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Application Guide

Thank you for taking the first step to join the Yale SOM community.

Applying to advanced degree programs can be a daunting process. There are lots of tasks to prioritize, manage, and complete, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. Our hope is that this Application Guide will provide useful insights and guidance for completing the application as well as information on what the Admissions Committee is looking for in the various elements of the application.

Insider Tips to Our Application

Admissions Committee members have provided the following information, recorded videos, and targeted advice to help you best navigate the Yale SOM Asset Management online application. We invite you to review the information, view a previously recorded  Application Tips Panel, and other previously recorded events  for additional advice throughout the 2023-2024 application cycle.

The Admissions Committee seeks to understand elements of your personal background that may provide context for the choices and opportunities that have shaped your academic, professional, and personal experiences. If you would like to provide additional information to expand on your responses to any of these questions, please do so in the “Optional Information” section under the “Essay” menu.

Some candidates tend to put a lot of emphasis on test scores, but remember that they are just one piece of a larger picture. They give us some sense of your level of preparation for the curriculum, but we consider all parts of your application when evaluating your candidacy.

We accept both the GMAT and the GRE including the online versions of the exams. The Admissions Committee has no preference between the two exams, and we’re well versed in evaluating scores from each. When completing this section of your application, list your self-reported scores for every GMAT and GRE exam you have taken. Should you be admitted, we will ask you to send us official test scores from ETS, GMAC or ETS to verify and match your self-reported scores. Please complete this section carefully by entering the correct sub-scores and percentages. Only report official scores you have achieved in a full exam. Do not report practice exam scores.

All test scores must be less than five years old, measured from the date you submit your application. For example, if you are applying with a test score from December 15, 2018, you can submit your application using this test score until December 14, 2023, but you also need to order those official scores to be sent to SOM before December 14, 2023. If you took the exam within the past five years and have designated Yale SOM as a score report recipient, we will have access to all of your GMAT and/or GRE scores from that period. If your score will soon become five years old, you may not be able to send your scores to us after you are admitted. Please send your scores to us well before your scores become five years old using the codes below.

You are welcome to send your official GMAT scores anytime through (code 3TJ-BX-20). Send your official GRE scores through (code 4548). Note: Yale SOM has multiple GMAT and GRE codes. Be sure to send your scores to the codes above, which correspond to the Yale SOM Master’s in Asset Management.

Sometimes applicants have a scheduled GMAT or GRE exam very near or just after an application deadline. We can’t guarantee that we will be able to review scores from exams taken after the application date, so plan to have all of your testing done in advance of the application deadline. If you do end up retaking a test after the application deadline, you will be able to enter the new score on your applicant status page.

Current Yale College seniors with a GPA of 3.7 or above and Yale College alumni within three years of graduation with a cumulative GPA of 3.7 or above are exempt from the GMAT/GRE test requirement.

The Asset Management Program is a highly quantitative program and your test score serves as one additional data point on your preparation for the program. For that reason, your test scores will be examined in conjunction with your academic coursework—there are no minimum test scores and we certainly admit students with test scores both below and above the class median.

Melissa Kropf, Assistant Director of Admissions

Non-native English-speaking applicants who have not completed a degree in an English-speaking country must also submit an English language test such as the TOEFL (Code C472) or IELTS (no code needed). Regardless of the language of instruction at your university, we will require a TOEFL or IELTS score if you completed your degree in a non-English-speaking country. Applicants studying in countries or territories that list English as an official language, such as India, Pakistan, Hong Kong S.A.R., or Singapore, are still required to submit an English language test.

Test scores for both exams are valid for two years. For applicants applying in January 2024, we will accept a TOEFL or IELTS test taken within two years of the date of your application.

We recommend taking whichever English language exam with which you are most comfortable. Much like the GMAT or GRE, the TOEFL or IELTS score is one piece of the application the Admissions Committee considers when evaluating a candidate’s English language abilities. 

Yale SOM asks for transcripts for every undergraduate, graduate, study abroad, and non-degree program where you received academic credit toward your degree. Applicants can upload unofficial transcript copies directly into the application. If the applicant is admitted, we will ask for official transcripts. For students attending universities where transcripts are not provided in English, we will ask the applicant to upload certified English translations and the original documents for each transcript.

