Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module FINN42815: International Study Visit

Department: Finance

FINN42815: International Study Visit

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None.
Tied to N3K109
Tied to N3K209
Tied to N3K309
Tied to N3K409
Tied to N3K709
Tied to N3KC09


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide an opportunity for students:
  • to visit leading international companies and to appreciate the different facets of the financial products and services they offer as well as their organisational system along with its culture, strategy, finance, along with its ability to innovate and create value.
  • to either create a single detailed case study or conduct a comparative analysis of two organisations, based on desk research prior to the tour and primary research conducted during the tour.
  • to enhance their employability through exposure to leading international companies.
  • to gain insights into the skills required for different job roles and appreciate the working environments in different sectors of the financial industry.


  • Pre-tour preparation:
  • In groups, students will research a selected company in general terms, in terms of a strategic analysis, and on its area of focus (e.g. products and services, strategy, innovation) to be confirmed prior to the tour.
  • Students will make three formative group presentations, based on their group’s desk-research (e.g. published case studies, as well as articles in leading periodicals and other publications, such as the FT).
  • Students will submit a research plan to the organisers about the way they will gather primary data from their participant organisations.
  • During the tour:
  • The tour will comprise six half-day visits to each of the participating organisations, spread across a full working week, with one day set aside for group work. During each visit, as well as the corporate presentations, the groups will have time to conduct primary research, in the form of interviews with the company representatives, as well as observation and document analysis, to refine their understanding of their chosen aspect of the products and services as well as the organisational system in their chosen organisation.
  • Post-tour report delivery:
  • After the Tour, students will submit their individual summative assignment comprising their own final analysis, either of a single organisation or comparing two organisations (2,500 words).
  • There will be a final de-briefing seminar.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of:
  • the methods for identifying and presenting organisations' essential business model (history, structure, products and services, markets, current performance, and opportunities for scale).
  • the methods for identifying and analysing how the organisations design their policies and conduct their operations.
  • how to critically analyse these development of policies, and how they impact on operational performance and employee well-being.
  • theories and analytical frameworks for the understanding of business practices in a real organisation.
  • the benefits and limitations of primary research, especially using detailed case studies.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of this module, students should have:
  • the ability to identify biases and heuristics in choices/decisions and, hence greater awareness of potential pitfalls involved in the decision-making process;
  • the ability to approach real-life financial decisions with greater structure and less overconfidence, i.e., improve their own investment behaviour/performance;
  • the ability to use their understanding of behavioural/neurofinance to analyse and – where possible, predict – the behaviour of markets/other investors;
  • the ability to use their understanding of behavioural/neurofinance to develop a more multifaceted approach to the complexity of capital market.
Key Skills:
  • Written communication;
  • planning, organising and time management;
  • problem solving and analysis;
  • interpretation of data;
  • computer literacy;
  • interpersonal skills.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The summative individual written assignment is designed to test the students’ theoretical understanding of their chosen topic, and their ability to apply analytical approaches to contemporary settings.
  • The main learning activity takes place during the tour, and there will be no formal lectures. Instead, there will be three seminars during Term 2. The first two seminars will acquaint students with the case study methodology and prepare them for their formative group presentations. In the third seminar students will be given formative feedback and agree with the instructor upon a viable approach to the primary research to be undertaken on the tour.
  • On the tour itself, the participating organisations will have been briefed and agreed on the overall theme of the visit. Business leaders will submit to questioning and other forms of primary research by students. The groups will assess the responses to their questions. Free time during the tour will be used to consolidate knowledge, and/or to prepare for visits to the host organisations.
  • The post-tour de-brief will be an opportunity for the students to refine their analysis and prepare the final version of their summative assignment.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Preparatory Seminars 3 2 hours 6
The Tour: Company Visits 6 2x daily 3.5 houtrs 21
Post-Tour Seminar 1 2 hours 2
Preparation and Reading 121
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual Written Report 2500 words 100% same

Formative Assessment:

Feedback will be provided on group presentations during the preparatory seminars, as well as during the tour. Students will receive formative feedback in verbal and written form on a group level.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University