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University of Pennsylvania

Lending, Crowdfunding, and Modern Investing

University of Pennsylvania via Coursera


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In this course, you’ll learn the foundational theories behind robo-advising, crowdfunding, and marketplace lending, and how to apply these theories to optimize your investments. Professor David Musto of the Wharton School has designed this course to help you gain a practical understanding of the theoretical frameworks of Modern Portfolio Theory and Financial Technology. You’ll learn how to apply the ideas behind robo-advising and crowdfunding to better assess and leverage a more optimized portfolio while managing risks. You’ll also explore the current consumer credit landscape and learn how to utilize financial technologies in your business. You’ll analyze real-life examples by studying the cases of Square and CommonBond. By the end of this course, you’ll have honed your skills in calculating risks and returns in robo-advising and crowdfunding, and be able to assess the value of marketplace lending to achieve better returns on your investments. No prerequisites are required for this course, although "Fintech: Foundations, Payments, and Regulations" and "Cryptocurrency and Blockchain: An Introduction to Digital Currencies" from Wharton's Fintech Specialization are recommended.


  • Module 1: Robo-Advising
    • What are Robo-advisers and how do they add value to the customers? This module was designed to give you foundational knowledge of Modern Portfolio Theory and Robo-Advising. You’ll identify and analyze the building blocks of robo-advising, and gain a better understanding of how robo-advisers deliver high-impact investment advice at high volume and low costs. Through the framework of Modern Portfolio Theory, you’ll learn key concepts such as Mean Variance Optimization, the importance of diversification, and the foundations of Index Mutual Funds. By the end of this module, you’ll be better able to assess the risks and benefits of traditional investment advising to secure a better return on your investments.
  • Module 2: Crowdfunding
    • In this module, you’ll examine the promises and challenges of crowdfunding, and look closely at impact Investing. First, you'll explore the risks behind investing through crowdfunding. You’ll also learn about the JOBS Act of 2012 and identify the new approaches to finance innovation caused by the statute. Through calculation of the costs of using crowdfunding for investment, you’ll analyze the value "the wisdom of crowds" and gauge the risks and rewards of impact investing. By the end of this module, you’ll have a framework for thinking of the challenges that crowdfunding presents and how to overcome them effectively while exerting sustainable and meaningful impact.
  • Module 3: Marketplace Lending
    • In this module, you’ll examine peer-to-peer lending and its effect on the consumer credit landscape and marketplace lending. Through identification and understanding of the different types of debt in an average household, you’ll develop the analytical skills to exploit opportunities to use financial technologies to improve your financial health. You’ll also discover the value of peer-to-peer lending platforms and how they offer an alternative method to financing debt. By the end of this module, you’ll gain a better understanding of the current consumer credit landscape and be able to better analyze the methodology behind fintech companies that refinance loans for consumers.
  • Module 4: Case Studies
    • This module was designed to provide you with an opportunity to explore successful fintech companies in action, so you can develop an understanding of how the capabilities of fintech can be form the foundations of new business models. David Klein, CEO of CommonBond, and Jackie Reses, Capital Lead of Square, provide deeper insights into the evolution of fintech, and explain how their organizations effectively utilized fintech's benefits while overcoming its challenges. By the end of this module, you’ll have a better understanding of the practical applications of fintech in an organization and fintech's potential for creating new market opportunities.

Taught by

David Musto


4.6 rating at Coursera based on 544 ratings

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