About the course
The MSc in Business Finance with professional placement is designed to enhance students' understanding of the operation of firms, with a special focus on the financing decisions they must make. This requires an evaluation of the firm’s relationship to financial markets. It also requires an understanding of the theory and practice underlying corporate finance and investment decisions. By studying the operation and design of corporate financial systems, and analysing business financing and investment decisions, this masters programme should enable students to find a role within the finance department of large firms or in government bodies, as well as provide them with tools to help organise smaller businesses.
The objective of the Business Finance MSc is to produce graduates with a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of business finance and company valuation within the context of modern financial markets, without necessarily requiring a high level of mathematical or statistical knowledge as a prerequisite. The key transferable research skills acquired will enable students to proceed to PhD study. In addition, the programme will equip students with the key skills required to undertake further professional development and seek career opportunities within financial management.
- You will be provided with a rigorous treatment of the theory of corporate finance
- You will be taught the econometric and mathematical techniques necessary to understand the literature and undertake empirical investigations in the area of finance
- Through a selection of optional modules the course will offer you a broader perspective on the subject matter and willl allow you to cover specific areas in accounting and finance that are of specific interest to you
The MSc consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.
The full-time Business Finance MSc programme is designed with four equally weighted modules in each of the first two terms, with three being compulsory and one an option from a list. The dissertation carries one third of the marks for the course and is undertaken after the modules have been completed. The part-time option is designed with two modules in each of four terms. The compulsory modules give an excellent coverage of core material in finance designed in a way to be applicable to business. The Business Finance MSc analyses the theory and practice of business finance, focusing on financial decision making within firms and how they interact with the financial markets and institutions.
Through the optional modules the course is also designed to offer a broader perspective on the subject matter and allows you to cover specific areas in accounting and finance that is of particular interest to you.
Modules are subject to change.
Essentials of Mathematics and Statistics: This module ensures that students have a systematic comprehension of the required minimum knowledge of mathematics and statistics to successfully meet the learning outcomes at postgraduate level. This course covers all the preparatory technical material needed to undertake the MSc Business Finance programme, and feeds into all assessed modules.
Quantitative Methods for Business Finance: This module provides an introduction to statistical techniques needed in the study of business and finance. The materials and explanations that will be presented are suitable for an introductory course on quantitative methods or statistics. The module assumes no previous knowledge of econometrics and is designed to give a thorough understanding of compulsory econometrics. In particular, students will learn how to (a) perform a statistical analysis and undertake hypothesis testing and (b) perform a simple and multiple regression analysis.
Foundations of Finance: On completion of this module students will have an understanding of various financial instruments, markets and concepts which are necessary when conducting the corporate investment decision. Topics include bond and equity markets and instruments, discounting, compounding and the time value of money, the decision rules relating to the capital budgeting techniques and their application, the incorporation of risk and uncertainty into an investment decision, including portfolio theory and the Capital Asset Pricing Model.
Business Economics: Students will develop a sound knowledge of the theory of business economics and its applications, as well as acquiring an understanding of (i) the relationship between government and business and (ii) the macroeconomic environment of business. Topics include fundamental economic problems, analysing market structure, business strategy in different market structures, business activity, employment and inflation, globalisation and multinational business.
Company Valuation: This module discusses the fundamental approach to company valuation and applies the fundamental analysis in different contexts, such as security valuation and credit risk. In addition, the module examines the limitations of corporate financial statements in the context of company valuation.
Business Finance: This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the financing decisions and policy of modern corporations.
Business Finance Workshop: Following successful completion of this module, students will be able to: demonstrate a sound knowledge of the operation of financial markets and the theory underpinning corporate finance policy; understand how theory and applications are linked in practice and be able to relate this to the techniques used to model financial decisions and markets. Students will see the methods that arise in other modules being applied to different types of financial data from different countries, and gain a better understanding of how they are used in a corporate environment.
Dissertation: The objective of the dissertation is to bring to bear the techniques and perspectives covered in the taught part of the course upon a specific issue of interest. The dissertation should provide an independent and critical appraisal of an issue, normally (although not always) involving an empirical analysis of the topic being investigated. Although the dissertation is likely to be empirical in nature and will probably involve the use of econometric modelling, it is not about econometrics. The dissertation sets out to investigate a question/issue/problem of interest, and in this context, econometrics is simply a tool that helps us address and answer the question of interest.
Students must choose two optional modules from the following.
Either Financial Reporting in Capital Markets: This module covers a variety of financial reporting issues related to the capital market: accounting for valuation with special emphasis on cash flows and revenue recognition; capital market efficiency related to financial statements announcement and financial analysts forecast; corporate disclosure and corporate governance (The Cadbury Report and The Combined Code on Corporate Governance); financial statements as the measurement of economic income and value.
