Course Syllabus

What you will need to do and how you will be graded

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Financial Analysis and Modelling with Microsoft Excel
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Table of Contents

Required Materials
Content Delivery Method
Attendance Verification Assignment
Important Note On Email Communication
Academic Integrity

Instructor Information

Dr. Del Hawley

Senior Associate Dean (CFO, COO, CIO)
Associate Professor of Finance


Address: 372 Holman Hall
University of Mississippi,
University MS 38677

Ph.D. Finance - Michigan State University 1987
MBA Finance - Michigan State University 1983

Dr. Violetta Davydenko

Instructional Assistant Professor of Finance


Address: 370 Holman Hall
University of Mississippi,
University MS 38677

Ph.D. Finance - University of Mississippi 2018
MBA - University of Mississippi 2012

Required Materials

Financial Analysis with Microsoft Excel 8th or 9th ed.

by Mayes and Shank; 

8th Ed ISBN-13: 978-1337298049

9th Ed ISBN-13: 978-0357442050

Cengage also has an ebook option that is especially appealing if you have other Cengage textbooks this semester. Details on how to get the ebook version can be found here.  

There is little difference between the two editions, so either is fine. The 9th edition was just released in a few months ago so there won't be used copies available. There is no software included with the book, so used copies are not a problem.

Microsoft Excel 2013, 2016, 2019, or 365 Paid Subscription

Version 2019 (included also in 365) is the current version, but if you are using anything back to version 2010 it shouldn't be a problem. The best option is to get a subscrption to Office 365 University at this link with academic discount pricing starting at $69.99 for a 1-year subscription to Office 365 University for two devices with 1TB of free online data storage. Having a 365 subscription ensures that you always have the most current versions of the Office apps, both desktop and online, along with other advantages. Note that the free version of Office 365 provided by this university is NOT SUFFICIENT because it includes only the online version of Excel and not the desktop version.

Computer and Internet

You need access to a computer with a reliable internet connection.

What if you have a Mac computer rather than a Windows PC? This could be a problem. There are some fairly significant differences between the Mac version of Excel and the Windows version. I don't have a Mac and therefore will not be much help on the differences. Some students have successfully completed the course using a Mac, but their degree of success depended on their computer knowledge coming into the course. If you are at all uncomfortable with computer usage, I would advise against trying to use a Mac for this course.

Content Delivery Method

Class content is delivered online in captured video sessions that you can watch using any video player. Almost all of the content involves working directly on your computer in Excel. The videos show exactly what is being done in Excel on the instructor's computer. You can start, stop, and review the material as needed. You are expected to view all of the videos, to work through all operations on your own computer, and to gain a level of high proficiency in carrying out the operations that are covered in Excel.

The videos are available without captions on from the links that are given in the content pages, and they are also available on YouTube in private folders for those who prefer to use that format. Links to these captioned videos are provided on the content pages.



Exams are designed to test your understanding of how to directly apply what was covered in class. Your ability to perform well on exams will require a large amount of preparation involving EXTENSIVE individual practice on problems and examples. In addition, all past exams have been posted on the schedule page with solutions. These exams are an excellent study tool and you should make as much use of them as possible.

The are four 100-point exams in the course. You must take at least three of these exams. The dates of these exams are listed on the Schedule page of this website. You can take the exam any time on those days. The first three exams each cover approximately one-third of the material. The fourth covers all of the material. You have three options concerning the exams:

  1. If you take all of the three regular exams, you can opt not take the fourth exam and instead substitute the average of your three regular exam grades for the fourth exam grade.
  2. If you miss one of the first three regular exams, you must take the fourth exam and the score you earn on it will count for the test you missed and also for the fourth exam score.
  3. If you take all three regular exams you can opt to take the fourth exam in an attempt to improve your overall score and grade. The score you earn on the fourth exam will substitute for the lowest of the three regular exam scores in addition to counting for the fourth exam score. This option cannot hurt your overall grade. If the score you earn on Exam 4 is not sufficient to improve your overall score it will not be used.

NOTE WELL: There are no "make-up" exams. If you miss one of the exams you must use Option 2 above. That's why skipping the first exam for any reason other than illness or an unavoidable conflict is A VERY BAD IDEA. Doing so negates your ability to recover from missing another exam if you do fall ill or have a conflict. Please don't skip the first exam unless you absolutely must.

