Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Current Trends and a Minor in Finance D, 30 Credits

Swedish name: Current Trends and a Minor in Finance D

This syllabus is valid: 2020-08-17 and until further notice

Course code: 2FE196

Credit points: 30

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Business Administration: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Business Administration

Revised by: Rector of Umeå School of Business and Economics, 2020-06-11


The course gives the opportunity to further develop within the major subject in a module on the latest development and in a module on research methodology. The course also gives a Minor subject in Finance.
The course is given an examined in English.

Generic learning outcomes.
The course has a number of goals for the development of generic skills. After completing the course, the student should be able to:
  • analyze and frame problems in the financial area
  • understand and evaluate financial management related issues from an ethical perspective
  • work effectively in team environments
  • plan, conduct, and present investigations, both orally and in writing, for an academic audience as well as an audience of business practitioners.
Common expected learning outcome:
  • communicate central concepts for the course in English, both orally and in writing
The course consists of the following four modules:
Module 1. Research Methodology in Business Research, 7,5 credits
Module 2. Advanced Corporate Finance, 7.5 credits
Module 3. Investments, 7.5 credits
Module 4. Current Trends in Business Administration, 7,5 credits

Module 1. Research Methodology in Business Research, 7,5 credits
The overarching aim of this course is to develop advanced knowledge of perspectives, strategies and design in research. This will increase the student's ability to carry out and assess business research and investigations. Important building blocks are the problem formulation, frames of reference, scientific approaches, including the ontological and epistemological points of departure, and methods for data collection and analysis.

Expected learning outcomes:
After completing this module, the student should be able to:
  • identify and discuss how fundamental assumptions, scientific ideals, perspectives and frames of reference influence a process of scientific knowledge creation
  • formulate and argue for relevant research questions, including the theoretical relevance and positioning
  • discuss characteristics of research strategies and approaches, critically review and assess literature, and discuss and evaluate the suitability of various methods to solve different research questions
  • apply acquired knowledge in the planning, design, implementation and reporting of scientific studies
  • demonstrate an ability to assess and discuss social, environmental and ethical aspects of the business research process
Focus of instruction:
Lectures, seminars, practical assignment(s), individually or in groups, and the reading material complement each other to help students to develop deep knowledge of what scientific research in business and management fields is all about.

Examination modes
The final grade is based on a individual written hall exam and reporting of assignment(s). Participation at all seminars and presentations is compulsory to pass the module. The final grade is awarded when the student has passed all assignments and compulsory module elements. The course is given and examined in English. Note as well examination modes for the course below.

Module 2.   Advanced Corporate Finance, 7.5 credits
The primary purpose of this module is to provide an integrated overview of the most important concepts in Corporate Finance, both in theory and in practise and in some cases even methodologically. The subject extends the student's knowledge about the context in which corporations operate.

Topics to be covered in this module include capital market imperfections and methods developed in finance to control risk and reduce uncertainty in the financial management of corporations. Issues in corporate policy and strategy, based on theoretical developments in finance are presented. Students will learn the processes involved in the valuation of debt and equity and the methods that have been used to manipulate external perceptions of business outcomes. During the module, students will also be introduced to methods of working in international teams.

Expected learning outcomes
After completing this module, the student should be able to:
  • assess the impact of information asymmetry on corporate financial policy decisions from the selection of particular modes of financing to dealing with the problems associated with financial distress
  • explain the theoretical basis and applicable strategies applied in regard to issues of corporate control
  • compare and contrast leverage strategies in ideal versus real capital markets and be able to explain the expected impact of alternative taxation systems on the use of debt in a firm's capital structure
  • argue for optimal levels of corporate debt and/or equity and be able to value an offering of either, under different financing strategies
  • formulate and logically defend a position in regard to current issues, such as corporate control and governance, which confront corporations today
Focus of instruction
Learning is supported by lectures, as well as in smaller group workshops and seminars.

Examination modes
Examination is based upon a written comprehensive individual exam and group assignments. A passing grade is required for each part of the module. The course is given and examined in English. Note as well examination modes for the course below.

Module 3. Investments, 7.5 credits
Students undertaking the Investments module are provided with an opportunity to learn relevant theories and models to acquire a specialization at an advanced level in investment analysis. In the module fixed income securities are reviewed in terms of valuation and portfolio management. This includes coverage of concepts as duration analysis, convexity and immunization. Derivative securities (options, futures, swaps and convertibles securities), their pricing and relevant parity-relationships are emphasized and studied within the module. The creation of synthetic securities and the construction and maintenance of various hedging strategies for both portfolios and individual securities using different derivatives are also discussed. The concept of Value at risk, an essential tool for modern risk management, is further covered in the context of investment management. The module, finally, also include coverage of portfolio management strategies and measurement of portfolio performance.