When filling out the section on your quantitative preparation, it may be helpful to know we do not expect every applicant to have coursework represented in every individual subject area. We are trying to understand what type of quantitative exposure you have had to date, and what you might benefit from before starting the program. While your entries should include only courses taken for university credit or other courses taken for a grade, we are interested in hearing about other non-graded courses you have taken, and welcome you to include this information under “Additional Courses.”

Your academic background is an important part of your application to the Asset Management program. Since this is a rigorous one-year, specialized degree, a strong quantitative background will be highly beneficial. While there are no specific course requirements, we encourage exposure to multivariable calculus, linear or matrix algebra, microeconomic theory, probability and statistics, and computer programming. We review your full transcripts, as well as any supplemental coursework, to understand your background and whether you’ll benefit from additional quantitative exposure prior to matriculating. We’re also interested in your academic interests. While not required, having a diverse range of classes shows a great, well-rounded background to join one of the world’s most renowned liberal arts universities.

Laurel Grodman, Assistant Dean for Admissions

Applicants to the Asset Management program will upload a résumé that details professional and academic background, including any internships or full-time employment. Include activities and interests that are relevant to your application, highlighting any leadership or team-based roles you have undertaken. A strong résumé will contextualize past academic and professional accomplishments that will help you succeed in the Yale SOM Asset Management program and in your future career.

Candidates may elect to use the Yale SOM résumé template that is available for download within the application, though it is not required.

There are specific instructions in the application about what kind of professional experiences to list and how to list them. For instance, if you are engaged in an internship or part-time work experience for an individual employee (rather than working directly for an employer) you will need to represent this appropriately.

Your job as an applicant is to tell us the most important work experiences, research experiences, volunteer opportunities, extracurricular activities, and interests or fun facts, and you have to do that all on one page. This can feel a bit daunting, but my advice is to stick with the opportunities that were the most meaningful to you. You should also leave yourself room to be as detailed as possible regarding the impacts you had at the organizations to which you were a part.

Melissa Kropf, Assistant Director of Admissions

We have a single essay question:

  • What are your short and long term career interests? Please describe what drives these interests and how they connect to your academic, professional, or personal experiences. 

The essay has a 500 word limit, though candidates do not need to meet this limit, and are encouraged to answer the prompt concisely.

The essay question is straightforward, and this is by design. Our hope is that you will highlight your short-term and long-term goals in a clear and concise style that is easy to follow. We want to understand your interest in these goals, and what work that you have done to date that motivate or position you to achieve them. Try not to overthink your responses. It can be helpful to have a friend or colleague review the statement without knowing the prompt to see how closely you hit the mark of addressing the question we are asking.

Laurel Grodman, Assistant Dean of Admissions

We ask for two letters of recommendation. Recommendations are a way for us to gain additional perspectives on your candidacy from people who have worked with you and who know you well.

Ideally, one of your recommendations should come from an academic professor or mentor. The second recommendation should come from a professional or extracurricular supervisor, or from a professor who has worked with you in an applied setting (such as an internship, research, or an applied project). For applicants with no professional experience, we will accept two academic letters of recommendation.

The more insight your recommenders can provide in their evaluations, the better we are able to understand your story and gauge your potential. You may also want to think about finding two recommenders who can speak to your different strengths and skill sets.

We encourage you to reach out to your recommenders in advance and schedule some time to talk with them about your desire to earn an Asset Management degree—maybe even reflect together on some of the growth experiences you’ve had and how you expect to add value to a graduate school community. This can be great preparation for them to write you a thoughtful and comprehensive recommendation.

We do suggest, however, that you do not send your recommenders your essays or other written materials because they may incorporate them into their recommendations. Seeing the same language in your essays and recommendations may raise concerns to us about the independence of the recommendations, even if you were only trying to be helpful to your recommenders.

Finally, please note that we allow recommenders to submit their recommendations in Mandarin or Spanish. Our aim is to make the process easier for recommenders who do not speak English and give you more options in your choice of recommenders.

The letters of recommendation are one of my favorite parts of your application. It takes the picture you painted in your résumé and adds dimension and depth. Many of our applicants have had experiences at top firms or startups, but your letters can really separate someone who showed up every day from someone who left a measurable impression on their team. Choose someone who knows you well and can provide examples on the impacts you made while working with them. Don’t waste time chasing the VP or CEO if you’ve had minimal contact with them. These letters should be unique to you and that can only happen if the recommender you chose has personal anecdotes to include about your performance.

