Dr. P.V. Viswanath

 

pviswanath@pace.edu

Home
Bio
Courses
Research
Economics/Finance on the Web
Student Interest

 
 
  Courses / FIN 301 /  
 
 
 
 
 

FIN 301: Introduction to Financial Management Summer 2004

41239: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. in room W513 on the New York campus
Email: pviswanath@pace.edu Tel: (212) 346-1817
Webpage: http://www.pviswanath.com
Blackboard: http://blackboard.pace.edu

Office W486, Pace New York
Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 3:40 to 5:35 p.m. and by appointment
Note:  I am in my office most of the week; send me e-mail, give me a call or just drop by!
   

Course Objectives

The primary objective of this course is to provide the student with an introduction to finance theory and practice, so that s/he can apply it in the different areas of business management. In addition, this course should enable the student to decide whether to proceed with more advanced study of finance.

Although the course will be self-contained, optimally, the student should also read the business section of newspapers or business newspapers like the Wall Street Journal on a regular basis.  Class meetings will be an opportunity to discuss the issues raised in the relevant textbook chapters, and to engage in exercises designed to improve understanding of finance concepts.  Students can also obtain information on companies and on financial markets from the Internet. Useful software for this purpose can be found at the G-PACT Room (Global Portfolio Analysis Center; W404).  

When you have completed this course successfully, you will be familiar with:

  • The meanings of fundamental financial concepts.
  • The Time Value of money.
  • The relationship between risk and return.
  • Optimal Capital Structure: how to and how not to finance a firm or project.
  • Dividend Policy: how to decide how much to pay out in dividends and when to pay them out.

When you have completed the course successfully, you should be able to do the following (time permitting):

  • Understand what should be the objective of the firm's managers.
  • Manipulate formulas based on the time value of money.
  • Interpret the firm's financial statements
  • Use cash flow information to evaluate a project.
  • Use financial statement information to value stocks and bonds
  • Decide how to finance a firm on a basic level.

Course Text

Fundamentals of Corporate Finance, 4th edition by Richard Brealey, Stewart Myers and Alan Marcus, Irwin/McGraw-Hill. If you use a used copy of the text, or if you buy a new copy, please note that we will only work through Chapters 1 through 17. Since this is approximately half the number of pages as the regular text, I have created an e-textbook containing only the chapters that are of interest to us. If you want to purchase such an e-textbook containing only these chapters, please go to the Irwin/McGraw-Hill website. This should cost substantially less than the regular text. The price of a new complete copy, according to BarnesandNoble.com, is $123.75; a used copy, also on their website, sold on January 5, 2004 for $83.39. The e-text, on the other hand, sells for less than $50.00. To buy the e-textbook, go to http://ebooks.primisonline.com/. You will be prompted to self register and create your own password. For technical support, you can go toll free to 1 (800) 962-9342, prompt #1. The e-book that you need can be found on the website by going to New York State, then Pace University, then P.V. Viswanath, and then choosing Fundamentals of Corporate Finance 4th Edition. The relevant ISBN number is 0390486256 and the price is $53.32.

There are two ways in which you can use an eBook -- you can either download it onto your computer, or you can access it online. According to the PrimisOnline website, here's the scoop on the two alternatives:

Purchasing the download option for your eBook is preferred if you always use the same computer and you have a very fast connection to the Internet. The advantages of a download are:

  • You will be able to download the eBook directly to your computer. It can only be opened from the computer to which it is downloaded. It cannot be copied or saved to another computer. You will own the eBook for as long as you own the computer. Download times can be long, depending on your connection, and the files are very large.
  • You will be able to interact with the eBook: text highlighting, making annotations, and setting bookmarks.
  • You will be able to print your eBook more than once.
  • You must install or have already installed the Adobe Reader (version 6.0 or higher) on your computer.

Online Viewing has the following advantages:

  • You will be able to access your eBook from any computer that can be connected to the Internet.
  • You will be able to interact with the eBook in the following ways: text highlighting, making annotations, setting bookmarks, searching the web on highlighted words or terms, links to encyclopedias and dictionaries, etc.
  • You will be given a set number of page-views of the book. It will be sufficient for reading, studying, and reviewing your eBook. If you require more, the subscription can be extended.
  • You will be able to print out the pages in the book once for free.
  • You must install the necessary plug-in before accessing your online account

There might be another option, whereby you can get an eBook printed out at a local Copy Center. I will provide more information on this in class; however, essentially, you can pay to have the eBook downloaded and printed out at the Copy Center site. They will be able to give you your printed eBook on 3-hole punch paper, which you can use with your own three-ring binder; alternatively, they can bind your printed eBook for an extra charge.

A final alternative might be simply to buy a used copy. Barnes and Noble was selling a used copy at $85.05 on May 25th.

This textbook is pretty good, and you should read the assigned chapters. I will also be using my own slides during class meetings to explain the material for some of the chapters. These can be found on the website under Class Schedule.

Computer Use and E-mail Policy:

You should obtain a Pace e-mail address as soon as possible, so that I can send you e-mail. Any student's Pace e-mail address can be obtained by going to http://appserv.pace.edu/WhitePages/Students.cfm or by going to the main Pace Home Page and clicking on White Pages from the IntraPace section towards the bottom of the page (the default password is the studentís Pace Identification Number).  More information about e-mail address, etc. can be obtained from the DoIT website and clicking on Computer from the left-hand side menu panel.  Even if you have another e-mail address where you wish to get your e-mail, you should still get a Pace e-mail address.  Once you have your Pace e-mail account and password, you can go to the Pace University Student E-Mail Server at http://stmail.pace.edu and have your e-mail forwarded to your preferred e-mail address.  You can find information on how to have your mail automatically forwarded at the DoIT websiteThe only way that I can communicate with you is through your Pace e-mail account.  So please get your Pace account information as soon as possible.

