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Introduction to Corporate Finance

Part of the Business Foundations Specialization »

This course provides a brief introduction to the fundamentals of finance, emphasizing their application to a wide variety of real-world situations spanning personal finance, corporate decision-making, and financial intermediation. Key concepts and applications include: time value of money, risk-return tradeoff, cost of capital, interest rates, retirement savings, mortgage financing, auto leasing, capital budgeting, asset valuation, discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, net present value, internal rate of return, hurdle rate, payback period.


Eligible for

Business Foundations Specialization
Course Certificate

Course at a Glance

About the Course


See Geoffrey Garrett, Dean of the Wharton School, talk about the Specialization here.

This course provides a framework, concepts, and tools for analyzing financial decisions based on fundamental principles of modern financial theory. You’ll learn the language and key components of corporate finance and investments including calculating present values, the valuation of bonds and stocks, the NPV rule, measuring risk, capital budgeting and the capital asset pricing model. At the end of this course, you’ll be able to read, understand, and explain corporate financial management and investment decisions.

Complete this course as part of Wharton's Business Foundations Specialization, and you'll have the opportunity to take the Capstone Project and prepare a strategic analysis and proposed solution to a real business challenge from Wharton-governed companies like Shazam and SnapDeal or to a challenge faced by your own company or organization. Wharton-trained staff will evaluate the top submissions, and leadership teams at Shazam and SnapDeal will review the highest scoring projects prepared for their companies. 

Watch this video to learn more about the Wharton Foundation Series on Coursera:

For more information about courses offered online at Wharton, please go to

Course Syllabus

Topic 1: Time Value of Money

  • Intuition, tools, and discounting 
  • Compounding 
  • Useful shortcuts 
  • Taxes 
  • Inflation

 Topic 2: Interest Rates

  • APR and EAR 
  • Term Structure

Topic 3: Discounted Cash Flow Analysis (DCF)

  • Decision Making 
  • Free Cash Flow 
  • Forecast Drivers 
  • Forecasting Free Cash Flow 
  • Decision Criteria 
  • Sensitivity Analysis

Topic 4: Return on Investment

  • Return on Investment 

Recommended Background

A thorough understanding of basic mathematical concepts is suggested.

Suggested Readings

Optional, recommended readings will be posted throughout the course at no cost.

Course Format

The course materials consist of short videos containing the lectures for the course, and problem sets to be completed at the end of many videos.

Each topic is largely self-contained but the lectures are best viewed sequentially as many lectures build off of preceding ones. The purpose of each lecture is to introduce a concept and illustrate its usage. Mastery of the concept comes from working the problems.

I want to emphasize this last point. The full value of the course can only be realized through a combination of viewing the videos and working the problems at the end of the videos. The problems have been designed to mimic, as much as possible, financial problems that you will confront in your personal and professional life. While I provide detailed solutions to the problems, I strongly encourage you to first work the problems without looking at the solution. Even if your answer is incorrect or you are unable to even come to a solution, there is value to just thinking about how to solve the problem.


There will be an exam at the conclusion of the course. The format will be somewhat similar to that of the problem sets, which offer the best form of preparation.


How does this course help me with my own business?
At the end of this course, you will know how key components of corporate finance and investments apply to and/or affect your business. Along with the other courses in Wharton’s Business Foundations Specialization, Introduction to Corporate Marketing will provide you with the tools you need to able to address your own business challenges. You can even choose to do your capstone project on your own business challenge, and get feedback on your plan from your classmates and Wharton-trained staff.

How does this course help me in my job?
Introduction to Corporate Finance covers not only the framework, concepts, and tools for analyzing financial decisions, but also relevant examples of how to use them. After successfully completing this course, you will be able to read, understand, and explain corporate financial management and investment decisions, which you can use at your current job, or to get a new one.

How does this course help me if I am thinking about going to business school?
This course was designed to give you a glimpse into what you can learn at business school. While it is based on courses offered at Wharton, it is shorter, and focuses on foundational skills that are a requirement for further study in business. Completing this course and the others in Wharton’s Business Foundations specialization will give you a solid grounding for pursuing further studies in graduate business education. 

Once I complete this course, how can I learn more?
This course is part of Wharton’s Business Foundations Specialization, where you can learn the foundational skills and language of business necessary to address business challenges and then apply them to a real-world challenge by creating a strategic plan. For more information on the specialization, please go to (link to Specialization page). For more online learning opportunities from Wharton, please go to

I took one of these courses in an earlier version. Will I get credit for it in this Specialization?

If you earned a Verified Certificate in one of these courses when they were offered in 2013-2014, you may apply it towards completing this Specialization and participating in the final Capstone project. However, if you earned an unverified Statement of Accomplishment in any of the courses, you will need to retake the course or courses and earn a Verified Certificate to complete the Specialization.