Fin 36053 Business Finance – Spring, 2006 College of Business Administration Kent State University

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FIN 36053 Business Finance – Spring, 2006

College of Business Administration - Kent State University
Instructor: Aiwu Zhao

Office: BSA 432

Phones: 672-1218


Office Hours: M,F 9:00-11:00 a.m., T 9:00-10:00 p.m., and by appointment
Course Objective: For most students, this is the introductory course in Finance. It is intended to provide students with the basic concepts and tools needed to understand the financial aspects of business management. For students majoring in Finance, this course provides the foundation needed for higher-level Finance courses. For students majoring in other fields, this course contains much information that all professional managers and administrators need to understand, regardless of specialty. Many topics covered in this course can be helpful to students in dealing with typical situations of adult life, such as financing a house or an automobile, making personal investment decisions, planning for retirement or a child’s college education, and being knowledgeable and responsible voting citizens.
Prerequisites: ACCT 23020, ECON 22061. These prerequisites are important for understanding the materials in the course, and they are absolute. Your instructor will not waive any of the prerequisites, so please do not ask. Students who have not completed the prerequisites must withdraw or risk deregistration. It is assumed that all students have a working knowledge of basic college math. It is also helpful to have completed a sophomore level course in statistics, such as the one included in the pre-business core curriculum.
Class Meetings: T 6:15-8:55 p.m. BSA 100

Essentials of Corporate Finance, Fifth Edition, by Ross, Westerfield, and Jordan (McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2007), including

Self Study Software to accompany Essentials of Corporate Finance, Fifth Edition.

Online learning center for the text (

Wall Street Journal. This is highly recommended. You will have the opportunity to subscribe for fifteen weeks or longer at heavily discounted student rates. As we have time, current events will be integrated into class discussion.
For each chapter the online learning center contains Web-based study aids (online interactive study guides), online practice quizzes, narrated PowerPoint examples, Excel templates tied to specific problems in the text, web links that relate to specific topics in the text, and web pages containing career information. There is much valuable review material here for exams.

Students are expected to attend all lectures and exams. Attendance will be taken either on a daily basis or on random days (as feasible), at random times during the class period. A student who is not present at the time attendance is taken will be counted absent even if that student was present earlier or later during the class session. Attendance, as a bonus, will contribute 3 percent of the total grade and will be regarded in the context of participation. Students who accumulate more than 2 recorded unexcused absences will not receive the bonus points. Sleeping or engaging in other activities not related to this class will result in you being asked to leave.

Homework and/or Quizzes:

Assigned homework problems may be collected for grading at the discretion of the instructor. In addition, short quizzes may be given regularly or at random times. Depending on the frequency with which homework is collected or quizzes are administered, the instructor may permit a student to drop a certain number of their lowest scores. Homework problems may not be turned in late, nor will make-up quizzes be given except in the case of previously coordinated excused absences.

McGraw-Hill’s Homework Manager is a new feature that came packaged with your text. It will automatically grade homework submissions. You will receive additional information on a separate handout.
Responsibility for Content: Students are responsible for all material included in lectures, reading assignments, and homework assignments. Exam questions may be based on any of these, entirely at the discretion of the instructor. The lectures develop the conceptual framework that serves as the basis for the problems and examples assigned for homework or review. It is important to read assigned material and work as many of the assigned problems as possible before the lectures. Questions that arise as a result of studying the assigned material may then be asked during lecture. Students who do this have a much better chance of doing well on exams.
Exams: Four exams will be given during the semester, including a comprehensive final given during final exam week according to the regular university final exam schedule. The dates and times for all exams are shown on the attached course calendar. Please check this carefully. Exams will be based on the material indicated in the course schedule. The exam format will be multiple choice and short-answer questions. Some of the questions/problems will be quantitative in nature, and others will be definitional or conceptual in nature.
Quizzes, tests, or final exams from previous semesters for this class may not be used as study guides. If you obtain current or previous quizzes, tests, or final exams for this class in any manner, you are hereby informed that this is considered to be cheating and appropriate disciplinary action will be invoked.

