• Class Number 4442
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Xianming Zhou
    • AsPr Xianming Zhou
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/02/2021
  • Class End Date 28/05/2021
  • Census Date 31/03/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
SELT Survey Results

This course introduces students to the academic research in corporate finance. Corporate finance theory deals with the roles of corporations in the capital market and the interactions between investors, managers, regulators and other stakeholders. The objectives of this course are to learn the theories of corporate finance, analyse the research questions, and critically evaluate the academic papers.

This course focuses on selected classic and contemporary theoretical and empirical academic papers and provides students with an advanced and rigorous background in mainstream issues in modern corporate finance research. 

At the end of the course, it is expected that the students have developed an appreciation of the role of theory in corporate finance research, an in-depth knowledge of the research methods and philosophies employed in researching a wide range of corporate finance problems and issues, and an ability to critically analyse, and evaluate the literature in corporate finance.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Use an appropriate framework for considering corporate finance problems and issues;
  2. Develop and test corporate finance research questions and communicate the results; and,
  3. Critically analyse, and evaluate the corporate finance literature.

Research-Led Teaching

Based on selected classic and contemporary papers published in top academic journals, this course is to lead students to walk into the world of research in corporate finance, acquire relevant knowledge from both theoretical and empirical perspectives, and develop important research capabilities with regard to communication, presentation, analysis, writing, and critical thinking.

Examination Material or equipment

The final examination will be conducted online via Turnitin, for which any material will be allowed.

Required Resources

All required readings can be accessed via Wattle.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Comments and corrections to each group assignment;
  • Discussion of general issues in class for each assignment;
  • Discussion with group members during consultation time.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Announcements: Students are expected to check the Wattle site for announcements about this course, e.g. changes to timetables or notifications of cancellations.

Intra-group Assessment: At the end of this course, each student will be asked to submit a confidential assessment of each group member's coverall contribution to the group work. This information, being verified, may be used to make necessary within-group adjustments to group-work marks.

Support for Students: The University offers a number of support services for students. Information on these is available online from http://students.anu.edu.au/studentlife/.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction: Theory
2 Introduction: Empirical Method
3 Capital Structure Presentation
4 Equity and Debt Financing Presentation
5 Payout Policy Presentation
6 Corporate Governance Presentation; Replication Assignment Due
7 Managerial Compensation Presentation
8 Ownership Structure Presentation
9 Mergers and Acquisitions Presentation
10 Review and further issues Presentation; Term-Paper Presentation Slides Due
11 Project presentation Term-Paper Presentation
12 Project presentation Term-Paper Presentation; Term Paper Due

Tutorial Registration

There will be no tutorials or workshops.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Presentation 15 % * * 1,2,3
Replication Assignment 20 % 29/03/2021 04/04/2021 1,2
Term Paper 30 % 28/05/2021 10/06/2021 1,2,3
Final Examination – online via Turnitin, 3 hours duration 35 % 03/06/2021 01/07/2021 1,2,3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Course content delivery will take the form of pre-recorded weekly lectures (available via echo360 on Wattle) and online live via Zoom. Q&A sessions will be held, on campus and online live via Zoom, in weeks 4 and 5 to help students prepare the Replication Assignment.


Centrally scheduled examinations through Examinations, Graduations & Prizes will be timetabled prior to the examination period. Please check ANU Timetabling for further


Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3


Assessment Tasks 1 and 3 will be completed in a group containing 3-4 students. Each team member will be responsible for the assigned task required to complete the group assignment.

Students should commence forming groups as soon as possible, and once decided upon, email the instructor with the details of their group (student names and IDs of all members), with all group members included as recipients to the email. To assist students in finding a group, a discussion forum will be available via Wattle where students may post their desire to find a group, and/or existing groups looking for additional members. Students who are unable to join a group by the end of week 1 will be assigned to a group by the instructor. Group formation is to be finalised in week 2. It is requested that any students intending to drop the course make their decision prior to team formation. The two assignments are to be done in the same groups.

For Assignment Task 1, since week 3 and until week 10, there will be two group presentations via Zoom each week. Students are required to evaluate an academic paper by summarising and commenting on the paper and discussing the paper’s weaknesses and possible directions of improvement or extension (in aspects such as motivation, contribution, and research design).The instructor will decide on the assignment of presentation topics among study groups and announce on Wattle each week's presentation group two weeks in advance. The instructor will explain the marking scheme for presentations in week 1. Presentations will be videoed for review purposes.

For each week's presentations, the slides will need to be submitted via Turnitin on Wattle, one day before the scheduled presentation by one group member, with an included cover sheet noting the group members. The file name should be labelled as "Article Presentation Slides - Group XX". All members need to participate in the presentation.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 29/03/2021
Return of Assessment: 04/04/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Replication Assignment

This assignment task is compulsory and redeemable for students. It will count towards either 20% or 0% (if the assignment is redeemed or not submitted) of a student’s overall course grade.

Students will be required to conduct empirical analysis on the given dataset and submit their answers to the assigned questions. The answers should include necessary exhibits and a description of sample construction procedure. Instruction and data will be provided on Wattle in week 3.

The assignment will be submitted online via Wattle with the provided cover sheet. The file of submission should be named as “Replication - Student ID".

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 28/05/2021
Return of Assessment: 10/06/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Term Paper

The term paper should include a research question, motivation for the question/contribution to extant literature, hypothesis development, sample selection, and

detailed empirical research design. It needs to be written following the given instructions and submitted, by one group member, via Turnitin on Wattle, with the provided

cover sheet. The file name should be “Term Paper - Group XX".

Each group will present their term paper, during Weeks 11 and 12. Each group will their prepare presentation slides and submit them in Week 10. There are no specific format or structure requirements for the slides. The file should be named "Term Paper Presentation Slides - Group XX".

Instruction for this assignment will be posted on Wattle in week 8. Students will be provided with further details regarding term paper presentation and marking scheme.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 03/06/2021
Return of Assessment: 01/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Final Examination – online via Turnitin, 3 hours duration

Date: To be scheduled by the ANU Examinations Office to take place during the final exam period.

This 3-hour exam is designed to test the student’s understanding and comprehension of the course material and ensure they have obtained the learning objectives of the course. Students are free to use any relevant material. The exam will consist of discussion questions, focusing on issues covered by lectures notes or discussed in class from the presented articles. Students will be provided with further details regarding the exam in week 10. The marking criteria will be based on answers prepared by the lecturer.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

Assignments for this course are submitted using Turnitin in the course Wattle site. You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your

assignment. Assignments must include the cover sheet provided on the course Wattle site. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to

managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit http://online.anu.edu.au/turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

No hardcopy submission is required.

Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

AsPr Xianming Zhou

Research Interests

Managerial Compensation, Corporate Governance, Capital Markets

AsPr Xianming Zhou

By Appointment
By Appointment
AsPr Xianming Zhou

Research Interests

AsPr Xianming Zhou

By Appointment
By Appointment

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