INTERDISCIPLINARY COOPERATION IN CASE STUDIES ON CORPORATE FINANCE IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Дубинина Г.А.1, Паштова Л.Г.2, Степанян И.К.3
1ORCID: 0000-0003-1475-1967, Доцент,
2ORCID: 0000- 0002-5618-5978, Доктор экономических наук, Профессор,
3ORCID: 0000-0003-2942-0976, Кандидат педагогических наук,
Финансовый университет при Правительстве Российской Федерации, Москва
МЕЖДИСЦИПЛИНАРНОЕ СОТРУДНИЧЕСТВО ПРИ ИСПОЛЬЗОВАНИИ УЧЕБНЫХ КЕЙСОВ ПО КОРПОРАТИВНЫМ ФИНАНСАМ НА ИНОСТРАННОМ ЯЗЫКЕ
Статья обобщает опыт обучения дисциплине «Корпоративные финансы» с использованием знаний высшей математики и английского языка при анализе иноязычных деловых ситуаций (кейсов), резюмируя, что междисциплинарный подход позволяет повысить эффективность обучения. Авторы статьи описывают технологию анализа иноязычных деловых ситуаций посредством определения проблематики, принятия решений и их обсуждения (например, устное высказывание или письменный отчет). Особое внимание уделено методам оценивания и объективной оценке учебных достижений.
Ключевые слова: междисциплинарное сотрудничество, корпоративные финансы, высшая математика, анализ иноязычных деловых ситуаций (кейсов), инновационные технологии обучения, технологические изменения.
Dubinina G.A.1, Pashtova L.G.2, Stepanyan I.K.3
1ORCID: 0000-0003-1475-1967, Associate Professor,
2ORCID: 0000- 0002-5618-5978, PhD in Economics, Professor,
3ORCID: 0000-0003-2942-0976, PhD in Pedagogy, Associate Professor
Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Moscow
INTERDISCIPLINARY COOPERATION IN CASE STUDIES ON CORPORATE FINANCE IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
The article summarizes the experience of training for Corporate Finance applying the knowledge of Higher Mathematics and English to case-analyses in a foreign language and concludes that interdisciplinary approach contributes to the efficiency of training. The authors of the article dwell upon the techniques of case analysis and the ways to develop skills in problem identification, decision making and communication (e.g. oral presentation or report writing). Special attention is given to progress evaluation techniques and objective appraisal.
Keywords: interdisciplinary cooperation, corporate finance, higher mathematics, case studies, case analysis in a foreign language, innovative training technologies, technological changes.
Interdisciplinary communication seems to be the main challenge in regard to the instructional strategy used across subject areas and efficient training for practice-oriented case analyses. This paper considers cases in English where teachers of Corporate Finance and Higher Mathematics work collaboratively to plan activity and to provide a supportive environment for students.
By case analysis is meant the study of specific professional situations (cases), specially selected on the basis of actual foreign language material in order to be investigated by the students and then discussed in the classroom. Critical analyses of the situations and decision making processes allow students to put into practice the basic skills acquired while studying a variety of disciplines.
The aim of this study was to present cogent arguments for the need of collaboration between teachers of special disciplines and a foreign language in order to develop the skills of case analyses in a foreign language.
Material and methods
In recent years the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation has accumulated significant experience in the use of case analyses in a foreign language for Economics and Finance. The analysis of specific professional situations implies the use of a manual containing particular cases of professional activity in the field of Economics and Finance [2 , P. 106].
The steps of analysis are as follows.
1) Self-study of the case materials by students.
2) Desk research on the case (including the use of Internet resources).
3) Joint debate on the case under the guidance of a teacher / a team of teachers.
It’s evident that there should be a high degree of cooperation between teachers of different academic disciplines in order to minimize confusion, especially, if materials in a foreign language are involved.
The solution is obvious: case-analyses will be efficient only conditional on targeted thoroughly planned training which should start at the very first lessons and be scheduled thoughtfully, step by step.