What you need for exams:

1. Bring your official Kent State University picture identification card.

2. Bring two or more sharpened #2 pencils. These are absolutely required because the exam answer sheets may be computer scored. The computer equipment cannot read responses filled in by pen or marker.

3. Bring your calculator. Make sure it works, make sure you know how to use it, and make sure the batteries are good! This is entirely your responsibility, and calculator related problems are no excuse for anything. Do not count on borrowing a calculator from an instructor or from another student.

4. Formulas: It is expected that an appropriate formula sheet will be furnished by the instructor, or that you will be permitted to make your own which will have to be turned in with the exam. Personal formula sheets must be handwritten and not copies. Do not bring notes, and do not bring copies of material from any other part of the text or from any other source.
Missed Examination Policy: Exam dates and times are indicated on the attached course calendar. If it is not possible to avoid missing an exam, or if an emergency arises, the student is expected to notify the professor as soon as possible before the scheduled exam (or immediately afterwards- in no case more than 24 hours after the scheduled time of the exam-ONLY if prior notification is impossible because of a true emergency or accident). Failure to provide proper notice will result in an unexcused absence. A legitimate and verifiable proof, stating the reason for missing the exam, must be submitted in a timely manner. In the case of an excused absence the absentee will be expected to make up the exam in a timely fashion. If this is not possible, then entirely at the instructor’s discretion the exam may be made up by using a special make up exam given in any format the instructor finds to be both feasible and fair, and at a time convenient for the instructor. An unexcused absence from an exam cannot be made up and will be recorded as a score of zero points.
Excused Absences -- Criteria for Exams and for Regular Classes:

The following general principles apply:

a.) Absence due to accident or death in the family may be excused if proper advance notice is given and/or after strict verification. A physician’s excuse will not result in a defacto excused absence, particularly if an exam is missed. Please understand that you are responsible for any material covered in class during your absence.

b.) Authorization to miss an exam due to an official university activity must be requested in writing by the department sponsoring the activity at least one week in advance. This is consistent with official university policy.

c.) Obligations of citizenship such as jury duty or unexpected national guard/reserve call-up will excuse absence if proper advance notice is given and when verified.

d.) Students who have special needs because of disability should contact the instructor at least one week in advance to make appropriate arrangements. Disabled students are held to the same standards of responsible behavior as are other students, so missing a class or an exam because of poor planning will not be excused. See the references in this syllabus concerning students with disabilities.

e.) Students who work are expected to make arrangements to be free at the times for which classes and exams are scheduled. A student’s work schedule is a personal matter between the student and his/her employer. It has nothing to do with this course. A work conflict is not a valid excuse for missing a class or an exam.

f.) Missing a class or an exam because of the consequences of personal behavior will not be excused. This includes (but is not limited to) relationship problems, self-induced incapacitation, court summons, incarceration, scheduling appointments during class time, etc.

g.) The only holidays recognized for purposes of this course are those which are officially observed by the university.

h.) For students who have a legitimate reason for missing a class or an exam, acceptable notification includes contacting the professor in person or by telephone, sending a message by e-mail or fax, or leaving a message on voice mail. Make sure that all messages and faxes state the date and time. It is not acceptable to leave a note in a mail slot, mail box, door bin, or under the instructor’s door: Such notes may be handled by someone other than the instructor and are too easily misplaced or lost.

i). Situations not covered above may be evaluated, at the request of the student, on a case-by-case basis. An absence will not be excused if, in the opinion of the instructor, reasonable and responsible behavior on the part of the student could have prevented it.

Grading: Final grades for the course will be determined according to the schedule listed below.