Exam Procedure

Exams will be taken on the dates listed on the Schedule page of this website using ProctorU, a commercial online exam proctoring servcie. You can schedule your exams any time between 8:00 AM CDT and 7:00 PM CDT and you will have up to 2.5 hours to complete them (and up to 3.0 hours for Exam 4). You will be charged a fee of $33.75 for each exam and you must schedule your exams with ProctorU at least 72 hours in advance or you will be charged a late fee of up to $12.                   .

More information on the testing procedure will be provided prior to Exam 1.  

Attendance Verification Assignment

A short quiz on the first topic will be posted in the first week of class to serve as attendance verification. The quiz will need to be completed by Wednesday, Sept. 3  Any student who does not submit the quiz will be deemed to be non-participating and will be dropped from the course.

The quiz will count 10 extra credit points on the 400 points from the exams, as discussed below.


Your grade in this course will be based entirely on the scores you earn on the exams as follows:

Exam 1
100 points
Exam 2
100 points
Exam 3
100 points
Exam 4
100 points
400 points

Your score for the 10-point attendance verification quiz will be added
to your total points from the exams.

Grades will be assigned based on your total points:

90% (360 points) or more
80% to 90% (320 to 359 points)
70% to 80% (280 to 319 points)
60% to 70% (240 to 279 points)
Less than 60% (less than 240 points)

I do not use +/- grading.

Important Note on Email Communication

Your email address is the official avenue of communication from the University, Dr. Davyden and me to you. Any message you receive in that account from anyone at The University of Mississippi has been officially communicated to you and you are bound by its contents whether you read it or not. It will be the primary method through which I communicate with you, so be sure to check it often.

What We Expect (and DON'T expect)
from You:

This is not a course in using Excel. It is a course in corporate finance that happens to use Excel as a tool with which to model financial decision environments. You cannot pass the course without mastering the finance topics that we will discuss. You have completed FIN 331 with at least a C grade, so you should have mastered most of these concepts already. I expect you to remember a good deal of what you covered in that course, but we will review all topics.

What will get you into trouble in this course and will likely result in your receiving a bad or failing grade?

  • Assume that we won't give you a bad or failing grade, even if you are a graduating senior and have a job waiting for you. Don't make that bet. You will lose. Many other students have made that bet and lost.
  • Don't keep up with the work and expect to cram enough the night before an exam to pass. You won't.
  • Don't view the videos and work along with me so you know how all of the procedures are done.
  • Don't learn the underlying finance that is covered along with the Excel procedures.
  • Skip the first test because you didn't prepare for it and expect to make it up on the other three because of the drop policy. This is like playing Russion roulette with all of the chambers loaded. Bad idea.

THIS IS NOT AN EASY COURSE. This may not be a course you should be in if:

  • You are not self-motivated. Nobody is going to push you to do anything in this course. There are no quizzes or assignments to make you keep up. It's all up to you.
  • You took FIN 331 more than once to get a C to progress.
  • You only got a C in FIN 331.
  • You don't get grades higher than C in Finance and Accounting courses very often.
  • You expect to put in 3 or 4 hours a week and that's all and be able to pass.
  • You expect to be able to skip most of the work and cram for an exam the night before the exam.
  • You are math-challenged or computer-challenged.
  • You don't have a computer of your own.

I have no preconceived target grade distribution or average for the class. Everyone can get an A or everyone can get an F. I hope that A's prevail.


Academic Integrity

The School of Business Administration upholds honor and academic integrity in all of its teaching, research, and service activities.  All business faculty, staff, and students are charged with the responsibility to behave with personal and professional integrity and to refrain from dishonorable conduct.

Any student who commits any act of academic dishonesty will automatically receive a grade of "F" in this course and a full description of the offense will be filed with the University and with the Dean of the School of Business Administration. There are no lesser penalties and no exceptions to this policy.

Academic dishonesty includes representing someone else's work as your own (plagiarism), knowingly allowing someone else to represent your work as his or her own, and gaining or attempting to gain an unfair advantage.

All work that is submitted for a grade in this course is to be your work and only your work. There is no group work in this course.

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