Curriculum

Curriculum

The RSM MSc in Finance & Investments programme is one academic year’s duration. Core courses are compulsory and will be offered during the autumn semester (22 ECTS). Master electives (18 ECTS) are offered during the spring semester, of which one elective can be chosen from another MSc programme. During the year, students work on a master thesis project (20 ECTS).

Please note that certain electives may be very popular. Although we can place most students in the elective(s) of their choice, there are no guaranteed places.

    • Explore financial decision-making from the perspective of an investor.  
      While emphasising on practical applications and implications of investment theories, you will:

      1. focus on the fundamental principles of risk and return, diversification, asset allocation, and efficient markets;
      2. learn about financial market structures, equity and fixed income securities, investment strategies, and performance evaluation methods;
      3. extend your knowledge of modern portfolio theory (MPT), the capital asset pricing model (CAPM), the arbitrage pricing theory (APT), and stock return predictability by discussing recent insights from academic research;
      4. explore fixed income markets and the term structure of interest rates.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. M Szymanowska

    • The firm’s capital structure is our point of departure for every lecture. In the first half of the course we discuss the role of agency problems, asymmetric information, and the incentives provided to management by debt and creditors. In the second half of the course, we discuss empirical evidence for the effect on value of decisions about specific capital structures. When you have completed this core course, you will have a thorough understanding of corporate finance and creating value for business.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. A Mulder

    • For financial institutions, international investors and corporate firms, dealing with the management of financial risk and return means considering a range of potential sources of risk. There are risks in the market, in credit, liquidity and operations – as well as alternative approaches to measure and control risk. You will study all of these and learn how to apply risk management in an organisation using the concepts of hedging, insurance, risk-budgeting, and measurement of risk-adjusted performance. We will examine in detail the application and valuation of derivative instruments such as futures and options. And we will analyse cases where attempts to manage risk failed.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. DGJ Bongaerts

    • Explore the basic concepts of financial accounting and the building blocks for financial analysis to enable professionals to make well-informed financial decisions, such as evaluating investment opportunities and analysing creditworthiness. Our focus is on measuring and forecasting performance metrics for the purpose of equity valuation. This includes a review of the major valuation methodologies (Discounted Cash Flow, Residual Income Model and Valuation Multiples), and the concept of equity and enterprise value. You will investigate:

      1. The basic building blocks of financial reporting

      2. Links between different financial statements

      3. Links between company strategy and financial statements

      4. Key metrics to analyse financial performance

      5. Drivers of return on equity

      6. Equity versus enterprise value

      7. Different valuation methodologies.

      You will also discover how equity markets work, and the communication between investors, brokerage firms and corporates. This includes a focus on the process of providing earnings guidance to financial markets, and we will discuss the relevant earnings number that is highlighted externally.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by drs. JF Jullens

    • The financial crisis has prompted a great deal of public discussion about ethical conduct in the corporate world. Today, there is increasing pressure for organisations to not only comply with laws and regulations but also to implement and comply with ethical standards. Pressure comes from the media and the growing social acceptance of people sometimes known as ‘whistleblowers’ who speak out about misconduct they have witnessed. How did this situation come about? Business scholars and practitioners often rely on theories of best practice when developing guidelines about ethical behaviour, but fail to communicate or implement them adequately. They sometimes also forget to review the guidelines once they are in place, and ensure that measures taken to ensure compliance are working effectively.

      The two workshops in this core course deal with the influences on ethical behaviour in an organisation and why people take morally good or bad decisions under certain circumstances. You will explore the instruments used to manage ethical conduct effectively. Our approach is a practical, interactive one; your active participation is welcomed.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by prof. dr. PGJ Roosenboom

    • The objective of this course is to expose students to both fundamental concepts and cutting edge theories and tools in portfolio management. We will cover optimal portfolio construction, mean-variance efficiency, portfolio benchmarks and tracking errors, active portfolio management. Special topics, such as global portfolio management, trading costs, and the hedge fund industry, will also be covered. Case studies will be used to illustrate the various methodologies introduced in this course. Moreover, exercises with real financial data will be the part of the course.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by E Genc

    • Microsoft Excel is the tool universally used by practitioners for a wide range of finance applications, ranging from simple project evaluation, to corporate valuation and portfolio analysis. The lectures in this course will be mainly hands-on Excel work, where students will use their own laptops follow and replicate what’s presented, as well as for in-class exercises.

