Alternative Investments

  • Summer schools
  • Department of Finance
  • Application code SS-FM230
  • Starting 2020
  • Short course: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

UPDATE: Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic we will no longer be offering this course in summer 2020. Please check our latest news on this situation here.  

You can still register your interest in this course for 2021 using the ‘Sign up’ button to the right.  

This course explores the world of alternative investments, from hedge funds and private equity, to venture capital funds, real estate and commodities.

In an era of significant institutional and individual market turmoil, investors look beyond traditional investment vehicles such as bonds and shares. A substantial increase in the price of gold over the last five years is just one example of a successful alternative investment at work. 

The course will combine theory with empirical exercises, allowing you to gain practical experience. You will learn to identify what the return-risk characteristics of alternative investments are, what drives their appeal, how to understand related technical publications, and how to construct a portfolio using them.

As part of class work, you will be encouraged to get hands-on with data in Microsoft Excel. Data work will include measuring the risks of investment portfolios, calculating the alphas of hedge fund strategies, evaluating a leveraged buyout deal, evaluating a venture capital deal and pricing a mortgage backed security.

The course will help you develop practical approaches using industry examples that will prepare you roles in finance, such as in hedge funds, venture capital, private equity or trading, or further study.  

Session: One
Dates: 22 June – 10 July 2020
Lecturers: Dr Hongda Zhong and Dr Dong Lou 

Session: Three
Dates: 3 August – 21 August 2020
Lecturers:  Dr Hongda Zhong

(Due to popularity, this course is repeated and can be taken in either of the sessions outlined above.)


Programme details

Key facts

Level: 200 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees:  Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One examination and one essay

Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional

**You will need to check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment


Basic mathematics and statistics. Introductory Finance (to the level of FM250) or Introductory Microeconomics (to the level of EC101).

Programme structure

  • Overview of Alternative Assets
  • Hedge Funds
    • A Hedge Fund Investment Program
    • Due Diligence
    • Risk Management
    • Regulation
    • Funds of Funds
  • Commodities and Managed Futures
    • Investing in Commodity Futures
    • Managed Futures
  • Venture Capital (VC)
    • Raising Funds
    • Valuation of Investments
    • Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)
  • Leveraged Buyouts (LBOs)
    • Financing and Leverage
    • LBO valuation
    • Value Added
    • Exit Strategies
  • Real Estate
    • Real Estate and an Investment Asset
    • Valuation
    • Securitisation and Mortgage Backed Securities (MBSs)
    • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
    • Demographics

Course outcomes

The purpose of this course is to explore the world of alternative investments, such as hedge funds, private equity / venture capital funds, real estate, and commodities either directly or through funds of funds.


LSE’s Department of Finance enjoys a pre-eminent reputation for the excellence of their teaching and research, and for their leading role in public-policy issues. The Department of Finance has grown in recent years to become one of the largest and most highly-regarded finance groups in the UK and Europe.

LSE’s Department of Finance is closely associated with LSE’s Financial Markets Group and Systemic Risk Centre which regularly hosts a wide variety of seminars, conferences and public addresses by leading academics and practitioners. The Department, along with the Departments of Accounting and Management, was ranked as the UK leader for Business and Management Studies in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. The Department’s excellence in research and world-class faculty set them apart as global leaders in the field of finance.

On this three-week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s finance faculty.

Reading materials

"Handbook of Alternative Assets", by Mark J. P. Anson, John Wiley & Sons (2006).

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice

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How to Apply

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