MSc Financial Management

The course

Delivery
Online learning
Course award
MSc
Location
Online
Entry date
Open enrolment

Designed to impart specialist knowledge of the foundations and dynamic nature of finance, the MSc programme helps students make a vital contribution to the financial strength of their business.

Contact

Overview

Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University’s online MSc Financial Management programme has been designed to give financial professionals the ability to make a crucial contribution where it matters most in business, at the bottom line. It provides a wide-ranging understanding of financial techniques and their application – but does not require a high-level mathematical  understanding of finance theories.

You will engage in a specialist study of the key areas of: corporate finance, mergers, investments, derivatives, credit risk and risk management. The knowledge you gain can be applied in practical ways. Careers in the sector depend upon a strong understanding of the foundations and dynamic nature of finance and investment behaviour. The MSc will give you that, preparing the way for a career in a wide variety of positions within the finance profession.

Programme duration

It takes approximately 200 study hours per course. On average, it takes four years to complete a full MSc, but it can be completed faster or over a longer period. You can choose your own pace by picking up or setting aside your studies whenever it suits you best. Your schedule always takes priority.

Online learning delivery

Our progressive course materials are made available online through our virtual learning environment (VLE). The VLE links you with our expert academics and course materials through videos, webinars, articles, journals, assessments and discussion boards. With us, it’s completely up to you when and where you sit your exams and you need only pay for one at a time. You can choose when to sit your exams and if you need to rearrange, that’s no problem either. To find out more about the programme structure, resources and support please visit our Online learning delivery and support pages.

Student support

Even the most gifted and most confident of students need a little help from time to time. Whether you study online at home or with a learning partner you’re never far from the support of our faculty and your fellow learners. Additional support is available through optional online tuition and revision sessions and other online resources such as tests, practice essays, collaborative discussion forums where you can engage with your fellow students around the world and tools to help you track your progress through the course materials.

Our students

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Course content

The MSc Financial Management covers a wide ranging understanding of financial techniques, which will give you the skills and knowledge you need to progress in your career.

The programme comprises of five mandatory courses, and four optional. Courses are assessed by a written examination and/or written coursework. Pass these and join our global network of Edinburgh Business School graduates and business professionals.

Mandatory courses

Optional courses

  • Corporate Governance
  • Developing and Executing Strategy
  • Economics for Business
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Research Methods for Business and Management 

See full details of optional courses below.

Course descriptors

Advanced Financial Decision Making

The Advanced Financial Decision Making course aims to enable students to analyse complex financial choices, both external and internal, facing a company and propose courses of action that are consistent with the organisation’s goals. 

The course begins with a refresher of key topics covered on Financial Decision Making before moving on to financial reporting. Here, the course covers the consolidation process for a group of companies, examines the information available in annual corporate reports and looks at current reporting trends.

Management accounting then looks at tools to solve problems of resource allocation and moves on to other key tools currently used in practice including target and lifecycle costing, total quality management, six sigma and kaizen costing.

Planning and budgeting are the next topics where there is extensive coverage of compiling budgets, divisional performance management, transfer pricing issues and non-financial performance metrics.

We then move into the major area of financial management and the course covers tools to manage elements of working capital, complex capital investment appraisal, corporate valuations, and M&A (mergers and acquisition). Risk management is then examined, concentrating on exchange rate and interest rate risk exposures and how these are managed by companies.

The penultimate topics are corporate failure and business reconstruction. The course concludes with a discussion on current trends in finance and accounting.
Advanced Financial Decision Making syllabus

Detailed topics include:

•    International accounting and basic group accounting (consolidation)
•    Annual corporate reports and interpreting information 
•    Earnings management and accounting scandals
•    Corporate reporting and disclosure trends
•    Alternative management accounting tools and techniques
•    Planning and performance evaluation
•    Working capital management
•    Advanced capital investment appraisal
•    Corporate share and bond valuation
•    Mergers and acquisitions
•    Exchange rate risk management
•    Interest rate risk management
•    Corporate failure and business restructuring
•    Current issues in finance and accounting
 

Credit Risk Management

Providing an understanding of the credit process and the management of financial distress. The course will examine credit risk modelling, the assessment and management of credit risk and the problems that companies face during financial distress and bankruptcy.

