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Topics in Finance

  • Teacher(s): G.Ballocchi (AR)
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits: 3 credits
  • Schedule: Autumn Semester 2019-2020, 2.0h. course (weekly average)
  •  séances
  • site web du cours course website
  • Related programmes:
    Master of Science (MSc) in Actuarial Science

    Master of Science (MSc) in Finance : Financial Entrepreneurship and Data Science

    Master of Science (MSc) in Finance, Orientation Corporate Finance

    Master of Science (MSc) in Finance, Orientation Asset and Risk Management

    Master in Law and Economy

[warning] This course syllabus is currently edited by the professor in charge. Please come back in a few days. --- For your information only, here is the old syllabus :


This purpose of this course is to serve as a bridge between theory and practice, thus helping students with career orientation in the fast changing world of finance. Leading practitioners, coming from a broad range of financial institutions and backgrounds, visit the class to present the issues to share their perspective, providing students with a unique opportunity to obtain straight information on different financial careers. There is ample possibility to be exposed to those senior financial professionals and to get feedback. Students get advice on how to bridge the gap between their current skill set and what is required to pursue their career objectives, including suggestions for enhancing soft skills. The interaction with the leading practitioners who visit the course, the lectures, the suggested readings and the exam format are designed to build up practical skills and abilities. At the end of the course students are expected to have significantly broadened their understanding of the practice of finance and to be able to better situate and apply their academic knowledge in the job context. The course answers requests formulated by currently employed MScF students about career orientation.


The subjects covered are quite wide, from the impact of financial technology (fintech), current trends in private banking and investment management, financial intermediation, pension fund management, commodities trading to the future of finance itself. Material about soft skills is made available on the course Moodle site. The course includes formal lectures on cutting edge topics with practical relevance, such as human capital and lifetime wealth management, using derivatives in portfolio management and a detailed, down-to-earth explanation of the foreign exchange market.

To complement the course content, students are asked to read in their own time three books that give them background information on the historical development of financial markets and on financial crises. Only a general knowledge of those book contents is required for the exam.

The books are:

1. "When Genius Failed", Roger Lowenstein, Random House, 2000

2. "This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly”, Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff, Princeton University Press,

3. "Financial Market History- Reflections on the Past for Investors today", Edited by David Chambers and Elroy Dimson, CFA Institute Research Foundation.

For the first two books, get cheap paperbacks, e.g. on Amazon (all editions are the same for the purpose of the exam). The third book is available for free in electronic form at Moreover, the CFA Institute Research Foundation will make hard copies of the third book available for free.


None, although first year MScF courses are recommended. If you have additional questions please contact



First attempt

Written 2h00 hours
Allowed with restrictions

The final grade is given as an average between assignments (30%) and the final exam (70%). The final exam consists of multiple choice questions from the course material and open questions from the three recommended books.

Only non-programmable calculators are allowed during the exam.

Detailed exam guidance on the exam topics and format will be provided in the course.



Written 2h00 hours
Allowed with restrictions

In the case of a retake, a 2 hours exam will be given. The final grade is based on the retake exam only.

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