Dr. P.V. Viswanath



Economics/Finance on the Web
Student Interest

  Courses / MBA 648 /  


CRN: 40605
Email: pviswanath@pace.edu Tel: (212) 618-6518
Webpage: http://www.pviswanath.com
Blackboard: http://blackboard.pace.edu

Office W416, Pace New York
Office hours: Tues/Thurs 12 noon to 2:30pm. Also available by telephone/Skype. I am also in my office in New York most days of the week; let me know if you want to see me at other times.

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.  Blackboard Discussion Board forums will provide opportunities 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.  

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

  • The meanings of fundamental financial concepts
  • The functions of the financial system
  • The Time Value of money
  • The relationship between risk and return
  • The basics of the valuation of bonds and stocks
  • Optimal Capital Structure: how to and how not to finance a firm or project

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 financial statement information to value stocks and bonds
  • Decide how to finance a firm on a basic level.

Course Text

Jonathan Berk and Peter DeMarzo, Corporate Finance: The Core, Pearson Prentice-Hall, 3rd edition.

This book has two parts -- one, the textbook itself, which you can purchase as a hardcopy or as a loose-leaf edition (on Amazon, at the Pace Bookstore, at http://www.mypearsonstore.com or elsewhere); two, MyFinanceLab, which is a series of e-learning materials plus e-tests and e-quizzes. You can buy access to MyFinanceLab also on Amazon, at the Pace Bookstore, at http://www.mypearsonstore.com or elsewhere.

You can then access the MyFinanceLab component through Blackboard. To do this, go to Blackboard, then scroll down to Course Tools on the right hand side. Click on Course Tools and select Pearson's MyLab and Mastering. The Pearson's MyLab and Mastering page will now be displayed. The top area of the page lists the links into the MyLab and Mastering course. The lower area displays the course's Support Tools. Click on MyFinanceLab Course Home from the top area. You can now register and access MyFinanceLab page. If you wish, you can, at this time, purchase an access code. However, you can also use the access code, if you have already purchased it elsewhere. For more help on this, click here.

There is a MyFinanceLab Course ID associated with this course. If you go through Blackboard, you should not need it, but if for some reason, you need it, the code is viswanath17658.

The first step, however, is to read all the assigned chapters of the book thoroughly, if critically. You should read each text-book chapter before we begin it, while we are working through it, and also after we complete it; as discussed above, class sessions are meant to complement the text, rather than substitute for it. Also make sure to read the powerpoint slides for each chapter; links to these can be found from the Class Schedule.

How to Study for this Course:

  • At the beginning of the course, read my notes on Recurring Themes in Finance.
  • Make sure you have read each chapter before you come to class and also tried your hand at the questions on the chapter. The more you have read, the better you will be able to participate in class.
  • Make sure you go through my powerpoint slides before you come to class.
  • Use my hints to prepare for the exam

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://whitepages.pace.edu/.  More information about e-mail address, etc. can be obtained from the Pace ITS website.  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, 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 Pace ITS 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 Blackboard regularly. Some materials, I will post on the MBA 648 website; however, the Blackboard page should be your first stop.  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.  

Course Requirements

Class Participation

You should 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 MBA 648 Home Page.

We will also have two or more Blackboard Discussion groups, in which you should participate. Part of your grad will depend on this.


The Tutoring Center, located on the 2nd floor, 41 Park Row, offers free tutoring to all Pace University students. Check their website for more information.

Academic Integrity

The school's academic integrity statement can be found here. Academic integrity infractions can include, but are not limited to, copying and presenting the work of another as your own, collaborating with others on assignments intended to be done individually, using unauthorized resources such as an instructor's manual to complete assignments, copying the work of others during an exam, and failing to reference the work of others or creating fake references in your assignments. You may receive a failing grade in any assignment, exam, or course in which an infraction takes place, and you may be suspended or expelled from the school. If you need more information on how to avoid plagiarism, you can find it on the Library's website.

Disability Policy

Please refer to the Pace website for the school's policies on students with disabilities, affirmative action and emergency closings.


Assignments are a critical part of the course.  The main purpose of these assignments is to make sure that you understand the material, and to prepare you for the exams. The deadlines are indicated on the Course TimeTable; if the deadline passes, you will lose points so you are advised to do them on time. Some of the assignments are individual assignments and some of them are group assignments; this will be indicated on the Course Outline and on the Assignments page.

