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Middle and senior managers meet a multiplicity of financial problems in their organisations. This module will help you develop your knowledge of this area. It introduces finance problems that organisations face at board level, and equips you with the fundamentals of corporate financial theory enabling you to challenge finance experts. You will learn how to tackle the main financial problems you are likely to encounter, in particular, how best to finance a company, what dividend policy to choose, how to appraise both public and private sector projects, and how to value a company for takeover or flotation.

This module is only available if you have already studied The dynamics of strategy (B835) or intend to study B835 in May 2013. If you have any queries about your study pathway for the MBA (F61) please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

What you will study

The module starts with an introduction to corporate finance and culminates by relating finance to the other activities of an organisation. The topics covered are the relationship between finance and accounting, corporate governance, the time value of money, finance tools, project appraisal and company appraisal.

By the end of the module you should:

  • appreciate the financial strategy issues that affect organisations
  • understand the relevance of finance and accounting both within the organisation and to stakeholders
  • be aware of the financing choices available to organisations, and how financial structure should be determined
  • be able to make investment decisions, both for projects and for companies.

Most finance courses in business schools treat accounting and finance as separate topics, failing to exploit the relationships that the two have in practice. For example, managers might be judged on their ability to achieve the financial objective of maximising shareholder value through internal accounting performance measures. This module explains how accounting and finance interact, as well as giving you the key techniques applicable to financial analysis. Another difference between this module and more conventional courses is that it considers both public and private sector finance issues. The boundary between public sector and private sector is, in any case, increasingly blurred as public sector organisations are forced to compete in the private sector or are privatised, while private sector organisations are made to be accountable to society as a whole, not just to shareholders.

Many managers are apprehensive at the thought of taking a finance course because they expect it to be dull and difficult. This module is neither. It includes case studies and examples that show how relevant finance is to all aspects of management. It also uses multimedia to get the concepts of financial theory across. From video, podcasts, spreadsheets, and related readings you will have substantial support in learning the key concepts of finance. Online discussion forums and a module website are also included. By the end of the module you should have no difficulty with financial jargon and you will be more than able to hold your own in the world of finance.

Vocational relevance

This module will help you develop the knowledge needed to tackle the main financial issues that you are likely to encounter in your organisation.

Residential school

You will cover elements of this module at a five-day residential school that takes place towards the latter part of your study of The dynamics of strategy (B835), and which puts these modules into a real-life context. Satisfactory participation in either this compulsory five-day residential school or in the 21-day online equivalent is required. The school is an opportunity to meet other managers and tutors and to work in small groups on strategic management and corporate finance issues.

Both versions of the residential school (face-to-face and online) have been devised to deliver the same essential learning outcomes. Feedback from previous MBA students suggests that those who have attended the face-to-face school have particularly valued the face-to-face contact and the networking opportunities available. The cost of the residential school (excluding travel) is included in the module fee. See our Residential Schools website for more information.


This mosdule is a compulsory module in stage 2 of the MBA (F61) and will be one of the first stage 2 modules that you study.  Please see MBA (F61) for full details of the entry requirements for this qualification.

The module requires 150 hours of study over six months. It is designed to be studied alongside the twelve month module The dynamics of strategy (B835). (You can study this module before the strategy module if you wish to study at a slower pace i.e. 6-8 hours per week rather than 12-16 hours.)

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.


B831 is a compulsory module in our:

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service before registering.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

Study materials

What's included

Study text and online materials, including B831 website, study guide and online discussion forums. 

You will need

There are activities that require Microsoft Excel.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2008 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.7 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information (including details of the support we provide).

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your assignments and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. You can contact your tutor by telephone, email or via your tutor group forum on the B831 website.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above. You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

After you have successfully completed both this module and The dynamics of strategy (B835) you will have gained 450 study hours. You then complete this part of the MBA by taking a three-hour examination covering both these modules. This exam takes place at the end of B835. On passing this examination you will gain 45 credits.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in May 2013. May 2013 is the last starting date for this module which is only available to study if you have already studied The dynamics of strategy (B835) or intend to study B835 in May 2013.

Distance learning

The Open University is the world's leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you're at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you'll be supported throughout your studies - your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information about distance learning at the OU read Study explained.

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