Electives

MLF students can choose from a wide range of electives each year. The electives that are listed below represent the full range of elective courses that are taught on the MLF; however, please note that not every course will be available every year.

MLF students are now able to take a “Finance Stream”, by studying two MBA/MFE finance courses in place of one law elective. Students interested in the Finance Stream will be asked to express a preference early on.

Finance Stream Electives

From 2014-15, MLF students have been able to elect to take additional finance courses for credit. This Finance Stream has been introduced following feedback from previous cohorts: each year a minority of our students have expressed interest in taking additional finance courses. Students opting to pursue the Finance Stream will select only one law elective. In lieu of the second law elective, students will then take Corporate Valuation during Hilary Term and a finance elective during Trinity Term.

Finance courses are shorter and contain less material than law electives, so taking these two courses is approximately equivalent in terms of workload to taking a second law elective. The menu of finance electives is selected from the Said Business School’s graduate course offerings, and comprises finance courses which are intended to complement the MLF programme. Corporate Valuation is required as a pre-requisite to nearly all of these courses and so is mandatory for MLF students selecting finance electives. In taking these electives you will be joined by students taking SBS graduate programmes, the MBA and MFE (MSc in Financial Economics).

Because there are very large numbers of MBA and MFE students also selecting the same options, there can be considerable pressure for space in the finance electives. We guarantee that MLF students who elect to take the Finance Stream will be able to participate in one finance elective from the MLF finance menu during Trinity Term, but we are unable to guarantee MLF students their first choice amongst the finance electives. The extent to which we are able to satisfy preferences for MLF finance electives will depend on how many MLF students wish to pursue them, and also on the compatibility of Law and SBS teaching timetables. Coordinating teaching timetables is a particularly intense challenge for MLF finance electives, because these must be compatible across other programmes in the Law Faculty and SBS. We do expect that it will be possible to manage these difficulties, but we are unable to provide a complete guarantee.

Finance electives are likely to include the following:

Corporate Valuation
(mandatory for students taking Finance Stream)

Managers of firms have many responsibilities. A critical one is to ensure that the firm makes appropriate investment and financial decisions. This course focuses on how to make good decisions. While this course will focus to some extent on the mechanics of corporate valuation, the main area of focus is how to create (and destroy) corporate value. One of the core objectives of this elective is to demonstrate that valuation is not a precise science, and that the strategic fit and successful integration of projects is as important as the calculation and analysis of a number of variables. Corporate valuation incorporates several guest lectures from practitioners and hosts guest speakers from consulting firms, commercial banks, investment banks and funds.

Asset Management

This elective covers foundation principles of Asset Management (briefly) and modern topics in Asset Management. Students study in detail three types of assets: Mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and hedge funds. These assets are those that are most debated nowadays and of foremost importance in practice. Most of the material is however applicable to almost all of the other asset classes. The course is mainly organised around newspaper articles, and guest lectures.

Cases in Finance and Investment*

The purpose of this course is to provide real cases and modelling experience to students in the finance areas of leverage finance, mergers & acquisitions, private equity finance (LBO and distress), project and infrastructure finance based on:

  • Information memorandum and financial modelling analysis by the Lecturer
  • Case analysis & financial modelling by the students
  • Case presentation and interaction with industry executives
  • Project development by a group of students
*A pre-requisite for taking this course is participation in the Oxford Saïd Finance Lab (organised by the Saïd Business School).

Entrepreneurial Finance

This course aims to help future executives facing financing and investment decisions in a broad range of entrepreneurial environments to make better decisions and achieve better outcomes. The course covers all stages of the financing process from initial financial planning to harvesting value. While the course will inevitably involve looking at a number of technology driven businesses the emphasis is on gaining insights into the entrepreneurial financing process rather than looking at the financing of technology businesses per se.

Entrepreneurial environments considered will include not just young, growing, independent businesses but also those around the buy-outs and spin-outs of units from more established businesses as well as entrepreneurial joint ventures that are established with a view to their becoming independently viable entrepreneurial businesses in their own right. One of the eight sessions will also be devoted to looking at the venture capital industry with a view to providing candidates with a broad understanding of current developments in this area and the likely future impact on the range of financing options and alternatives available from these sources going forward.

The course is designed to focus on the numbers and analytic techniques for gaining insight, although continual attention will also be paid to the incentives facing each of the parties in the financing process. The course will be highly relevant for future executives who may be involved in an entrepreneurial venture at some point in their careers, whether in a turnaround, a management buy-out, a young company or a start-up. The course will also be highly applicable for future private equity and venture capital decision makers.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Restructuring

This elective will examine the mergers and acquisitions and restructuring process. The course is organised around case studies, lectures and practitioner presentations. There will be lecture sessions providing information, financial tools and theory, and case studies will be discussed within this strong conceptual framework. There will be practitioner presentations by a corporate treasurer and an investment banker/ consultant who will focus on specific transactions and current developments.

Private Equity

There are four main objectives of this course:

To develop an understanding of the roles played by the various participants involved in private equity, and the potential attractions of private equity as a career. Knowing the recent developments of the industry, how it works and anticipate where it is going.

To apply many of the ideas and theories developed in the core finance courses to a particular sector of the financial industry. The private equity sector is a particularly interesting sector to analyse. Private equity is used to finance many companies where the generic problems encountered when financing companies – such as uncertainty or asymmetric information – are especially acute and complex.

To understand the valuation techniques employed in private equity transactions. By their very nature, private equity investments (which lack of market valuations provided by public equity markets) are those where valuation is often difficult, being highly sensitive to assumptions and methodology.

To understand the necessity to look beyond the headline numbers and know where to look and what to do to acquire the correct information when it comes to investing in private equity funds. Headline return and fee numbers are typically highly misleading and confusing. Participants will be able to “undress” the numbers.