Exam 1 20%

Exam 2 20%

Exam 3 20%

Exam 4 30%

Homework/Quizzes 10%

93 – 100% A

90 – 92 A-

87 – 89 B+

83 – 86 B

80 – 82 B-

77 – 79 C+

73 – 76 C

70 – 72 C-

67 – 69 D+

60 – 66 D

< 60 F

Scale Adjustment: Following the Final Exam, if the final average for the class is less than ~75%, there may be justification for making an adjustment to the grading scale. Please note that this is not a guarantee. A number of factors may be taken into account. A low level of overall student performance does not, in and of itself, indicate the need for an adjustment. NO adjustments will be made prior to completion of the final exam nor will the likelihood of an adjustment be addressed with students either individually or collectively.
Final grades will be determined entirely on the basis of grades earned during the semester. No extra credit assignments or special projects will be allowed. Every student’s grade will be determined exactly as stated in this syllabus, no exceptions! All students in the class must be graded by exactly the same criteria, so it is absolutely unfair and unethical for your instructor to consider factors such as an individual student’s need to maintain a certain GPA, graduation status, employment prospects, etc., so please do not ask.
Cheating: In accordance with the University Digest of Rules and Regulations, any student caught in the act of cheating will receive a grade of F for the exam in question and will be reported to the appropriate administrative officer, possibly resulting in dismissal from the University. See the addendum to this syllabus concerning Academic Honesty. In order to prevent the use of “ringers” during exams, every student will be required to present the official university photo ID card (or driver’s license showing photograph and SS#) before being allowed to turn in an exam. Any person who has lost his/her ID card must meet with the professor or teaching assistant before the scheduled date of the exam in order to gain approval for alternative means of identification. As an additional measure to discourage cheating, there may be more than one version of each exam. Different exam versions will be substantially the same, except for the order of questions and/or the order of solutions and/or different numbers for otherwise identical problems. Students will not be told how many versions of the exams are being used, how different versions are distributed, or how the versions differ.
General Advice to Students:

The level of instruction in this course assumes that you know many things which you should have learned from the prerequisites, as well as from your high school and/or college algebra. The subject matter of this course is Finance. If there is to be sufficient time to discuss Finance the instructor will not have time to review the prerequisite subjects, so the course must be structured on the assumption that you have a decent recollection of them. To the extent that you may have forgotten some of this background material, it is absolutely your responsibility to review it. Also, the course deals with many different analytical topics, one following rapidly after another. As a result, this course is not and can not be made easy for the vast majority of students. This course requires much study on a regular and frequent basis. You should plan to study for a minimum of 2-4 hours for every hour spent in class. You should not expect to become an expert in this material overnight. If you depend on cramming before exams, you will probably not do well. Try your best to keep up. Getting behind is usually the beginning of the end.