Expected learning outcomes
After completing the module, the student should be able to:
  • value fixed income securities and measure their associated risk.
  • analyze active and passive portfolio management techniques to fixed income securities
  • explain and analyze the development of regulation for financial institutions
  • calculate and apply value at risk (VaR), as well as, perform backtesting for individual securities and
  • portfolios
  • value derivatives and explain the use of these in hedging investments and their impact on potential return and risk
  • evaluate portfolio performance using, for example, risk-adjusted metrics
Focus of instruction
Learning is supported by lectures, although seminars, cases and computer exercises utilizing Excel may also be used. Students are expected to play an active role in every aspect of the course module.

Examination modes
Examination is based upon a written comprehensive individual exam and group assignments. A passing grade is required for each part of the module. The course is given and examined in English. Note as well examination modes for the course below.

Module 4. Current Trends in Business Administration 7,5 credits
The ambition of this module is to identify and uncover current trends.  These trends have a strong long-term impact on society at large and thus form future premises and give rise to challenges for businesses. The aim of the module is to explore how business and society interact to tackle such present and future challenges. The expectation is that students participating in this module are well equipped with knowledge and skills related to their own major, one of the five sub-disciplines accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, management, and marketing in Business Administration.

Expected learning outcomes
After completing this module the student should be able to:
  • Identify and evaluate emerging trends in society
  • Critically discuss decisions relating to current trends  and their implications for various types of businesses and business functions
  • Evaluate information, knowledge and policy in relation to current trends  in terms of validity and reliability
  • Relate current trends  to research in business administration within the field of the student's major
  • be able to share  multidisciplinary knowledge
Focus of instruction
Learning is supported by lectures, guest lectures and guided exercises. Students are provided with relevant sources of information and scientific literature for supporting individual and  group works related to the themes of lectures and exercises.
Examination modes
The main mode of examination is an individual written essay. The essay requires convincing discussion of the importance and urgency of solving a specific problem related to any of the current trends  from the disciplinary perspective of the student's major. Further, the examination consists of individual and group reflection papers related to the various course activities.
Attendance at all work in progress and final presentation seminars, group work and guest lectures related presentation events are mandatory and thus a requirement to pass the course. A passing grade for each graded part of the course is required to pass. The course is given and examined in English. Note as well examination modes for the course below.

Expected learning outcomes

See each separate module.

Required Knowledge

90 credits with a minimum of 75 credits in Business Administration and 30 credits advanced level within the core course in Business Administration at one of the following master programs in Business Administration (Management, Accounting, Marketing or Business Development and internationalization) at Umeå School of Business and Economics. 30 credits within the core course in Business Administration at the master program.

Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English B or the equivalent

Form of instruction

See each separate module.

Examination modes

See each separate module and below.
The following grading system is used:
Pass with distinction (Väl godkänd, VG, 75% or more),
Pass (Godkänd, G, 50% or more)
and Fail (Underkänd U, less than 50%).
Grades on the course are awarded when the student has passed all examinations and compulsory course elements. The course is given and examined in English.
To receive the grade Pass with distinction (VG) in the 30 credits course consisting of four modules of the same size, the student must have achieved Pass with distinction (VG) in at least three out of four modules. In shorter courses for example 7,5 credit courses, 15 credit courses or 22,5 credits courses Pass with distinction (VG) is given when the student has achieved at least 75% of the total weighted points.
A student who does not pass at the time of the written examination will be offered an opportunity to sit a further examination within two months. Beyond that, additional examination opportunities normally arise every academic year, one week prior to the start of the autumn term. If required by specific circumstances, the Director of Studies may decide on other forms of examination

In case of failure on seminar participation or individual and group assignments, compensating assignments must be completed in accordance with instructions given, no later than two weeks after the completion of the module. Mandatory assignments (seminars, written assignments, cases, computer assignments etc.) that have not been handed in within stipulated time must be done the next time the course is offered. If the form of examination does not permit repetition other forms of re-examination may be used.

Exceptions from examination form as stated in the syllabus can be made for a student who has a decision on pedagogical support for disabilities. Individual adaptations of the examination form should be considered based on the student's needs. The examination form shall be adapted within the framework of the expected learning outcomes stated in the course syllabus. At the request of the student, the course responsible teacher, in consultation with the examiner, must promptly decide on the adapted examination form. The decision must then be notified to the student.

