Financial Engineering Student Alfred Yuan Wins Morgan Stanley Competition

Alfred Yuan, MFE 13, won the $5,000 Morgan Stanley Prize for Excellence in Financial Markets for a paper focused on designing and implementing an algorithm to accelerate the computations of complex financial systems.

Yuan, whose paper competed against more than 100 entries from other financial engineering and PhD students around the country, was presented the prize Wednesday night in New York. In addition, he will intern with Morgan Stanley Strats & Modeling this summer and interview for a full-time position at the firm.

"We congratulate Alfred for this outstanding achievement," says Linda Kreitzman, executive director of the Haas School's Master of Financial Engineering Program. "He is a dedicated and gifted MFE student who has excelled in our program, which encourages innovation among our students at so many levels."

The second place winner, Mu Cai, is earning a PhD in statistics from UC Berkeley, and the third place winner is a physics PhD student from Princeton.

Yuan earned a bachelor's degree in statistics and actuarial science from Renmin University of China. After graduation, he enrolled in Stanford's School of Management Science and Engineering to study math and finance to improve his quantitative skills. He has interned as a quantitative analyst at China International Capital Corp., worked on several academic projects in the quant finance field, and teamed up with others on several entrepreneurial tech projects.

In his winning paper, Yuan addressed how the constant improvement of computing has created a tendency to build always larger, more complex financial models. Inspired by qualitative physics, Yuan's algorithm in turn addressed that complexity by seeking to accelerate the computation of financial equation systems by decomposing the challenge into several sequential smaller ones. His paper included theoretical analysis of algorithms, case study, empirical experimental results, and discussion on possible parallel implementations for this project.