Morgan Stanley executive and Cal alumnus Michael Sternberg told 66 graduates of the Berkeley Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) Program at their commencement Friday that they are entering a "new world of financial engineering" which they have the unique opportunity to shape.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, "we are responsible for what we create," said Sternberg, AB 86 (Econ.), a managing director and co-head of Morgan Stanley Strats and Modeling Group, which is responsible for the quantitative analysis at the firm.
In addition, the world of finance is becoming more transparent, which will give MFE grads more data to mine, and is facing more regulations, which they will have the opportunity to weigh in on, Sternberg told the 11th graduating class of the MFE Program, the nation's first financial engineering program to be housed in a business school.
Sternberg also joined Adjunct Professor Eric Reiner, PhD 94, (Chem. Engineering), a managing director at UBS, in awarding the $5,000 Morgan Stanley Applied Finance Project Award to Sophia Chami, whose project examined explored the use of electronic news feeds as an alternative to price series for the calculation of stock co-variances and correlations.
Students awarded Cheit teaching awards to graduate student instructor Isaac Hacamo, PhD 13, and UCSD Professor Rossen Valkanov, who has taught in the MFE Program since its inception in 2001.
While MFE Executive Director Linda Kreitzman took a light-hearted look at the challenging job market, she also began the commencement on a serious note with a moment of silence to remember Arthur Qi, a student who passed away suddenly last month.
"We laughed hard. We cried. We mourned, and we have become stronger," Kreitzman told the graduates. Kreitzman and the new graduates from the MFE Program are creating a new scholarship in memory of Qi.
The 68 students in the MFE class of 2013 arrived at Berkeley-Haas Monday (March 19) for orientation and will begin classes on March 26.
Students in the 12th MFE class come from 15 countries, including Portugal, Togo, and Thailand. They bring experience from such organizations as Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and Barclays Capital. Nearly half of them already hold another advanced degree.