Moonie Phantharath, Associate Director of Admissions

This is a section that is often lacking detail on applications we review. Consider the commitments you are passionate about, and have been the most consistent in your life or career. The activities you commit to can offer lots of insight and help to tell your story. These need not be program-specific and activities people choose to highlight vary a great deal.

—Melissa Kropf, Assistant Director of Admissions

The optional information section is not an additional essay, and most candidates do not need to complete this section. This is a space where you can address any questions you think the Admissions Committee may have about your application. For example, if there’s a gap on your résumé or you’ve chosen an unconventional recommender, this is the appropriate place to provide clarification.

We promise: this section is truly optional. The best use of this space is if you have something to explain to the Admissions Committee. This could be due to an interruption to your undergraduate studies or perhaps an explanation on who you choose as your recommender. This is a helpful place for you to leave some quick bullets on the situation.

Laurel Grodman, Assistant Dean for Admissions

Soon after you’ve submitted your application and paid the application fee, you will  be able to access the link to complete the assessment on your applicant status portal.  The exercise will be recorded through a system called Kira. You will have the opportunity to answer non-recorded practice questions before moving on to your recorded questions. Once you are ready to begin the assessment, the first two questions will require short, verbal responses. The third and final question will require a written response, typed into a textbox within the Kira system.

Every candidate will receive a set of randomized, previously recorded questions asked by an admissions team member. The questions asked are similar to typical interview questions, and there are no “trick questions.” This exercise is not a substitute for the interview; it is one component of your application. You will not have the chance to change your responses.

We suggest completing this exercise in a quiet space. You will need a strong, high-speed internet connection. You must use a desktop or laptop computer; the system will not allow you to use a mobile device. 

The video questions help to give us a more dynamic view of you as an applicant. We get a peek into how you might act in an interview setting and get to learn more about you. Many of our applicants are the most concerned about this part of the application beforehand, but I promise you will do much better than you think you will! Just relax and get comfortable with the timing. Practice answering some questions in 60 seconds so you understand how much (or how little) time that really is.

Moonie Phantharath, Associate Director of Admissions

Yale SOM is committed to continuous innovation in the ways we identify future members of our community. The newest component of our application process is the Behavioral Assessment, although we’ve been working on it behind the scenes for many years. The Behavioral Assessment might be the most unique component of the Yale SOM application.

The Behavioral Assessment is an online test administered by ETS, the testing service behind the GRE. But unlike the GMAT or GRE, which are tests of certain cognitive abilities, the Behavioral Assessment is a non-cognitive test that measures a set of inter- and intrapersonal competencies that are associated with success in a management program. We look at it alongside, and sometimes as a counterpoint to, traditional academic metrics. And much like any other piece of the application, the Behavioral Assessment will never be the deciding factor for admission, but will instead be used in combination with the rest of a candidate’s profile.

The exercise itself should take about 20 to 25 minutes to complete and uses a forced-choice format, meaning you’ll be given 130 pairs of statements and must select the ones that best match your own behaviors. The assessment is adaptive, so no two candidates will receive the exact same set of statements.

What is really unique about the assessment, in comparison to a test like the GMAT or GRE, is that it does not require any specialized knowledge or practice. So there is nothing a student needs to do ahead of time to prepare for the assessment. I hope this comes as a breath of fresh air to applicants – finally something that requires no preparation! Just try not overthink it. There are no correct answers, and because it is a forced-choice format, there may be times when neither statement feels quite right to you. That’s OK – chose the one that feels like the better fit. I promise that no one response will determine your results. And because you don’t need to worry about coming up with the “right” answer, we hope you may even have a little fun with it

Laurel Grodman, Assistant Dean for Admissions

We invite applicants to interview on a rolling basis throughout the time we review applications. The email invitations are not sent out by region, so if you have a friend in your area who has received an invitation but you haven’t yet, it is not a signal about your chances of receiving an invitation.

Interviews to the Asset Management Program are virtual 30-minute discussions with an Admissions Committee member. The interview is not required for admission, and we will not interview every candidate.

The interview presents an opportunity to connect face to face with an Admissions Committee member. You can anticipate being asked some standard questions about your academic and professional experiences. We hope to learn about you, the ways you see yourself contributing meaningfully to the Yale community, and how you plan to leverage the Yale network to achieve your goals. Interviews are just 30 minutes—make the most of this time by having prepared a question or two to ask your interviewer toward the end of your conversation.

Melissa Kropf, Assistant Director of Admissions