      In the first part we cover some relatively basic Excel functions and functionality used for project evaluation, corporate valuation, pro-forma financial models and capital allocation. This includes functions such as PMT, IRR, XIRR, PV etc, chart types such as tornado charts and creaming curves, data-tables for sensitivity analysis.

      We then move to portfolio analysis. We see how one calculates returns, variance and covariance for assets and portfolios, how to build the frontier spun by two portfolios and how to identify the efficient frontier and the Security Market Line. And then more advance issues such as the Black-Litterman approach and incorporation of short sales constraints. All of this involves manipulation of matrices in Excel, using the Solver functionality, running regressions in Excel and other advanced issues.

      Option pricing is next, and we will see how to build robust binomial and trinomial trees to value options and other derivatives. MonteCarlo simulation will be also introduced as an alternative way to value derivatives. Finally, some of the problems above will be modelled also in VBA; we will learn how to create your own functions in Excel to, for example, calculate the variance-covariance matrix of a set of stock prices, or to run simulations efficiently, and we will code the Black and Scholes formula in VBA.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. MA Rosellon

    • Over the past few decades, risks from unpredictable movements in stock prices, exchange rates, and interest rates have challenged companies and investors. Financial markets responded to the increase in volatility by developing a range of financial instruments known as ‘derivatives’, as well as strategies combining these products with traditional financial securities like stocks and bonds. As a result, the volume and complexity of derivatives markets increased rapidly. However, the recent financial crisis has made it painfully clear that derivatives can also create new risks when their limitations are poorly understood.

      This course teaches the essentials of key derivatives instruments such as forwards, futures, swaps, and options. You will learn how these products work, how they are used, how they are priced, how to measure their risk, and how to exploit any mispricing using arbitrage strategies. You will also have an opportunity to apply your new theoretical knowledge of derivatives to practical cases and assignments.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. MMJE Cosemans

    • Why do financial intermediaries exist and what do they do? We examine the theoretical explanations for their existence that are based on frictions in financial markets such as transaction costs and informational asymmetries. You will learn a detailed understanding of financial intermediaries’ main activities, covering key topics from commercial, retail and investment banking. You will also address specialised topics that have recently gained importance, for example credit derivatives and credit securitisation – the complex process of transforming individual loans into assets that may be purchased by investors – and relationship lending.

      You will explore the latest approaches to measurement and management of major risks in banking, such as credit, market, liquidity and operational risks, then go on to consider objectives and requirements of banking regulation. Finally, we discuss the future of financial intermediation from a systemic point of view, taking into account various aspects of the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. F Spargoli

    • This course deals with mergers, acquisitions and other corporate restructuring activities in an international context.  A combination of academic articles and case studies will be used to highlight different aspects of mergers and acquisitions.   The course consists of 3 modules. The first module of the course will focus on the motives / drivers of mergers (or takeovers) and merger waves.  In addition to examining economic rationales for takeovers, we will also explore the role of agency conflicts and other factors such as managerial overconfidence and hubris in takeover decisions.  In the second module of the course we will focus on the valuation of firms involved in takeovers.  Specifically, we will examine the determinants of the premium received by takeover targets and identify the sources of value creation in mergers.  At a practical level, this module will provide an introduction to the popular techniques used for valuing takeover targets.  The third module will discuss a special category of restructuring activity, namely, leveraged buyouts.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. A Rajamani

    • This course covers the more challenging and complex issues that analysts, investors, and financial advisors encounter when they evaluate company performance and value firms. We have selected three analytical challenges that will be discussed in more detail:

      • Understanding corporate risk management: We will explain the motives for risk management, how risk management is captured in the financial statement and whether risk management makes sense from an investor’s perspective. We will use case studies including Alcatel-Lucent, EADS and Lufthansa.
      • Challenges in valuation: We will discuss various complexities in enterprise valuation, such as how to analyse, value, and account for non-equity claims and deal with valuation of conglomerates, private firms and spin-offs.
      • Financial analysis and valuation of banks: Our aim is to explain the accounting and valuation for banks. We will discuss the valuation and accounting for banks by using the examples of global banks JP Morgan, HSBC and Goldman Sachs.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by drs. D. Jullens

    • Globalisation of the economy and the mobilisation of funds between regions have brought growing attention to managing the risks of treasury and foreign exchanges. You will learn about capital markets, money markets, financial instruments and risk management, which has become essential for managing the treasury department of companies.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. MA Van Achter

    • In recent years individuals have become more active in financial markets mainly due to the market liberalization and structural reforms to social security and pensions. Consequently, individuals are increasingly faced with making highly sophisticated and all-too-often irreversible financial decisions such as how much to save, how to invest, and how to allocate investments over different asset classes.
      How should households take all these decisions? How do they actually choose? The aim of this course is to survey what households actually do and compare it with our body of knowledge about what they should do.    

