A Seamless Transition Through the Berkeley MFE

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Jing Hoelscher, MFE class of 2014, decided that the most efficient way to complete her transition from academia to the financial industry was by pursuing an MFE. She chose Berkeley, stating it was the perfect fit to round out her heavy quantitative background with the financial knowledge and technical skills needed to succeed in her work.

“No other program has such a top notch student body and excellent faculty which can prepare the students with up-to-date financial materials and state-of-the-art curriculum in the way the Berkeley MFE can.”

Currently, Jing is working at Citadel in New York, on a cross product margin research desk which computes daily margins for hedge fund clients, using both VaR based and stress based margin methodologies. Previously, she worked at an FX E-trading and a Rates E-trading desk at Citi, which did market making for G10 currencies and rates products respectively. She plans to work on equity execution and transaction cost analysis in the future.

The highlight of Jing’s time in the program was the final Applied Finance Project project. It gave her the valuable opportunity to work with a team of outstanding students to solve a real problem, using real data and the techniques learned in the MFE program.

“The Berkeley MFE program taught me the importance of being respectful as well as assertive when working in a team. This work-hard attitude, acute teamwork skills, backed with the technical knowledge I have acquired during my time in the MFE has made my transition to Citadel seamless.” — Jing Hoelscher, MFE Class of 2014

Learn more about the Berkeley MFE Program and how we can help you launch your career by going to our website or by joining an information session.

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Enlightened in the MFE

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For the Master of Financial Engineering Program internship, student Maite Soubeyran will be working as an intern at JP Morgan in New York within the risk management team. However, this will not be her first time working for a large firm. Before joining The Berkeley MFE program, Maite worked as an intern on OTC markets at Exane BNP Paribas and at Dassault Systems in the strategic planning department.

Before Exane, Maite completed two Master’s degree programs in France. She studied Applied Mathematics at Universite Paris-Dauphine and Magistère Banking at ESCP.

“Towards the end of my Master’s degree in France, I was looking for an international experience and the opportunity to apply some of the theoretical concepts I had been taught to real world applications,” said Maite.

Now at Berkeley, she has the opportunity to work with classmates with vastly different backgrounds ranging from computer science to physics. Her experience so far has been enhanced by her peers and their willingness to bring their own perspectives, different from those who have purely financial backgrounds, and collaborate as a team. “The focus on group assignments, especially in highly quantitative fields, has helped provide us with an experience that is a much better representation of the environment we will face in practice,” said Maite.

Maite found that the extensive network of The Berkeley MFE alumni is always willing to help and form a strong platform from which one can launch a career in finance.

“The MFE program helped me to see the markets, and the financial system as a whole, in a completely different way. Through organized talks with some of the most influential and interesting people in the industry, the focus on cutting edge financial concepts, and workshops with industry professionals, the program has prepared me for the working world much better than any other academic program could have done; I am just thrilled.” — Maite Soubeyran, MFE 2017

Learn more about the Berkeley MFE Program and how we can help you launch your career by going to our website or by joining an information session.

 

MFE17 focuses on Fintech and Big Data

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Victoria Li graduated from UC Berkeley in 2015 with a double major bachelor’s degree in Applied Math and Statistics. She wanted to build on her quantitative background in tech and data science, and so began to pursue a career in the “fast-paced and upbeat” financial industry. For Victoria, The Berkeley MFE was the right program to kickstart her career, broaden her financial knowledge, and apply her quantitative methods to a new career of interest.

Before making the transition to finance, Victoria interned as a data scientist at Facebook’s major media buyer, Brand Networks, LLC, where she devoted most of her time to analyze Facebook advertising pricing and performance data. In addition, she worked as a data science team leader at a San Francisco startup designing essential system algorithms.

Currently, Victoria is working with a team of four students on an Industry Project involving sentiment based trading strategy as part of an MFE elective. They have utilized Apache Spark to process and analyze nearly 20 Terabytes of web news sentiment data.

