GRA 6540 Applied Finance

GRA 6540 Applied Finance

Course code: 
GRA 6540
Course coordinator: 
Francesco Nicolai
Course name in Norwegian: 
Applied Finance
Product category: 
MSc in Business - Elective course
2023 Autumn
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Applied Finance is available for all MSc in Business students, except finance majors. Note that this course does not qualify as a prerequisite for advanced specialization courses in finance.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

The goal of the course is to make students familiar with and able to apply the fundamental concepts in investments and corporate finance. To this end, students will be required to use the analytical tools learned in class in real world applications. The methods addressed in this course are at the very core of finance and are an essential part of the toolkit of financial managers. To better connect theory and practice, a crucial part of the course consists of projects using real data and cases.

By the end of the course, students will have the financial background and the analytical tools necessary for making good investment decisions, understanding how assets should be priced, analyzing the impact of financing choices on the value of firms, and being able to read and understand financial news.

Learning outcomes - Skills
  • Apply optimal investment decision rules
  • Value bonds and stocks
  • Optimally choose portfolios
  • Detect various market failures
  • Value companies
  • Recognize the pros and cons of different capital structure choices
  • Analyse firms' payout policies
General Competence
  • Ability to understand and analyze investment decisions for different types of investors and in different periods of time
  • Appreciation of the complexity of investment decisions and having a framework to help understanding the whole picture
  • Ability to distinguish different types of risks in each investment decision
  • Understanding of the link between firm value and capital structure of a firm
Course content
  • Optimal investment decision rules
  • Valuing Bonds
  • Valuing Stocks
  • Optimal portfolio choice and the CAPM
  • Behavioural finance
  • Capital budgeting and valuation
  • Capital structure in a perfect market
  • Capital structure in imperfect markets
  • Payout policy
Teaching and learning activities

The course consists of combination of lectures, in-class and in-group problem solving. Students are expected to have read the materials before each class.

This course requires students to hand in problem-sets which can be solved using Excel or a programming language like R or Python. Students are expected to spend a considerable amount of time doing these exercises throughout the semester.

Students are expected to participate in class discussions. 

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

This course is not available for students doing MSc in Business - major in Finance or students in the MSc in Finance programme.

The exam for this course has been changed starting academic year 2023/2024. It is not possible to retake the old version of the exam. 

It is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Exam categoryWeightInvigilationDurationSupport materialsGroupingComment exam
Exam category:
Form of assessment:
Written submission
Exam code:
GRA 65401
Grading scale:
Grading rules:
Internal examiner
Examination when next scheduled course
100Yes3 Hour(s)
  • BI-approved exam calculator
  • Simple calculator
  • Bilingual dictionary
Individual Written examination under supervision
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Grouping (size):Individual
Support materials:
  • BI-approved exam calculator
  • Simple calculator
  • Bilingual dictionary
Duration:3 Hour(s)
Comment:Written examination under supervision
Exam code:GRA 65401
Grading scale:ECTS
Resit:Examination when next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
Student workload
Student's own work with learning resources
91 Hour(s)
36 Hour(s)
Group work / Assignments
30 Hour(s)
3 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.