted cash flow (DCF) effect. From the CFO’s cost-cutting campaigns to share buy-backs, from complex investment decisions (CAPEX) analysis to borrowing-for-dividend-issuance, value is the guiding principle for decision assessment applied in this module.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the module, students will:

  • Understand what “maximising shareholder value” actually means, comprehend the alternative leading methods for measuring company worth and the reasons for wide use of the leading approach (DCF2S)

  • Comprehend how to ensure that the company has sufficient cash to operate (and where to get it from)

  • Learn how to deal with the advantages of effective leverage as relates to capital structure, serving requirements

  • Apply advanced multiple-tier capital investment analysis

  • Calibrate company financing strategy with corporate strategy and future prospects

  • Separate fact versus fiction regarding: buy-backs, extraordinary dividends, cost cuts, corporate tax minimisation

Topics covered

  • Corporate valuation principles, leading methods, particularly two-stage DCF method (DCF2S)

  • Liquidity management

  • The two sides of leverage

  • Optimal capital structure

  • Engines of corporate value: internal (CAPEX), external investment

  • Integration of financing plan with overall business plan

  • Financing planning, sources

  • Dividends and buy-backs

  • International tax strategy, basics of relationship with auditors

Assessment summary

100% of the mark for this module is based on the assessment of the two 1,500 word papers (each worth 50%). All students write on the same topic, which is revealed by the course leader at Weeks 5 and 10. Topics are selected from one of the four major topics addressed in each half of the course. Each paper is strictly an individual effort (no group-work permitted).

Essential reading

Corporate Finance, compiled by Dr Peter J ClarkPearson Custom Publishing, 2014. ISBN 978-1-78434-322-4 (available only from the Waterstone’s next to UCL campus).

Past versions of this module

MSIN0001 18/19

MSING027 17/18

MSING027 16/17

Last updated Friday, 12 July 2019