      The main theme of this course is household wealth management, that is, the analysis of household demand both for financial assets and debt. More specifically, we will focus on the needs and preferences of individuals for financial instruments such as stocks, mutual funds, and mortgages; and the economic and behavioural (e.g., trust, culture) factors that influence these needs. Also, we will survey the recent product and process innovations in the retail finance industry, and the opportunities and challenges that these innovations create for households, financial firms, and regulators.
      Students who aim to understand opportunities in retail finance industry, and who may want to work for or with retail finance companies, consult to them, or regulate them are encouraged to take this course.
      The course grade will be based on final exam (60%), one paper presentation (20%) and one empirical assignment (20%) done in teams. 

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. Y Karabulut

    • Companies, banks, financial institutions, and companies in distress need a range of advanced valuation techniques to address their different characteristics. You will start by exploring the Discounted Cash Flow approach to consolidate and deepen your existing knowledge. Then you will discover alternative approaches using comparable companies and other evaluations for income and cash flow. You will extend these valuation techniques to types of companies that require variations and adjustments to the standard techniques. You will also work on simulations as a tool to analyse some of these companies.

      After studying value creation, you will move on to managing for value. First, investigating why companies should be managed for value and what it means, before learning the strategies that create value and examining their use in real companies. Finally, you will learn how to present the ideas from your analysis through a variety of charts, and apply all of your newly-learned techniques to a company of your choice.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. MA Rosellon

    • Using the perspective of investors and users, you will focus on financial topics related to investing in real estate. This elective combines theoretical topics and empirical methods with the professional real estate practices. We will explore real estate valuation, investment management and debt financing of real estate, for example mortgage-backed securities.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by Y Wang

    • Effective risk management is essential in today’s uncertain business environment. Derivatives and especially fixed income derivatives are standard instruments for managing interest rate risk exposure. This course gives a brief introduction into the use of these instruments by corporations. We first describe the important fixed income securities and markets, and develop tools for valuing these securities and managing their interest rate and credit risk. In the second part of the course we focus on the use of those instruments in financial markets from the perspective of the firm (e.g., debt restructuring), from the bank perspective (e.g., when to liquidate), as well as in portfolio management (e.g., investing in distressed debt).

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. SR Draus

       

       

    • Financial innovations – over the course of centuries – have shaped our financial system. This elective course starts with a discussion of some of them, including bonds and loans, shares, derivative contracts such as options and futures, mutual funds and mortgage-backed securities. We discuss why these innovations took place and their consequences:

      1. financial innovations, an overview
      2. bonds, loans, banks and insurance
      3. equity and the corporation
      4. derivatives
      5. packaging securities: mutual funds and mortgage-backed securities.

      The second part of the elective considers financial development, which influences innovation and growth. We will discuss research on the finance-growth nexus as well as papers on financial bubbles and crashes:

      1. finance and growth, historical evidence
      2. finance and growth, quantitative evidence
      3. financial innovations, bubbles and crashes

      The course involves lectures and class discussions based on academic papers, and an assignment involving analysis of a financial innovation.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr F Spargoli

    • More than € 20,000 billion is invested worldwide through mutual funds and hedge funds. This elective examines and explains the existence, management and performance of these pools of capital. We discuss the characteristics of mutual funds versus those of hedge funds, and explore their investment styles and performance. For example, we investigate

      1. why the average mutual fund is unable to outperform the market
      2. which funds investors should avoid
      3. how smart are the ‘smart guys’ that manage hedge funds?