When a student has failed an examination on two occasions, he or she has a right to have another grading teacher. A written request for an alternative examiner should be handed to the director of studies no later than two weeks before the next examination opportunity.
A student who has passed an examination cannot redo the examination to get a higher grade.
If a student fails to present a photo ID at the occasion of a written exam in an exam room will not be allowed to take the exam.
Disciplinary action may be taken against students who uses unauthorized help aids or in some other way tries to mislead on a test or when another type of task is being evaluated. Rules and regulations concerning the production of academic texts and correct referencing will be applicable to all written assignments. (see instructions in the thesis manual, Thesis Writing in Business Administration). Urkund records may be used for control. In addtion, Umeå University rules and regulations for education and research applies.

Educational activities are designed to facilitate students towards achieving expected learning outcomes and can explain, supplement and provide contrast to the course literature and other relevant course materials.

Other regulations

Academic credit transfers is done in accordance with the University credit transfer regulations.

This course can not be included in the degree together with 2fe193,2fe194,2fe195,2fe197


Valid from: 2020 week 34

Module 1

The course is mainly based on articles available from Umeå University library's databases. The following list is preliminary and articles will be added.

Bell, E. & Bryman, A. (2007). The ethics of management research: an exploratory content analysis. British Journal of Management, 18(1), 63-77. Crane, A., Henriques, I., Husted, B.W. & Matten, D. (2016). What constitutes a theoretical contribution in the business and society field? Business and Society, 55(6), 783-791.

Edmondson, A.C. & McManus (2007). Methodological fit in management field research. Academy of Management Review, 32(4), 1155-1179. Long, R.G., White, M.C., Friedman, W.H. & Brazeal, D.V. (2000) The ‘Qualitative' versus ‘Quantitative' Research Debate: A Question of Methaphorical Assumptions? Journal of International Value-Based Management, 13, 189-197.

Morgan, D.L. (2007). Paradigms lost and pragmatism regained: Methodological implications of combining qualitative and quantitative methods. Journal of mixed methods research, 1(1), 48-76. Sandberg, J. & Alvesson, M. (2011) Ways of constructing research questions: gap-spotting or problematization? Organization 18(1): 23-44.

Wacker, J.G. (1998). A definition of theory: research guidelines for different theory-building research methods in operations management. Journal of Operations Management, 16, 361-385.

Module reference literature

Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics USBE. Thesis writing in Business Administration. Thesis manual. (latest edition)
USBE Business Administration :

Bryman, A. & Bell, E. (2015). Business research methods. 4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ghauri, P. & Gronhaug, K. (2010) Research Methods in Business Studies. 4th edition. Harlow: Pearson Education Publishing. Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2016). Research methods for business students. 7th edition. Harlow: Peason Education.

Module 2

Principles of corporate finance
Brealey Richard A., Myers Stewart C., Allen Franklin
12th ed., International student ed. : New York : Mcgraw-Hill : cop. 2017 : 974 s. med var. pag. :
ISBN: 1-259-25333-3
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

List of articles and other material provided by the lecturer, about 140 pages.

Module reference reading

Chew, D.H., 2001, The New Corporate Finance: where theory meets practice, McGraw Hill, New York. Copeland, T.E., Weston, J.F., and Shastri, K., , 2005, Financial Theory and Corporate Policy, latest edition, Pearson Education, Boston. Constantinides, G.M. and R.M. Stulz, Handbook of the Economics of Finance: Volume 1A Corporate Finance, Elsevier, Amsterdam

Module 3

Investments and portfolio management
Bodie Zvi, Kane Alex, Marcus Alan J.
Global ed., 9. ed. : New York : McGraw-Hill/Irwin : cop. 2011 : 1022, 14, 20 s. :
ISBN: 978-0-07-128914-6 (pbk.)
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Handout, about 140 pages, provided by the lecturer.

Module 4

Harari Yuval Noah
Homo deus : a brief history of tomorrow
First U.S. edition. : New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers : 2017. : [6], 449 pages :
ISBN: 978-0-06-246431-6
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Factfulness : ten reasons we're wrong about the world - and why things are better than you think
Rosling Hans, Rosling Ola, Rönnlund Anna Rosling
First edition. : New York : Flatiron Books : 2018. : x, 342 pages :
ISBN: 978-1-250-10781-7
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

A few (80-100 pages/discipline) disciplinary articles as reference literature will be provided in the beginning of the module.

Cource Reference literature

Business ethics : managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization
Crane Andrew, Matten Dirk
3. ed. : Oxford : Oxford University Press : 2010 : xxv, 614 s. :
ISBN: 978-0-19-956433-0 (pbk.)
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics USBE. Thesis writing in Business Administration. Thesis manual. (latest edition)
USBE Business Administration :

Additional individual literature focusing on specific topics may be needed to be able to complete module assignments