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Feedback on an Integrated curriculum in the Finance Major

09 février 2017
Four professors of Finance at Audencia are involved in the design of this curriculum: Giacomo NOCERA, Alexis GUYOT, Mascia BEDENDO, Iordanis KALAITZOGLOU.

An integrated curriculum

The curriculum in the Finance Major focuses on the development of a common set of skills, required in Investment Banking, and is divided in 4 different modules. These modules are: Advanced Financial Analysis, Quantitative Finance, Valuation Techniques, and Portfolio Management.

Learning objectives are built program-wise: some of them can be driven by one module, some by another module, some can also be cross-modules. Students have to develop the following skills:

  • Soft skills, such as working in groups, presenting information, find the right balance between technical information and presentation, dealing with uncertainty, focusing on the broader picture, making and communicating decisions, etc.…
  • Hard skills, such as data extraction, applied skills-investment, production of reports / brochures, “in vivo real” world situations, production of documents, technical skills, etc.

A step by step methodology

Students, gathered in groups of 5, have to perform a financial analysis which has to be driven on a step by step methodology:

  • At firm level :
    • Credit assessment, i.e., assessment of the credit worthiness (how risky the firm is?) for 5 companies.
    • Company valuation, i.e., assessment of the fair value and comparison against the market value (in order to establish – in form of recommendations – if the firm is over-, undervalued or fairly valued) for the same 5 companies
  • At a portfolio level:
    • Portfolio creation, i.e., creation of a financial portfolio made of at least 10 companies, using the recommendations provided by the various groups at the previous step as a further input
    • Description of the portfolio’s characteristics in the form of a fund fact sheet.

This step by step methodology is built throughout the 4 modules described at the beginning of the article. As an example, assessing credit worthiness is then used as an input for the “Valuation Techniques” module. The “Valuation Techniques” module provides recommendations that are then used as inputs in the “Portfolio Management” module.

As a result, the set of skills is built on the following framework:

  • No overlapping skills materials in the curriculum, as the class is delivered module per module
  • Synchronised delivery, planned as parallel sessions, cross references, driven by data
  • Integrated common assessment

Students have to produce a brochure (i.e., the fund fact sheet) per module. They are evaluated on each module and on the common/ integrated part. Assessment per module counts for 70%, then there is an assignment for the integrated part up to 30%.

Feedback from the students and expected development

Satisfaction and motivation of students is really high because:

  • they can really show they have the skills which then will be required in companies,
  • they also learn how to build and «sell» a brochure.
  • they can re-use it in a recruitment process and show how they are able to work methodologically.

Teachers involved in this curriculum aim at collecting results and data for 3 years and then eventually apply for accreditation / apply for exemption in professional qualifications.


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