CORPORATE FINANCE | A live online course with Director of Finance in the North America region at Mastercard | ELVTR
with Mastercard's
Director of Finance
for North America
16 FEB 2022 - 6 APR 2022

Mastercard's Director of Finance for North American markets wants to teach you how to leverage the fundamentals of corporate finance to advance your business interests — and your career.

Jennifer Clarke brings simplicity to complex financial metrics through real-world business cases, practice labs, and mock analyses.

Do you see yourself below?
Then this course is for you.



    Enhance your corporate expertise for the charged financial playing field.



    Learn to accurately predict revenue and foresee risk as you prepare to take the next big step in your career.


Demystify corporate finance

Enhance your career with the financial expertise to confidently plan and execute budgets for projects, departments, or for participating in decision making on a senior level.

Mastercard Director of Finance Jennifer Clarke combines 15 years of experience in profit management at Fortune 500 companies to teach you how to engage on today's fluid financial playing field. By the end of this course, you'll be competent to interpret financial statements and communicate figures to investors, managers, and other stakeholders.

What you'll learn

You'll come away from this course with a full toolset to advocate for your projects and budgets to key financial decision makers. Jennifer will help you build a functional knowledge of key topics in corporate finance needed to understand investing and financing decisions in your organization:

  • Evaluating investment projects and companies
  • Profit and loss statements (P&L) and how to manage them in a business unit of a company
  • Leveraging conventional financial instruments (stocks and bonds) and alternative ones (commodities, forwards, and options) to bring value to corporations
  • Innovations like cryptocurrencies and their impact on corporate economics
  • Considerations for investment and financing decisions
  • Market disruptors and real-world wildcards
Craft a robust
business case

What's the return on your project's investment? You'll practice answering this for decision-makers over 6 weeks as you develop a strong business case. Jen will help you gauge your strengths and areas for improvement.

Develop a strong
financial compass

It's the hard truth of business: not having "finance" in your job title doesn't mean you don't have finance in your job. This course will teach you the fundamentals of corporate finance needed to make the business case for your products or budgets to financial decision-makers. You'll also learn about innovations in the finance world like crypto assets, and how to separate sound potential from hype.

Total learning experience

How many videos, talks, and books are still taking up real estate on your "I should learn that" list? This course is different. Live lessons and labs, graded assignments, office hours, and a final project help you assimilate new information quickly and immediately leverage it in your professional role.

LinkedIn Profile
  • MasterCard's Director of Finance in the North America region and Services Business Partner
  • Forecasts and drives millions of dollars in revenue to multinational, publicly traded corporations
  • Contributes 15+ years of corporate finance expertise to support industries including pharmaceutical, payments, and hedge funds
  • Charterholder and member of the CFA Institute, the global industry standard for assets management
  • Dedicated fan of podcasts and the New York Giants
WED (2/16) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Theory & Practice: Understanding Corporate Finance

The course starts off by diving into the roles on a typical finance team and the functions they perform. Jennifer will prototype the corporate finance organizational structure, and discuss how this model can differ between organizations. Then, you'll be introduced to the publicly traded company you'll analyze throughout the course.

  • Why do businesses need corporate finance?
  • What types of corporate finance tasks are out there?
  • How do corporate financial decisions get made?
  • What are the main objectives of the CFO?

Assignment #01: Consider the publicly traded company introduced today. Complete the following questions to understand the company’s competitive positioning in the market:

  • Determine the ticker symbol. Look up the company’s financial disclosures on or their website
  • List out the main business areas of the company
  • Who are the company’s competitors?
  • What are the biggest challenges?
  • What are your initial views on this company being a sound investment?
  • Who are the company’s customers?
  • What are critical risks facing the company?
WED (2/23) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Theory & Practice: How to Read Financial Statements

Financial statements are the key references to assess the viability of a corporation. Jennifer will walk you through the components of a financial statement — the balance sheet and the income statement — using a current company's real financial statements. You'll learn simple but essential formulas to break down and understand the balance sheet.

  • Assembling and analyzing the balance sheet
  • Income sheet vs. balance sheet
  • Liquidity and financial leverage
  • Accounting value vs. market value
  • Balance sheet’s primary formula: Assets = Liabilities + Equity
  • Case study: Zoom’s revenue on the pandemic boost

Assignment #02: You will receive the case company’s three main financial statements and be asked to calculate certain financial ratios, mainly on the balance sheet and income statement. Next, please comment on how the company’s ratios have changed over time, what that implies generally, and if that holds for this company specifically.

