Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Finance Group

 

Studying Finance at the Master Level

 

This page describes the courses offered by the Finance Group at the Master level and recommends study plans for students specializing in finance and those who consider writing a doctoral dissertation in finance after completing their master degree. To specialize in finance, master degree students should use the following course sequence.

 

WS

1st Semester

SS

2nd Semester

WS

3rd Semester

SS

4th Semester

Finance Theory
 
Financial Derivatives
Advanced Corporate Finance
 
Case Seminar Advanced Corporate Finance
 
Fixed Income
 
Corporate Restructurings
Master Thesis Seminar
 
Selected Topics of Emerging Markets
 
Venture Capital
Master Thesis

Students interested in professional asset management should consider participating in the two-year long Portfolio Management Program (PMP). Participation in the PMP will earn 10 ECTS, which can be credited to the "Überfachlicher Wahlbereich" (ÜWP).

Students who consider writing a doctoral dissertation in finance after completing their master program should use the following "research track" course sequence, which contains a few Ph.D.-level courses in the second year.

 

1st Semester 2nd Semester 3rd Semester 4th Semester
Finance Theory
 
Financial Derivatives
 
Financial Accounting & Analysis
 
Applied Econometrics
 
Advanced Corporate Finance
 
Corporate
Restructurings
 
Fixed Income
Master Thesis Seminar
 
Microecocomic Analysis I*
 
Econometrics I*
 
 
Master Thesis
 
Microeconomic Analysis II*
 
Econometrics II*
 
Advanced Financial Economics*

* Ph.D. level courses

 

Course Descriptions

 

Finance Theory (VL + UE, 4 SWS, 6 SP, WS) pdf

This course reviews and extends students' understanding of methods for capital budgeting and the valuation of financial and non-financial assets. Topics include NPV, the term structure of interest rates, bond valuation, interest rate parity, the CAPM and the underlying portfolio theory, stock valuation, capital budgeting, the weighted average cost of capital, the theorems of Modigliani and Miller, and capital structure irrelevance as an application of put-call parity.

 

Literature: Lecture Notes
Evaluation: Written exam (90 min)

 

Corporate Restructuring (VL + UE, 4 SWS, 6 SP, SS) pdf

This course prepares students to understand and evaluate several types of corporate restructurings. Upon completion of the course, students will be familiar with the major issues surrounding mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, spin-offs, and divestitures, as well as reorganizations in financial distress. Case studies and practitioner talks are an integral part of this course.

Prerequsite: Finance Theory
Literature: Lecture Notes and Case Studies
Evaluation: Written exam (90 min)

 

Financial Derivatives (VL + UE, 4 SWS, 6 SP, WS) pdf

Upon completion of the module, students will be familiar with how standard financial derivatives such as futures, forwards, and options are structured and how they are used in risk management. They will be able to apply standard pricing methods such as the binomial model and the Black-Scholes model, but will also develop a critical understanding of the derivatives business and its role in financial markets and society.

Prerequisites: Grundlagen der Finanzwirtschaft I, Mathematik I, Statistik I or equivalent knowledge
Literature: Hull, J. C.: "Options, Futures, and Other Derivatives", Pearson, 9th Edition (Global Edition, 2017)
Shreve, S.: "Stochastic Calculus for Finance I: The Binomial Asset Pricing Model", Springer Verlag (2005)
Shreve, S.: "Stochastic Calculus for Finance II: Continuous-Time Models", Springer Verlag (2008)
Evaluation:

Written exam (90 min)

 

Fixed Income (VL + UE, 4 SWS, 6 SP, SS) pdf

On completition of the module, students will be familiar with the basic concepts of fixed income analysis and will be able to apply these concepts in the valuations of fixed income products. They will understand how fixed income products are used for the purposes of investment and risk transfer. Students will also develop a critical understanding of some of the controversies surrounding the use of fixed income products such as interest rate swaps and/ or collateralized debt obligations.

Prerequisite: Finance Theory
Literature: Lecture Notes
Evaluation: Written exam (60 min)

 

Advanced Corporate Finance (VL + UE, 4 SWS, 6 SP, SS) pdf

This course explains the impact of principal-agent conflicts and information asymmetries on major financial decisions and policies of non-financial firms, such as capital structure, fund raising, payout policy, corporate governance, executive compensation, and corporate risk management.

Prerequisite: Finance Theory
Textbook: Grinblatt, M.; Titman, S.: "Financial Markets and Corporate Strategy", Verlag: McGraw-Hill (2nd edition)
Evaluation: Written exam (90 min)

 

Case Seminar Advanced Corporate Finance (SE, 3 SWS, 12 SP, SS) pdf

This seminar discusses Harvard Business School case studies that relate to the materials covered in Finance Theory and Advanced Corporate Finance. In addition, there will be several company presentations of real-world business cases. The best performing students will be invited to participate in the annual CFA Institute Research Challenge.

