I know.. I know.. You think corporate finance is all numbers, equations and complex theory and beyond your reach, especially if you are a liberal arts major with only a nodding acquaintance with numbers. Trust me! That is not true. Corporate finance is very simple and supremely intuitive, though its practitioners (investment bankers and consultants) have to make it look difficult (How else can they justify their fees?).
Will that mean that this class is going to be like a corporate strategy class with buzz words and fancy looking matrices and nary a talk about numbers? Not really. If you run a business, you have to deal with numbers, but the skills I will call on include basic addition and subtraction (and perhaps multiplication... I promise no calculus), a willingness to stay engaged even when the material gets a little difficult (as it will) and a desire to learn the first principles behind financial decisions...
So, what do I want you to do before class? If you are still wrestling with your financial calculator (and not winning), please pin the damn thing down before January and emerge on top. If you cannot still tell the difference between operating incomeand net income, I hope that your accounting class will clear it up before my class starts... If not, it will not hurt to pull up a company's annual report and browse through its financial statements. Finally, if an R-squared sounds like a curse word, you may need a little touching up on statistics. I have short primers on each topic on the site that you can visit.
Reading my book (Applied Corporate Finance, Third Edition, John Wiley and Sons) before the sessions is not necessary. If you can, do want to browse through the first two chapters, I don't think you will find them too painful. Finally, if you want to email me with your pet paranoias, fears and other lesser concerns about the class, my email address is email@example.com.... I will probably ignore them or suggest therapy, but it will make you feel better. See you soon!