MON (2/28) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Theory & Practice: Cash Flow

This class is dedicated to one of the most important parts of financial statements — cash flow, the structure of a cash flow statement, the components of cash flow, and how they differ from one another. What are the sources and uses of cash and methods of calculating cash flow?

  • How companies access funding via capital markets
  • Importance of capital markets for maintaining liquidity
  • Company credit ratings and the limitations
  • Case study: A retailer and an airline in lockdown

Assignment #03: Use the financial statements provided in Assignment 2 to calculate ratios and metrics of the company over time.

WED (3/2) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Theory & Practice: Introduction to Valuation

The notion of "time is money" is a very real one in corporate finance. In this class, you'll learn how to employ the concept of the time value of money (TVM) and other key metrics in valuation. You'll learn how to calculate these metrics to accurately gauge a company's value against its competitors.

  • Calculating TVM
  • Factoring for input/assumption bias
  • Discount rates: Required rate of return (RRR), risk, and assessing stock volatility with beta
  • "Weighted cost of capital" (WACC) and evaluating investments
  • How to calculate WACC

Assignment #04: Use the CAPM formula to calculate the Cost of Equity and answer the questions provided by Jennifer.

MON (3/7) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Theory & Practice: Interest Rates and Bonds

In this class, Jennifer will cover the most important concepts and ideas of bond valuation methodologies and explain how bond yields and interest rates reflect interest rate risk, lack of liquidity, and taxability.

  • Real vs. nominal interest rates
  • How corporate bond issuance has changed since 2008
  • Investment grade bonds vs. junk bonds
  • What is the average credit rating of a corporate bond?
  • Case study: An automotive legend gets lowered to junk bond rating

Assignment #05: The company is getting ready to launch a new product in the beginning of the year and needs to decide how many versions to release. Help inform their decision by completing the project valuation.

WED (3/9) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Theory & Practice: Investments and Developing a Business Case

In this class, you will put together a capital investments request to a company's finance team. Then, Jennifer will walk you through how to build a basic financial model, drawing on what you've learned so far. The output of this financial model will tell us whether this project is worth investing in and if it will generate sufficient cash flow to recover its initial cost.

  • Review: PV, IRR, time-to-break-even
  • Scenario testing: How different assumptions impact the business case NPV, IRR, etc.
  • Material nonpublic information: What you need to know
  • What's insider trading?
  • Case study: Jeffrey Skillings and the Cuban Insider Trading Case

Assignment #06: Using the company’s financial disclosures on, answer the following questions.

  • How much outstanding debt does the company have as of the end of fiscal year 2021?
  • What types of notes are outstanding?
  • What was the company’s interest expense in 2021?
  • Please comment on the quality of the credit rating
MON (3/14) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Theory & Practice: Intro to Budgeting

You'll learn how to build a reliable budget using specific metrics and tools. Jen will explain the difference between a budget versus a forecast, what things to consider when building a budget for revenue vs expenses, and how to present the budget to executives.

  • Sample budgeting process
  • Growth targets
  • Ground-up vs. top-down builds
  • Visually presenting budgets with the Think-Cell application

Assignment #07: Budget planning for 2022 is underway. Your team has completed a bottoms-up build for revenue and expenses. You are being asked to drive higher revenue and lower expenses next year. How do you adjust and finalize your budget?

Start work on your course project.

WED (3/16) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Theory & Practice: P & L Management

Is it possible for business professionals to manage their own P&L? Absolutely, and in this class, you'll learn what to include on yours and how to manage it.

  • Forecasting: What, why, and how
  • Risk and opportunity-adjusted forecasts
  • Impact of revenue and expenses cadence for managing quarterly earnings
  • Communicating forecast uncertainty
  • Accounting treatment for recognizing revenue and expenses

Assignment #08: It's midway through 2022 and you are analyzing your latest forecast vs. your budget targets. Complete exercises you will be given with different sales models (sell-in, trended revenues) to show different ways to forecast. Then, put together a budget for an upcoming year based on a company or business unit of the case company.

MON (3/21) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Theory & Practice: Dividends and Cash Management

You may have heard that dividends are a major cash outlay for many corporations, and in this class, you'll find out why that is. You'll learn how to keep the investment in cash low while keeping the firm operating effectively, what flotation is, the reasons for holding cash, as well as the reasons to NOT hold excess idle cash.

