Introduction to Finance

The details
Essex Business School
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
25 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC N233 Actuarial Science (Including Placement Year),
BSC N323 Actuarial Science,
BSC N324 Actuarial Science (Including Year Abroad),
BSC N325 Actuarial Science (Including Foundation Year),
BSC GN13 Finance and Mathematics,
BSC GN15 Finance and Mathematics (Including Placement Year),
BSC GN18 Finance and Mathematics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC GN1H Finance and Mathematics (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

The module is designed to give you an introduction to the finance subject area. In particular, the module gives an overview of the financial system, instruments and markets and ideas about finance concepts and problems. The topics covered include investment companies, return and risk, and behavioural finance. Throughout the module, extensive use will be made of Excel for applying statistical techniques and you will be inducted in the use of Bloomberg.

Module aims

1. To develop and transmit knowledge about the financial system, instruments and markets and ideas about finance concepts and problems at an introductory level;
2. To make students aware, at an introductory level, of different ways of thinking about and analysing financial phenomena;
3. To give students an appreciation of the role that finance plays in society;
4. To provide students with a firm foundation for further studies in finance;
5. Introduce students to Bloomberg.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
1. Discuss the various traditions, concepts and techniques within finance as a subject discipline;
2. Describe the major features of the financial system including markets and institutions;
3. Understand the relationship between risk and return and the concept of diversification;
4. Understand the role of present value in bond and equity valuation models;
5. Have an appreciation of the issues underlying the efficient market hypothesis.

Module information

Skills for Your Professional Life (Transferable Skills)
1. Improve your literacy and numeracy skills;
2. Develop your IT skills by learning to work on Bloomberg and Excel to solve financial problems with the use of statistical tools;
3. Improve your commercial awareness by familiarizing with the current developments in finance;
4. Enhance your communication skills in class discussions;
5. Develop your personal plan of setting targets and time management to undertake coursework and exam.

Learning and teaching methods

This Module is normally delivered through: 1. 2-hour lecture each week; 2. 1-hour weekly class. You will be assigned to a class and you must attend that class. Your class attendance will be monitored! Bloomberg Bloomberg lab sessions are scheduled for week 21 (week commencing 17/02/2020). During these sessions you will be introduced to Bloomberg and will obtain a username and password and will be given tips on how to explore Bloomberg in your own time. Bloomberg is invaluable for linking the theory we teach during the Spring Term with practice. If you would like to explore Bloomberg before week 21, you will find an introduction and guide on the Bloomberg Moodle page. You can also make use of the Bloomberg Clinic where PAL Mentors (second and third year students) will be very happy to talk to you about how to use Bloomberg. In academic year 2020-2021 the delivery is likely to be different and involve online learning.


  • Smart, Scott B.; Gitman, Lawrence J.; Joehnk, Michael D. (2017) Fundamentals of investing, Harlow: Pearson Education.
  • Casu, Barbara; Girardone, Claudia; Molyneux, Philip. (2015) Introduction to banking, Harlow: Pearson.
  • Smart, Scott B.; Zutter, Chad J. (2020) Fundamentals of investing, Harlow, England: Pearson.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Spring Weekly Test 1     
Coursework   Spring Weekly Test 2     
Coursework   Spring Weekly Test 3     
Coursework   Spring Weekly Test 4     
Coursework   Spring Weekly Test 5     
Coursework   Spring Weekly Test 6     
Coursework   ESSAY     70% 
Exam  120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Anna Sarkisyan, email:
Anna Sarkisyan & Senyu Wang



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 347 hours, 264 (76.1%) hours available to students:
31 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
52 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Business School

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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