MSc Business & Finance

Course Details

The MSc Business and Finance consists of eight compulsory modules, which you will study across three terms. The compulsory modules provide key management and business expertise, all designed to contribute to a career in business and finance. 

Optional modules
We offer a range of optional modules, giving you stimulating choices. You undertake one optional module in term 2 and if you select the term 3 Business in Practice route you will also select one additional optional module. Please note that module availability may vary and that your first choice may not be guaranteed. Please see the drop down link for module descriptions.

Assessment
Assessment is a mix of exams, project and group work, and tests. Your dissertation or Business in Practice module brings all your learning together.

Choice of Dissertation or Business in Practice route:

Dissertation route
If you would prefer to take a more traditional postgraduate route and wish to specialise in a Finance related research topic for your future career (either in industry or for further academic study), the 6,000 word dissertation will enable you to test and apply the techniques and theories you have gained. You will be supervised and supported throughout and will usually submit your dissertation in early September.

In total you will study eight compulsory modules and one optional module, and complete a dissertation and a Research Methodology module. 

Business in Practice route
If you would like to develop further applied skills and specialist knowledge to suit your career aspirations, you can complete your studies with two additional optional modules and our applied Business in Practice module. You will develop deep functional and industry expertise with practical insights from our faculty and our CareersPlus & Corporate Relations team.

In total you will study eight compulsory modules, two optional modules and also complete the compulsory Business in Practice capstone module.

 

Compulsory Modules

Analysis of Economic Behaviour

The module aims to provide in-depth coverage of fundamental behavioural economic concepts. It will familiarise students with conventional assumptions about the behaviour of individuals and firms as well as their interactions in markets. 

Assessment – Exam 100%

Strategy Analysis & Practice

This module is concerned with understanding in depth and applying in practice some models and concepts for building a firm's "competitive strategy", that is a business-level strategy that enables a firm to gain and sustain a competitive advantage in a given industry. This module is therefore not concerned with issues of corporate strategy, such as choices of internationalization and diversification.

To survive and prosper over the long-term in a given industry, a firm must be able to create and sustain over time a competitive advantage. This module equips you with the frameworks, analytical tools, and concepts that you need to complement your own intuition and skills in making sense of the organisational and environmental complexity and in identifying the sources of superior performances.

The module leads you into two areas of analysis: the external environment of the firm (the industry context), and the internal environment of the firm (its resources and capabilities).

Quantitative Methods for Financial Management

This module aims to provide an introduction to advanced quantitative methods to students. The module will equip students with an understanding of descriptive statistics and data presentation and enable them to apply the major tools needed for finance related MSc level study. This will include basic statistics and econometric tools.  

Assessment - Exam 80% / Class test 20%

 

Financial Management

This module will provide the necessary background in financial management, asset pricing and investments. We will talk about how assets are priced in the markets, review modern valuation techniques and asset management tools.

Financial Reporting & Statement Analysis

This modules enable students to interpret financial statements in context and apply appropriate models and techniques for company valuations.

 

Financial Markets & Instruments

This module is designed to analyse financial products and instruments, looking at how they are issued and traded, and provide a good overview of markets and organisations, market participants, and their roles.

 

Corporate Finance

This module aims to provide students with a fundamental understanding of corporate finance theory and practice. It reviews how firms raise money, manage their finances and distribute profits to achieve their goals. 

 

Strategic Management Accounting

The module will develop the technical skills and understanding of the behavioural consequences of management accounting process and enables strategic decision-making.  

 

Indicative Optional Modules

Managing Human Resources in Contemporary Organisations

Through this module you’ll be introduced to a range of debates that are central to the human resource management and employment relations field, including the 'high commitment' models of human resource management. It will also provide you with an in-depth insight into a number of the specific HR practice areas, including: recruitment and selection; training and development; job design and teamworking, pay and rewards; unions and HRM, and equal opportunities and diversity management.

During this module you will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the development of human resource management as a field of study.
  • Critically appreciate the contribution made by each of the core disciplines (e.g. sociology, psychology, law, economics).
  • Analyse specific human resource management problems in their wider social context.
  • Understand, evaluate, and marshal critical social science research on human resource management.
  • Extrapolate from existing research and scholarship to identify new or revised approaches to human resource practice
  • Demonstrate advanced study skills including written communication, location and retrieval of relevant reading from library stock and electronic resources, using information technology, employing appropriate quantitative methods.
Strategic Human Resource Management

The aim of this module is to provide you with a deep understanding of this strategic role of human capital management and the tools with which to analyse and manage it.