All the mentioned above could be applied to case-studies on Corporate Finance, as Corporate Finance is one of the main subjects studied by the students of all the faculties at the Financial University. It is so because Corporate Finance studies the totality of economic relations arising in the process of formation, distribution and use of funds generated during the production and sales of goods and services. Part and parcel of studying Corporate Finance is the knowledge of Higher Mathematics. Calculations are required when carrying out case-studies on Corporate Finance in the following fields:
- The nature and organization of corporate finance: financial performance of the economic entity; basic principles of effective management of corporate finances; ways to ensure financial stability.
- 2. Corporate reporting and presenting financial information: standards of disclosure for corporate financial information; basics of financial analysis.
- Financial resources and capital of the corporation: capital structure and its price; appropriateness and efficiency of the use of borrowed funds by a corporation’ fixed capital and working capital.
- Financial policy of the corporation: the role of the financial manager and financial analyst in the development and implementation of financial policies; accounting and tax policies of the corporation; credit policy and management of borrowed funds.
- Financial environment of business, and entrepreneurial risks: criteria to recognize an impending bankruptcy; quantitative methods for estimating the probability of bankruptcy; models of bankruptcy.
- Asset Management: operating, production and financial cycles of the business entity; the needs of the corporation for working capital; composition and structure of monetary assets; model for determining the optimal balance of monetary assets in the planned period
- 7. Cost management and financial performance of the corporation: operational analysis and optimization of production costs; relationships between the volume of production, sales, expenses and net income [4, P. 63-65].
As an example we can refer to the pedagogical experiment on developing the skills of case-analyses among the students of Economics which was carried out in 2014-15 by the Mathematics Department of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation. The experiment was split into three phases under the general title "Mathematical models in solving economic problems» [3, Р. 158-166].
The first (group) phase of the experiment was carried out by a team of teachers at the workshop on mathematical analysis. The experiment involved 13 groups of student. Discussion topics were related to economic applications of mathematical analysis, traditionally designed for self-study: arachnid market model; elasticity of demand and the tax burden; income and tax optimization. Each student group was split into 3-4 teams of four participants.
It should be noted that the suggested typical tasks belonging to the course of mathematical analysis on economic applications are usually unexpressive and do not raise interest among students. That is the reason why the idea of offering the students to find a practical situation, in which a certain mathematical model can be used, turned out to be fruitful. Students willingly investigated the chosen cases and presented them to their groupmates. Both the presenting team and other teams’ participants showed a keen interest in cases under discussion. The following situations appeared to be especially topical and disputable: crisis in the UK pig production due to Russian anti-sanctions; optimization of turkey meat production by "Evrodon” company; redistribution of the tax burden in “Apple” company, due to the fall of the ruble in 2014; computation of the optimal output of JSC AvtoVAZ and the calculation of the optimal tax rate for the automotive industry.
Within 10-15 minutes at each scheduled workshop the teams submitted the results of their case-study in the form of Power Point presentations, and all the other students, except the participants, scored them, fixing results in specially designed forms. Then the Accounts Commission gathered the forms, drew the balance, and the teacher registered the average score. The best team in the student group passed on to the next (faculty) phase.
The second phase of the experiment was a contest between the teams. Students were offered a particular economic case without specifying precise mathematical tools to be applied, but supplied with a number of details. The problem situation was followed by three options for the investment of young entrepreneurs’ capital on a 4-year basis: small business, securities portfolio (investment portfolio/securities holding) or bank deposits. Decision making involved the most efficient investment plan for each year of the proposed options and also the answer to the question: what maximum profit young entrepreneurs would get, if they chose an optimum alternative for each of the four years.
The jurors of the case-championship indicated the use of effective mathematical algorithms (in particular, determination of the coefficient of Sharpe to compare risks and determine the effectiveness of the asset) as the special advantage of the winners. The four winning teams of the second phase became finalists of the third and final (university) phase of the experiment.
The third phase of the experiment was launched as a pilot inter-faculty final of a case-championship for the students of "Mathematical models in solving economic problems" within the framework of the traditional international scientific student Congress (ISSC). For the final phase the classical model of case analyses was used. The suggested case referred to the particular problem situation not only in Russia but also abroad: the management of a company producing a certain product decides whether it is profitable for the company to break into a foreign market in order to increase profit, provided the optimum prices and volume of current demand are known. To solve the problem, it was necessary to estimate the discounted cash flow, with the view to the forecasted taxes and export duties in each of the countries for the period of the next five years. Thus, the final phase of the experiment implied the wider use of interdisciplinary links and activity in finding and processing the required information [1, Р. 52-56].
