Kai Nip, Staff Photographer

The School of Management welcomed to campus its inaugural class of students pursuing master’s degrees in asset management. 

The new program’s inaugural class contains 56 students hailing from 13 different countries. Classes officially started on Sept. 1, following two weeks of boot camp and orientation in which students honed quantitative skills, learned about the program through sample lectures and got the opportunity to meet one another in recreational settings. The program had been slated to begin in the 2020-21 academic year, but its inaugural year was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The program was developed by Professor Tobias Moskowitz and former Yale Investments Office CIO David Swensen to fill a need and demand for a finance program devoted to asset management that combines academic theory and practice,” Emily Whitehouse, SOM associate director of admissions, wrote in an email to the News. “The curriculum is truly unique, as it is taught by top finance scholars at Yale SOM and leading investment managers at some of the world’s most successful firms and funds.”

The program’s curriculum emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to finance. Students must apply data science and coding strategies to solve real-world investment problems while considering the ethics of their decisions. In addition to their studies, students may also participate in a colloquium which invites financial executives and investors as guest speakers. 

Program chair Tobias Moskowitz said that one of his motivations for starting the program was to fill a “sorely missing gap” in the training of asset managers worldwide.

“Our goal was to create a curriculum that not only trained future generations of asset managers but taught them how to do it ‘the right way,’” Moskowitz wrote in an email to the News. “The right way means putting your clients first in a fiduciary and socially responsible manner.”

Moskowitz added that the mantra “do well while also doing good” was a hallmark of former endowment manager David Swensen’s career. Swensen, who recently passed away, worked closely with Moskowtiz to develop the asset management program. 

Moskowitz said that Yale is uniquely suited to bring out the best in a program centered on asset management, citing the University’s history of financial research and its partnerships with other investment institutions, practitioners and leaders. 

All students in the program must take four core classes in the fall semester: “Asset Pricing Theory,” “Quantitative Investing,” “Financial Econometrics and Machine Learning” and “Investment Analysis and Private Equity.” In the spring semester, students are required to take “Behavioral Finance,” but may also explore the University’s other courses. 

Yalan Xiao SOM ’22 highlighted the multidisciplinary nature of the program’s courses, saying that some classes stress quantitative techniques in math and programming while others incorporate case studies. 

Xiao noted that the classes have been quite academically rigorous — a sentiment that Flurin Reiser SOM ’22 echoed to the News. 

“[My classmates] didn’t have a lot of time for leisure,” Xiao said. “It’s kind of overwhelming … these past few weeks.” 

The application process for the 2021-22 inaugural class began in 2020. However, the program was deferred for one year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Xiao. She said that students had the option to either pursue a master’s program in Global Business and Society virtually through the SOM or to postpone their matriculation into the asset management program until 2021.

The program is currently accepting applications for its 2022-2023 cohort.

BRIAN ZHANG
Brian Zhang covers student life for the University desk, and previously housing and homelessness for the City desk. He is a sophomore in Davenport College.