Introduction

Welcome to the world of finance! Each semester when we finance professors welcome our students to class, we are met with mixed emotions. Some students are excited at the prospect of learning the technicalities of finance. Others have heard finance is hard and wish they were in a PE class instead. Finance is kind of like spinach—it’s good for you, but not everyone likes it.

As we wrote this text, we realized that not everyone is as intrigued by finance as we are. We’ve done our best to make this text as readable as possible, with a focus on applying the theories we explain to everyday life. Some of the students who use this text are finance majors, but many of them are not. We’ve written this text with both groups in mind and with the hope that everyone will be able to learn from and understand this material.

In this first topic, we discuss three major issues that are important to understand before diving into the details of finance. First, we discuss the various disciplines within finance. In upper-level finance classes, the texts are written specifically about the various subfields in finance. We have intentionally written this text as a “principles of finance” text, laying the foundation for all the finance subspecialties. Second, we discuss the possible careers within the finance subfields. The finance universe offers many diverse job opportunities. Third, we discuss how corporate finance fits into business management in general.