This is not a course in which you do well by simply crunching numbers into cookbook formulas that you have memorized. Memorization is not recommended because it is not good enough. To do well, you should strive to develop analytical skills, logical thinking, and intuitive understanding of the material. Unless you are a genius the only way to accomplish this is to study hard and often, and to practice. Read the assigned material and go over the questions and problems before the scheduled lecture or discussion session. The average student needs to go over everything two or three times in order to develop understanding. Preparing in advance will make it easier to understand and remember the material presented in lecture. Work all of the assigned problems before the date assigned.. Work extra problems if you can find the time. Do not expect to gain an understanding simply by watching the instructor present examples or solutions. If you cannot solve a homework problem after making a strong effort, or if you are having difficulty with some of the reading material or with a concept covered in lecture, see the instructor during office hours. It is normal (and expected) for students to study and work problems for this course for several hours for each hour of time spent in lecture. If you cannot make this time commitment, perhaps you should consider not taking this course during this semester.
A Note On Calculators: Every student of business can benefit by using a financial calculator. Calculator hints appear in several chapters of the text, and Appendix D contains instructions for the HP 10B and TI BAII+.
The advantages of owning a financial calculator when taking this course cannot be overstated. The homework and examinations will require calculations that will be much simplified if you purchase and become familiar with a financial calculator. Mastery of a good calculator is an integral part of every business professional's acumen regardless of major or discipline. Your instructor recommends the Texas Instruments or Hewlett Packard lines. Advanced models like the HP10B and the TI BAII+ sell for less than $30.00 at outlets such as Staples, Office Max, or Wal-Mart. Advanced (graphing and programmable) calculator models can do virtually all of the problems that appear in this course, but they often come with default pre-sets that have to be manually re-adjusted to make the calculators work with more general finance problems, and many people find these adjustments difficult to figure out.
The major brand lines also sell simpler, less expensive financial calculators that have fewer features but are easier to use. Some of these sell for as little as $20 and they have been found at discount stores like Target, as well as the office supply stores. I recommend an advanced calculator for students who plan go on to do higher level work in finance, accounting, or economics after this course. For other students, the simpler and less expensive versions may be sufficient.
If you have a scientific or math calculator that you purchased for other courses, you may be able use that calculator to solve many financial math/compound interest problems. Some math/scientific models (such as the TI 83) have built-in or programmable financial functions, but your instructor has found that these capabilities are often inferior to (or more difficult to use) than the capabilities of good dedicated financial calculators. Using math/scientific calculators will require students to perform more complex mathematical calculations instead of using built-in financial functions. Thus, using a math/scientific calculator is likely to be more complicated, more time consuming, and thus more prone to user error. In general, it is well worth the money to purchase a financial calculator.
A Note on Spreadsheet Programs:

The ability to use a computer spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel is a very valuable skill for business professionals, especially in the area of finance. The textbook chapters contain examples showing how to do certain calculations with spreadsheets. Some of the homework problems are best solved by using a spreadsheet. Students who do not own computers or spreadsheet software will find that these tools are available free of charge in the College of Business Computer Lab. Excel templates are available from the textbook’s online learning center mentioned above.

University Policies:

  1. Students attending the course who do not have the proper prerequisites risk being deregistered from the class.

  1. Students have the sole responsibility to ensure they are properly enrolled in classes. You are advised to review your official class schedule during the first two weeks of the semester to ensure you are properly enrolled in this class and section. Should you find an error in your class schedule, you have until January 27th to correct it with your advising office (a late fee may be applied). If registration errors are not corrected by this date and you continue to attend and participate in classes for which you are not officially enrolled, you are advised now that you will not receive a grade at the conclusion of the semester for any class in which you are not properly registered.

  1. Academic Honesty: Cheating means to misrepresent the source, nature, or other conditions of your academic work (e.g., tests, papers, projects, assignments) so as to get undeserved credit. The use of the intellectual property of others without giving them appropriate credit is a serious academic offense. It is the University's policy that cheating or plagiarism result in receiving a failing grade for the work or course. Repeat offenses result in dismissal from the University.

  1. For Spring, 2006 the course withdrawal deadline is March 26th . Withdrawal before the deadline results in a "W" on the official transcript; after the deadline a grade must be calculated and reported.

  1. Students with disabilities: University policy 3342-3-18 requires that students with disabilities be provided reasonable accommodations to ensure their equal access to course content. If you have a documented disability and require accommodations please contact the instructor at the beginning of the semester to make arrangements for necessary classroom adjustments. Please note that students with disabilities must verify their eligibility through the Office of Student Disability Services (SDS) in the Michael Schwartz Service Center (672-3391, or visit for more information on registration procedures).

Finance 36053, Spring, 2006
Tentative Course Calendar

Note: Although Critical Thinking and Concept Review questions are not assigned, they are tremendously helpful in preparing for concept-based exam questions.




Homework (at a minimum, subject to collection for grading)

Week One

Introduction to course, syllabus and course policies. Demo of learning resources.

