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2017/2018  KAN-CCMVI2045U  Impact Investing and Finance

English Title
Impact Investing and Finance

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration Summer
Start time of the course Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Course instructor - Thomas P Duffin, PhD Bryn Mawr College, td.acc@cbs.dk
    Sven Bislev - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
In case of any academic questions related to the course, please contact the course instructor or the academic director, Sven Bislev at sb.msc@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Corporate governance
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Finance
Last updated on 23/07/2018

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: The objective of this course is for students to develop a conceptual understanding of Impact Investing and its various manifestations and how it is impacting all of our communities. The goal is for students to be able to critically evaluate the exciting potential to make real change while at the same time view the risks that mission gets sacrificed when profits are on the line. We will put ourselves in a position to assess such by engaging in real world case studies on a daily basis.
Course prerequisites
Bachelor degree in social science, business or equivalent
Impact Investing and Finance:
Exam ECTS 7.5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer, Ordinary exam: 26/27 June - 30 July 2018. Please note that exam will start on the first teaching day and will run in parallel with the course.

Retake exam: September - October 2018

3rd attempt (2nd retake) exam: November - December 2018

Exam schedule is available on https:/​/​www.cbs.dk/​uddannelse/​international-summer-university-programme-isup/​courses-and-exams.
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Home project assignment, new exam question (72-hour home assignment)
Course content and structure

This course is designed to explore Impact Investing, the goal of which is to not only generate financial returns but to also promote social benefits. This exciting area has broadened recently and has gained attention from some of the largest philanthropic foundations and asset managers. It has also drawn its skeptics from academia who are convinced that when profits are on the line, the social mission gets sacrificed. We will explore both sides of the issue while surveying such topics as Socially Responsible Investing, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Microfinance and Microlending, Social Impact Bonds (SIBS) and Environmental Sustainability. We will learn about measuring techniques employed by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We will evaluate via case study the initial public offering (IPO) of Compartamos, a Mexican bank famous for being a leader in microfinance but infamous for enriching its Wall St IPO underwriters. From a similar critical perspective, we will evaluate public-private partnerships such as social impact bonds and employ a case study of a program designed to reduce prison recidivism funded by Goldman Sachs.


Preliminary assignment:For a preliminary assignment please read the below readings for the first week.  Virtually all of these readings are available for free electronically from CBS library For the assignment, please read the below and consider what is meant by the term Impact Investing, how it has transformed, and how it may be over-used. Come to class prepared with a question to discuss about the possibilities of this new form of collaborative capitalism and also come prepared to discuss how and why it may not fulfill its broad promises.
Bugg-Levine and Emerson, pps.3-38 

Clark, Emerson, Thornley. The Impact Investor.  Jossey-Bass. pps. 19-57

Shiller, R. (2012). Finance and the Good Society. Princeton University Press. Pp.xiii-15

Jonathan Morduch. “Not So Fast: The Realities of Impact Investing”. In: Americas Quarterly (2011) http://www.americasquarterly.org/not-so-fast-the-realities-of-impact-investing


Class 1: Introduction and History: Exploring the roots of impact investing. The case for impact investing. Blended value and collaborative capitalism.
Class 2:Socially Responsible Investing (SRI): The shifting landscape of SRI. Negative and positive screening. Performance of socially responsible mutual funds. 
Class 3:Shareholder Activism and Corporate Social Responsibility. Expectations of shareholders/investors. Certified B corporations.
Class 4:Philanthropy and the Private Sector. The venture-capitalist as entrepreneur.
Class 5: Public Policy and the Public Sector. United Nations Sustainable development goals (SDG's).
Class 6: Microfinance and Microlending. Risks and rewards of scaling microfinance.

Feedback activity:group projects evaluating social impact versus financial performance

Class 7:Social Impact Bonds. Alternative funding mechanisms for social problems such as prison recidivism.
Class 8:Measuring and Reporting Impacts. GIIN (Global Impact Investing Network) and IRIS (Impact Reporting and Investment Standards).
Class 9: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance
Class 10: Practical applications. Guest speaker from the Danish pension system will discuss how they invest for social impact.
Class 11:Social Business: Creating viable, social businesses

Teaching methods
A combination of lecture, group discussion and small group projects will be employed in each session. Each class session will have three components on each topic: 1.) what can go right 2.) what can go wrong and 3.) what will happen. Students will be encouraged to evaluate the pros and cons of the various topics and draw conclusions as to likely outcomes. The objective is for students to develop a critical perspective of Impact Investing and Finance and its impact on various communities.
Feedback during the teaching period
We will review in class the exam format and typical questions to ensure that students will experience no surprises during the exam. Students will work together in groups on the questions and feedback will be provided by the instructor in class.

All Home Project Assignments/home assignments are based upon a research question (problem formulation) formulated by the students individually, and must be handed in to the course instructor for his/her approval no later than 12 July 2018. The instructor must approve the research question (problem formulation) no later than 17 July 2018. The approval is a feedback to the student about the instructor's assessment of the problem's relevance and the possibilities of producing a good report.

Student workload
Preliminary assignment 20 hours
Classroom attendance 33 hours
Preparation 126 hours
Feedback activity 7 hours
Examination 20 hours
Further Information

Preliminary Assignment: To help students get maximum value from ISUP courses, instructors provide a reading or a small number of readings or video clips to be read or viewed before the start of classes with a related task scheduled for class 1 in order to 'jump-start' the learning process.


Course timetable is available on https://www.cbs.dk/uddannelse/international-summer-university-programme-isup/courses-and-exams.


We reserve the right to cancel the course if we do not get enough applications. This will be communicated on https://www.cbs.dk/uddannelse/international-summer-university-programme-isup/courses-and-exams end February 2018 at the latest.

Expected literature

Mandatory readings:


The Impact Investor:  Lessons in Leadership and Strategy for Collaborative Capitalism.

By  Cathy Clark, Jed Emerson and Ben Thornley.  Jossey-Bass 2015.


Additional relevant readings:


Impact Investing:  Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference.

By Anthony Bugg-Levine and Jed Emerson.  Jossey-Bass, 2011.

Last updated on 23/07/2018