Diploma in Business Finance

The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School


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Who should attend

  • Managers with a minimum of 5 years’ management experience
  • High-potential mid-level executives ready to assume greater responsibilities;
  • Experienced functional or technical specialists currently transitioning towards general management;
  • General managers, country managers or business unit heads;
  • Managers of large/complex projects across teams, functions or borders

About the course

The economic uncertainties of today’s world make it imperative for non-financial managers to have a firm grasp of the financial consequences of business decisions. With volatility in financial markets and margins narrowing from highly competitive trading conditions, mid to senior level executives need to be aware of how investment and funding decisions can affect the value of an organisation.

Designed to equip participants with the necessary tools and knowledge to understand the financial consequences of business decisions, this diploma will enable non-financial managers to communicate effectively with those in senior accounting and finance positions ensuring that all of the organisation’s functions are better integrated, significantly boosting the firm’s overall value.

This diploma will provide participants with a new ability to integrate a financial approach into their business decision making. In doing so, they will contribute to ensuring a sound financial basis for implementing all of their organisation’s strategic plans and decisions.

How Does It Work?

This standalone diploma also forms part of the optional MSc in Business (Leadership & Management Practice) Pathway. The pathway framework is comprised of 10 diploma programmes. If participants successfully complete any three of these ten diplomas within a recommended 5-year timeframe, they are awarded with the MSc in Business (Leadership & Management Practice).

Key Benefits

Our portfolio of pathway diplomas build on your existing skill set and add relevant value to your business needs. From corporate governance to leadership development, our diplomas deepen your understanding of contemporary business issues and will help you become a stronger leader who can deal with complex issues in rapidly-changing environments. Our unique teaching method, immersive learning environment and world-class faculty combine to produce an educational experience like no other.

Structure And Flexibility

The majority of our diploma programmes are delivered over a series of 6 two-day workshops within a 10-12 month period. Workshops are typically held on Fridays and Saturdays to minimise interference with busy work schedules. The majority of our diploma programmes are assessed on a module-by-module basis through a variety of practical assignments. There are no examinations (excluding the Diploma in Corporate Governance).

Course Content

Understanding Financial Statements

  • Understand the essential components and relationships among the key financial statements;
  • Examine the income statement, balance sheet and statement of cash flows;
  • Analyse accounting policies; distinguishing operating and non-operating items;
  • Evaluate basic financial statements; basic profitability analysis and ROIC trees.

The Financing Landscape

  • Develop a more sophisticated understanding of financial markets; the time value of money;
  • Understand sources of finance including equity, debt, leasing, private equity; CAPM and the cost of capital.

Revenue and Cost Analysis

  • Investigate cost drivers; cost allocation methods; make-or-buy decisions;
  • Understand flexible budgeting and profitability analysis.

Key Financial Decisions

  • Understand how firms create value through better working capital management;
  • Evaluate investment projects, marketing, and R&D expenditures;
  • Estimate project cash flows;
  • Determine the value created by investment decisions.

International Financing

  • Understand the meaning of international financial markets for corporate decision-making in a globalised world;
  • Understand the economic intuition behind changes in exchange rates through the interplay of interest rates, inflation levels and exchange rates;
  • Ability to discuss the conceptual and managerial analysis of economic exchange exposure.

Corporate Financing Issues

  • Develop insight into key corporate finance issues such as financial policy; mergers, acquisitions and divestments;
  • Develop an understanding of value based management systems; value drivers; valuation and firm performance analysis;
  • Understand and evaluate complexities of executive compensation and dividend policy.

Programme Benefits

Upon completion of this programme, participants will have acquired a deeper understanding of how to interpret and use financial reports to make better business decisions and obtain a broader understanding of corporate finance to better assess the value of strategic decisions, including investment projects and acquisitions.

Specifically, the programme will help participants:

  • Understand how the economic outcomes of business decisions are reflected in an organisation’s financial reports;
  • Communicate more effectively with their CFO and financial executives;
  • Understand business valuation techniques;
  • Hone the ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of competitors by analysing their financial statements;
  • Improve their ability to use financial information in managerial decision-making
  • Assess the desirability and value of investment projects, corporate assets, and whole companies (acquisitions) ;
  • Understand the impact of operating decisions on financial performance.

Programme Structure

This programme is delivered over a series of 6 two-day workshops within a 10–month period. Workshops are held on Fridays and Saturdays to minimise interference with busy work schedules. The programme structure is designed in order to facilitate busy work/lifestyles and to assist participants with incorporating study into their working lives while enhancing their contribution as a member of the management team.

Assessments and Workload

This programme involves no examinations – instead the emphasis throughout is on the practical application of knowledge to your personal and organisation’s benefit. Participants are assessed on a module-by-module basis through a variety of practical assignments. Assessment workload is spread across the duration of the programme to allow you to combine learning with work and life demands. In order to accelerate learning, between modules participants are expected to complete assigned reading from texts, cases and articles. All continuous assessment is completed by participants either individually or in groups and this is set out in the study guide for each module. Some modules require pre-coursework in addition to the post-coursework which is set for each taught modules.


Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan is a senior lecturer in finance at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. He is Director of the MSc in Finance programme. From August 2007 to July 2012 he was Dean of the Institute of Bankers School of Professional Finance. He has lectured extensively across a broad range o...

Nilanjan Sen

Dr Nilanjan Sen, Ph.D., C.F.A. is Associate Dean (Nanyang Executive Education) and Associate Professor of Banking and Finance at Nanyang Business School (NTU. Dr. Sen also concurrently holds an adjunct Associate Professor position at Lorange Institute, Zurich. Professor Sen received his Ph.D from...

Eamonn Walsh

Eamonn is PwC Professor of Accounting at UCD. He has served as Dean of the Smurfit School of Business and Chairman of the Accounting Department. His primary research, teaching and consulting interests are in the areas of financial analysis, equity valuation and US securities markets. A co-author...

Cal Muckley

Cal is Professor of Operational Risk in Banking and Finance at the UCD College of Business and a Fellow at the UCD Geary Institute. His research interests are at the interface of corporate finance and the capital markets with a new focus in Operational Risk. He has published in international scho...

Kate Cullen

Dr Kate Cullen is a Chartered Management Accountant and a BComm (Banking and Finance), MBS (Financial Services), and PhD (Accounting) graduate from University College Dublin. Kate has lectured extensively on topics relating to accounting and control, including cost management, strategic, and ethi...

Ken O’Sullivan

Ken O’Sullivan BComm (UCC), MBS(UCD), FCA, FIB(IOB) Ken is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland, Fellow of the Institute of Banking and completed his accounting training with PwC. He graduated from University College Cork with a BComm and from University College Dublin with an MBS. A forme...

John Cotter

John Cotter is Professor in Finance and the Chair in Quantitative Finance at University College Dublin. He is a Research Fellow at the UCLA Ziman Research Center for Real Estate. John has previously had visiting positions at UCLA, London School of Economics, UBC and ESSEC Business School. John's ...

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Diploma in Business Finance at The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

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