The University of Texas at Austin
McCombs School of Business
Course Information: Instructor Information:
Course Number: BA 385T Instructor: William J. Way
Time: MW: 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. (#02150) Office: GSB 5.176F
Room: GSB 3.104 Office Hours: MW 2:00 - 6:00 p.m. or by Appt.
This course entails a study of the financial management of a business firm. The goal of the firm
and its financial managers is to maximize shareholder value through a combination of investing
and financing decisions. Major topics include: (a) the financial environment of the firm, (b) the
time value of money, (c) bond and stock valuation, (d) risk and return, (e) capital budgeting, (f)
capital structure theory, and g) advanced financial concepts. BA 385T provides a balanced
coverage of the quantitative and qualitative aspects of financial management; hence, it should
benefit students pursuing all business disciplines and careers.
Through a combination of readings, lectures, class discussions, case analyses, and problem
assignments, students should: (a) gain an awareness of the investing and financing alternatives
available to the firm, (b) develop a knowledge of cash flow valuation and analysis techniques, (c)
achieve an understanding of the role of the financial manager in making decisions that maximize
the value of the firm, and (d) appreciate the importance of the risk-return tradeoff, portfolio
theory, and efficient capital markets to financial decision makers.
III. Course Materials
1. Corporate Finance (7e). Ross, Westerfield, and Jaffe. McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2005.
2. Harvard Business School Cases: 1) American Chemical Corporation and 2) Hospital
Corporation of America (A)
3. A financial calculator
4. Additional readings, as assigned by the instructor
1. Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk (1e). Bernstein. Wiley, 1996.
There will be one evening exam (Midterm) and a Final Exam. The Final Exam will be scheduled
at the time and date specified by the University.
The Midterm Exam will cover Chapters 1 – 10
The Final Exam will cover Chapters 11 – 18, 21, 22, 25, and 29
A. Examination Times - All students are responsible for attending the examinations at the
scheduled times. Taking an examination at an alternate time is not possible except under extreme
circumstances (as determined by the instructor). If you have a conflict with a scheduled exam,
please contact me as soon as possible, and no later than two weeks prior to the exam. Students
who miss an examination without prior authorization will receive a grade of zero for the exam.
The Midterm exam is scheduled during the evening to facilitate its comprehensiveness and
reduce time pressure on students.
B. Examination Materials - Each student should bring No. 2 pencils and a financial calculator
to the exam session. All other examination materials (e.g., a test booklet, formula sheet, and
scratch paper) will be provided. Test booklets, formula sheets, and used scratch paper must be
returned upon completion of the exam. The use of any other materials or technologies during the
exam session is strictly prohibited. Personal items should be stored beneath your desk for the
duration of the exam.
C. Calculators - Many exam questions will require the use of a financial calculator. Calculators
cannot be shared during the exam, so please ensure that your calculator is fully functional before
entering the exam session. Further information regarding calculators is provided in the
“Additional Policies” section of this syllabus.
D. Examination Format - Exams will include a combination of question types (e.g., problems,
multiple choice, short answer/essay). The exam questions will reflect a balance of quantitative
and qualitative content, consistent with our coverage of the course material.
E. Post-Examination Review - Individual examinations will not be returned, however, I will
conduct a post-examination review during class. Students who wish to review their exams
individually are encouraged to do so during my office hours or after class. Specific questions
regarding an exam must be addressed in the two-week period following the posting of
examination grades. Exam grades are final, except in the event of a recording error. If you feel
that your posted exam grade is incorrect, please contact me in writing immediately.
V. Case Analyses
A “complete” case analysis is a group project that includes three components: 1) an Executive
Summary, 2) a Staff Analysis, and 3) a set of Case Exhibits. Each member of the group will
receive the same grade for the case analysis.
A. Submission of Written Work - A completed grade sheet (available on Blackboard) is
required when submitting all papers. No other cover sheet is required.
• All written work is due by 3:00 p.m. on the dates indicated in the course schedule.
o A time/date-stamped hardcopy of each paper must be submitted to the Finance
Department office (CBA 6.222).
o Papers without a time/date-stamp will automatically be deemed late.
o Late papers will be penalized 3 points for each 24-hour period (or fraction
thereof) beyond the deadline.
B. Case Groups - Students will form case groups of approximately four persons, with the exact
number determined by the number of students enrolled in the class. Groups will be formed at
your discretion on a first come, first served basis. A list of the members of each group is due
via E-mail or in class by Monday, October 9.
C. Grading Criteria - The primary basis for grading case assignments is content, however,
professionalism in presentation is also given substantial weight. The writing skills component of
the analysis considers grammar, spelling, punctuation, appropriateness, clarity, and thought. The
following book is recommended for aiding in the preparation of written work:
Strunk, William, Jr. and E.B. White, “The Elements of Style,” Macmillan.
D. Case Guidelines - Detailed guidelines regarding the content, format, and grading rubric for
the cases are posted on the Blackboard site. Additionally, a “Teaching Note” is provided to guide
the qualitative and quantitative analyses required for each case.
