Finance (BCom and BBusSc)
Finance is a modern and exciting discipline, and the most
popular of the BBusSc streams.
Two recent trends have fuelled the value of finance as a
globally recognised profession and underpin its relevance for the 21st century.
The first is the world-wide move to deregulation and the opening of markets
which has coincided with an almost universal appreciation of the importance of
capital and investment for growth and prosperity. The second is the phenomenal
growth in finance theory, computing power and financial research. The impact
has been extreme. There are few businesses today that are not acutely aware of
the significance of markets and financial planning for their viability.
Financial assets represent claims on other assets. For
example, money is a claim on goods and services; stocks and bonds and futures
contracts are all claims on future dividends or cash-flows. Finance is
concerned with the creation and valuation of these claims, the markets in which
they are traded, and their use by both individuals and corporations.
Finance, as a discipline, is broken down into two primary
components: the pricing and valuation of assets (Investments) and the structure
and financial decision making of firms (Corporate Finance). While investment
finance takes the perspective of the investor, corporate finance takes the
perspective of the investee. The study of finance is characterised by the
development of theoretical models and the subsequent empirical testing of those
models. This stream thus makes intensive use of the quantitative skills that
students develop simultaneously during their undergraduate study.
Career opportunities in finance are many and varied. They
can be broadly broken down into three categories:
Corporate Finance. People who work in a corporate setting
are concerned with acquiring funds for the operation and growth of the firm,
the firm's capital expenditure decisions, and the analysis of the firm's
operations and performance.
Institutional Finance. Financial institutions serve as
financial intermediaries between savers and users of financial capital.
Financial professionals often work in banks, insurance companies, mutual funds,
pension funds, and other financial institutions.
Investments. The people who have careers in the investments
area are concerned with how stocks and bonds are valued, and the management of
investment portfolios. Many of these jobs are with banks, brokerage houses, and
Problems in finance do not occur in isolation of other
disciplines. The finance stream thus includes courses in accountancy,
economics, business strategy, and law and requires the quantitative skills
needed to make informed decisions.
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