Business Finance Course Online | HBS Online

Leading with Finance is part of the Finance & Accounting Learning Track. If you’re interested in developing deeper insights and expertise, you can choose
to complete three finance & accounting courses within 18 months to earn a Certificate of Specialization.


Leading with Finance provides participants with a thorough understanding of the principles
of finance—a conceptual toolkit for making smart financial decisions and the confidence
to clearly articulate those decisions to key stakeholders.

Learning requirements: In order to earn a Certificate of Completion, participants must thoughtfully complete
all 6 modules, including satisfactory completion of associated quizzes and capstone
assignment, by stated deadlines.

Capstone Assignment: You will finish the course with a brief capstone assignment which integrates and
applies the concepts covered in the course.

Download Syllabus

Case Studies
Key Exercises

Module 1: Financial Analysis

  • Unidentified Industries
  • Timberland
  • Understand the building blocks of financial analysis: the balance sheet, the income
    statement, and financial ratios
  • Develop an intuition for the concepts behind the principles of finance
  • Apply your knowledge to identify companies by reviewing their financial statement
  • Categorize financial ratios
  • DuPont Analysis exercise
  • Quiz #1

Module 2: Finance vs. Accounting

  • Corning Glass
  • Hon Hai Sharp
  • Identify the fundamental differences between accounting and finance
  • Examine the use of cash as a measurement of value creation in finance
  • Balance sheet and financial ratios exercise
  • Calculate net present value
  • Quiz #2

Module 3: Capital Markets

  • Corning Glass
  • Hon Hai Sharp
  • Short-selling Bekaert
  • Tops Friendly Market
  • Build a strong understanding of the players in the financial services industry and
    the roles they each play
  • Contemplate the financial system, its flaws, and potential solutions
  • Evaluate perspectives on information asymmetry
  • Quiz #3

Module 4: Creating Value

  • Corning Glass
  • Capital Structure at Biogen
  • Heineken: Building a Mexican Brewery
  • Explore the three pillars of value creation and how to achieve them
  • Discover why capital is costly and how to use this information to benefit your organization
  • Market-to-book ratios exercises
  • Match companies to their cost of debt and industries to their betas
  • Quiz #4

Module 5: Valuation

  • Tops Friendly Market
  • Spirit Aero Systems
  • Dell Valuation
  • Determine how the future affects value today
  • Compare various valuation methods and examine net present value
  • Discuss potential risks involved in mergers and acquisitions
  • Calculate free cash flows, WACC, and terminal values
  • Practice scenario analysis
  • Quiz #5

Module 6: Capital Allocation

  • Apple iPrefs
  • Convergence Pharmaceuticals
  • Heineken Ethiopia Expansion
  • Biogen Share Repurchases
  • Discuss capital allocation and the use of free cash flow
  • Analyze the various options companies have for investing their cash through reinvestment
    or distribution
  • Determine which "type" of money will empower new business ideas to flourish
  • Capital allocation decision tree analysis
  • Weigh value of dividends vs. share buybacks
  • Quiz #6
  • Capstone project

The HBS Online Advantage

  • World-class faculty
  • Edge-of-your-seat online learning
  • Global peer collaboration and networking
  • Real-world, case-based learning

Harvard Business School Online offers a unique and highly engaging method of learning
vital business concepts. Immerse yourself in real challenges faced by experts from
the worlds of corporate finance, private equity, and investment management, including
Laurence Debroux, CFO of Heineken; Paul Clancy, CFO of Biogen; and Alberto Moel, an equity research analyst at Sanford Bernstein. Step into their shoes and wrestle
with the same issues they faced, while engaging with fellow learners from around the