Topics covered:

  • Introduction to credit risk management
  • Understanding financial statements
  • Ratio analysis
  • Expert and ratio systems
  • Credit scoring and modelling default
  • Market-based credit models
  • Market default models
  • Managing credit risk in a corporate environment
  • Financial distress
  • Bankruptcy

Derivatives

In order to transfer and mitigate risk, a company will often turn to financial instruments such as derivatives, including forward contracts, futures, options and swaps. This course will give financial executives an understanding of what derivatives can achieve and how they are priced.

Topics covered: 

  • The derivatives building blocks.
  • Terminal instruments.
  • Forward contracts.
  • Futures.
  • Swaps.
  • The basics of options.
  • Option pricing.
  • The Black–Scholes option-pricing model.
  • 'The Greeks of option pricing'.
  • Extensions to the basic option-pricing model.
  • Using derivatives and hedging.
  • Hedging and insurance.
  • Using the derivatives product set.

Financial Decision Making

Financial decision making aims to provide students with a set of accounting and financial tools that enables them to interpret and critique financial information from a variety of sources, and to make informed and effective financial decisions that directly impact company operations.

The course begins with a closer look at the current financial landscape. It then examines the application of financial and management accounting tools relevant to critical financial decisions, including key performance indicators, breakeven analysis, working capital management techniques and the budgeting process.

This is followed by a consideration of financial management and the decisions faced by organisations on investment (what projects), finance (what type of finance) and dividend (pay or retain) and how an organisation analyses takes action on each of those decisions.

Topics include:

  • The financial landscape
  • Financial accounting
  • Working capital management
  • Management accounting
  • Budgeting
  • Financial tools
  • Capital budgeting and investment appraisal
  • Financing, payout policy and management.
  • The course concludes with an introduction to exchange rate and interest rate risk management.
Read the full course syllabus

Read an extended outline of the course syllabus for Financial Decision Making, which gives you an overview of the course content.

Financial Risk Management

The rationale for this course is straightforward: to provide executives with the tools they need to analyse, control and reduce business risk in volatile financial and commodity markets.

Topics covered:

  • Risk and the management of the firm.
  • The markets.
  • Market mechanisms and efficiency.
  • Interest-rate risk.
  • Currency risk.
  • Equity and commodity price risk.
  • The behaviour of asset prices.
  • Risk assessment.
  • Controlling risk.
  • Quantifying financial risks.
  • Financial methods for measuring risk.
  • Qualitative approaches to risk assessment.

Optional courses

Choose any four of the following optional courses:

Corporate Governance
Corporate Governance will help establish a clear skillset for company directors, allowing them to reconcile external and internal controls, risk management, competitive behaviour and adherence to corporate law.

Topics covered:

  • Corporate governance issues, concepts and domain.
  • External governance – law and regulation.
  • Codes of 'best practice' and norms of behaviour.
  • Boards of directors: the lynchpin.
  • Internal controls and accountability.
  • Risk management.
  • Financial market supervision and control.
  • Governance and financial market economics.
  • External reporting need vs. delivery.
  • Definition inconsistency and system improvement.
  • Reality in the face of prescription.
Developing and Executing Strategy

This course covers the core areas of strategic management and uses the general management setting to integrate ideas across the core disciplines covered in other MBA core courses. Developing and Executing Strategy begins by examining the evolution of management and academic thinking around strategy and strategic management over the past 50 years, reviews the diversity of contemporary strategy theory and practice and examines the role of strategy in the management of different types of organisations.

The course then examines a variety of aspects of strategy, such as strategic intent, analysis, strategic options and implementation. At each stage the links with other management disciplines, such as leadership, organisational behaviour, economics, marketing and finance are considered. Finally an integrative framework for strategic decision-making is presented, which facilitates a holistic approach to complex business and management issues.

