Want to learn about finance but strapped for cash? MOOCs could be the answer that you have been looking for. MOOCs are exciting stuff. They are Massive Open Online Courses and they are usually either low cost or free. Of course, unsurprisingly as a result of that you study alongside many other students, in some cases thousands of others. That can be beneficial for you since where online forums are part of the learning there can be lots of debates and interesting ideas shared that can boost your personal development. However, finding good MOOCs can be a bit of a challenge. Not all are of equally excellent standards. Luckily there are aggregators of courses that provide lists of a range of different courses in specific topics. These may be rated, so you can select the highest rated. For example, Class Central lists a range of different courses in Finance. Here are some of the top rated options that are available:
1. Introduction to Finance – for those that want to simply get started in understanding finance, this course offered by the University of Michigan may be a great place to start. The course assesses the time value of money and risk with a view to understanding the inputs to value creation. Indeed, valuation of real and financial assets is the core focus of this course. It is explained that both theory and practical examples are utilised to understand the value of assets. The course aims to help people to make good personal and professional decisions, and ultimately to be able to take more difficult courses in finance, if that is your goal.
2. An Introduction to Credit Risk Management – this course is ideally suited for people that work in banks that have to make decisions about lending money. It is offered by the Delft University of Technology. Since one of the biggest risks that banks face, the course helps those that take it to understand the risks associated with offering credit. The goal is to deliver practical information and review strengths and weaknesses of different methodologies used to assess credit risk.
3. Introduction to Financial Accounting – perhaps accounting is more your thing, and in that case you might want to consider this course offered by the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. It is explained that making decisions based on financial information requires an understanding of accounting. The course looks at the ways in which economic activities like operating activities, investments and financing transactions are included in financial statements. The course reviews the income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement.
4. Diagnosing the Financial Health of a Business – this course is offered by the Macquarie Graduate School of Management and looks at the subject of how financial reports demonstrate business performance. It also explains how these same reports can be used to see forthcoming problems with financial performance. Financial analysis using balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement is one area of study. The course also examines the assumptions and estimates that managers make in creating financial reports and the implications that these can have for understanding business performance.
5. Financial Analysis – this course is offered through the First Finance Institute. It is explained that financial analysis is an essential tool for making decisions in organisations regarding a range of different areas like bank loans, credit rating assessment, bond issues and corporate valuations. The course helps to show how financial analysis can be used effectively to understand a company and properly assess its ability to be able to pay debts on time, as well as create shareholder value.
6. Financial Engineering and Risk Management Part 1 – for those that are a bit more advanced in their study of finance this course from Columbia University could be a good option. Financial Engineering includes the study of a range of fields that overlap with one another, including finance, economics, mathematics, statistics, engineering and computing. This course focuses on the use of stochastic models to price derivative securities in a range of asset classes. Asset classes explored include fixed income, equities, credit and mortgage backed securities. While the course aims to help people to better understand financial engineering, it also seeks to show that financial models are not perfect.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.