We will consider what is means to align the HR function with strategic objectives. We will ask whether all human capital is equally valuable. We will debate the extent to which human capital and its associated outcomes are quantifiable in a meaningful way. We will examine whether HRM can support both efficiency and flexibility at the same time. Ultimately, the class will provide a range of models and tools for managing human capital in a strategic way.

Business, International Finance and Economics

Exposure to the global economy brings new ideas, technologies, and management practices to a business. Whether looking to build a new plant, sell to a new market or find global business partners, exploiting opportunities in new markets or regions poses fresh challenges.

Many of those challenges arise from the different business environment that's present in countries around the world. What does an understanding of economics tell us about which countries and regions will see markets develop quickly in the medium term? Which governments act in ways that pose macroeconomic risks and which do not? How can resources and intellectual property be managed effectively? Which economic theories offer strategies to foster talent and help staff respond to new opportunities?

The patterns of world trade and the responses of governments have always been in constant flux. Businesses can't rely on traditional markets in the medium- to long-term. The pandemic has disturbed even the recently-established patterns of global economic growth. Strategic business decisions require an appreciation of the economic thinking that underpins these new patterns of growth and the changes in international finance that support them.

This module will provide real world examples and case studies to illustrate how economic thinking helps businesses make the most of new opportunities, while managing the risks associated with expansion into new markets and regions.

The module has been developed for business and management students across the WBS MSc portfolio and draws on ideas and research from macroeconomics, microeconomics, international finance, business strategy and development economics. No previous experience of economic analysis is required.

 

People & Organisations

The aims of the module are to:

1) Introduce students to the principles, theories and research underlying the academic disciplines concerning the behaviour, leadership and management of people and organisations (Organisational Behaviour, OB and Human Resource Management, HRM) at four levels of analysis: individual, group, organisational and societal.

2) Develop a critical appreciation of the behavioural and social sciences as they relate to the study of behaviour in organisations.

3) Introduce students to a critical understanding of the practice of management, leadership and people management in particular.

4) Provide students with structured opportunities to practice applying OB and HRM principles, theories and research to analyse and solve organisational problems.

Business Analytics for Managers

This module introduces you to the theory and practice of conducting business analytics projects. It adopts a business analytics methodology which enables you  to (a) analyse a complex business situation, (b) identify high value opportunities for business analytics and (c) deliver an effective business analytics project. The module adopts an experiential learning philosophy by giving you a guided and mentored experience of conducting a realistic consulting project.

Project Management

There are two specific features about project management theory which make it a slightly different type of subject to most other academic modules. Firstly, the subject has its origins in large-scale, complex operations. This means that a large proportion of the published theory concerns the planning and control aspects of the management of such processes. Secondly, most of the concepts were developed in the heyday of the 1960s, where a lot of activity was taking place in the aerospace, defence and construction sectors. This means that most of the basic literature is reasonably old and technically focused.

In the modern context, project management methods are now used for a much wider variety of applications including change management, Third World development programmes and IT-based projects. As a consequence, this module aims to span a range of sectors and be as multi-disciplinary as possible. The planning and control aspects of the module occupy only about 20% of the total time available.

You will:

  1. Develop an understanding of current project and programme management approaches and to make comparisons with your own organisation.
  2. Develop sensitivity to different project environments and to make comparisons and conclusions about them.
  3. Increase your understanding of commercial and behavioural issues in the management of projects.
  4. Provide experience of handling project management problems in a simulation setting.
Digital Working & Organisational Transformation

To be effective in modern organisations requires an understanding of the dynamics of digital work. This module equips students with a broad understanding of the tools and organisational arrangements driving this shift towards digital working, and provides them with techniques and frameworks to operate effectively in this more dynamic and fluid work environment. The module reviews major trends and changes in the workplace arising from the increased adoption of digital tools to support work practices in modern organisations. It reviews major drivers of adoption of these tools and the emergence of new dynamics of interactions and patterns of work.

 

Behavioural Economics

This module introduces students to the ways in which economists and psychologists have used behavioural theories and experimental methods to provide extensions to, or alternatives to, the conventional economic wisdom covered by most standard Microeconomic courses. It will examine recent cutting-edge research and consider the implications of that research for individual decision making, the operation of markets and public sector policy-making.

 

Digital Marketing Technology & Management

This module aims to provide an overview about how today’s firms use digital marketing technologies to achieve their business objectives. Students will require theoretical and practical subject knowledge and understanding, cognitive and methodological skills (eg written assignment, critical reflections, discussions in seminars, hands-on exercises) and social/soft skills (eg leadership and team work).

Governance & Corporate Responsibility

Appreciate the wider institutional location of business activity. Examine how firms are both 'takers' and 'givers' of governance and regulation in a variety of formal and informal ways.

