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How to prepare for your master's course: MSc Accounting and Finance

There are many ways to prepare for your master's study at Alliance MBS. In order to help bridge the gap between undergraduate and postgraduate study, Professor Viet Dang has put together an in-depth and insightful resource for those applying to MSc Accounting and Finance. He includes tips on how to find academic sources, academic skills you can hone and reading that you can get ahead on before the start of the course.

Viet Dang

Dr Professor Viet Dang, Programme Director for MSc Accounting and Finance

Background reading

“Before joining our MSc course, there are a few things you can do to prepare in advance. First and foremost, you may want to look at the pre-course reading lists that we provide to all prospective students before the course starts. These lists include some background readings for all the units on the course and completing this reading in advance will help brush up your memory of basic concepts and theories in accounting and finance. This is highly relevant for those students who completed their first degree a long time ago or in a non-English speaking country.”


“International students will find it useful to familiarise themselves with the terms and terminologies commonly used in accounting and finance. For instance, on Cross-Sectional Economics, a unit that I teach, the recommended reading includes a few appendices in the Wooldridge text on Introductory Econometrics; these chapters provide a review of key concepts in mathematics and statistics that students are expected to know before taking the course and other quantitative units.

Journal articles

“A requirement of our research-led programme is that students should be able to read and critically evaluate academic papers. However, reading journal articles in accounting and finance can be a daunting task. It might be useful to get started by looking at some articles recommended by our course lecturers; many of the research papers used on our courses are publicly available on SSRN or Google Scholar.

Business news

“Another important aspect of our degree programme is that our teaching aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice. While you will be studying accounting and finance theories in-depth, you should try to understand how these theories apply to the business world. Hence, you may want to start following the business press more closely – if you have not done so already. Many stories that you read on the news (e.g., a public offering or a takeover) will be the topic of your lectures and workshops.


“As part of our units on quantitative research methods and econometrics, you will be studying how to program in STATA and other advanced software such as MATLAB. There is absolutely no need to study these software packages in advance, as our training will start from scratch. However, if you are already familiar with any of those packages, feel free to practise a little to refresh your memory. On the other hand, we expect you to be proficient in standard software, such as MS Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint etc., as you will be using it extensively for your studies.

Study skills

“Finally, to succeed on our degree programme, it is important that you develop the necessary study skills, including academic writing, time management, interpersonal and presentation skills. It might be useful to audit them in advance and, where necessary, work on the skills that you feel are still lacking. Our university provides various online resources on academic skills that you may find useful.

I hope that the above tips will help you get ready before arriving in Manchester and embarking on our programme. I look forward to welcoming you all in the induction week.”

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