Financial Engineering Students Graduate, Class of ’15 Arrives

The (MFE) Program cheered 68 graduates at their commencement March 21 and welcomed 68 students into the 14th class of the program on March 24.

Commencement speaker Emanuel Derman, author of My Life as a Quant and Models Behaving Badly, sent off the 13th graduation class of the MFE Program, the nation’s first financial engineering program to be housed in a business school.

Derman, a professor at Columbia University and co-author of one of the first interest-rate models, shared his perspective on the evolution of financial engineering from the 1960s to today and talked about how he relied on the writings of Haas Professor Emeritus Mark Rubinstein. He also stressed the value of introspection, qualitative and quantitative skills, and the combination of nontechnical and math skills to understand human affairs.

Class of 2014

A trio of students was awarded the $5,000 Morgan Stanley Applied Finance Project Award during the commencement ceremony: Rajat Goyal, Mayank Gupta, Sasha Karimi. Associate Professor Terrence Hendershott advised the team on their winning paper, “Extension of birth-death stochastic model.”

Goyal was also the class valedictorian; Zhuozhou (Billy) Liu was salutatorian.

Executive Director Linda Kreitzman presented the MFE Defining Principles Awards to Ekaterina Matrosova (Beyond Yourself), James Wang (Confidence without Attitude), Christopher Phillippi (Question the Status Quo), and Yajie Liu (Student Always). Li Sun was recognized as the student who embodied all four Defining Principles.

Geoffrey Simmons received a new Outstanding Teammate Award, which was created because so much work in the program is team-oriented.

A Cheit teaching award was presented to Yu (Ben) Meng, MFE 02, for his Risk  Management course, while a graduate student instructor award was given to Te (Tony) Ke. Three alumni received special awards to recognize their outstanding service to the program: Tanya Roosta, MFE 11; Emmanuel Vallod, MFE 11; and Alfred Haohan Yuan, MFE 13 .

Kreitzman also delivered a playful tongue-in-cheek slide show of her “prediction model” showing who was most likely to make big money, most likely to head the SEC and bust up banks, and most likely to find a yeti mountain climbing.

Students in the graduating class are going on to jobs at Citi, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Mellon Capital, Putnam Investments, Credit Suisse, and AIG in locations such as Hong Kong, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Class of 2015

The 68 students in the MFE class of 2015 arrived at Berkeley-Haas Monday, March 25, for orientation and began classes today, March 31.

Students in the new class come from 15 countries, including Slovenia, South Africa, China, India, Nigeria, South Korea, France, and Russia. They bring experience from a wide range of organizations. There’s military experience from the U.S. Navy, French Air Force, and Israel Defense Force; central bank experience from the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve Bank of Boston;  and tech experience from Facebook and Texas Instruments. Students also come from the University of Texas School of Public Health  and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, as well as a diversity of financial institutions such as JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, and the, Bank of Thailand.

About half the students have graduate degrees, including 12 percent with PhDs.