Check your e-mail and the FIN 301 website on a regular basis.  This will enable you to get the maximum from the course. I am available for consultation by e-mail at pviswanath@pace.edu. I check my e-mail practically every day, and, in most cases, you should get a speedy response to any questions.  

We will also be using Blackboard as a gateway for some aspects of the course.  Please log in to Blackboard at the earliest opportunity.    Blackboard login procedures can be found on the appropriate Blackboard site.  Essentially, your login ID for Blackboard will be your email ID, and your password will be your 9-digit social security number.  

Course Requirements

Class Attendance and Participation

Class attendance is mandatory and is highly recommended.  This is for two reasons: one, I believe that you will understand the material much better if you attend the class sessions; two, modifications to the class schedule will be announced in class and/or on the BlackBoard website.  Also, on occasion, I conduct classroom exercises, give short quizzes, or assign additional work. If you miss a class session during which we have such a classroom exercise, or additional work is assigned, your grade will be adversely affected for this reason as well.  (Of course, it goes without saying that missing quizzes will affect your grade adversely.)  In any case, you should consult fellow students on what was done during the class time that you missed, and collect handouts for that day's session. You should also bring a calculator to all class meetings.

I also require that you read the Wall Street Journal and/or the business section of the New York Times on a regular basis. Some exam questions will be based on current newspaper and magazine articles that are related to course material. Hence you should cultivate and improve your ability to read newspaper articles critically.  If you do not already subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, you can do so online from the FIN 301 Home Page.

There are two other reasons why you should try to attend as regularly as possible. One, classroom participation will help your grade. By participation, I mean answering questions and making intelligent comments. Two, we will sometime do learning exercises in class; doing them can help you substantially in understanding the material.  I often also give credit for participation in these classroom exercises.

Assignments

Assignments are required to be handed in. Please see Course Timetable.

Academic Integrity

Any student taking this course is presumed to agree to abide by the statement on academic integrity, as described on pages 62-63 of the 2000-2002 Undergraduate Catalog.  It is your responsibility to get a copy of this catalog, which can be obtained from Lubin Undergraduate Academic Advisement.

Disability Policy

If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an academic accommodation, you must register with the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities. You can contact the coordinator at 212-346-1526 in New York and 914-773-3710 in Westchester.

Exams

There will be a midterm exam and a final. Exams are closed book, but I will allow you to bring in one 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper containing only formulas -- nothing else (two sides). More details on the nature of the exams can be found on the FAQ page.  If you miss an exam without being excused, I cannot give you any credit for that exam.  University policy allows make-ups only for serious personal illness or death in the family, for which documentation may be required.  You can look at past exams and solutions on my website; however, the actual format of the exams this term will differ substantially from those of other exams. Furthermore, this is only the third time that I am using the Brealey, Myers and Marcus text; hence you may find it difficult to extrapolate from past exams in other courses. Please bring your own calculators to the exams; PDAs, however, are not allowed.  Get in touch with me regarding any question you may have regarding the exams, or the course in general.

Short Quizzes

There will probably be two or three short quizzes.  There will be two kinds of questions on these quizzes - one, definitions and two, short questions.  These quizzes will be closed-book.  Please treat these quizzes seriously because they will be good preparation for the midterm and the final; part of those exams will resemble the questions on the quizzes. However, I might change the nature of the quizzes based on what I feel is necessary and appropriate for the class; changes will be announced in class, in any case.

Media Articles

On my webpages, you will find recent media articles.  From time to time, I will add to this list.  There are several reasons why you should look regularly at these pages.  

  • I will be posting interesting and recent articles to this directory.  As such, it will be a useful way for you to keep abreast of topical issues (in addition to your regular perusal of the Wall Street Journal.)
  • I will pose questions on the subject matter of several of the articles.  These questions will be good preparation for the media article based questions on the exams.
  • You can draw on the articles for classroom discussions.
  • These articles and the appended questions are useful preparation for job interviews.

The password, necessary to access the Media Articles section, will be announced in class and can also be found at the Blackboard website. In case of emergency, you can contact me for the password.

Grades

Your final grade will be determined as follows:

Factor  Impact on grade
Midterm 30%
Final 40%
Short Quizzes 20%
Class Attendance, Assignments and Participation 10%

Letter grades will be assigned as follows:  

Course Grade Quantitative Class Score
A, A- 90%-100%
B+, B, B- 80%-89.99%
C+, C 70%-79.99%
C-, D+, D 60-69.99%
F 0-59.99%

Note that the minimum and maximum quantitative scores for plus and minus refinements to the letter grades will be at my discretion. These will be partly determined by the distribution of student scores within each letter grade category.   I place a high value on effort; at my discretion, I will raise your grade one notch if I feel that you have tried hard to satisfy all the requirements of the course.

Prerequisites:

Students must have satisfied the prerequisite for this course, viz. ACC 204 and ECO 105 and MAT 104 and MAT 117. Students must also have junior standing. I will presume complete familiarity with all topics taught in the courses listed above.

Data Cards

On the index card handed out in class, please fill in the information requested below.  Make sure to number the item that you are responding to.

  1. Name
  2. Home and Work Phone number; Fax number, if any
  3. Email address, other than at pace.edu (for my convenience).  (Note that I will send you email only to your Pace email address)
  4. Functional expertise/interest in business administration (e.g. accounting, finance, personnel administration)
  5. Work experience, if any (provide particulars of what your duties were)
  6. Previous knowledge of finance (if any)
  7. Interests outside of business management (such as languages, music, etc.)
  8. What spreadsheet program do you know? Where did you learn it, and when?