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What is corporate finance?
Corporate finance is a field of study that focuses on the financial decisions and activities of corporations and businesses. It can encompass financial analysis, in which professionals use techniques like cash flow analysis and financial statement analysis to evaluate a company's financial health and performance (specifically its profitability and liquidity). It can include investment evaluation, which involves assessing potential returns and risks of investment opportunities. Risk management requires managing market risks, credit risks, and operational risks. Professionals who work in corporate finance also make capital structure decisions, determining the optimal mix of debt and equity financing to maximize value and minimize the cost of capital.
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Corporate finance course curriculum
Individuals new to corporate finance can start off with a beginner-level course that breaks down financial statements analysis, risk and return, derivatives, and basic financial valuation techniques. These courses may introduce you to capital budgeting, cost of capital, and financial markets. Through practical examples and case studies, learners can develop the skills to analyze financial data, make basic investment decisions, and understand the financial performance of companies.
More advanced corporate finance courses allow learners to develop a deep understanding of financial analysis techniques, including ratio analysis, cash flow analysis, and financial modeling. These types of courses may also touch on investment decision-making, such as capital structure, dividend policy, option pricing, and risk management. Learners may also specialize in areas such as mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, and international finance.
With edX, you will find a wide selection of online courses designed with finance professionals in mind. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree program in finance, accounting, business, or related field can provide a solid foundation for a career in finance. For those seeking more advanced learning, master’s degree programs delve into specialized areas of finance. Accelerated boot camps on specialized topics, as well as executive education courses tend to be shorter in length and best suited to busy professionals looking to upskill quickly.
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Explore corporate finance jobs
Typically, corporate finance careers can be categorized into three categories:Footnote 1
Transactions and financing
Financial planning and analysis
These categories encompass a range of positions, including those focused on business intelligence, corporate development, project evaluation, investor relations, treasury, and more. Common jobs in corporate finance include:
Financial analyst: Evaluates financial data, performs modeling and valuation analyses, and prepares reports that provide valuable insights and recommendations for strategic decision-making. They assess investment opportunities, conduct risk assessments, and monitor financial performance.Footnote 2
Corporate controller: Is responsible for overseeing financial accounting and reporting within an organization. They ensure the accuracy and integrity of financial statements, manage internal controls, and coordinate external audits. Corporate controllers can also handle regulatory compliance, tax planning, and financial forecasting.Footnote 3
Risk manager: Identifies and manages potential risks that can affect an organization's financial health and operations using risk management strategies and mitigation measures. They also analyze market trends, evaluate credit risks, and assess the effectiveness of risk management policies and procedures.Footnote 4
Investment banker: Advises clients on financial transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, capital raising, and corporate restructuring. They also play a role in structuring deals, underwriting securities offerings, and facilitating capital market transactions.Footnote 5
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