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Electives on the Cambridge Master of Finance

The Master of Finance electives at Cambridge Judge Business School cover a wide range of topics across the finance industry. They allow students to tailor the course to their own needs and cover specific product areas, techniques, and advanced quantitative skills.

Each MFin student must take at least seven electives. The electives offered may vary from year to year. The list below should therefore be regarded as illustrative.

Elective options

Advanced Corporate Finance

A case-study based elective going into more detail on topics covered in Principles of Finance, principally valuation.

Advanced Financial Accounting

This course is designed to enhance students’ understanding of current advanced financial reporting issues. It analyses International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US GAAP).

Advanced Interest Rates Derivatives

This module is designed to provide a real sense of how finance professionals operate on a daily basis, whether you are a market user (buy side) or a market maker (sell side).

Ideally it would help future traders and risk managers optimise their use and understanding of IRD. It will be delivered by a trader or manager who has extensive market experience and will use real life stories to illustrate the course as well as provide guidance on trading best practice.

The Circular Economy

In this course students will learn about the difference between a traditional economic model and circular economic model and how to establish the business and financial case for adopting a circular economy model at all levels in the economy.

Fixed Income Analysis

This elective covers the concepts and analytical tools used in analysing fixed-income securities and markets, bond portfolio management, and fixed-income trading and arbitrage. Key theories, basic quantitative skills and their applications in the bond markets will also be discussed.

International Finance

This course provides a thorough foundation of the key concepts and a solid understanding of selected topics in international finance.

The course begins with an overview of the institutional characteristics of the foreign exchange market and proceeds to examine how exchange rates are related to capital flows, interest rates and the prices of goods and services across countries.

It then reviews the theoretical models that describe the fundamental determinants of exchange rate dynamics, and the empirical evidence regarding exchange rate behaviour.

Private Equity

Taught by a private equity practitioner with a wide range of international experience, covering new ventures and buyouts, financing, valuation and management.

Topics in Investment Management

A comprehensive course on all aspects of investment management taught by a former investment manager and with guest practitioner speakers from leading investment management companies.

Mergers and Acquisitions

The aim of the course is to provide a basic framework for analysing corporate acquisitions, mergers and restructurings in an international setting. It analyses the essential elements of the acquisition process including:

  • Sourcing
  • Bidding strategies
  • Due diligence
  • Deal structuring and financing
  • Post-merger integration

This course does not cover acquisitions by private equity firms. This topic is covered in the Private Equity elective.

Advanced Credit

This course will provide an opportunity to explore more complex cash flow modelling and analysis from a credit perspective via a range of case studies.

It will also investigate the interaction between credit and market risk and the concept of loss given default.

We will also cover a number of timely topics including CVA, Basel and its implication on credit markets, and credit risk in project financing.

Algorithmic Trading

Building a good algo takes time and effort. It is about design, data and process. To learn the skills of a really good algo trader you need to be able to translate your thinking into executable actions for a computer.

By the end of the course students will have experienced how modern automated markets work and developed an understanding of how the disciplines of computer science, mathematics, finance and statistics are brought together for algorithmic trading.

Asian Capital Markets

An investor perspective on the key Asian financial markets taught by a principal in a hedge fund specialising in those markets with extensive experience of the Chinese markets in particular.

FinTech – Blockchain Applications

This course will provide a foundational knowledge of the blockchain technology and go over a number of its applications.

Further Econometrics Time Series

Extends coverage to more advanced topics such as time series analysis including ARCH and GARCH models that are commonly used in applied financial econometrics. Assumes a good level of understanding of the core Econometrics course.

Please note: students who would like to take this course need to achieve a minimum mark of 60 in the Econometrics midterm test or in the overall course mark.

Infrastructure Finance

This course aims to bring students up to date with the fast moving and increasingly fashionable world of infrastructure finance. It covers the funding, acquisition and management of investments in new and existing infrastructure.

It will emphasise the pace of change, the widening variety of financing techniques involved, but also the common risk profiles involved in financing these sectors.

International Finance and Exchange Rates

The aim of this course is to provide a thorough foundation of the key concepts and a solid understanding of selected topics in international finance.

The course begins with an overview of the institutional characteristics of the foreign exchange market and proceeds to examine how exchange rates are related to capital flows, interest rates and the prices of goods and services across countries.

It then reviews the theoretical models that describe the fundamental determinants of exchange rate dynamics, and the empirical evidence regarding exchange rate behaviour.

The emphasis is on the implications for exchange rate forecasting and for the trading decisions of asset managers and other agents engaging in the currency market.

Liquid Alternatives and Hedge Funds

This course comprises of a wide range of funds and investment managers ranging from hedge funds and alternative beta through to commodities, risk parity and other multi-asset funds.

The area is one of the fastest growing in investment management in terms of invested assets, product growth and recruitment.

The Purpose of Finance

This course begins with a question; what is the purpose of the finance industry? Unless we answer that question, it is unlikely we will build a purposeful industry to which professionals might wish to devote their careers.

If we do, we discover that finance is essential for the effective operations of the economy. But we also discover that, as currently constituted, the evidence suggests it is inefficient. The course investigates why this might be.

Principles of Financial Regulation

The course will provide an introduction to the main principles and topics of financial regulation, which draws on recent regulatory and scholarly developments.

The three major objectives of financial regulation – financial stability, investor protection and consumer protection – will be discussed throughout the course. Other topics covered include:

  • How market failure is a source of financial instability
  • The role of regulation in limiting moral hazard and externalities
  • The evolution of financial regulation from a largely micro-prudential focus to a macro-prudential focus
  • Specific regulatory reforms like Basel III

Quantitative Asset Allocation

This course aims to provide students with an overview of quantitative techniques that are relevant to strategic asset allocation, whereby allocations are long-term, multi-asset, and institutional in nature.

