Rave Reviews & High Expectations For This New Joint MS-MBA Degree

The New Joint MS-MBA Degree Everyone Is Raving About

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Employers have spoken. They want recruits with both poet and quant skills — financial managers from the STEM mold who are skilled in investment strategies and management. They want people fluent in data and digital literacy who also possess critical thinking skills, emotional intelligence, and creativity.

A new offering at Yale School of Management aims to be the program that gives the talent pool all that and more. Yale SOM will pair its STEM-eligible Master of Asset Management with its full-time MBA in a new joint MBA/MMS program. Students in the dual-degree program will complete the first year of the MBA program, including the MBA core curriculum, then complete the asset management coursework during the second year. At the end of two years, graduates will have both degrees in hand.

In addition to the rigorous coursework of the top-10-ranked Yale MBA, students in the new joint program “will receive training in all aspects of asset management, including investment selection, asset allocation, portfolio management, and risk management, with a focus on forward-looking quantitative methods and new technologies in this rapidly changing field,” writes Julie Dahlquist, senior associate director of admissions for Yale SOM. All that and — like the Asset Management Master’s — the new program is STEM-eligible, Dahlquist writes.


The New Joint MS-MBA Degree Everyone Is Raving About

Yale MS/MBA student Jasmine Peng: Joint degree “provides MBA students with the flexibility to have a concentration tailored to their interests and master’s students with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge beyond their areas of expertise”

Admission decisions for each program will be made independently: The criteria for acceptance are distinct between the two degrees. To complete the MBA/MMS joint degree in two years, applicants must be admitted into both programs simultaneously, or MBA students must apply and be accepted into the MMS Asset Management during the first year of their MBA.

However, the joint degree program doesn’t work the other way around: A student accepted into the MMS Asset Management cannot convert completion of that degree program into the credit for one year of an MBA. Those students would require three years to complete the two degrees.

Dahlquist sent a message this week to admissions consultants and others touting the Asset Management degree’s eligibility for a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math designation — an important distinction for a program that wants to appeal to international students hoping to stay in the United States post-graduation. The Asset Management program offers graduates without H-1B visas two degrees and up to three years of work in the U.S. while they try to secure a visa.

Importantly, the school declares in a program “tear sheet” posted online that because both the Asset Management degree and the joint MBA/MMS are STEM-eligible, students on Yale’s visa sponsorship “must abide by the employment regulations of their visa type, including any limitations on hours per week. At this time, international students are eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) if completing an internship or project at external organization.”


Applications to the joint MBA/MMS open this month; the deadline to apply to join the Class of 2025 is January 10, 2024. Tuition is about $164,000 — $82,200 for the first year of the Yale MBA, when an Asset Management/MBA student will take the SOM MBA core curriculum, and the same amount for the second year that is devoted to AM coursework, rather than the wide range of electives regular MBAs would get to take. It’s important to note that Yale estimates living expenses, program fees, books, etc. to come to more than $30K for students in the nine-month asset management program, and just over $28K for one year in the MBA.

Dahlquist says the program is intended for students who plan to pursue a career within the asset management industry, especially in financial management positions — anything from investment analysis to philanthropic portfolio management. Jasmine Peng, joint MBA/Master’s in Asset Management Class of 2024, says it’s worth the cost of admission.

“I chose Yale SOM because the variety of joint-degree options that SOM offers is what truly makes it unique,” Peng says. “It provides MBA students with the flexibility to have a concentration tailored to their interests and master’s students with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge beyond their areas of expertise. Thanks to the joint-degree options, we have such a great diversity of backgrounds that we are always learning from each other.

“Personally, I aspire to be an investor with a deep understanding of business, so a joint degree of MBA and Master’s in Asset Management was easily the best choice!”