Business Finance

The Financial Manager, Financial Decisions

Text: Ch. 1

Text: Ch. 1, Critical Thinking and Concepts Review, Questions 1-15

Forms of Business Organization

The Goal of Financial Management

The Agency Problem and Control of the Corporation

Financial Markets and the Corporation

Week Two

Financial Statements, Taxes, and Cash Flow

Review of Balance Sheet

Review of Income Statement

Text: Ch. 2

Text: Self-Test Problem 2.1.

Problems 1-14, 17-21


Analysis of Cash Flow

Week Three

Working with Financial Statements

Standardized Financial Statements

Ratio Analysis

Text: Ch. 3

Text: Self – Test Problems 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4

Problems 1-12, 14-16, 18, 24-26, 28

Ration Analysis continued

The Du Pont Identity

Internal and Sustainable Growth

Using Financial Statement Information

Week Four

Short-Term Financial Planning

Cash and Net working Capital

Operating Cycle and Cash Cycle

Text: Ch. 16

Text: Self-Test Problems 16.1, 16.2

Problems 1-11, 13-15, 17

Short-Term Financial Policy

Cash Budget

Short Term Borrowing

Short-Term Financial Plan

Week Five

Exam 1, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 16

The Time Value of Money

Future Value and Compounding

Present Value and Discounting

Present vs. Future Value

Text: Ch. 4

Text: Self Test Problems 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4

Problems 1- 6, 9-11, 15, 20, 21, 23-25

Determining the Discount Rate

Finding the Number of Periods

Spreadsheet Strategies

Week Six

Discounted Cash Flow Valuation

Future And Present Values of Multiple Cash Flows

Level Cash Flows: Annuities and Perpetuities

Text: Ch. 5

Text: Self-Test Problems 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6

Problems 1-7, 10-13, 19-22, 24-28, 31, 39, 40, 45, 51, 55

The Effect of Compounding Periods on Rates

Loan Types and Loan Amortization

Week Seven

Interest Rates and Bond Valuation

Bonds and Bond Valuation, Prices, Yields

Interest Rate Risk

Text: Ch. 6

Text: Self-Test Problems 6.1, 6.2

Problems 1-6, 10-12, 15-18, 23

Bond Features

Bond Ratings

Types of Bonds, Bond Markets

Inflation and Interest Rates, Fisher Effect

Determinants of Bond Yields, Term Structure of Interest Rates

Week Eight

Equity Markets and Stock Valuation

Common Stock Valuation

Cash Flow and Growth Patterns

Components of Required Return

Text: Ch. 7

Text: Self-Test Problems 7.1, 7.2

Problems 1-13, 16,19, 20

Features of Common and Preferred Stocks

The Stock Markets

Week Nine

Exam 2, Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7

Net Present Value and Other Investment Criteria

Net Present Value

Payback Rule

Average Accounting Return

Text: Ch. 8

Text: Self-Test Problem 8.1, 8.2, 8.3

Problems 3, 5-11, 13, 15, 18

Internal Rate of Return

Profitability Index

Practice of Capital Budgeting

Week Ten

Capital Investment Decisions

Project Cash Flows: Introduction

Incremental Cash Flows

Relevant Cash Flows

Pro Forma Financial Statements and Project Cash Flows


Text: Ch. 9

Text: Self-Test Problems 9.1, 9.2
Problems 2-10, 12, 14, 15, 18, 20

Evaluating NPV Estimates

Scenario and Other “What-if” Analyses

Additional Considerations

Week Eleven

Lessons From Capital Market History


Inflation and Returns

The Historical Record

Text: Ch. 10

Text: Self Test Problems 10.1, 10.2

Problems 1-12, 14, 17-19, 21

Average Returns

The Variability of Returns

Capital Market Efficiency

Week Twelve

Risk and Return

Expected Returns and Variances


Announcements, Surprises, and Expected Returns

Risk: Systematic and Unsystematic

Text: Ch. 11

Text: Self-Test Problems 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, 11.4
Problems 1-17, 22, 23, 25, 26, 30

