Minor   Minors   Minors per faculty   Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University   Alternative Investments: Beyond Stocks and Bonds

Alternative Investments: Beyond Stocks and Bonds

Gain a thorough understanding of the vast range of investment possibilities outside the mainstream equity and fixed income markets. During this course you are offered clear insight into the world of hedge funds, real estate, commodities and the massive currency trade market.

Name of minor: Alternative Investments: Beyond Stocks and Bonds
Code: BKBMIN009
Teaching language: English
Offered by: Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), Department of Finance
Other programmes which are contributing to the minor: not applicable
Access: See admissions matrix


With the growing share of alternatives in institutional investment portfolios, successful careers in finance are hard to imagine without at least basic knowledge of the pros and cons of alternative investment categories such as hedge funds, commodities, real estate and currencies. The aim of this course is to provide students with more than just that basic knowledge of investment possibilities outside the traditional markets for stocks and bonds. This interactive course is set up to be academically rigorous while practical insights from investment professionals ensure the critical link with the investment world.

Learning objectives:

Following this course, students have a basic working knowledge of the functions of financial markets beyond stocks and bonds, plus detailed knowledge of topics such as:

  • How to choose from and invest in alternative investment opportunities?
  • What is the risk/return trade-off offered by the wide range of alternative assets?
  • What determines the value of alternative investments?
  • How to create mixed portfolios of traditional and alternative investments?
  • Why should alternative investments be incorporated into asset allocation decisions?
  • What instruments are available to set up a real estate investment portfolio?
  • What is a feasible international real estate investment strategy?


Specific characteristics:

not applicable


Maximum number of students that can participate in the minor: -
Minimum number of students that can participate in the minor: 8

Contact hours: Fifteen 3-hour sessions

Module 1: Investment Strategies (9 ECTS)

  • Code: BKBMIN009
  • ECTS: 9
  • Content: This module begins with an overview of basic knowledge related to investments in financial markets. In particular, we focus on risk and return ratios, the predictability of financial market returns and the behaviour of investors. Second, we will study the practical relevance of this theory in the context of pooled investment vehicles (e.g. hedge funds) and other alternative asset classes (e.g. commodities  and exchange rates).
  • Teaching method: Module 1 consists of interactive lectures and student presentations where some student groups present a chosen topic. During the session, student groups will also receive assignments that must be solved.
  • Teaching materials: Reading material includes a textbook: Burton Malkiel, A Random Walk Down Wall Street (Tenth Edition), Norton & Company, NY, 2011.
  • Contact hours: Ten 3-hour sessions.

Module 2

  • Code: BKBMIN009  
  • ECTS: 6
  • Content: The primary objective of the course is to provide a framework on the workings of real estate appraisal and investments. The course is applied in nature; actual practices of real estate professionals are taught by a part-time RSM faculty member who also works for one of the world’s leading real estate investment managers. Some topics included are: contemporary appraisal techniques, real estate investment products, mortgage backed securities, and international real estate investments.  
  • Teaching method: The module is lecture-oriented. Questions and student participation are strongly encouraged. Students address numerous problems from the text and lecture notes, as well as homework assignments. Students present, discuss and debate class assignments.
  • Teaching materials:  Reading material includes a textbook: Geltner, Miller, Clayton and Eichholtz, Commercial Real Estate Analysis and Investments (Third Edition), 2013
  • Contact hours: Five 3-hour sessions (lectures and case discussions).


Method of examination:

For module 1, the final mark is based on the written exam with open questions (50%), assignments (25%) and essay/presentation (25%).

For module 2 there are two possibilities: A number of groups will be randomly selected to present the case prepared during the course. For these groups the final mark will be a weighted average of the marks for class assignments/presentation (20% for case and 10% for presentation) and the final exam (70%). For groups not presenting, the case will have a weight of 30%, with the remaining 70% weight allocated to the exam grade.

Every group will be selected to present once during either Module 1 or Module 2


Composition of final grade:

The final grade for the course is a weighted average of the grades from the two modules: Module 1 (60%) and Module 2 (40%). A passing mark of 5.5 is required for both exams and the final grade.



An exam feedback session will be scheduled.

Contact information

Contact person:

Naam/name: Dr. Ben Tims
E-mail: btims@rsm.n
Phonenumber: +3110 408 2300
Room: T9-49

Faculty website:

Personal page Ben Tims


Bookmark and Share

Watch the video.

Minor video