Prerequisite: Finance Theory. Students must take Advanced Corporate Finance parallel or prior to the case seminar.
Literature: Harvard Business School Cases
Evaluation: Presentation (20%), four case reports (80%). Seminar attendance is obligatory.
Restriction:

Max. 24 participants. Registration required.
To apply, please submit your documents (application form, recent transcript) to: felicia.brown@hu-berlin.de before the commencement of classes at the latest.

 

Venture Capital (VL + UE, 4 SWS, 6 SP, WS) pdf

The course provides an in-depth introduction to venture capital, including valuation techniques, institutional aspects, key terms of funding arrangements, and leading academic research in the field. The course will study several recent academic papers and will thereby also introduce students to empirical methods used in current research.

Prerequisite: Finance Theory
Literature:

Lecture notes

Scientific papers

Evaluation: Term paper

 

Selected Topics of Emerging Markets (VL + SE, 4 SWS, 6 SP, WS) pdf

This module consists of two parts. In the beginning of the semester there are weekly lectures, 4 hours per week, about emerging markets, principles of financial development, the Asian financial crisis, microfinance and further financial issues. In January of the same term there is a seminar during two days about a specific topic that will be preannounced.

Prerequisite: None
Literature: Ray, D.: "Development Economics", Verlag: Princeton University Press (1998) and Lecture Notes
Evaluation: Presentation of seminar thesis (plus essays as special work performance)


 

Writing a Master Thesis:

 

If you would like to write a Master thesis in Finance, you should complete one of the preparatory Master Thesis Seminars offered by the Finance Group. We offer three alternatives, the "Master Thesis Seminar in Corporate Finance" (usually thaught by Prof. Adam, the "Master Thesis Seminar in Finance" (usually taught by Prof. Bruche), and the "Master Thesis Seminar in Financial Economics" (usually taught by Prof. Stomper). You should complete only one of these.

Prior to taking one of these seminars, you should have successfully completed the core module "Finance Theory", and have completed as many finance electives as possible. Most thesis topics will be of an empirical nature. Therefore, good econometric skills are essential. The courses Econometric Methods of Applied Econometrics are highly recommended. Familiarity with statistic software, such as Stata, R or SAS, is also important. Since most of the relevant literature is in English, we recommend that you write the Master thesis in English, but this is not a requirement.

 

Master Thesis Seminar in Corporate Finance (Adam) (SE, 4 SWS, 6 SP, WS)

The Master Thesis Seminar in "Corporate Finance" consists of two parts: The first part reviews some basic econometric techniques from an end user perspective. The second part, students present papers from the literature to learn how to present research. In addition, students are required to replicate an empirical research paper with new data using Stata or R.

Prerequisite: Finance Theory and at least 3 additional Master modules in Finance
Evaluation: Presentation of research paper (100 %)
Textbook: Wooldridge, J. M.: "Introductory Econometrics", Verlag: South Western (2009)
Restriction: Max. 20 participants. Registration required.
To apply, please submit your documents (application form, recent transcript) to: felicia.brown@hu-berlin.de before the commencement of classes at the latest.

 

Master Thesis Seminar in Finance (Bruche) (SE, 4 SWS, 6 SP, WS)

The Master Thesis Seminar in "Finance" consists of two parts: The first part reviews some basic econometric techniques from an end user perspective. The second part, students present papers from the literature to learn how to present research. In addition, students are required to replicate an empirical research paper with new data using Stata or R.

Prerequisite: Finance Theory and at least 3 additional Master modules in Finance
Evaluation: Presentation of research paper (100 %)
Textbook: Wooldridge, J. M.: "Introductory Econometrics", Verlag: South Western (2009)
Restriction: Max. 20 participants. Registration required.
To apply, please submit your documents (application form, recent transcript) to: finance-group@hu-berlin.de before the commencement of classes at the latest.

 

Master Thesis Seminar in Financial Economics (Stomper) (SE, 4 SWS, 6 SP, SS)

The purpose of this seminar is to introduce students to major empirical research topics and methods in financial economics, in order to prepare them for writing a Master thesis. In the seminar, student replicate and present papers from the literature to learn how to conduct and present research.

Prerequisite: Finance Theory and at least 3 additional Master modules in Finance

Evaluation:

Term paper (100 %)

Textbook: Scientific papers
Restriction:

Max. 20 participants. Registration required.
To apply, please submit your documents (application form, recent transcript) to: finance-group@hu-berlin.de before the commencement of classes at the latest.