Analysis of the events in question showed that the free use of mathematical terminology in English would allow students to use information resources in case analyses and related decision making more efficiently. For the analysis of a case students are offered a variety of tasks: to systematize and analyze the in-put text, make the Internet request for details of the situation etc. Results should be submitted either in the form of a written analytical note, or in the form of a multimedia presentation. Only after substantial preparatory work, students go on to debate, work out and make a decision [1, Р. 52-56].
Case analysis made by a student is considered to be satisfactory if:
- most of the problems in the case were not only articulated but also analyzed;
- largest possible number of calculations were made;
- own conclusions were made on the basis of information about the case;
- written reports submitted on the case meet the requirements.
The traditional 5-point system of evaluation is ill-suited for evaluating a student’s progress in analyzing cases. This system does not allow for a differentiated approach to the evaluation of the preparatory work and students’ activities during discussion. Currently, we use a 10-point system in assessing case analysis, and a 20-point system for case analysis accompanied by the role-play.
Thus we may conclude that the interdisciplinary interaction of educational knowledge where a student develops both the professional area content and foreign language competence proves to be most efficient. Language propaedeutics of the use of mathematical apparatus when analyzing cases on Corporate Finance in English is an integral part of such interaction and contributes to educational professional orientation. The techniques of case analyses and the ways to develop skills in problem identification, decision making and communication are more efficient provided there is close collaboration between teachers of special disciplines and a foreign language when materials in a foreign language are used.
Список литературы / References
- Дубинина Г. А. Обеспечение дисциплин математического цикла для направлений «экономика» и «менеджмент» иноязычной поддержкой / Г. А. Дубинина, И. К. Степанян // Стандарты и мониторинг в образовании. -2015. - Т. 4. №. 3. - 52-56. DOI: 10.12737/12370
- Английский язык: экономика и финансы: учебник в 4 ч. / Г.А. Дубинина, [и др. ]– 4-е изд., перераб. и доп. -М.: Финуниверситет, 2016. – 1010 c.
- Коннова Л.П. Реализация компетентностного подхода при обучении математике в экономическом университете средствами кейс-метода / Л. П. Коннова, А. А. Рылов, И. К. Степанян // Стандарты и мониторинг в образовании. 2016. Т. 3. №. 6. C. 28-31. DOI: 10.12737/17278
- Паштова Л.Г. Практико-ориентированное обучение экономистов посредством применения кейсов по корпоративным финансам / Л.Г. Паштова. – Гуманитарная образовательная среда технического вуза: материалы международной научно-методической конференции (11-13 мая 2016 гг.) – СПб.: Изд-во Политехнического университета, 2016. – с.63-65.
Список литературы на английском языке / References in English
- Dubinina G.A. Obespechenie discipline matematicheskogo tsicla dlya napravleniy “ekonomica” i “menedgment” inoyasichnoy poddergkoi [Providing disciplines of mathematical cycle for Economics and Management with a foreign language support] / G.A. Dubinina, I. K. Stepanian // Standards and monitoring for education. 2015. G. 4. № 3. p. 52-56. DOI: 10.12737 / 12370 H2 [in Russian]
- English: Economics and Finance. Textbook in 4 parts. / G.A. Dubinina and others – fourth edition, revised and enlarged - M.: Finuniversitet, 2016. – 1010 p.
- Konnova L.P. Realizacija kompetentnostnogo podhoda pri obuchenii matematike v jekonomicheskom universitete sredstvami kejs-metoda [Elements of integrative approach to basic mathematical training of economists] / L.P. Konnova, A.A. Rylov, I.K. Stepanyan. Financial University Bulletin. 2016. V 20. I 5. p 158-166. [in Russian]
- Pashtova L.G. Praktiko-orientirovannoe obuchenie ekonomistov posredstvom primininiya keisov po korporativnim finansam [Practice-oriented economists training through the use of case studies in corporate finance]. / L.G. Pashtova. - The humanitarian educational environment of a technical college: Proceedings of the International Scientific Conference (11-13 May 2016). – p.63-65. [in Russian]