Master of Financial Engineering Commencement to be Held March 18

After a year of internships, research projects, teamwork, and collaboration, the class of 68 students in the Berkeley Master of Financial Engineering Program will graduate March 18.

David Booth, (pictured) co-founder, chairman, and co-CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors, will deliver the commencement address. The program begins at 10 a.m. in Andersen Auditorium.

Booth, who serves on the Investment Company Institute’s Board of Governors, is known for his pioneering work in applying financial theory to the practical world of asset management. The winner of numerous awards, he ranks seventh on MutualFundWire’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in mutual funds. In 2010, InvestmentNews named him among “The Power 20” in the financial services industry.

Honors to be presented to the students, alumni, and faculty at commencement include the Defining Principles Awards; the Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching, presented to an MFE faculty member; and the $5,000 Morgan Stanley Applied Finance Project Award, given to the group of students that complete the best applied finance project, a key component of the MFE program.

Students from the Class of 2016, who hail from 16 countries, have been placed in internships around the world, working in industries including hedge funds, investment and commercial banking, asset management, and financial services. Employers included Barclay’s, Citadel, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Sun Trading, and BlackRock.

“Our students excel not only throughout the MFE program but also in their post-graduation careers,” said Linda Kreitzman, assistant dean and executive director of the MFE program. “Top-flight internships and our full-time placement record are critical to our program and we work to place one student at a time. We take that responsibility very seriously.”

Craig Dana, who also received a PhD in chemical engineering from Berkeley in 2013, will join Barclays’ quantitative analytics group in New York, where he completed his MFE internship. The Empirical Methods in Finance course taught by Prof. Martin Lettau proved particularly useful during his internship, he says.

“I generated quantitative models for the bank and was able to apply concepts from this class directly to my internship work,” Dana said. The model was presented to Barclays’ chief risk officer and may become part of the bank’s suite of risk models, he said.

The MFE Program graduates about 70 students each year. For the Class of 2015, 98 percent of students received offers, and 95 percent accepted offers. The class had average starting salaries of $155,288, with $25,000 average sign-ons and $48,603 average year-end bonuses and other compensation.

Last year, the program ranked #2 in both the TFE Times’ 2016 Master of Financial Engineering Programs Rankings and the 2015 QuantNet Rankings.