Assignments and Exams in Corporate Finance Curriculum - A Complete Guide
A corporate finance curriculum’s objective is to help a student develop the analytical skills necessary in making corporate decisions about the finances of the corporate as well as risk analysis. The course examines fundamental concepts such as cash flow analysis, financial management, dividend policy, investment decision-making for corporates, and cost of capital.
The course will involve a series of lectures, whether online or in person, but you can also expect corporate finance assignments and exams to test your understanding and applications of the concepts. The assignments and exams to expect in this course include:
Assignment 1 and Exam- CAT 1
We can examine the assignments and exams in a corporate finance course in terms of the course outline. The topics that make up the first corporate finance assignment and continuous assessment test will involve the topics below:
- Introduction to corporate finance
- Statement of cash flows
- Discounted cashflow statements
For the 1st topic, you can expect a finance assignment in an essay format. Since it is just the introduction to the course, your instructor may issue this assignment as a way of testing if you, as the student, have understood the fundamentals of corporate finance. This may be a short assignment and should not be difficult to decipher. Your instructor could also give this as multiple-choice questions, especially where online learning is the teaching method used.
The topic of the statement of cash flows will have assignments in the form of problem sets. The objective of this will be to test how well the student has understood the structure and format of a cash flow statement, its different components, and how you should tackle it. The assignments will have financial information on company A’s operational, financing, and investing activities. Your role will be to make the necessary calculations to form a statement of cash flows.
A corporate finance exam on these topics would first be in the form of a continuous assessment test (CAT 1). This is a short-form assessment that does not typically exceed 30 marks. Since you can research the assignment, the first exam will test if the student can retain the information learned on corporate finance concepts and cash flow statements. You will have to read ahead on International Accounting Standards (IASs) governing cashflow statements in specific IAS 7 and relate this to your exam. The exam may form part of your final grade.
Assignment 2 and Exam- CAT 2
This part of the course will cover the topics below:
- Risk and return
- The Capital Asset Pricing Model
- Dividend policy
- Stock valuation
- Market efficiency and behavioral finance
The objectives of the finance assignment given at this point are to test how well you can interpret the theory learned in class on stock valuation, risk and return, and capital budgeting to solve mathematical problems. You may also be assigned this as an essay to test whether you can apply concepts like market efficiency in the real-world scenarios presented to you. Your goal in this assignment would be to demonstrate your knowledge of these topics as well as their application.
For example, your exam could ask you to examine the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM). You will have to demonstrate your understanding of the model, the formula for calculating the expected return, and problems with CAPM. Where needed, you should be able to draw graphs to demonstrate your understanding of the concept further. The exam given can also be problem sets as in CAT 1.
Since risk, return, and stock valuations will mainly involve calculations; this exam will test how well you have understood that. For example, it will test how you can apply the different methods of stock valuation learned to get the stock value for, say, company A. The exam can also test how well you have understood dividend policies and their application to companies. The assignments and the corporate finance exam assigned will also form a certain percentage of your final grade.
You can expect group assignments in a corporate finance course as they test how well students can work together in applying finance concepts to scenarios presented. It also enhances students’ presentation, research, and teamwork skills. A topic in this course that would warrant a group project is financial statements analysis. Since you will learn about the different ways you can do financial analysis for a corporation, like using financial ratios, this would be a perfect project.
The project would include several financial statements for the said corporation. This consists of the balance sheet, income statement, and other additional information. You would then be required to use financial ratios to analyze the company's state. This is by using liquidity profitability, leverage, efficiency, and market value ratios. The different ratios have formulas for their calculation, so you need to know that. The next part of your project would be to interpret the results of the ratios. What do the ratios say about the company's profitability, liquidity, and efficiency?
You can include in your comments any recommendations you may have to improve the state of the company. Financial statement analysis using financial ratios is an important topic to master, as it may be in the final corporate finance exam. To better understand ratios, do not just cram the formula used to calculate them; instead, understand what each ratio means, this will make calculations and interpretation easier. For the group project, you may also be required to present it in class, so ensure that you have chosen the student with the best presentation skills for this. Clearly show your workings and make our work neat and easy to follow.
Final exam- end of semester paper
You will be expected to do an end-of-semester paper that incorporates all the topics and skills learned in the course. Your final exam may have 70 marks, with the other 30 marks from the various assignments and CATs done throughout the semester. The final exam aims to test your understanding of the course, your ability to apply concepts to solve problems and scenarios presented, and your retention of the material taught.
Corporate finance exams can be mathematical with a few theoretical applications here and there, so ensure that you are prepared for that. Some concepts not tested in the corporate finance assignments and CATs could include international corporate finance, cost of capital, capital budgeting, and bond valuation, among others. Be sure to read more on the untested topics and understand them well. You should also go through old assignments and CATs and past papers if you can access them. Most of the final exam papers will use these to create the questions. Read your notes carefully, do some practice sets, especially with the mathematical portions of the course, and do research where necessary.
Group discussions can help explain concepts that are somewhat difficult to understand on your own. Your final exam will mainly have a pass mark that one needs to hit to be able to pass that unit, know beforehand what that is, and aim to hit that or even more. That way you know what the deficit is from the assignments and CATs and you can focus on attaining that or more in the final paper.
You will do several corporate finance assignments and exams in your study. The assignments, continuous assessment tests, and the final project will count towards the final grade given. These exams and assignments aim to test the student's understanding of the various corporate finance concepts.
You can expect several practice tests, which are generally short and would not exceed an hour or so to solve. The final exam carries most of the course marks and covers most of what is learned. Corporate finance exams and assignments help you practice the application of the course's concepts.