The module is organised by areas of asset management, and each case will be accompanied by related quantitative techniques including financial, mathematical, and statistical basics.

Sustainable Finance

The aim of this course is to describe, understand and discuss current developments and trends in the area of sustainable finance, with a special focus on climate risk and ESG.

With the help of expert guest speakers, we shall look to distinguish between different types of sustainable finance products and relevant eligibility criteria. The course looks at how various ESG scoring and assessment approaches have been applied to real life case studies. It also explores how sustainable finance is evolving in emerging markets, with a special focus on Latin America.

Understanding the International Economy and Financial System

The course will introduce some key concepts from international economics and finance to explore the world economy and the problems of the world financial system.

Building on the national accounts framework introduced for the Financial Institutions and Markets course, we will examine the role of globalisation of trade and capital, against the backdrop of pressures in many countries to raise barriers to both.

We will look at the difficulties of reforming the financial system, at a time when the global distribution of economic power away from the west towards developing Asia has made reform ever more necessary.

Finally, we’ll consider the politics of the international economy and why economic globalisation is under pressure in many rich countries.

Innovation in Financial Markets

Financial innovation in emerging markets is a unique process. It is a challenging and exciting process that often goes from building the institutional framework for the new products, to developing the product, educating the user and constructing and stabilising a market.

The innovator must be equipped with the skills to cover all the way from having an idea to reaching the stage of a fully functioning new market segment.

This course offers scores of examples highlighting how this process of successful Financial Innovation has taken place in the Emerging Markets in the past two decades.

International Macroeconomics and Finance

Understanding the basic elements that shape macroeconomics and international finance can play a crucial role in a firm’s survival, growth and development.

This course introduces the key parameters that shape the investment, financing and financial management decisions faced by firms in an international financial context by focusing on key macroeconomic and international finance concepts and indicators.

Mathematical Foundations of FinTech

This course offers a comprehensive tour from Mathematical Foundations, to their computational implementation and finally the business application. The course introduces students to the Mathematical and Computational ideas and tools behind Fintech in order to better understand their potential and limitations.

Wealth Management

The purpose of this course is to introduce MFin students to some of the important topics in Private Banking and Wealth Management. Discussions will revolve around:

  • The definition of Private Banking and Wealth Management
  • Size and key drivers of the industry
  • Its economics and profitability
  • The competitive landscape

It is a highly practical course that allows interaction with what is really happening in wealth management, as a niche of the global banking industry.

Behavioural Finance

This course will focus on the standard tools of corporate finance – firm valuation, stock valuation, etc. that you have covered in previous finance classes but examine these from a behavioural perspective.

It will examine behavioural decision traps – obstacles that might stand in the way of the normative ideal of value maximization. It will also examine how the insights of behavioural finance complements the traditional paradigm and sheds light on the behaviour of asset prices, corporate finance, and various Wall Street institutions and practices.

Venture Capital and the Entrepreneurial World

This course will focus on a series of cases covering: Sourcing, Due diligence, Monitoring and Exit, Valuation and Legal, Business models and Investment themes, VC, Growth Equity and LBO Mid-Market and CVC.

Real Estate Finance and Investments

The course is designed to provide essential background on how decisions are made in the real estate industry, drawing on standard financial techniques in doing so.

Skill sets for the analysis of real estate transactions should be useful for those interested in real estate careers, as well as students in other career tracks who expect to add real estate investments to their financial asset portfolios.

Guidance on elective groupings and topic clusters

The MFin electives cover a wide range of topics spanning investment management, corporate finance, quantitative finance and asset pricing, AI and cryptocurrency, and a full spectrum of asset classes.

Electives are designed to allow students to tailor the course to their own needs and cover specific product areas, techniques, and advanced quantitative skills. 

There are three broad categories that elective courses fall in to, although there is some cross-over within the three categories and these groupings are by no means entirely mutually exclusive.

Some courses do not fall directly in the three categories below, but provide wider understanding of the workings of financial markets; Understanding the International Economy and Financial System and the Purpose of Finance.

The categories are solely a reference to guide for students’ elective choices and we recommend that students select those courses of most relevance for their chosen career path.

Individual advice is available to students who wish to discuss their specific elective choices in line with their career aspirations and aims on a one-to-one basis.

Corporate Finance/Valuation Path

Courses that would be suitable for those pursuing careers in a corporate finance advisory, M&A, PE, Equity Research, VC, or similar roles where strong understanding of corporate valuation metrics is key.

  • Advanced Corporate Finance
  • Private Equity
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Advanced Financial Accounting
  • New Venture Finance
  • Venture Capital & the Entrepreneurial World   

Quantitative Finance/Analytics Path

Courses that would be suggested for those pursuing a more quantitatively focused or highly analytical role of finance e.g. risk management, sales/trading, hedge funds, quantitative asset selection/optimisation, some global markets roles and fintech broadly speaking etc.        

  • Further Econometrics Time Series
  • Liquid Alternatives and Hedge Funds
  • Quantitative Asset Allocation
  • Algorithmic Trading
  • FinTech – Blockchain Applications
  • International Finance and Exchange Rates
  • Advanced Interest Rates Derivatives

Buy-side/Investment Management Path

A selection of courses that are aimed at developing an investment management skill set for portfolio construction, valuation and to help students grasp the fundamentals of different asset classes.

  • Topics in Investment Management
  • Fixed Income Analysis
  • Behavioural Finance
  • Asian Capital Markets
  • Quantitative Asset Allocation
  • Algorithmic Trading
  • Sustainable Finance
  • Infrastructure Finance
  • Advanced Credit