Topics include:

  • Introduction to Strategy and Strategists
  • Strategic Intent
  • Strategic Issue Diagnosis 
  • Interpreting and Analysing the Environment
  • Analysing the Organisation
  • Generating, Selecting and Evaluating Strategic Options
  • Strategy Implementation and Practice

The course encourages students to think and operate at the strategic level in a range of dynamic settings through integration of ideas across core business disciplines.

Economics for Business

The course starts by outlining fundamental economic concepts and examining the workings of the market system. Different market structures and their impact on organisations are reviewed and the role of government in the economy is examined.

Relevant aspects of the macroeconomy are introduced with a focus on business impact and decision-making. This is followed by an exposition of international economic issues.

Topics include:

  • The Role of Economics in Business 
  • The Market Mechanism 
  • Demand 
  • Supply
  • Market Structure
  • Factor Markets 
  • The Role of Government
  • The Macroeconomic Environment
  • Macroeconomic Policy
  • International Trade and Globalisation
  • Research Activity

The course ends with a research activity that will pull all the strands of the course together, and prepare students fully for the assessment.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions rarely create shareholder value. Which begs the obvious question: why not? In examining real case studies, as well as innovative theoretical approaches, Mergers and Acquisitions will help executives to make better M&A decisions in the future.

Topics covered

  • Strategic focus.
  • Why mergers fail.
  • Valuation.
  • Bid tactics.
  • Due diligence.
  • The concept of implementation.
  • Project management of implementation.
  • Developing the implementation plan.
  • Executing the implementation plan.
Quantitative Methods
The ability to interpret business data is vital for market success. Not only will this course help you organise and understand the all-important numbers, it will enable you to use those figures to make sound business decisions.

Topics covered

  • Simple uses and misuses of statistics.
  • School mathematics applied to management.
  • Data communication.
  • Data analysis.
  • Summary measures.
  • Sampling methods.
  • Distributions.
  • Statistical inference.
  • More distributions.
  • Analysis of variance.
  • Regression and correlation.
  • Advanced regression analysis.
  • The context of forecasting.
  • Time series techniques.
  • Managing forecasts.
Research Methods for Business and Management

A thorough understanding of the methods and processes of business research is the key component of this course. It looks at the concept of research, both original and applied, and examines how information can provide a greater understanding of your business and its successful management.

Topics covered:

  • Research methods and your dissertation.
  • The project process.
  • The research process.
  • Using what's already known.
  • Semi-structured primary data techniques.
  • Fully structured primary data techniques.
  • Writing the dissertation.

Entry requirements

Typically you will hold a recognised first or second class honours degree, or equivalent professional qualification. Students whose native language is not English and who have not been educated previously in the English language must provide evidence of their English language proficiency. Alternatively, formal entry can still be gained by passing three MSc courses, Financial Decision Making and two other mandatory courses.

Rewarding previous study

If you have gained a qualification in a relevant subject prior to the start of your online Edinburgh Business School programme, we may be able to reward this hard work with an exemption from certain courses. 

These exemptions are only ever at our discretion and are considered on the basis of qualifications gained through formal examination - whether at degree level or through a professional body. The qualification being presented for consideration should have been gained within the last five years. Qualifications gained over five years ago may be considered if additional supporting evidence shows that you have keep abreast of current developments in the subject area through CPD

Exemption from core courses may be granted on the basis of bachelor level and professional qualifications. Exemption from core and elective courses may be granted on the basis of postgraduate level qualifications (except fully completed degrees) and professional qualifications.

Exemptions will not be awarded on the basis of courses which have been used towards the award of another degree at Masters level, whether this was awarded by Heriot-Watt University or any other institution. For example, a student who has gained an MSc in Accounting will not be given an exemption in Accounting from Edinburgh Business School’s MBA or MSc degree programmes.

Exemption eligibility

If you would like to enquire about your eligibility, please complete an Exemption Application Form.  

Applications

To proceed with an application, visit our Apply pages.

Fees

Fees for this course can be found on the tuition fees page.

Additional fees information

You can study on a course-by-course basis and pay as you learn, or sign up for two or three courses at once. Our fees are flexible. 

Additional scholarship information

Each year Edinburgh Business School makes available a number of scholarships and discounts to help students to achieve one of our awards.