Asset management forms a critical link in how individuals and organizations prepare for the future—from the mutual fund that underlies millions of retirement accounts to the endowment that sustains a major cultural institution to the sovereign wealth fund that benefits a whole nation. With new technologies, ever-expanding global markets, shifting regulatory requirements, and increasing competition, the demands and opportunities in the industry have grown exponentially more complex. To succeed, you need to master the technical skills of an investor. To be a leader, you also need an in-depth understanding of how markets and organizations function across economies, and the vision to see how global trends are going to affect your business.
Yale’s first-rate business curriculum and depth of knowledge in finance provide a foundation for your aspirations. You’ll also draw on the full power of Yale University and our network of graduates in the field, as you gain the elevated perspective to see the big picture that enables you to be a leader.
"The business of asset management demands a whole set of MBA skills. For instance, any asset management company is exquisitely dependent upon selecting people of high integrity to handle investors’ money, and so their futures. How do you find and retain the right people? How do you identify and meet client’s needs? How should services be priced? You’re constantly dealing with innovations from your competitors, as well as the drumbeat of information technology and shifting regulatory requirements.”
—William N. Goetzmann, Faculty Director, Asset Management, & Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management Studies
Alongside the integrated core curriculum, in your first year, you will increase your grasp of big ideas and trends in investments by participating in the Colloquium on Asset Management Leadership, a series of candid talks with leaders of major investment funds, heads of hedge funds, policymakers, and other people shaping the field. In addition, you will build your network and benefit from the perspectives and experiences of classmates from all facets of the industry.
In the second year, you deepen your expertise. You take a slate of advanced business and management courses, and a series of deep explorations of topics in asset management. These courses are taught by experts from the School of Management, drawing on the leading academic expertise of the International Center for Finance, and other parts of the university. A capstone course structured around major challenges in asset management will deepen your learning and link back to the essential business skills taught in the core.
Asset Management Courses
The traditional framework for thinking about financial markets assumes that all market participants are fully rational. The past two decades have seen the emergence of an important new paradigm, behavioral finance, which argues that many financial phenomena are the result of less than fully rational thinking and which draws on psychology to understand the ways in which people are not fully rational. This course provides an introduction to the field. We revisit basic topics in finance from a behavioral finance perspective: topics related to markets (stock market fluctuations, popular investment strategies, bubbles); topics related to investor behavior (poor investment decisions by households); and topics related to corporate finance (security issuance, mergers and acquisitions). A running theme in the course is that knowledge of behavioral finance is essential for anyone who seeks a full understanding of modern financial markets.
This course is designed to introduce students to challenges and pitfalls of financing new enterprises. Broadly speaking, we can think of entrepreneurial financing decisions in terms of a life cycle. The cycle begins with identifying opportunities and refining the business plan, moves to marshaling resources to take advantage of these opportunities and executing the business plan, and ends with harvesting the venture's success. Accordingly, the course is divided into three distinct sections:
- Identifying and Valuing Opportunities: Will this idea make or lose money? What must happen for this venture to succeed? Are these people the right people for the job? This section will focus on identifying good ideas, separating them from bad ideas, and in general, valuing the asset side of the balance sheet.
- Financing Alternatives: Which sources of funds offer the most attractive terms? This section will focus on the liabilities and net worth side of the balance sheet and will study how various financial contracts affect the incentives of financiers and entrepreneurs. We will also focus on alternative funding sources, such as joint ventures, corporate venture capital, and strategic alliances.
- Harvesting Opportunities: How do entrepreneurs and early stage investors exit their investments so that they can move on to the next opportunity?
This course combines lectures and case studies. The lecture part of this course intends to equip students with background knowledge and important techniques in each stage of entrepreneurial finance; those techniques will be applied to case studies that will cover interesting and emerging entrepreneurial areas.
The Future of Global Finance
Finance can be likened to the circulatory system of the global economy, and we will focus on the past, present and future of that system. The course is designed to deal with questions such as these: What is the global financial system and how does it work? What are the pressures on that system including market, regulatory, political and social dynamics? What are the key challenges to that system? How can the system be strengthened?
