Two Berkeley MFE Teams Win IAQF Student Competition

Two Master of Financial Engineering teams—Team Quantessentials and Team Delinquant—were named winners at the Academic Affiliate Student Competition, sponsored by the International Association of Quantitative Finance (IAQF).

The Berkeley MFE Program has consistently excelled in the competition, with winning teams every year since the program launched in 2011.

Of the 27 teams competing from 17 different academic programs this year, two Berkeley-Haas teams were named winners on June 16.  The competition challenged students to estimate industry sensitivities to oil prices and the effectiveness of hedges of oil price risks.

Student submissions were vetted through a multi-level selection process and reviewed by the board selection committee.

Linda Kreitzman, executive director and associate dean of the Berkeley MFE program, said the Berkeley MFE program encourages students to participate in competitions like the IAQF—and projects that help them tackle real and complex problems.

“Since launching the MFE program in 2000, our clear mission has been to provide experiential, hands-on learning to students inside and outside of the classroom,” said Kreitzman, who led the two winning teams. “The IAQF competition is one important example of this mission, and our consecutive wins prove the consistent academic strength of our MFE students.”

Craig Dana, MFE 16 and captain of Team Delinquant, said that when his team members considered how oil price movements affect equity prices, they were all able to tap into what they’ve learned in their MFE classroom and through internships to bring concrete ideas to the table.

The team was then able to develop a novel and robust model to hedge equities in various industries against oil price risk, he said. Dana’s team members included Subhamoy Basu, Garima Chandel, Mengdan Ma, Qiannan Zhang, and Yusu Zheng.

The competition this year required not only theoretical and mathematical financial modeling capabilities, but also a deep understanding of international macroeconomics and finance, said Brad Lookabaugh, MFE 16, and captain of the Team Quantessentials. Lookabaugh’s team members included Brodie Gay, Vidur Goel, Yifang (Isabelle) Liu, and Nikhil Paranjape.

“Approaching real-world financial problems in this manner is something that is continually emphasized in our MFE Program—and what we’ve learned proved to be an important part of our solution.”

The winning teams receive a monetary award and are invited to present their solutions at an event in New York. To learn more about the competition, click here.