“This project has given me deep exposure to data science, where my interest lies. The Berkeley MFE definitely has provided me with enormous insights into the Fintech industry today, and a competitive edge in finance by leveraging my understanding of big data,” said Victoria.

She gained further experience in Pyspark Machine Learning Pipeline as well as performing Data Frame/RDD based data analysis. To accommodate the challenges of her industry projects she is taking Scala programming courses in her spare time to expedite her computation speed.

Beginning in October, Victoria will work as a Quantitative Investment Analyst at BlackRock.

“The Berkeley MFE has an exceptional student body. All students come from diverse background and are extremely  passionate about their studies. I enjoy being surrounded by brilliant people and so, the Berkeley MFE is the place to be. There is a lot to learn from each and everyone of us.” — Victoria Li, MFE 2017

Learn more about the Berkeley MFE Program and how we can help you launch your career by going to our website or by joining an information session.

From M&A to MFE17 & Data Science: Meet Jimmy

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Before joining the Berkeley MFE Program, Jinyu (Jimmy) Feng worked on M&A deals as an Investment Associate at Octopus Holdings where he spent time working with and experiencing the academic side of big data analytics.

Jimmy holds a Master’s degree in Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Computing from National University of Singapore and has an additional interest in entrepreneurship, having co-founded a crowd-funding platform for celebrities. He applied to the Berkeley MFE  to further his financial analytical skills and pursue a career in data science or quantitative trading. He will join Uber’s strategic finance team for a winter internship from October 17, 2016 to January 13, 2017.

Jimmy is currently working with a team of six students on an industry data research project for Citigroup. “The Berkeley MFE program provides a comprehensive quantitative training in finance, mathematics, econometrics and programming, which prepares students well for great roles in both financial and Fintech industries. The strong alumni network and career services provide an incredible source of opportunities for the students.” –Jimmy Feng, MFE class of 2017

Learn more about the Berkeley MFE Program and how we can help you launch your career by going to our website or by joining an information session.

Konstantin Dragomiretskiy, from Math Ph.D. to the Berkeley-Haas MFE? Yes, of course!

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Konstantin Dragomiretskiy, MFE class of 2017, will begin his internship at Morgan Stanley, New York, on October 17, in the Securitized Product Group under the Fixed Income division.

Before joining the Berkeley MFE program, Konstantin completed his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from UCLA in 2015. His Ph.D. dissertation focused on creating a fully intrinsic and adaptive, variational method, the optimization of which yielded a meaningful and cohesive multi- dimensional signal decomposition, achieving both spatial and spectral compactness. Prior to that, Konstantin graduated magna cum laude with two Bachelor’s degrees from UC San Diego, the first being a B.S. in Mathematics with high honors and a perfect major GPA, and the second a B.A. in Economics. As soon as Konstantin heard about the MFE, he decided to apply to launch his career in quantitative finance, and found that the program not only “builds strong technical backgrounds with analytic and empirical tools used in modern finance, but also optimally aligns the students’ interests with the best careers in finance.” Konstantin was able to build upon his mathematical background and technical skills through the program by gaining the scope and resolve necessary to succeed in the industry.

“The precedence of the program’s placement of its students, its curriculum, and stellar reputation have allowed me to make the biggest leap into quantitative finance,”  said Konstantin. “I decided on quantitative finance because the field is intellectually stimulating and dynamically evolving; like the Berkeley MFE program, it is constantly challenging me to learn and improve myself.” When not studying, you will find Konstantin swimming, playing soccer, or weight lifting with his classmates Adam Plantinga, Steven Coetzee, Luke Potter, Maite Soubeyran, Alexander Olson, and Alexander Damiani.

Learn more about the Berkeley MFE Program and how we can help you launch your career by going to our website or by joining an information session.

2012 Alumna Si Chen on Her MFE Journey

Si Chen Small crop.jpgSi Chen, MFE class of 2012, interned at Morgan Stanley in New York during her year in the program. She now works full-time with the firm leading a small team trading dollar rates options.

“It was the natural choice,” said Si in regards to joining the Berkeley MFE in 2011. “The Berkeley program offers the best possible path to both buy side and sell side jobs.”