In this course we are defining the global financial system (GFS) as encompassing central banks, commercial banks, and other financial institutions such as asset managers and private equity firms, financial regulators and international organizations. Thus we will encompass subjects such as the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, Goldman Sachs and the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank, the Carlyle Group and the BlackRock Investment Management Co., the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Financial Stability Board, the Bank for International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund. We will take a broad view of the GFS including its history, its geopolitical framework, its economic foundations and its legal underpinnings. We will consider the GFS as a critical public good in the same way that clean air is a public good. We will look at a number of other key issues such as how the GFS deals with economic growth, economic and financial stability, distributional questions, employment issues, and long term investments in infrastructure. We will discuss how new technologies are affecting several of the biggest issues in global finance. We will examine the GFS as a large-scale complex network, thereby compelling us to see it in an interconnected and ultidisciplinary way. The emphasis will be on the practice of global finance more than the theory.
The course provides a broad overview of quantitative investment management, focusing on the application of finance theory to the issues faced by portfolio managers and investors in general. Topics include asset allocation, asset pricing models such as the capital asset pricing model and arbitrage pricing theory, active portfolio management, and performance evaluation. These tools provide a disciplined way of thinking about investment decisions, while simultaneously framing how we think about the historical performance of markets.
Portfolio Management: Fixed Income
This course is designed to provide an understanding of fixed income markets and products, and the techniques required for their valuation and risk management. It combines theory with practical exercises intended to demonstrate the complications that arise when applying theory to realistic situations.
Portfolio Management: Alternative Portfolios
An in-depth course on the use of alternative investments in the institutional portfolio. A succession of asset classes will be studied using current academic and practitioner research. Students will study portfolios in the spirit of the Yale Model and address the range of institutional issues raised by the use of illiquid, new or sophisticated investments. Each week we will discuss current research on the asset class, possibilities and challenges that it represents. Each class will have a case for discussion.
The use of alternative asset classes raises important questions of: Return expectations; Risk evaluation; Uncertainty; Liquidity; Manager selection; The relationship to modern portfolio theory models; Accounting and valuation; Benchmarking; Client expectations and communications; Performance measurement; Firm leadership, organization, expertise and staffing; External capabilities including consulting & outsourcing
The course will delve into these topics through in-class discussion. Please keep these multiple perspectives in mind for discussion in the course.
Risk management refers to the process of identifying, assessing, and prioritizing risks that can prevent achieving a preset objective. This course will teach you how to accurately assess the negative consequences of uncertain events on investment portfolios. The ultimate goal for risk managers is to reduce and control the likelihood of such occurrences. It will also help but not fully prepare you for the Financial Risk Manager certification. To successfully understand the material, you should have a general understanding of US financial markets, trading and securities valuation, including stocks, bonds, futures and options. A developed knowledge of probability and statistics and an ability to use basic MS Excel functionality is also required.
This is not a technical course but it is aimed at those who will be working in the Asset Management Industry with responsibility for some aspects of portfolio and risk management. Its primary aim is to teach risk management disciplines to professional asset managers, traders, analysts, portfolio managers, senior executives, compliance officers, auditors, regulators, and anyone else who needs a broad introduction to the topic. Global events from the past few years provide ample evidence of the challenges associated with managing risk. The course will cover the primary risk management strategies for Fixed Income, Commodities, Currencies, Equity, Institutional Real Estate, Private Equity, and Hedge Fund investments. In addition, the course will discuss how an asset management firm seeks to manage systemic, systematic, counterparty and other firm-wide risks. In this course, you will engage with case studies that address the investment catastrophes of the first decade of the new millennium, including the credit crisis of 2008–2009. These cases illustrate the importance of risk management and demonstrate how missed opportunities in effective risk management can and have led to monumental negative consequences. You will learn how and why risk management is a primary strategy for sustainability and success in our uncertain and complex world.
This list represents current and planned program content. Exact course lineup and/or titles may change.