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International Finance_Fall_2010_Syllabus

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 International Finance
Fall 2010
 
 
Teaching Staff:
 
             Instructor: Qian Han, wise.hanqian@gmail.com, (office) WISE A402
             TA: Jingwei Liu, liujingwei19860715@163.com, (cell) 15980838769
            
 
             Meeting: Sundays, 9:00am – 12:00pm, JiagengV 301
             TA Section: TBD
            
Course Description
 
This course will cover issues related to both international financial markets and the financial operations and risk management of a firm within the international environment.  The first part of the course will include topics such as: exchange rate determination, international monetary system, relationships between exchange rates, interest rates, and inflation rates (parity conditions), national income account, balance of payments. The second part of the course will examine issues related to the international markets, including foreign exchange markets, the futures/forwards markets, and currency options, interest rate and currency swaps markets.  The third part of the course will consider financial risk management issues associated with the operation of a firm in the international environment.  Specifically, this part of the course will focus on the identification, measurement, and management of the impact of exchange rates on the firm using various financial instruments discussed in the second part; the implications of political risk on project evaluation and financial structure, and benefits of international portfolio diversification will also be covered.  While the course discusses theoretical basis on the various issues, it relies on both empirical evidence and discussion of firms real world activities.  The course style is mostly lectures with some class discussions and presentations.  
 
Prerequisite: basic understanding of corporate finance; some background on macroeconomics is helpful but not necessary as we will go over them whenever related knowledge is needed.
 
Course Materials
 
The textbook provided for this course is: Multinational Financial Management, 9th edition, by Alan C. Shapiro, Wiley, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0470-41501-6. Although the book is aimed at graduate level students, I think it is appropriate for Chinese undergraduates. The university library has three copies of English version and a couple in Chinese.
A great supplementary reading is Foundations of Multinational Financial Management, 6th Edition, by Shapiro and Sarin, Wiley, 2009.  ISBN-13: 978-0470-12895-4. As the name suggests, similar concepts are covered in this book but with more intuition and examples. Although it is not required to buy this book, reading it can greatly enhance your understanding of the concepts and ideas. You can also check them (the 3rd edition) out through the university library.
Another good one is International Financial Management, 2009 by Bekaert and Hodrick. The book covers almost all topics in International Finance and treats complex issues in a clear and readable way. A must-have if you are really interested in International Finance.
Chapters from the textbook are listed in the syllabus as FMFM.  Due to time constraints, we will not cover all of the topics in the text, although it is highly recommended that you read the entire text.   
In addition to the text and the required readings, avid students of international finance will wish to stay on top of current issues by following additional sources of information.  Recommended sources include:
The Wall Street Journal – great source of financial and business news, deals, and opinions.
The Economist - good economic analysis of occasional related issues.
Financial Times - good international company and capital markets section.
Euromoney – great international finance and banking coverage – a big read.
Global Finance – best overall magazine for practical international finance issues
 
Course Grading
 
To receive credit for the course, each student will be responsible for writing a midterm exam.   The midterm exam will be SUNDAY November 28th, 2010 from 9:00am to 12:00pm in class.  Students will also be responsible for handing in six problem sets and presenting a final project as part of a study group.  The final grade will be determined by the following weights:
 
Midterm Exam                        40%
Final Project                            20%
6 Problem Sets                             20%
Participation                                          20%
 
The participation portion of the grade is based upon general individual class attendance/participation and group participation as evaluated by your group members.  To promote classroom attendance/participation, students are required to sign on the attendance sheet before each class. There will also be random calls in class asking either individual student or group to answer questions. Please note that about 50% of the grade is determined by group activities so keep this in mind when forming study groups. 
 
Study Groups
 
Each member of the class is encouraged to become part of a study group consisting of a maximum of five students.  The group will work together and prepare answers to the discussion cases/problem sets/final project (however, any student may elect to submit a minority opinion on an issue, if desired).  Groups should be formed within the first two weeks. Once a group is formed it cannot be changed, so please choose your groups carefully.  Issues regarding free riding, shirking, etc. in groups work are often more severe in the last year of a program, so be sure that you and your group internalizes such issues when forming. At the end of the course, group members will be asked to confidentially evaluate the participation of the other group members as an attempt to externally control such behavior.  This evaluation will impact on the student’s class participation score. 
 
 
Exam Policy
 
The exam is closed book although I will allow an equation sheet as the memorization of economic and financial formulas is not the goal of this course.  Students need to bring a non-graphing calculator and writing utensils to exams.  Absences from exams must be arranged in advance and make-up exams must be taken in advance of the actual exam unless there is a confirmed medical excuse.  Students are expected to follow the Xiamen University integrity code.

Problem Sets
 
Problem sets are to be assigned weekly and submitted a week later in class to the TA. Groups are asked to choose a unique group name and include it in the name of the homework files (i.e., HW1_IF_groupname.xxx).  This facilitates the TA / the grader returning the correct graded submission to the right group. Please also note that we do NOT accept problem sets through email.
 
The problem sets are meant as exercises to practice some of the material.  Answers will be provided for the problem sets and posted on the web (under construction).  Some of the exercises will be the topic of discussion for a part of the class period, while others are meant purely as homework.  I will occasionally assign internet exercises to get students acquainted with real hands-on research experience.
                                                                                 

Student Responsibility

This course operates under the Xiamen University Academic Integrity Code.  Students are expected to do their own work (or work within their group).  At no time is it permissible to use materials from former students or other sources that relate to problem sets or exams other than what is currently provided on the course website. Violations of this rule will be treated as a breach of the Integrity Code and receive a “Failure” (letter grade ‘F’) as final score without negotiation.
 
      
Contact   
 
I will generally be available for questions immediately after each class session. Outside of these times the best way to contact me over will be email.  During the week, if I am in the office I will try to respond to emails within 24 hours, and often respond immediately. I encourage you to contact me if you have questions on the material.
 
You are also welcome to contact our TA with questions about the material if you cannot get hold of me.  His regular office hours will be from ?? to ?? at ??(to be announced). Both of us will hold extra office hours during the week of the midterm exam and final projects presentation.
 
 

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