Or International Finance: The aim of this module is to analyse the international financial system. In particular, it considers the operation of foreign exchange markets, including forward, futures and option markets. Special attention is paid to the use of currency derivatives for hedging and pricing decisions, discussing issues of foreign exchange risk management and international capital budgeting. In addition, the use of such instruments in speculation is assessed, relating them to key equilibrium notions. The main theories of exchange rate determination are analysed, discussing arguments in favour of fixed exchange rates/target zones and under which conditions these result in speculative attacks and/or currency crises.
Either International Accounting Standards and Policy: This module introduces and evaluates key accounting issues related to International Financial Reporting Standards required by investors. For example, the economic role of accounting standards, provisions and contingent liabilities, business combination, accounting for executive share options, financial instruments, pension accounting, and recent accounting topics in academic research e.g. accounting conservatism and accounting information environment.
Or Investment Valuation Models: This module analyses how financial market information (corporate, country-specific and global information) can be used to estimate the value of different investments. It covers a range of different models that are available to an analyst performing investment valuation, while presenting the common elements in these models to provide a framework that can be used to select the right model for any valuation scenario.
- Essentials of Mathematics and Statistics
- Foundations of Finance
- Quantitative Methods for Business Finance
- Business Finance Workshop
- Business Finance
- Business Economics
- Company Valuation
Students must choose two optional modules from the following:
- Financial Reporting in Capital Markets
- International Finance
- International Accounting Standards and Policy
- Investment Valuation Models
- The Dissertation must be submitted in the spring term of the third year.
Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel
and what you will learn on the course.
A key feature of this course that distinguishes it from other finance masters programmes is that it emphasises the applied aspects of business finance and financial decision making within firms. As such, there is more focus on real-life, up-to-date analysis of business decisions and less emphasis on the theoretical foundations and mathematical underpinnings of finance. This is particularly suited to students who would like to enhance their knowledge of finance within a business context but who have backgrounds in a wider business or management field.
Now full-time students have the opportunity to spend time in industry with the Professional Practice placement. This allows you to not only apply what you learn in real-world situations, but will significantly enhance your employability prospects upon graduating.
Another feature is that the emphasis on the applied nature of financial decision making is reinforced through the Business Finance Workshop. This is a series of presentations and discussions of cutting-edge topics led by industry leaders and practitioners.
The course is one of four specialist masters programmes developed by leading experts in the Economics and Finance Department at Brunel. As a student here you will be part of a long standing and thriving environment for research and study with many advantages and benefits such as:
Outstanding academic expertise and research-led teaching
- 95% of our academics are nationally and internationally recognised for their work in economics and econometrics in the latest Research Assessment Exercise (2008)
- As a result, you will benefit from up-to-the-minute research-led teaching by academic staff who regularly publish in international peer-reviewed journals, have an impact on international regulatory design and obtain significant research grants.
Professional training facilities
- You will have access to a variety of professional databases used in business and the finance industry which include Datastream, Bloomberg, Bank Scope, Osiris, Reuters 3000 Xtra and Thomson One Banker
- We hold regular training sessions and external visits with Bloomberg, which will enhance your research and expose you to real-world factors that will be important in future finance related employment.
- Brunel offers a number of scholarships for UK, EU and international students.
Excellent links with leading organisations
- We have excellent links with business and the finance industry, which will help you to network with organisations and get ahead in your career.
Industry talks, guest lectures and research seminars
- A number of industry talks with professionals from the private sector will be invited to teach part of the programme and will provide you with further practical experience
- There is a wide range of events on offer, such as guest lectures and research seminars to keep you up-to-date on the latest developments and will help build your contacts.
Facts and Figures
We are one of the best Economics and Finance Departments in the UK to provide research-active teaching and our research is focused in the following four research centres:
Brunel Macroeconomic Research Centre (BMRC) – We are a group of experienced macroeconomists that focus on research in monetary policy, unemployment and the labour market, and financial development and growth.
Centre for Economic Development and Institutions (CEDI) – CEDI’s activities cover the emerging research field of economic development and institutions, incorporating development economics, comparative economics and transition economics.
Centre for Empirical Finance (CEF) – The main research areas covered within this centre are financial econometrics, risk modelling, micro finance, international finance and computational finance.
Centre for Accounting and Corporate Governance (CACG) – CACG’s research focus includes: What is the process of governance failure? How should it be defined and how can it be predicted? How does governance impact on managers’ incentives? How is governance affected by cultural norms and how does governance affect financial markets?
