This is the core course in finance, required of all students in the MBA Program. It may be considered the first course in corporate perspective. It focuses on the primary tasks of the corporate treasurer, showing students how to use ratio analysis to assess corporate performance and project financial statements and cash needs for both projects and whole companies. It devotes substantial time to the question of how much debt is optimal in a firm's capital structure. It then introduces discounted cash flow and shows how to estimate a weighted average cost of capital to use as a discount rate appropriate to a particular company or project. By the end of the course, students have all the tools necessary to value a company by projecting its free cash flow and discounting it at an appropriate rate.
Martin Cherkes was a Columbia Business School faculty member from 2006 to 2016.