When an investor is faced with a portfolio choice problem, the number of possible assets and the various combinations and proportions in which each can be held can seem overwhelming. In this course, you’ll learn the basic principles underlying optimal portfolio construction, diversification, and risk management. You’ll start by acquiring the tools to characterize an investor’s risk and return trade-off. You will next analyze how a portfolio choice problem can be structured and learn how to solve for and implement the optimal portfolio solution. Finally, you will learn about the main pricing models for equilibrium asset prices.
Learners will:
• Develop risk and return measures for portfolio of assets
• Understand the main insights from modern portfolio theory based on diversification
• Describe and identify efficient portfolios that manage risk effectively
• Solve for portfolio with the best risk-return trade-offs
• Understand how risk preference drive optimal asset allocation decisions
• Describe and use equilibrium asset pricing models.

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Module 3: Mean-variance preferences

In this module, we describe how investors make choices. Specifically, we look at how utility functions are used to express preferences. We review measures to describe investors’ attitude towards risk. Finally, we discuss how we can summarize investors’ preferences using a specific utility function: mean-variance preferences.