MFE Commencement 2022: ‘You are at the heart of sea change’ 

Six graduates donned in academic regalia jump in the air
Graduates of the MFE Class of 2022. Photo: Jim Block.

Berkeley Haas Dean Ann Harrison urged the 79 Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) graduates at Friday’s commencement to “use their power wisely” as they are at the center of global change.

“Your work is at the heart–the very foundation–of business and governments around the world,” said Harrison who commended the MFE class of 2022 for completing one of the most rigorous financial engineering programs in the world. 

“You are at the heart of the sea change in banking, the financial system, global supply chains, and so much more that is transforming our world.” 

As parting words to graduates, Harrison encouraged them to lean into the Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership Principles whenever they’re at a crossroad and to never forget their 40,000-strong Haas family. 

two men and one woman dressed in academic regalia
L-R: Commencement speaker Dr. Robert Litterman, Jim Gilliland, MFE 02, and Linda Kreiztman, executive director of MFE program. Photo: Jim Block.

Jacob Gallice, program director of the MFE program, praised the tight-knit class who successfully navigated their program–amid a global pandemic–for their perseverance and their desire to better themselves professionally and personally. 

“If this year has taught you anything, it’s that life will throw many challenges at you. It’s up to you how you respond to those challenges,” Gallice said at the ceremony held in person at UC Berkeley’s International House.

“I hope you will take with you the tools, lessons, and skills which you have learned this past year to navigate your lives with the same prowess you’ve shown during your time at Berkeley.”

Commencement speaker Robert Litterman, founding partner of Kepos Capital, spoke to the importance of investing in oneself by developing strong social networks, finding work that will engage one’s talents, and exploring ways to give back to society.

“Take what you’ve learned here, think deliberately about your financial and social capital, and give back to society,” said Litterman. “You will be richly rewarded.”

About 10 master of financial engineering students standing on balcony
Members of the MFE class of 2022. Photo: Jim Block.

The commencement ceremony also included a tribute video to Linda Kreitzman, executive director of the MFE program, who established the program 21 years ago; a keynote from Jim Gilliland, MFE 02, president and CEO of Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel; and speeches from student speakers Joseph Yang and Edward Huang who reminisced about their class gatherings, including trips to Napa and Lake Tahoe.

Members of the class of 2022 will go on to work at leading global financial firms, including Barclays, Blackstone, Morgan Stanley, PIMCO, Goldman Sachs, Citadel, and Credit Suisse.

And now for the awards…

Award winners at commencement included: 

Valedictorian: Sarthak Sagar

Salutatorian: Pradeepta Das

Earl F. Cheit Teaching Award: Professor Eric Reiner

Haas Graduate Student Instructor Award: Nicolas Corthorn

Embodiment of All Four Defining Principles: Dmitry Silantyev

Alumni Award: Wen Luo, Morgan Kidd, Paul-Noel Digard, Atanas Vanchev, Peisen Ma

Morgan Stanley Applied Finance Project Prize: Krishna Goel, Apeksha Jain, Alec Madayan, Shrey Samdani, and Dmitry Silantyev for Using Option-Implied Correlations for Derivatives Pricing and Alpha Generation. Advisor: Professor Kevin Coldiron. (The award includes a $5,000 to be shared among all team members.)

New class arrives

Meanwhile, the MFE class of 2023–a total of 79 full-time and seven part-time students–began classes today. Students in the incoming class come from 17 countries, including the U.S., Chile, China, France, Malaysia, Morocco, India, Lebanon, and Switzerland. Women make up about a third of the class.