VI. Grade Computation
Midterm Exam 30%
Case 1 (ACC) 15%
Case 2 (HCA) 15%
Final Exam 40%
You will receive a numeric score for each exam and case assignment. Letter grades will not be
determined until the scores for all exams and assignments are averaged, as indicated above. The
final letter grades will be based on a curve and assigned using the plus/minus system. In
accordance with the MBA Policy Committee resolution, the overall Grade Point Average for the
course will be approximately 3.30. All course grades are final, except in the instance of a
No make-up or extra-credit work is available. The quality/quantity of your class attendance,
participation, and preparation will be used to determine border line cases.
VII. Additional Policies
The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations
for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of
Students at 471-6259, 471-4641 TTY or http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/ssd/
A. Attendance - You are expected to attend every class meeting. I understand that circumstances
may arise that require your absence; however, these should be the exception rather than the rule.
Regular attendance and class participation are essential to your understanding of the course
content. Some material may be presented only during class meetings; hence, merely reading the
text will not ensure sufficient exam preparation. If you must miss a class for any reason, please
consult a fellow student to attain the notes and announcements for the class. Class notes may also
be posted on the Blackboard site for the course.
B. Tardiness/Leaving Early - Please show respect for your classmates and instructor by
arriving on time and remaining for the duration of the class session. If you must arrive late or
leave early, please do so quietly and courteously to avoid disrupting the class.
C. Calculators - A basic financial calculator is required for this course. A relatively inexpensive
calculator ($30-$40) with exponent, root, present value, future value, IRR, and NPV functions
should suffice for this and other finance courses. Popular models that meet these criteria include
the HP 10B and TI BA II Plus. The HP 10B is my personal favorite, and the only one for which I
can provide “technical” support. The HP 12C, while more expensive, is also popular with many
Learning to use your calculator is a necessary, but insufficient ingredient for success in this
course. Despite its importance, the calculator is merely a tool that facilitates the problem solving
process, so do not over rely on its capabilities. I urge you to become well acquainted with your
calculator long before the first exam. Tutorials that describe the basic financial functions of
the HP 10B, TI BA II Plus, and HP 12C are posted on Blackboard.
D. Problem Sets - I will assign recommended problems for most of the chapters of the text.
These problems will not be collected or graded; however, they constitute an essential element in
exam preparation. I strongly recommend that you attempt to solve the problems before
consulting the solutions manual (posted on Blackboard). As you work these problems, try to
understand the underlying concepts and relate them to material covered in class and in the text.
Please consult me if you encounter difficulties.
E. Access to Blackboard - All students must have access to the Blackboard web site for this
course. I will use this venue to post class notes, assignments, announcements, and problem
solutions. I will also use the E-mail feature of Blackboard to correspond with you. Check the site
(and your E-mail) regularly to ensure that you have the most current course information.
Web-based, password-protected class sites will be available for all accredited courses taught at
The University. Syllabi, handouts, assignments and other resources are types of information that
may be available within these sites. Site activities could include exchanging e-mail, engaging in
class discussions and chats, and exchanging files. In addition, class e-mail rosters will be a
component of the sites. Students who do not want their names included in these electronic class
rosters must restrict their directory information in the Office of the Registrar, Main Building,
Room 1. For information on restricting directory information see:
F. Laptop Computer Policy – The use of laptop computers for the purpose of taking notes is
permitted. All other non-academic uses (web surfing, etc.) are prohibited.
G. Name Cards – To facilitate discussion and name recognition, each student will be supplied
with a name card. Please display your name card at all times during the class session.
H. Other - All other matters of class management and conduct will be handled in accordance
with published University guidelines. Please consult the General Information Catalogue or the
Dean of Students’ website for additional information.
VIII. Academic Integrity
Academic integrity and honesty are critical to the conduct of this course. The responsibilities of
both students and faculty with regard to scholastic dishonesty are described in detail in the Policy
Statement on Scholastic Dishonesty for the McCombs School of Business:
By teaching this course, I have agreed to observe all of the faculty responsibilities described in
that document. By enrolling in this class, you have agreed to observe all of the student
responsibilities described in that document. If the application of that Policy Statement to this
class and its assignments is unclear in any way, it is your responsibility to ask me for
Policy on Scholastic Dishonesty: Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty
are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or
dismissal from the University. Since dishonesty harms the individual, all students, and the
integrity of the University, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced. You should
refer to the Student Judicial Services website at http://www.utexas.edu/depts/dos/ or the General
Information Catalog to access the official University policies and procedures on scholastic
dishonesty as well as further elaboration on what constitutes scholastic dishonesty.
Every student is expected to abide by the University Honor Code.
IX. Additional Comments
The aforementioned policies provide the basic guidelines and code of conduct for the course.
They are designed to reduce confusion and establish an equitable framework for the entire class.
As a matter of principle, I will enforce these policies fairly and religiously.
