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Benefits of an MBA in Finance: Overview for Aspiring Students. Finance is one of the most popular specializations within Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs. An MBA in Finance offers benefits to working professionals in a variety of industries. so yes a student should do.
On MBA programs, Finance examines how individuals and companies raise and spend money, as well as how they should raise and spend money, so as to produce the highest expected value from investments in assets. An asset is an object into which an investment is made with the expectation of uncertain future cash flows. Assets can be ‘real’ (such as equipment, new products and markets, or companies) or ‘financial’ (for example, stocks and bonds). The study of investments in real assets falls under the rubric of Corporate Finance, while that of financial assets falls under Capital Markets (sometimes called ‘Investments’). Corporate Finance and Capital Markets Corporate Finance addresses how managers of companies make real investments, raise capital, control risks, and return money to investors. On MBA programs, topics of study can include cash flows, capital budgeting, capital structure and cost of capital, business valuation, mergers and acquisitions, risk management, as well as payout policies. Capital Markets examines how financial securities are priced by markets, and how to make decisions concerning investments in portfolios of different types of financial assets. MBA courses that cover Capital Markets should include the relation between risk and return, pricing of bonds, stocks and derivatives, term structure of interest rates, allocation of wealth among different types of securities, and institutional frictions that prevent attainment of optimal prices. A few simple assumptions about investor behavior underlie much of Finance. For example, that, all else equal, investors prefer more wealth to less; less risk to more; and want their cash flows sooner rather than later. The latter assumptions lead to the idea of a discount rate, the notion that future cash flows are discounted in value to equate to the present, using a factor that reflects a risk-adjusted cost of capital relevant to the asset. These ideas combine to establish a key rule: We should invest in an asset only if it is expected to generate a return greater than its cost of capital, or equivalently, if it currently has a positive expected value (‘positive net present value’). Since that judgment requires assessing an asset’s intrinsic value, tools and methods to assess such value are central to Finance on MBA programs, and indeed otherwise. Intrinsic value, in turn, is determined by the sum of all expected future cash flows from the asset, discounted back to the present at its cost of capital. Finance in business schools In both its theories and in practice, the core ideas in Finance are founded on a set of logically cogent ideas. There are few disciplines taught in business schools where academic research and the real world come together as remarkably well as in Finance. The ideas that underpin the field not only win Nobel prizes regularly, but they also form the basis upon which billions of dollars change hands every day. That said, there are many questions that Finance still continues to grapple with. For example: What causes recurrent financial crises? What is the role of ‘long tail’ risks, and how can they be better understood and analyzed? Why do we witness apparently predictable irrational investment decision-making by investors and managers? Why do markets and companies seem prone to herd behaviors? How can corporate governance practices and incentives be structured so as to produce value-creating outcomes for the long-run as opposed to the short-run? What is the right balance between free markets and regulation in enabling the best outcomes for society-at-large?
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The very word ‘exam’ does make one freak out, specifically at a level as competitive as an MBA program. The rules to play the game need to be far more detailed and responsive. Cracking any exam requires a lot of hard work and dedication with a little sprinkle of good luck and apt circumstances. But, what is unique about studying for exams conducted in an MBA program is SQ3R, i.e. Survey, Question, Read, Recite and the Review. Let’s see what is required for MBA Finance students to pass their exams with flying colors. Finance is a subject, which carries a lot of quantitative jugglings in order to make the best-possible decisions for one’s organization. Students aiming to hold majors in Financial Management would need to sharpen their intellect for a lot of theoretical and practical understanding of the subject. For better output, we may categorize the study tips in two major headings: 1. Generic methodologies of study 2. Specialized tips on cracking MBA exams Generic methodologies of study · Knowing the best time for you to grasp what you read. This is paramount as practically some of us study during the day while some during the night. However, what we need to figure out is how we feel during those times, and based on that we can gauge our absorbing power. · Learning the financial data is another important necessity required for quick understanding and analysis while writing a finance exam. It is one subject where it is more of practical solutions than theoretical. Therefore, going through innumerable practice sessions of same facts applicable for varied problems will help in memorizing the problem-solving techniques. · Group study is an effective method for subjects related to mathematical solutions and problem-solving as it involves thorough brainstorming. Now that we know this, one needs to form a like-minded group of the individuals with whom one is comfortable studying and sharing the space. · Managing your course bulk is one of the essential ways one can avoid last minute stress and pressure. Finance is a subject, which is a process in itself and thus cannot be read and understood in a glance. Mitigating the course material into subdivisions and respective serial time slots are an ideal way to deal with a huge topic like Financial Management. Specialized tips on cracking MBA Finance exams · Make the most of the interactive sessions by five-step plan – Soak, Analyze, Filter, Plan & Act. As the MBA program shapes up, we soak and soak whatever information is available and analyze it accordingly the shaped lenses we carry. Rather start analyzing quantitatively any given scenario to lead yourself into quarters of understanding how the numbers shape the make or break of any organization or any project per say. · Filtration is a process that helps us eradicate the non-contributing factors from any given topic and lead us to a landscape where planning takes the step up with concrete decisions carrying terminating deadlines and consequences. Continuous application of this across the various scenarios and circumstances would help one better comprehend which aspect of the financial management should be leveraged to maximize the benefits. · Just like the initial letter and word construction helps us build on our language skills, the basics of financial management like accounting principles, balance sheet, profit & loss statement, general ledger and cash flows are something that should be inherent qualities of any finance manager. Hence, the initial days at any MBA program should be devoted to building these skillsets if one wants to reap dividends in pure terms! · Extrapolating financial management and modeling across various case studies and real life scenarios help scale the capability of any individual to better equip the times to come. Appreciating and reading between what numbers are being published quarterly or annually by organizations across the globe would prepare a candidate not just in terms of employment or job interviews but also to replicate those examples in exams where it becomes essential to provide practical analysis. Being sincerely active across international case competitions and improving one’s skills at financial modeling would definitely be the decider on who leads and who follows in critical moments! For candidates already in the midst or vying to get in the groove of grooming oneself in the field of finance, rest assured your interest with quantitative jugglery would definitely pay dividends if the investments are made in the right buckets & at the right time!