Diversification and Portfolio Risk

Systematic Risk and Beta

Security Market Line

SML and Cost of Capital

EXAM 3, Chapters 8, 9, 10, 11

Week Thirteen

Cost of Capital

Required Return Versus Cost of Capital

The Cost of Equity

The Costs of Debt and Preferred Stock

Text: Ch. 12

Text: Self-Test Problems 12.1, 12.2
Problems 1-12, 15-17

Weighted Average Costs of Capital

Divisional and Project Costs of Capital

Week Fourteen

Leverage and Capital Structure

The Capital Structure Question

The Effect of Financial Leverage

Capital Structure and the Cost of Equity

Text: Ch. 13

Text: Self-Test Problems 13.1, 13.2, 13.3

Problems 1-3, 6,7,9,10, 12,14,19

Corporate Taxes and Capital Structure

Bankruptcy Costs

Optimal Capital Structure

Features of Bankruptcy

Observed Capital Structures

Week Fifteen

Dividends and Dividend Policy

Cash Dividends and Dividend Payment

Does Dividend Policy Matter?

Establishing a Dividend Policy

Text: Ch. 14

Text: Self-Test Problem 14.1

Problems 1-9, 12, 16, 18

Stock Repurchase – An Alternative to Dividends

Stock Dividends and Stock Splits

Finals Week

EXAM 4, Chapters 12,13,14 plus comprehensive review of material on exams 1,2, & 3

FINAL EXAM – 5:45-8:00PM on Tuesday, May 9th

Suggested Student Perspective

Any college course should increase your understanding of the subject matter of that course. But there are other kinds of understanding which are also important parts of the college experience. One of these is the enhanced understanding of yourself - your abilities, limitations, interests, etc. - which should evolve as a result of your participation in any college course. If you are actively involved in the learning process, this result is almost inevitable. Another kind of understanding is that which must precede your effective use of the opportunities you have in college. Following are some things you should understand:
I. I understand:

1) that my tuition payment covers only a portion of the cost of my college education, and

2) that the people who are paying for the remainder of my education, some of whom may never have the opportunity to seek higher education, therefore have a right to expect that I will make the best possible use of the opportunity which they have, in part, provided me, and

3) that my professor is therefore obligated to encourage a level of achievement on my part which justifies the expenditure of other people's money for my benefit.

II. I understand:

that grades in this course constitute a rating of my performance relative to the standards established by the professor, not a ranking of my standing in the class relative to everyone else, and that the grade I receive will be a reflection of my performance in the course, regardless of whether anybody or everybody else in the class performed particularly well or poorly.

III. I understand that the grade assigned to me in this course is a reflection of my achievement in the course, NOT:

1) the amount of effort I expended during the semester, or

2) the amount of money I paid for the course, or

3) the grades I got in high school or other college courses.

IV. I understand that the title of the person assigned to this course is "professor or instructor," and that such a person is someone who provides students with the conditions for learning, with the expectation that students will use the materials provided by the professor or instructor to teach themselves, and seek help when their own efforts are not sufficient. I understand that this system requires that I take an active role in the process and not expect someone else to do for me what I am not willing to do for myself.
V. I understand that in order for me to be an effective learner I will have to have:

1) interest - that is, an openness to new information, an enthusiasm for new learning opportunities, a willingness to try different approaches to the work before me

2) skills - for listening, taking notes, reading, asking questions, studying, taking tests, organizing my time, researching information, communicating effectively both in written and oral form, and using available technology

3) time - to provide the opportunity to both absorb and reflect upon the information presented in this course

4) intolerance of my ignorance - a willingness to acknowledge and attack my lack of understanding
VI. I understand that one of the reasons why many employers require a college degree as a prerequisite of employment is that they expect college students to have developed habits and attitudes toward their work that will make them more effective employees. I understand that it would therefore not be to my advantage for my professor/instructor to tolerate absence from class, dishonesty, tardiness or late submissions of assignments, sloppy or incomplete work, or any other deficiencies of performance that would not be tolerated in the workplace.

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