Teaching and Assessment
Effective learning is achieved through a combination of lectures, seminars, directed independent study, workshops, oral presentations, and varied assessment patterns. Use of appropriate IT resources is expected (e.g. electronic resources to access data, and relevant software programmes used in research methods). Dissertation research will give you the opportunity to integrate your knowledge of important themes, frameworks and research findings in business finance obtained via lectures, seminars, and workshops.
Students who successfully complete a professional placement will be invited to attend a tutorial day to give a presentation about their experience. An optional reflective journal during the placement may assist in preparation for the presentation and dissertation.
All modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and final examinations. Students who successfully complete the taught part of the course can proceed to the dissertation stage. Students who do not follow the pathway with Professional Practice are expected to work on their dissertation in the summer and to submit the final draft in mid-September. Students who follow the Professional Practice pathway will complete their placement during the summer and work on their dissertation afterwards, submitting in January.
A 14-week placement in firms within sectors such as corporate finance, asset management, insurance, trade associations and financial media can significantly improve your job prospects upon graduating. Not only will this give you the opportunity to apply what you learn in lectures, you'll gain insight into current matters in the sector. You'll also develop your professional skills, like teamwork, communication and problem-solving, which will make you a more rounded, employable candidate when it comes to securing a job.
The Department of Economics and Finance is proud to be celebrating 20 years of taught postgraduate education in finance. Former students from our MSc programmes are now themselves teaching in the Australian Business School, EdHec Business School, Nice, Glasgow University and Oslo Business School. Other MSc students hold senior positions in financial institutions including the Bank of Cyprus, HSBC in Istanbul, Standard Life in the UK and TD Bank Financial Group in Canada.
Many of our graduates also hold positions as government economists including the Bank of England and HM Treasury.
Graduate School workshops
In addition to the school’s events and training sessions, you will have the opportunity to undertake workshops and skills training provided by the university’s Graduate School, for example:
- CV Writing for Master's Students
- CV Writing Drop-in Clinic for Master's Students
- How to Succeed in Assessment Centres (Master's Students)
- Interview Techniques for Master's Students
- Transferrable Skills for Master's Students
About the Professional Practice Placement
All students who enrol on the full-time Business Finance MSc will have the opportunity to complete a placement. A placement can significantly improve your employability and expose you to real-world situations in the Banking and Finance industry, and importantly, allow you to network with industry professionals.
Students completing the work placement option will have a competitive edge in pursuing careers as high-level analysts, economists and managers in financial institutions, governments, financial regulators, business companies and central banks, as well as international organisations.
The placement option is available to full-time applicants and will last for 12-15 weeks during the summer of your course. Placements will begin at the earliest in the last week of May and will finish by 19th September 2017. Some employers may also provide a salary.
For students who complete the placement, their dissertation will be completed after the placement has finished and submit by 19th January 2018. Students who do not find a placement will do their dissertation throughout the summer and submit in September.
Securing a Placement
Students will initially enrol onto the full-time route and will only transfer to the placement route when an offer for a placement has been made. The placement will be dependent on students finding and obtaining a placement through Brunel’s Professional Development Centre. The PDC will help students prepare for the placement in the MSc Preplacement Module, by advising on writing applications, CVs, cover letters, interview training and assessment centre training.
Students who do not find a placement will do their dissertation throughout the summer and submit in September.
If you will hold a Tier 4 visa to study at Brunel, there will be no need to extend it, as normally Tier 4 visas to study an MSc in the UK expire in January in any case. If you are unsure, apply for a visa that covers the whole length of the course you intend to do.
During the Placement
As well as supervision from your employer, you will also have support from a Work Placement Tutor from Brunel. Your Work Placement Tutor will be there to support you throughout your placement via email, telephone and will make a visit to your placement before the end date.
After the Placement
Students who complete the placement will attend a Tutorial Day in September and will prepare a compulsory presentation. More details will be available closer to the time. After the Tutorial Day, students will write their dissertations and submit this in January.
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
» More about Employability
Fees for 2016/17 entry
£13,500 full-time; £6,750 part-time
£17,200 full-time; £8,600 part-time
Placement: additional £1,000
Funding opportunities available to postgraduate students
UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.
Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).
Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.
Entry Criteria 2016/17
- A 2:1 in business, economics, finance, banking or investment areas.
- Applicants with a 2:1 in management with a background in economics or maths (e.g. an A-level in economics, finance, maths, statistics, or 40 credits or above in economics, maths or statistics at university) will also be considered.
- Applicants with ACA and ACCA qualifications will be considered.
- Applicants with a high 2:2 in economics and exceptional applications with a highly relevant personal statement and strong academic references may be considered on an individual basis.
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU Entry Requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
- Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)
Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.
However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.
Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.