5503 S4PS Portfolio Management Program
o.Univ.Prof. Dr. Josef Zechner, Univ.Prof. Dr. Otto Randl, Giorgia Simion, Ph.D.
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
02/01/23 to 02/01/23
Registration at the institute
Notes to the course
Subject(s) Master Programs
Day Date Time Room
Place and time to be announced


In order to provide practical understanding of the concepts of portfolio management, the Portfolio Management Program was begun in 2003 in Vienna, Austria.  This is one of the unique programs in the entire European continent. 

Students can apply for admission from finance programs at the WU, or the Uni-Wien (BWZ) or students in financial mathematics or econometrics at the TU. 

The participants have the opportunity to manage real money in the form of a managed portfolio.  In doing so, they can structure the portfolio in order to achieve an optimal risk-return objective.  There are three managed funds, each having an initial amount greater than €1 million.  One fund is managed in an entrepreneurial style as utilized by the professionals at ZZ Vermögensverwaltung, a second fund is managed in the style of the Harvard endowment fund, utilizing a passive approach and a third fund is managed in the style of Yale involving the concepts of manager selection.

The members of the PMP proceed in two distinct phases.  In the first year, students are "analysts"; their main responsibility is to work on research projects on behalf of their managers.  Each analyst is expected to achieve expertise and specialize on either one or two asset classes.

After the first year, successful students will become managers of their funds.  They will then be responsible for the account management and strategic decisions.  The goal of the program is to further the interaction between scientific theory and actual practices.


Learning outcomes

  • State-of-the-art academic knowledge in the area of portfolio management.
  • State-of-the-art of the practice of portfolio management, including asset allocation, risk management, and knowledge of the legal and tax environment. 
  • Gain knowledge of tools, e.g. Bloomberg, Reuters, Datastream, R etc.
  • Sharpen analytical skills. Investment management involves structured and critical judgement. Learn to form return expectations and develop a coherent risk perspective. Learn to distinguish innovations from fads. 
  • Train capability for teamwork. Students are organized in groups of analysts and managers, and are responsible for one out of three portfolios.

Attendance requirements

Minimum standard: 60% attendance of all PMP meetings during the year

Teaching/learning method(s)

There are weekly meetings, starting for the most part on Thursday evenings at 17:30.  These meetings have the following structure.

  1. Manager meetings.  At these meetings, one person from the manager group of each portfolio presents the fund strategy and decisions since the last meeting.  After each manager presents, the presentation will be critiqued by another manager (the discussant) from another fund, followed by a general discussion.
  2. Analyst meetings.  At these meetings, one of the analysts from each fund presents the results of their research project.  It will be important to show how this research is potentially useful (or not) to the fund.  The analyst presentation will be graded by one of the instructional staff of the PMP program (professor or tutor).
  3. 'Expertengespraech'.  There will be a guest speaker who will provide a talk about a specific subject.  These will be leaders from either industry or academics. So far scheduled for this Semester are Professor Peter Bossaerts, a leading expert on behavioral finance and neurofinance, and Professor Ralph Koijen, renowed asset pricing and macro-finance specialist. 
  4. Technical meeting.  One of the professors will lead a specific discussion of a particular analytic topic.  This is designed to train analysts in the quantitative methodologies of successful portfolio management.  One analyst from each fund will present the results from the analytical exercise that forms part of the assignment.  This will be graded by one of the instructional staff.
  5. Special events.  Some special events are anticipated such as the program graduation event or opportunities to network with practitioners or alumni.


Manager evaluation is based on the following weights:

1. Class attendance
Minimum standard: 60% attendance of all PMP meetings during the year

2. Presentations
20% (10% team grade + 10% individual grade)

3. Discussions
20% (10% team grade + 10% individual grade)

4. Portfolio performance and risk management
20% (10% Sharpe ratio + 10% absolute return) based on performance since portfolio takeover in May

5. Reporting (controlling, monthly reports, factsheets, ...)
20% (same grade to team)

6. Continuous assessment
20% (e.g., based on meetings with tutors)

Analyst evaluation is based on the following:

1. Class attendance
Minimum standard: 60% attendance of all PMP meetings during the year

2. Attended data trainings
Minimum standard: 4 Bloomberg trainings

3. Presentations
20% (10% team grade + 10% individual grade)

4. Technical meetings
20% (10% team grade + 10% individual grade)

5. Portfolio performance and risk management
20% (as above for managers, based on Sharpe ratio and absolute return)

6. Reporting (controlling, monthly reports, factsheets)
20% (same grade to team)

7. Continuous assessment
20% (e.g., based on meetings with tutors)

Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

Applicants to the program must come from one of the following programs.

  • a financial economics program (SBWL) or an appropriate master program (FiRe, QFin) or from the WU
  • a financial economics program (KFK) from the Uni Wien
  • an emphasis on financial mathematics or econometrics in the study of technical mathematics at the TU
  • a Doktorat or PhD program in finance at one of the above three institutions

Further, students should be in the final phase of their bachelors studies with a concrete plan to enter a Masters program at one of these institutions in Vienna.

Students will be selected after an application period and a group interview.  They will be judged for their ability to work in teams and for their ability to engage in the practical aspects of asset management.  Above all else the participants must want to achieve the greatest possible success for their portfolio performance.

As this is a two year program and one that requires active engagement, applicants who have already begun a Masters program will not be accepted.  Further full time employment is not possible for participants in the program.


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Recommended previous knowledge and skills

As a minimum, knowledge of Bodie, Kane and Marcus, 2014, Investments and Portfolio Management (or comparable textbook).

Availability of lecturer(s)

by agreement
Last edited: 2022-11-03