  • What happens when a company increases vs. reduces its dividend? What signal does it send to Wall Street?
  • What's the typical dividend for growth companies vs. value/mature companies?
  • What's the impact of corporate share repurchases on dividends and overall total cash returned to shareholders?
  • Case study: The seductive power of IBM's high dividend

Assignment #09: Look up what the company’s current dividend is and its dividend yield. Compare it to other major companies and/or competitors. Next, research the history of the case company’s dividend and how its strategy has changed over time.

WED (3/23) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Theory & Practice: Demystifying the Stock Market

In this class, you'll step beyond Wall Street to dig into the stock market's purpose and how it functions. You'll learn the basic approaches to stock valuation and the upcoming innovations in the stock market.

  • Features of stock markets and the impact of technology
  • Who are the major players in the stock market?
  • Stock market crashes and what happened in 2020
  • Key equity metrics and how they moved during the above periods
  • Efficient markets vs. exploiting market inefficiencies
  • Case study: Why did Dell go private?

Assignment #10: Flesh out the case company's position on the stock market by answering the provided questions.

  • How did the company perform during the most recent periods?
  • How was the company’s 2021 stock performance compared to the S&P 500?
  • What is the company's current market capitalization?
  • Comment on the company’s current market capitalization and historical growth
MON (3/28) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Theory & Practice: Advanced Financial Instruments

Today's class focuses on additional financial instruments that corporations may trade, including commodities, forwards, and options markets. These instruments have different structures than stocks and bonds and unique use cases. Jennifer will present several of these use cases and then walk through valuing a stock call.

  • Common financial instruments: Overview, features, and uses
  • What are the key factors in the valuation of each instrument?
  • How do they differ from stocks and bonds in a portfolio?
  • How do corporations use options, forwards, and commodities in their business?
  • Practice: Stock call valuation
  • Use case: How to value a forward and an option

Assignment #11: Use a Black-Sholes option pricing calculator online to calculate the value of various options of the case company. Comment on the differences based on changes in inputs.

WED (3/30) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST

Crypto assets have gained a lot of traction in financial markets, but do they meet the criteria of true "currencies"? In this class, Jennifer will outline the influence of cryptocurrencies and assets on the financial system and their associated risks and measurement issues. Then, you'll turn to how crypto-assets affect the stability and efficiency of the financial system and the broader economy.

  • Blockchain technology: What it is and uses beyond crypto
  • Cryptocurrency: Commodity or currency?
  • NFTs
  • Sovereign-backed coins
  • Case study: Bitcoin's crypto supremacy and the surprising rise of Dogecoin

Assignment #12: Does the case company invest in cryptocurrency today? If not, do you think it should? Make the business case for investment in one of the crypto coins we covered today, answering the following questions:

  • How could they use blockchain technology in their business beyond cryptocurrency?
  • Should they accept cryptocurrencies in payment for products and services?
MON (4/4) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Innovations and Disruptions in the Financial Markets

Innovations in the finance system stretch far beyond crypto. Today, Jennifer will introduce some of these new financial and investment products and discuss how they have revolutionized the financial system.

  • Crowdfunding
  • Fintechs
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Mobile banking, open banking
  • Robinhood and other disruptive players in the equity markets
  • Case study: WeWork and SPACs (Special Purpose Acquisition Company)

Assignment #13: How are the case company’s products contributing to some of the disruptions (namely, crowdfunding, open banking, and retail investing)?

WED (4/6) at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Putting Learning Into Life: Top 10 Takeaways

What aspects of finance will be most important to your role? With this question in mind, you will prepare to put your learning into life with a review of the most salient course takeaways. Jennifer will also devote attention to how the pandemic has influenced the stock market throughout the past year.

  • Review: What you've learned
  • Sector/industry performance vs. overall market

Assignment #14: Consider the case company to answer the following questions:

  • How has the case company performed in the current year compared to the overall stock market?
  • What are the advantages and challenges that the company will face in the next year and beyond, given these trends?
  • Overall, do you think the company is a good long-term ‘buy’? Assess the objectivity and bias of your determination. How has your opinion changed or evolved since the beginning of the class?
  • What is the most interesting thing you have learned about the case company? What is the impact on the company's performance?
Course Project: Business Case Study

This 6-week project is your chance to work on a real-world deliverable, with personal feedback from a corporate finance expert.


Your case company is considering a new project and it's your job to create the business case. Use inputs provided by Jen to build a discounted cash flow analysis and decide whether the project is worthwhile. Next, complete various scenario and sensitivity testing to better understand the most sensitive variables in the model. Share your findings in a slide presentation for stakeholders.

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