FI414 Advanced Business Finance

Instructor: Prof. Rocco Huang
Teaching Assistant: Corrine Carr

Office Phone: (517) 884-6291

Course website: WWW.FI414.COM
  • Check out the course website for the most recent information. 
  • The ANGEL system may be used to distribute confidential information related to grades.

Office hours

  • When: Monday and Wednesday 3.00 pm to 4.00 pm;
  • Where: 338 Eppley Center
  • If you have any questions, the fastest way to get a response is to e-mail me at 
    • My goal is to respond to every inquiry within 24 hours.

Textbook/Case pack

  • We use a custom case pack printed by McGraw-Hill, consisted of Harvard Business School cases.
    • See Textbook section for how to purchase the case pack (either printed or electronic version)
    • Check the Schedule section for a list of business cases used in this course
    • And the Cases section for further information that can help you understand a specific case.

Course learning focus

  • This course is a 100% case-based, and focuses on the following industrial sectors:
    • Consumer, retail, entertainment, and technology
  • Based on 13 cases, we will study:
    • How a manager can operate a business to maximize its fundamental value
    • How an investor can assess a business's fundamental value 
    • How to put a finance "spin" on strategy, marketing, and supply chain management issues
  • You will also be trained in the following areas:
    • Analytical decision-making in an environment of incomplete and imperfect information
    • Team collaboration and coordination
    • Verbal and written presentation skills
  • You won't be taught much new technical knowledge
    • Instead, this course helps you assemble together what you've learnt in the past several years, and put them into practical use
  • You will learn some basic knowledge in many key industries where you are likely to apply for jobs in the very near future.
    • My goal is not to turn you into a real expert overnight
    • But to help you impress people as a professional and as an expert.
      • You will learn some jargons, not just finance jargons, but industry jargons such as same-store sales, subscriber acquisition cost, average revenue per user, inventory turn, etc,
    • More important, you will be able to put a finance "spin" on these operational metrics
  • This course better prepares you for the following career paths:
    • Management and strategic consulting
    • Corporate strategic planning and business development
    • Asset management (e.g., buy-side research analysts)
    • Investment banking

Important prerequisites

  • You must be willing to work in a team and to deal with ambiguities in information inputs
    • If you are just good in memorizing textbooks and solving problem sets, this course may not be your cup of tea unless you are willing to adapt to a new mindset.
  • Finance: FI311, FI312, FI455
  • Accounting: able to understand and analyze financial statements (ACC 201/202)
    • Good accountants are not necessarily good investors. 
    • However, incompetent accountants are seldom good investors.
    • Warren Buffett: "accounting numbers are the beginning, not the end, of business valuation."

Methods of Evaluation

  • Team assignments:
  • Each class section will be divided into 10 teams of 4 to 5 members. 
  • For team assignments, every member of the same team will normally obtain the same points.
  • Each team is required to:
  • Individual requirements:
    • (1) In-Class Quizzes
      • With 1/30 as the earliest possible date, about 6 in-class quiz sessions will be hold
      • The timing is random and is not pre-announced.
      • The quizzes are in multiple-choice-question format; normally 10 questions or less
      • The questions will be related to
        • Case materials for the case to be covered in the same class
        • Basic financial knowledge previously covered
    • (4) If you are absent with university-approved excuses when a quiz is given, the average score of your other quiz results will be applied to the quiz that you miss
      • Otherwise 70% of your average score will be applied to it, for up to 3 times.
      • You can write "absence by choice" on your quiz paper to obtain the same 70% treatment. Of course, your participation points will be deducted accordingly.
    • At the end of the semester, your lowest-score quiz result will be dropped.

Grading system

  • The final grade on a 4-point scale will be converted from this 100-point system based on a curve
  • Group Presentation (10 points)
  • Stock Pitch (15 points)
  • Quiz (50 points)
  • Attendance (25 points)

Attendance requirement

  • Attendance is mandatory. 
  • A roll call or a sign-up sheet may be used in EVERY CLASS, starting from the second class (1/11 Wednesday)
  • University-approved excusable absence (athletics competition, medical conditions, emergencies, jury duty, etc) must be supported by proper documentation
  • The point you will lose for one absence = 25 divided by the total number of attendance check during the semester. E.g., if 20 attendance checks are conducted, then you will lose 25/20=1.25 points for each absence.
  • There are expected to be 28 classes in which attendance can be checked. For each student the first two absences will not be counted. Therefore, it's hard for you to blame bad luck for your lack of attendance.