Yale Daily News

The School of Management will leverage the Investments Office’s connections with the finance industry to launch a new asset management degree, which aims to provide practical and theoretical business knowledge to students.

The program is part of an ongoing effort to broaden programming in finance at the School of Management at Yale, a school whose financial prowess has made its endowment management model the envy of peers. Identifying an opportunity to expand upon the existing asset management track of the Executive MBA program and capitalize on Yale’s unique position in the world of finance, a team within SOM, including Chief Investment Officer David Swensen and professors in the SOM, developed the new Master’s program. Slated to enroll its first cohort in the fall of 2020, the degree will educate its students in proper investment practices and tactics for allocating funds across markets. It will include courses in investment theory, portfolio theory, solving optimization problems and risk evaluation. Swensen already has plans to teach a course, and SOM representatives said they hope to employ other senior executives from leading investment firms as instructors.

“Yale SOM and Yale Investments Office have an extraordinary legacy of educating a large number of the most successful asset managers including chief investment officers of university endowments and philanthropic foundations,” said Anjani Jain, the deputy dean of academic programs at the SOM. “The MMS program in asset management will not only provide rigorous professional education for future industry leaders, it will create opportunities for greater interaction among academic scholars and leading practitioners.”

SOM began accepting applications –– which requires information concerning work experience, academic history and essays about career aspirations –– for the one-year program in August. Applicants are encouraged to have a few years of work experience and a strong quantitative background.

Degrees in STEM fields are not prerequisites, but students entering the program should have a solid understanding of statistical analysis and coding languages like R or Python.

“The profession of investment management increasingly demands not only substantial expertise in the mathematical and computational methods that have been developed in recent years, but also a deep understanding of the fiduciary and ethical responsibility that asset managers have to institutional stakeholders and clients,” Jain wrote.

SOM finance professor Tobias Moskowitz said ideal candidates for the program may in fact be recent college graduates early in their finance careers. Moskowitz added that he is hopeful that large and small firms in nearby financial hubs –– such as Fairfield County and New York City –– may sponsor young analysts at their company to complete the program.

Ideally, Moskowitz said, the University will not need to invest an exorbitant amount of funds in the program, and the degree will be able to pay for itself through tuition and donations that could lead to surplus funds.

Both Moskowitz and Jain emphasized that Yale is in the unique position to offer this program due to the University’s location, academic prowess in finance and professional networks. Proximity to urban centers like Boston and New York allow for high levels of engagement with the asset industry. And financial figureheads like Swensen, who did not respond to requests for comment, provide connections to the industry and potential links for guest speakers and instructors for the program.

“It’s hard to find a university that has the kind of connections that Yale has,” Moskowitz said.

The degree is one of three Masters of Management Studies programs that SOM offers. The other two are the MMS Global Business and Society and MMS System Risk, the latter of which teaches macro-financial policy and financial crisis management.

Carly Wanna | carly.wanna@yale.edu

Correction, Sept. 13: An earlier version of this article reported that the asset management program was the first of its kind. In fact, the program builds off of other existing asset management academic offering at SOM.