      We also consider the incentives of fund managers and investors in mutual funds and hedge funds. For example, to what extent is the risk-taking behaviour of fund managers affected by organisational features and compensation schemes? Or are investors in mutual funds ‘smart’ in the sense that they are able to direct their money to those funds that subsequently do relatively well? Much of the material in this elective is based on recent journal articles, and you will work on three assignments involving case studies.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by JJ Huij

    • Explore the fascinating world of traded assets on financial markets. You will discover how financial markets have evolved over time, from traditional ‘open outcry’ auctions to high frequency computerised trading platforms. You will investigate the competition between traditional exchanges and newly-introduced trading venues, and explore the ways in which markets are regulated by governments and exchanges, and how traders influence liquidity, volatility, informative prices, trading profits, and transaction costs.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. SR Draus

    • Entrepreneurship concerns the activity of new business ventures. Using the latest industry information and research, you will learn about the valuation of public and private firms from small to 'mid cap' (those with a market capitalisation of between $2 and $10 billion). You will discover the economics of contracts as it applies to entrepreneurship and new venture finance. We will analyse the unique financial issues experienced by entrepreneurial firms, and you will develop a wide set of skills to deal with them. Specific topics include: start-up ventures; the financial management of rapidly growing firms; structuring deals; valuation; initial public offerings; the decision to harvest, plus leverage and management buyouts.

      We will discuss the various sources of capital for entrepreneurial firms. They include venture capital, commercial banks, franchising, and investment banks. You will examine their suitability as sources of finance for entrepreneurial firms at various phases of their life cycle, and will be able to identify and compare the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.

      You will learn how to use a range of analytical tools in the context of entrepreneurial firms and with a constant regard to due diligence. Your analytical tools will include financial analysis, valuation methods, negotiations and deal-structuring, as well as investment analysis.

      This course is aimed at those of you who plan to start, acquire, finance or work for entrepreneurial, fast-growing businesses at some point in your careers. It is also useful for those of you who plan to join venture capital or private equity firms, investment banks, or financial departments of multinational companies. The course is based on case studies, and aims to teach you how ‘real world’ professional investors and corporate managers create wealth from entrepreneurial activity.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by prof. dr. PGJ Roosenboom

    • Microsoft Excel is the tool universally used by practitioners for a wide range of finance applications, ranging from simple project evaluation, to corporate valuation and portfolio analysis. The lectures in this course will be mainly hands-on Excel work, where students will use their own laptops follow and replicate what’s presented, as well as for in-class exercises.

      In the first part we cover some relatively basic Excel functions and functionality used for project evaluation, corporate valuation, pro-forma financial models and capital allocation. This includes functions such as PMT, IRR, XIRR, PV etc, chart types such as tornado charts and creaming curves, data-tables for sensitivity analysis.

      We then move to portfolio analysis. We see how one calculates returns, variance and covariance for assets and portfolios, how to build the frontier spun by two portfolios and how to identify the efficient frontier and the Security Market Line. And then more advance issues such as the Black-Litterman approach and incorporation of short sales constraints. All of this involves manipulation of matrices in Excel, using the Solver functionality, running regressions in Excel and other advanced issues.

      Option pricing is next, and we will see how to build robust binomial and trinomial trees to value options and other derivatives. MonteCarlo simulation will be also introduced as an alternative way to value derivatives. Finally, some of the problems above will be modelled also in VBA; we will learn how to create your own functions in Excel to, for example, calculate the variance-covariance matrix of a set of stock prices, or to run simulations efficiently, and we will code the Black and Scholes formula in VBA.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. MA Rosellon

    • RSM supports every student through the process of researching and writing their MSc master thesis. The Research Skills core course is the first stage of your preparation. You will learn the skills needed to work with data, conduct an empirical analysis, and write an academic paper, all of which are essential for the successful completion of your master thesis.

      It’s an intensive skills training schedule. You will attend plenary lectures, work on empirical assignments, and present the results of these assignments. You can choose between Corporate Finance or Asset Pricing; each track offers two assignments on important topics in that field; each uses the same methods and skills such as working with datasets, empirical methods, and problems with these methods.

    • The master thesis trajectory comprises four compulsory stages that are followed sequentially by the students:

      Stage 1: Orientation and topic selection

      Stage 2: Research Skills course

      Stage 3: Master thesis proposal

      Stage 4: Master thesis.

      After the successful completion of the Master thesis proposal, Master thesis, and defence students obtain 16 ECTS. The Research Skills course yields 4 ECTS and is part of the core courses.