Insights into the Double Degree program at ESMT Berlin and Yale SOM

student portrait

ESMT Berlin and the Yale School of Management (Yale SOM) offer a double master’s degree allowing students to acquire two degrees: a Master in Management (MIM) from ESMT and a Management Studies in Global Business and Society (MMS GBS) from Yale SOM in just two years. This provides students with the opportunity to add a new dimension to their global business education. Those who qualify for the program spend their first year studying at ESMT and the second at Yale SOM, before submitting a thesis at ESMT.  

Andrew Zhang recently graduated from the MIM program. Prior to enrolling at ESMT, Andrew graduated from the University of Toronto with double majors in economics and East Asian studies and a minor in business German. A few months into the MIM program at ESMT, he applied for the double-degree program with Yale SOM, and after spending his first year at ESMT, he headed to Yale. We caught up with him to gain an insight into this experience of the double degree program.  

You have studied in Canada, Germany, and the United States. Did you notice any similarities or differences studying in these three countries? 

Both the University of Toronto and ESMT are located at the heart of very international and vibrant cities, while Yale is situated in a relatively quieter area. All three schools have very diverse cohorts of students. Our ESMT cohort consisted of 112 students from almost 40 different countries. All three schools are well-established institutions, and I enjoyed my time at all of them. Classes at ESMT are small but highly interactive. If you enjoy interacting with people from different cultures and getting the most out of a fast-paced campus life with an immersive corporate internship experience, then ESMT is just the place for you! 

Why did you choose the ESMT MIM program? 

Having lived and studied in Canada for quite some time, it would have made sense for me to continue studying in Canada or the U.S., to stay in my comfort zone. However, I wanted to explore other areas of the world by choosing to study in Germany. I have always been interested in German culture and hoped to get to know the country better by living, studying, and working there. 

Another reason that I chose ESMT was the school’s strong founders’ background. I believed that the close link between the school and the business world could provide me with greater opportunities and possibilities for future internships and employment. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work as an intern at Allianz SE in the area of business transformation from April to August last year. 

Furthermore, the entire ESMT program is very well designed, starting with courses that lay a solid business foundation, followed by an internship module. After completing the internship, we returned to school and resumed our study with courses according to our specialization, and finally, we had the opportunity to put together everything we learned over two years in a thesis topic of our choice. 

What have you learned during your time at ESMT? What were the challenges and difficulties you encountered and how did you deal with them? 

The most rewarding experience is that I gained a very comprehensive and solid knowledge of business. Moreover, the five-month internship at Allianz was an immersive experience in the business world: on the one hand, I was able to find and plug gaps between theories and the practical business world, and on the other hand, I gained a new understanding of what life in the workplace looks like. Another important experience was meeting students from all over the world, some of whom have become very good friends of mine, we still kept in touch even after I left Berlin in my second year to study at Yale. 

Speaking of challenges, the fast-paced curriculum would be the main one. During my undergraduate years, a course would usually take about four months, but at ESMT, I had to finish one in three or four weeks. In this kind of intense learning environment, one needs to take each class seriously. Although going through many case studies was often tiring, making notes along the way might be the only way to actively participate in class discussions and complete group projects. It is important to take full advantage of the diverse resources offered by the school to constantly broaden your way of thinking. 

Why did you decide to apply for the ESMT-Yale SOM Double Degree program? 

The Yale program in the second year appealed to me for three main reasons. First of all, the program offers a highly flexible timetable: only two out of about 18 courses are compulsory, with the rest being electives that we could choose based on our interests or career objectives. The large pool of electives even included non-management courses. 

Secondly, the program brings a precious opportunity to meet with students from different business schools across the globe, which certainly helps with building a strong global network. 

Last but not least, the double-degree program would not take additional time. My initial goal was to obtain one Master’s degree from ESMT Berlin in two years, and it was a pleasant surprise to complete two in just two years. 

What is the application process of the Double Degree program? Any tips you want to share? 

An applicant needs a CV, undergraduate and ESMT transcripts, and a letter of recommendation. GMAT or GRE scores are not required, but good scores can help for sure. 

The application process is fairly simple: submit your application on the Yale website, attend a video interview after your information has been reviewed, and then wait for the school to notify you of the decision. 

I would say that strong grades, especially those at the graduate level, and active involvement in extracurricular activities are two important factors shared by many of my peers.  

What kind of help do ESMT Berlin and Yale provide in career development? And what advice do you have? 

Both schools offer wonderful career support. I was particularly impressed by ESMT’s workshops right after the start of the school year, including resume and cover letter writing, interview tips, and more. Furthermore, at ESMT we could always sit down with our career service counselors to discuss personalized questions on career development. Yale offers similar support. 

In addition, both schools have exclusive job postings. That was also the case during our internship hunt, many of my peers secured their internship via ESMT’s network. 

To conclude, I would like to stress that whether going to Yale or staying at ESMT for the second year, each decision brings its own opportunities. I have discussed many advantages of choosing the double-degree program, but studying at ESMT while doing an internship can also help you with accumulating career experience, something that studying in the U.S. cannot provide. In any case, I think choosing ESMT was, is, and will always be the right school to choose!