Yale’s Master of Asset Management had a fraught birth. The program was originally slated to launch in 2020 but was pushed back to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. But since its launch two years ago, the program has proven a popular avenue for early-career students in much the same way as a master in management or other specialized degree that doesn’t require as much work experience, or time commitment, as a full-time residential MBA. One admissions consultant calls it the “gold standard” and says she has clients who have turned down MIT and other prestigious programs in favor of it.

“The Master’s in Asset Management is a quantitatively intense nine-month program that was developed by the late David Swensen ’80 PhD, Yale’s former chief investments officer and the pioneer of the ‘Yale Model’ and Tobias Moskowitz, Dean Takahasi ’80 B.A., ’83 M.P.P.M. professor of finance and a principal at AQR Capital Management,” Dahlquist writes. “Focusing on ethical and responsible investing, they designed a unique program dedicated to the merging of academic theory and practice.”

As the program’s online tear sheet describes, “Students in the program receive training in all aspects of asset management, including investment selection, asset allocation, portfolio management, and risk management, with a focus on forward-looking quantitative methods and new technologies in this fast-developing field. A highlight of the program is the Colloquium in Asset Management, which brings leading executives, investors, and practitioners to campus for candid discussions about the industry.

“Students will also be required to gain practical experience by completing a minimum of 40 hours of one or more of the following activities: completing an internship or project related to asset management for an external organization, assisting a Yale SOM finance professor with research related to the study of asset management, or undertaking an alternative activity pre-approved by the faculty director.” Students also take a variety of required fundamental subjects and elective classes, “most of which were developed specifically for the Yale SOM Master’s in Asset Management program.”


The new MBA/MMS program is a response not only to what employers want, but what students want to learn. According to a Yale spokesperson, it started organically with second-year MBA students wanting to take the Asset Management electives, and then it worked its way into a joint degree. For SOM MBAs looking to STEM certify, and get a leg up in the industry, it’s an attractive choice.

Observers expect, given market demand, that Yale’s new joint degree program will be popular with both students and employers. But it’s also likely to be difficult to get into. The acceptance rate for Yale’s MBA program typically hovers around one-quarter of applicants, placing it among the most selective B-schools in the U.S.; in 2022 it was 27.6%, up 4 percentage points from the previous year. If anything, the Master of Asset Management may be even harder to get into. Lindsay Sage, founder of graduate business admissions consulting firm Sage Admit, says she has steered clients into the AM program with the understanding that they will need to prove they are qualified to be there.

“It’s incredibly intense, quant-heavy,” Sage tells P&Q. “They want computer science or math majors; finance majors won’t cut it. They want the perfect 170Q, but more importantly, they want substantial coursework in math and computer science. The professors teach to this level and the recruiters expect it. It’s a nine-month program — the first semester is super intense, even my 4.0 dual math/ finance major was struggling. In my experience they are pulling from the same cohort as MIT’s MSF, CMU’s MSCF, or Columbia’s MSFE. It’s a very intimate program, with just 43 students versus MIT’s MSF (which is triple the size). For this reason I’ve had clients turn down MIT for this program, which I thought was nuts at first!. It’s become the gold standard.

“I’m excited for the joint Master’s/MBA because while the students of the master’s gain technical skills, they are lacking the clear business fundamentals that the MBA will provide. The dual program will give them more time to adequately develop their leadership skills, and would open more doors to recruiting, rather than just quant-heavy positions.”


Betsy Massar, the founder of Master Admissions who spent a decade in the asset management industry before becoming an MBA consultant, echoes Sage in saying the new program is “very exciting as a joint degree opportunity. Lots of students are looking at that as a way to specialize and enhance their profiles. Yale Is the granddaddy of alternative investments for institutions, so getting a degree from Yale SOM joint with a Master of Asset Management should be an advantage.

“The standalone Master of Asset Management is one thing and it is a strong specialized degree. But that cohort won’t get the same experience as being able to collaborate across industries and backgrounds with other students in the MBA program.

“I think it’s a win for Yale, especially with its connection to so many investment management firms in places like Greenwich and Westport, Connecticut.”


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