Risk, Return and Valuation

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This course is part of a Specialization titled “Strategy and Finance for a Lifecycle of a Social Business”, with a follow-on project-based course on understanding and evaluating a business focused on addressing a societal issue. The beauty of a modern decision-making framework is that it can be used to understand value creation at any level – the individual or business or societal. The applications however become increasingly complex as your lens expands from the individual to the corporate/nonprofit to the global society.

There are two building blocks of modern decision making – time value of money and risk.
This is because all decisions are made with consequences for the future which, in turn is uncertain. A deep understanding of the value of time and risk is therefore key to understanding value creation.

This course is an introduction to the second building block of decision-making: risk and return. We not only introduce risk and return, but also put together our understanding of time value of money and cash flows developed in the preceding three courses of this Specialization, to value projects and companies.

As indicated at the outset, the beauty of modern frameworks and tools of analysis is that they are logical and do not change depending on the purpose of business. However, to demonstrate social impact is very complex because prices for both the public good, and any harm created by our actions, are not available. It is also very challenging to determine the incremental effect of a business on society at large. The combination of these issues makes all social impact and value specific to a business, making it even more important to use the same frameworks and tools developed in this Specialization to value any business.