The “spirit” of the course is just as important as the “rules and regulations.” My goal is to create
a cooperative classroom environment in which we learn from each other. To that end, I welcome
your constructive comments and suggestions as we progress through the course. Your feedback
is an important element of course delivery and development.
Barring an emergency, or except as previously arranged, I will be available during my
office hours and after class. I encourage you to visit with me regarding the case
assignments, concerns with the course, or just to say “hello.” I am also accessible via
telephone or E-mail. I will make every effort to return your call or respond to your E-mail
within one business day of its receipt.
I welcome each of you as my colleague in the study of finance . . . Good luck in the course!
General Study Guidelines
The following guidelines are presented as an addendum to the syllabus.
It is important that you read the assigned chapters before we discuss them in class. Class lectures
and discussions are much more meaningful if everyone is conversant with the subject matter. I
will discuss the major concepts from each chapter and emphasize what is most important, but I
will be unable to cover everything during class.
As you read the chapters, ask yourself the following questions:
• What is the purpose of this concept or formula?
• Why is it important?
• How did the author or instructor demonstrate its application?
• How does it relate to other concepts/formulae that we have studied?
• Can I describe this concept or formula in my own words?
• Can I answer the concept questions in the text?
Problem sets - I suggest that you work the recommended problems in conjunction with your
reading/review of each chapter. Practice makes perfect, so work as many extra problems as
necessary to master the concepts. Initially, try to work each problem without consulting the
solution set. Do not wait until the week before the exam to attempt the problems.
Be prepared for class - Bring your text, calculator, and pertinent notes to each class session.
Much of our class time will be devoted to discussing/reviewing example problems. Consult the
tentative course schedule for weekly reading and problem set assignments.
Take good class notes - Class notes for each chapter may be posted on Blackboard, but these
will be “skeletal” by design. Class lectures and discussions will enhance these notes and
integrate them with other essential course material.
Ask questions - I encourage you to be an active learner by asking questions and participating
during class discussions. Please E-mail me or see me during office hours if you have additional
questions regarding the course material.
Keep apprised of current financial issues - As time permits, we will discuss how the concepts
in our text apply to the “real” world. Devote a little time each day to perusing the Web and/or
financial publications for pertinent topical issues.
The course material and the exams are cumulative by nature. The basic concepts that we cover
early in the course provide the foundation for the more advanced material that we address later.
Try to master the concepts as we cover the material and avoid “cramming” the week before the
exam. It is extremely difficult to catch up if you get behind on the readings and problem sets. I
will schedule review sessions prior to each examination, however, you should review the course
material “early and often” on your own and/or in your study group.
BA 385T – Tentative Course Schedule
Week Day Date Assigned Reading Chapter Content
1 W Aug. 30 Introduction Overview of course
2 M Sept. 4 Labor Day Holiday
W Sept. 6 Chapter 1 Introduction to Corporate Finance
Martin et al. article (BB) Overview of Financial Theory
Parable (BB) Where's Waldo?
3 M Sept. 11 Chapter 2 & Appendix 2A Review Financial Accounting
Chapter 3 Review Financial Modeling
W Sept. 13 CSR Readings (BB) Corporate Social Responsibility
Maria Elena PPT: CSR and Business Ethics
4 M Sept. 18 Chapter 4 Time Value of Money and NPV
W Sept. 20 Chapter 5 Stock and Bond Valuation
5 M Sept. 25 Chapter 6 Capital Budgeting Investment Rules
W Sept. 27 Chapter 7 NPV and Capital Budgeting
6 M Oct. 2 Chapter 8 Real Options and Capital Budgeting
W Oct. 4 Chapter 9 Overview of Capital Market Theory
7 M Oct. 9 Chapter 10 Capital Asset Pricing Model
W Oct. 11 Pre-Exam Review
8 M Oct. 16 Midterm Exam (Evening) Chapters 1 through 10, CSR
W Oct. 18 Chapter 11 Arbitrage Pricing Theory
9 M Oct. 23 Chapter 12 Cost of Capital and Capital Budgeting
W Oct. 25 Chapter 13 Efficient Market Hypothesis
10 M Oct. 30 Chapter 14 Long-Term Financing
American Chemical Case Due
BA 385T – Tentative Course Schedule
Week Day Date Assigned Reading Chapter Content
W Nov. 1 Chapter 15 Capital Structure: Basics
11 M Nov. 6 Chapter 16 Capital Structure: Advanced
W Nov. 8 Chapter 17 Valuation and Capital Budgeting
12 M Nov. 13 Chapter 18 Dividend Policy
W Nov. 15 Chapter 21 Leasing
13 M Nov. 20 Chapter 22 Options: Basic Concepts
Hospital Corporation Case Due
W Nov. 22 Independent Study
14 M Nov. 27 Chapter 22 Options: Basic Concepts
Chapter 25 Derivatives and Hedging Risk
W Nov. 29 Chapter 25 Derivatives and Hedging Risk
15 M Dec. 4 Chapter 29 Mergers and Acquisitions
W Dec. 6 Pre-Exam Review
TBA Final Exam Chapters 11-18, 21, 22, 25, 29