MyFinanceLab assignments can be accessed through Blackboard. To do this, go to Blackboard, then scroll down to Course Tools on the right hand side. Click on Course Tools and select Pearson's MyLab and Mastering. The Pearson's MyLab and Mastering page will now be displayed. The top area of the page lists the links into the MyLab and Mastering course. The lower area displays the course's Support Tools. Click on MyFinanceLab All Assignments from the top area to see your MyFinanceLab Assignments.

You will be required to do a case, for which you need to buy the materials from Ivey Publishing. To do this, please go to www.iveycases.com. The case that we will be using is Excelerite Integrated Systems, Inc. (EIS), Wesley Marple, Product Number: 9B08N006. You will be charged $3.40 for a digital copy of the case. 

Discussion Board Participation:

The Discussion Board forums are an important part of the course. You will be given articles to read and react to. At the bottom of the article, you will generally find some comments/questions at the bottom of the article; however, you should not treat these questions as requiring "answers" necessarily. Rather treat them as my thoughts and simply comment on the issues raised by the article or by the information contained in the article. Even if you are reacting to my thoughts, the structure of your posting should not in the form of an "answer" to my questions. I will deduct points if you ignore this requirement! Postings must be made according to the schedule indicated on the calendar. Do not start new threads unless you have also responded to a previous posting in an existing thread.

Postings will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. Originality
  2. Proper Grammar and correctness of spelling
  3. Logic of arguments
  4. Relating arguments to previous posts (the sequence of posts is supposed to represent a conversation -- not a set of unrelated posts of people talking past each other!).
  5. Relating arguments to issues brought up in the text and on the slides.

This term, there will be one Blackboard discussion forum. Please read everybody's posting and reply to them. Look at the discussion forum every couple of days, at least, and keep the discussion vigorous.


There will be several exams, details of which you can find on Blackboard. Get in touch with me regarding any question you may have regarding the exams, or the course in general. To take some of these exams, you may need use use LockDown Browser. Here are details as to how to use it. You may also need to use a webcam (Respondus Monitor); information on this will be provided on Blackboard.

Using LockDown Browser and a webcam (Respondus Monitor) for Online Exams
This course requires the use of LockDown Browser for taking online exams. The computer used for taking exams must also have a built-in or external webcam. The LockDown Browser software prevents a user from accessing other applications or going to other websites during an exam. The webcam (sometimes called Respondus Monitor) records you during the exam to ensure you're only using resources that are permitted. Together, these tools make it possible for students to take online exams from any location, and at times that are convenient. It also creates a fair testing environment for everyone in the course.
You will need to download and install LockDown Browser to your computer and use it to take tests (instead of using your normal browser).
The download URL is:http://www.respondus.com/lockdown/information.pl?ID=222638733
Note: Don't download a copy of LockDown Browser from elsewhere on the Internet; those versions won't work at our institution.
Review this list before taking an exam with LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor:

    1. Ensure you are in a location where you won't be interrupted
    2. Turn off all mobile devices, phones, etc.
    3. Clear your desk of all external materials — books, papers, other computers, or devices
    4. No one else should be in the room with you
    5. Remain at your desk or workstation for the duration of the test
    6. Start LockDown Browser, log into your course, select the exam, and follow the online instructions.
    7. If an interruption occurs during the exam, briefly explain what happened by speaking directly to your webcam
    8. You cannot exit the exam until all questions are completed and submitted for grading.

Additional Resources:

    1. Student Quick Start Guides
    2. How to Download & Use LockDown Browser (video)

Short Quizzes

There will also be other quizzes, which will be administered through Blackboard.

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.

If you have difficulty in accessing the site and you're using Internet Explorer, you may want to try the following fix: Go to Tools on the Main menu, then choose Internet Options. Then choose Security; after that select Trusted Sites. Then click on sites and add "http://webpage.pace.edu/pviswanath" (make sure that you have unchecked the "Require Server Verification for all sites in this zone").
This should allow you to access the articles by using the correct password.


Your final grade will be determined as follows:

Factor  Impact on grade
MyFinanceLab Quizzes 35%
Excelrite Case 10%
Final Exam 20%
Assignments 15%
MyFinanceLab Homework 15%
Discussion Board Participation 5%

Letter grades will be assigned as follows:  

Course Grade Quantitative Class Score
A, A- 90%-100%
B+, B 80%-89.99%
B-, C+ 70%-79.99%
C 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.


Students must have satisfied the prerequisite for this course, viz. MBA 640. I will presume complete familiarity with all topics taught in this courses.