 

Judgement & Decision Making

Gain an introduction to the psychology of human judgement and decision making. This field provides the foundation for understanding the decision-making processes involved in financial markets. The module encourages you to: see how the insights from this work can help understand the origins of rational and irrationality in financial decision makers and financial markets; improve your own financial decision-making; gain a broader understanding of decision-making throughout the finance industry.

 

Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate Control

This module studies issues and questions that the financial community is concerned with around announcements of mergers and acquisitions, value consequences of M&A transactions for both target and acquirer shareholders, sources of value creation, and the selling process.

 

 

Forecasting for Decision Makers

This is a summer term elective option that is open to students who have opted for the Business in Practice route. The module aims to providing training on methods that aid decision making when managers face an uncertain future. The module covers methods for short-term and long-term forecasting of product demand and macroeconomic variables. The module discusses how forecasting aids decision making.

Assessment - Individual Assignment 80% / Group Report 20%

 

Derivatives and Corporate Risk Management

This module provides systematic understanding of relevant knowledge about key risk factors that firms might face and how firms can reduce their risk using various financial instruments.

Digital Business Services

This module focuses on how digital technologies enable organisations to offer digital services that aim at improving customer experience as well as firm performance. The module assumes no prior knowledge of technology and prepares students to engage with technology-related conversations (e.g., designing a new digital service) at the modern workplace. 

The module has three themes. The first theme is gaining competitive advantage using a digital business strategy and covers concepts such as motivations for digital transformation. The second theme provides an overview of what today’s managers need to know about the advantages and disadvantages of cutting-edge technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality, internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, social media, and data analytics. The last theme focuses on the lifecycle of digital service provision, covering key concepts such as technology selection and sourcing, agile implementation, and risk management.

Entrepreneurship and Business Venturing

This is a summer term module option, available as a choice to students who have selected the Business in Practice route. In this module you will study the contexts, components, and processes of entrepreneurial behaviour in different types of organisations and focus on key issues in developing business proposals and plans.

Assessment – Group Presentation Assignment 40% / Individual Assignment 60%

International Business

This is a summer term elective option that is open to students who have opted for the Business in Practice route. The module aims to develop a critical awareness of the issues, problems, concepts, and skills associated with the development of international business strategy and operations. Topics will include: the drivers and processes of internationalisation, cross-cultural management challenges, the assessment of overseas investment opportunities and the specific challenges of emerging markets.

Assessment - Group Presentation 20% / Individual Assignment 80%

Leading for Innovation

Innovation is the very core of competitiveness. But innovation often can come in very different forms and depending who will pick up this innovation it might or might not be properly diffused and spread out so that it results in a greater competitiveness.  

Case Studies in Data Science & Economics

The module aims to provide training in applying data science methods to contemporary economic problems by looking at case studies. Specifically, the module aims to give you the opportunity to conduct a data science project using economic data. You will discover how to replicate and extend a data science case. The module aims to give the appropriate grounding in economic analysis, while developing your research and communication skills.

A formative group exercise will be set whereby groups will be given data and asked to conduct a statistical analysis of the economic problem. This will serve as a "dummy run" for the individual assignment, and there will be in-class feedback.

Practice of FinTech

This module will cover the juncture of modern technology and finance. Its main aim is to provide a foundation across the spectrum of financial concepts driving innovations of the principal intermediation functions (money, payments, capital raising, market aggregation, price discovery, mass distribution) with examples of business models and products (neobanks, robo-advisors, crypto exchanges etc). It will facilitate better understanding of the value propositions, best practices, regulation and technology encountered in fintech start-ups and help to structure your thinking about new business and partnership opportunities from traditional financial institutional and venture funding perspective.

Learning Outcomes

- The principal varieties of fintech. What is being disrupted in traditional money, payment, lending, banking and investment industries, how it is happening, and who is responsible.

- The basic features of data, algorithms and technology within fintech start-ups, value chains and wider financial networks.

- Fintech engagement and management of innovation in retail and B2B markets, examples of successes and failures, impact on traditional players.

Dissertation or Business in Practice

Dissertation

If you select the dissertation route you will work with an allocated academic supervisor and research a topic relating to Business & Finance. The module is assessed by a 6,000 word formal dissertation. 

Business in Practice

The Business in Practice module is the compulsory capstone module for students who choose this Term 3 route. It will illustrate business theory in practice by combing academic lecture input with expert practitioner insights, and will also provide intensive personal work-skills development via WBS CareersPlus team. 

Assessment  – Firm Analysis Assignment 60% / Individual Reflective Journal Assignment 40%

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