The Bachelor’s degree program leads to an undergraduate degree in a three-year standard period of study. One year of study consists of two semesters.
The first year of study (first and second semesters) is similarly structured for almost all Bachelor degree programs at the University of Applied Sciences Ludwigshafen am Rhein. This year gives students a solid introduction to the program and provides a strong foundation in the basic principles and methods of business administration.
In the second and third years of study (third – sixth semesters), professionally qualifying and specialized advanced topics are taught. These advanced topics are complemented with a (required) elective module. The Bachelor’s thesis concludes the sixth semester.
In addition, students have the option of doing an internship or a study abroad semester during the sixth semester.
The program in Financial Services and Corporate Finance meets the existing and anticipated demand for qualified young academics with a corresponding professional profile in accounting. This, however, is intentionally not limited to employment in classic financial services institutions, such as banks and insurance companies. Bearing in mind the predominantly functional perspective (guiding question: in terms of financial services, which demands can be satisfied, and which problems need to be solved?), the program instead qualifies students to work in the entire field of financial services and corporate finance (in the sense of corporate finance-related activities in industry, commerce, and in the service sectors).
Students acquire the necessary skills that prepare them for successful professional employment within this career field. Graduates are able to take on executive, planning, and/or controlling responsibilities—whether as regular employees or self-employed workers. Meeting the skill specifications outlined in the following four categories is directly derived from module and course descriptions:
a) Technical Skills
- Knowledge and applied skills in terms of products, processes, solutions, and structures of the financial services market and of corporate finance.
- Knowledge of the central legal framework (especially legal tax issues).
- Process orientation, functional orientation (a departure from the supply-side or institutional perspectives).
b) Methodological Skills
- Performance analysis/analytical skills.
- Mastery of defined financial valuation tools and basic techniques (“state of the art,” best practices, and especially valuation of assets and rights, asset allocation approach).
- Technological competency, such as the ability to use supporting information technologies (thus, the module in “Business Information Technology”).
- Language skills (particularly English).
c) Social Skills
- The ability to integrate interdisciplinary knowledge and to deal with complexity.
- Teamwork, communication skills, and resistance to stress.
d) Strategic Skills / Metacompetency
- Knowledge of the central drivers of developments in the financial services market (technology, tax conditions, competitive environment, transaction cost reduction).
- The capacity to unlearn and to learn new ways of thinking.
With increasingly international interdependence and linkage comes growth in the activities of the financial markets. For this reason, financial management is becoming ever more important for successful corporate management. In the last years, methods and practices in the financial field have changed significantly. The financial services branches have become particularly more technology-driven. In companies, employees responsible for financial areas are always confronting new problems. They often have trouble keeping their knowledge up-to-date and being able to fulfill their tasks in a timely manner.
The goal of the Program in Financial Services and Corporate Finance is to train qualified managers and professionals for employment in the areas of banking and insurance, but also in corporations not directly active in the financial sector. Within this diverse occupational profile, the program focuses in particular on providing students with knowledge and skills in business administration and information technology, which enables students to fulfill demanding specialist and executive functions in corporate financial management.
The program is based on the concept of value-based corporate management as well as the modern theory of corporate finance and financial markets. It places a focus (in addition to the basic principles of business administration) mainly on the topics of risk management, financing, treasury, but also (to a lesser extent) on controlling and accounting.
The aim is to provide students with the analytic ability necessary for dealing with complex problems in a methodological and goal-oriented way. This includes not just teaching theoretical knowledge, but also practical skills through the use of information technologies (especially ERP-programs). Here, both current technical skills and the newest trends in the financial sector are taught. Students are empowered to competently and purposefully recognize and solve problems.
The modules can be roughly divided into the following four thematic areas:
- Basic Principles (in general business administration, economics, statistics, and law): Students are taught the basic principles relating primarily to business administration functions such as finance, investment, and financial accounting, but also law (fundamentals of civil law and business/corporate law), mathematics, statistics, and economics.
- Financial Services / Corporate Finance (especially Business Administration) and Information Technology (IT):
This content constitutes the essential “tools” students will need later on in their careers. At the forefront here is teaching the knowledge, understanding, and goal-oriented use of problem-solving. These topics are complemented by an applied understanding of information technology (IT) and its applications (for example, ERP systems, basics of business information technology).
The University of Applied Sciences Ludwigshafen am Rhein offers (required) elective modules to students from all degree programs, which serve to complement and deepen student’s individual knowledge. These courses build upon the basics (which were introduced in the same form in all programs during the first two semesters) and allow students to specialize—in addition to their major course of study—in areas such as human resources management, corporate consulting, marketing, controlling, or logistics.
- Organization and Communication:
Both further personal development and the ability to do academic work are fundamentally important prerequisites for successfully completing the program. Students acquire these skills from the beginning of their studies and on throughout the entire program from, among other things, courses on “Soft Skills.” Integrated into the program is an optional study abroad semester or, alternatively, an internship semester, which can be completed either in Germany or abroad. This ensures that students are given the chance to either get to know an intercultural/international university setting or to gain practical experience. Furthermore, students should be able to accomplish elementary communication objectives in business contexts. Improving general and business-specific English language skills serves this point.