Law Stream Electives

The MLF law electives aim to build on students’ prior legal knowledge to provide them with a deeper understanding of areas of special interest. The electives available to MLF students complements the core MLF subjects:

Comparative Corporate Law

This course involves a comparative study of the major areas of the company laws of the UK, continental Europe (in particular Germany) and the United States (in particular Delaware), three jurisdictions that collectively have a very significant impact on the development of company law throughout the world. Visit the Faculty of Law site for more details.

Competition Law

The Competition Law course focuses on EU and UK competition law, and aims to enable student to compare both systems and subject them to critical legal and economic analysis. Visit the Faculty of Law site for more details.

Conflict of Laws

The Conflict of Laws, or Private International Law, is concerned with private, mainly commercial, law cases where the facts which give rise to litigation contain one or more foreign elements. It considers jurisdiction, how course choose which law(s) to apply, and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.  Visit the Faculty of Law site for more details.

Corporate Tax Law and Policy

Are multi-national companies escaping taxation by tax planning and shifting profits? Where should they be paying tax and on what basis? Should we abolish corporation tax altogether and find some other way to tax business? The Corporate and Business Taxation Law course considers the ethical, political, constitutional and economic questions that are raised by these issues, at both the national and international legal, and encourages a critical analysis of the policy underlying the law and the way it is implemented. Visit the Faculty of Law site for more details.

Corporate Finance Law

This course aims to (a) explain the complex statutory provisions governing the issue and marketing of corporate securities, against the background of business transactions; (b) explore the fundamental legal propositions around which corporate finance transactions are usually organised; and (c) examine the means by which money is raised by borrowing and quasi-debt and different methods of securing debt obligations. Visit the Faculty of Law site for more details.

Corporate Insolvency Law

Which assets can be claimed by the company’s creditors? What should be done with them? How should the proceeds raised by distributed amongst the creditors? How should those responsible for the company’s losses be dealt with? These, and many other interesting questions from other areas of law (particularly property law) are raised and explored in the Corporate Insolvency Law course, as students analyse and evaluate the current law. Visit the Faculty of Law site for more details.

European Business Regulation

This course examines the legal basis of the “level playing field” of the internal market of the European Union, covering the law of free movement across borders (goods, establishment and services), as well as competence to regulate the internal market, with special reference to the function of harmonisation of laws. Students will critically discuss the legal and policy issues involved, including the relationship between the judicial and legislative contributions to the making of the EU’s internal market. Visit the Faculty of Law site for more details.

Intellectual Property Law

This course covers all of the main forms of intellectual property (principally copyright, trade mark and unfair competition, and patent, but also touching on geographical indications and trade secrets) to explore the theoretical foundations of and justification for the different rights as well as their application in a number of settings. Visit the Faculty of Law site for more details.

International Economic Law

This course introduces students to the main principles and institutions of international economic law, focusing primarily on the institutions and substantive law of the World Trade Organisation and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Visit the Faculty of Law site for more details.

Legal Concepts in Financial Law

This course examines the most significant legal concepts and private law issues that are encountered in commercial finance. Students will be introduced to concepts of legal personality and contract, property and fiduciary law which are used to allocate, manage and transfer risk in transactions on capital markets and in commercial banking. By examining a range of transactions, and critically considering relevant case law and legislation in the light of market practice, this course will provide a deep understanding of the part that private law plays in the operation of financial markets. Visit the Faculty of Law site for more details.

Principles of Financial Regulation

The Principles of Financial Regulation course introduces students to the underlying principles which various forms of financial regulation seek to implements. The focus is on the financing of firms and their interaction with capital markets. The course will enable students to understand the regulatory goals of market efficiency, investor protection, financial stability and competition, and the principle regulatory strategies that are employed to try to bring these about in relation to financial markets and financial institutions. Visit the Faculty of Law site for more details.

Regulation

The Regulation course considers the use of legal and non-legal techniques to manage social and economic risks. The course examines what role different forms of law play in contemporary regulatory regimes, and analyses how legal regulation constructs specific relationships between law and society, and how legal regulation is involved in mediating conflicts between private and public power. Visit the Faculty of Law site for more details.

Transnational Commercial Law (not running 2017-18)

Transnational Commercial Law consists of the set of rules, from whatever source, that governs international commercial transactions and is common to a number of legal systems. The first part of the course concentrates on the general framework, policies and problems of transnational commercial law, and the second part examines them in the context of specific international trade conventions, model laws and contractual codes, to enable the student to gain a perception of the way transnational law comes into being and to help them bridge the gap between different legal system. Visit the Faculty of Law site for more details.

Other Elective Options

Law electives outside the MLF menu. It is possible for MLF students to elect to take a Law Faculty graduate course not on the MLF menu. This requires the permission of the MLF Academic Director, who checks to see that the course is suitable for the student’s academic objectives. Timetabling may, however, be an issue as we are unable to guarantee that there will not be timetabling clashes for courses outside the MLF law elective menu.

Dissertation. MLF students may, in lieu of one of the law electives, opt to write a dissertation (maximum 12,500 words). This must be submitted mid-way through Trinity Term. The availability of the dissertation option is subject to the availability of a suitable supervisor, as well as approval of the topic by the Faculty. Students writing a dissertation are entitled to six hours of one-to-one supervision time. The first part of the MLF programme is particularly challenging for many students as they are learning very new material in the compulsory finance and economics courses. This generally makes difficult to maintain progress with individual research on a dissertation. As a consequence, we generally advise students against opting for a dissertation unless they have a very clear idea of what they wish to research before they arrive in Oxford, and a clear motivation for doing so. Students who are inspired by the course content of course can (as several do each year) apply to stay on in Oxford afterwards under one of our research degree programmes.