Before joining the Berkeley MFE, Si received her bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from the National University of Singapore and her master’s degree in computation for design and optimization from MIT. She then worked in product sales at Merrill Lynch in the Wealth Management department in Singapore but wanted to further strengthen her quantitative finance skills.

While at Berkeley, Si was able to diversify her view of the market and form her own trading philosophy through financial practice seminars and faculty, many of whom are industry veterans or leading researchers. “I managed to achieve great academics results, meeting amazing colleagues and friends, and landing a job that I absolutely love.”

According to Si, the Berkeley MFE program is a place where you not only make friends and challenge yourself, but completely rebuild your understanding of the market and see where you fit best in the industry.

“The friendships and connections I have established through the program will continue to last and affect me and my career for a long time. These connections spread across a wide-variety of areas of the industry. Some connections have become clients, some colleagues, and others are competitors. It is this shared experience that makes it so easy for us to connect and create a close circle.”

Learn more about the Berkeley MFE Program and how we can help you launch your career by going to our website or by joining an information session.

From Physics to Finance: MFE09 Guido Marandella

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Guido Marandella, MFE class of 2009, joined the Berkeley MFE program to bridge the gap between his theoretical background and the financial industry. He made this decision while pursuing his postdoc in theoretical particle physics from Scuola Normale Superiore in Italy. He received his bachelor’s degree in Physics as well from the Universitá degli Studi di Milano.

Guido applied for the Berkeley MFE to enhance his knowledge of the financial markets and focus his skills and intuitions on relevant problems of the industry. “The program gave me detailed knowledge of various asset classes, as well as what the relevant issues are for the various players, banks, hedge funds, asset managers. It definitely shaped my understanding of the industry as a whole as well as specific modeling knowledge.”

For his Fall term internship, Guido worked in the Fixed Income Department at Citigroup in New York. He was then hired for a full-time position as a Research Associate rotating through departments with the associate program. He worked in Mortgage Analysis and Credit Quantitative Analysis until joining the Cross Product Margining Team who is responsible for collecting initial margin from Prime Brokerage counterparties. In the beginning of 2016 he moved to Cross Asset Portfolio Risk Management responsible for firm wide risk for structured finance transactions and securitization and Strategic Modeling and Asset allocation developing decision tools for senior management around global asset allocation.

“The network of alumni is an extremely valuable tool. I work at Citigroup where the community of MFE alumni is very vast. We always have a special bond that helps through our careers: networking, exchanging useful information and suggestions,” said Guido. “The MFE provides a unique mix of academic quality, stimulating environment, strong connections with the financial industry to be the starting point of a successful career in the industry.”

Guido speaks highly of the MFE professors; he said learning from the people who pioneered the industry from the beginning brought insight and knowledge to the student that he couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. Although, the financial industry is always changing, Guido believes that the program has allowed him to adapt to the new economic and regulatory realities, keeping in mind the big picture of the market and it’s opportunities of growth.

“The first day of classes was March 17th, 2008. That day, the front page of every newspaper reported the sale of Bear Stearns to JP Morgan, marking the beginning of the financial crisis. From start to finish, my class went through rough economic times. I was interning at Citigroup right in the fall of 2008. The most impressive accomplishment of our class was our ability to navigate such a tough environment with unscratched optimism about the future. I was able to secure a full time job offer right after my internship despite massive layoffs occurring in the industry, and I would have never made it without the MFE program, the quality of their courses, their reputation, and the relentless work of the staff.” — Guido Marandella, Berkeley MFE class of 2009

Learn more about the Berkeley MFE Program here.

Investment Banking to Entrepreneurship: Meet Liran

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Liran Amrany is the founder and CEO of Debitize, a personal finance application that helps consumers use credit cards responsibly.  Debitize automatically helps  customers set aside funds to cover every purchase while still allowing them to access the benefits of credit card use.

In 2002, Liran received dual Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Genetics from UC Berkeley and subsequently joined the Berkeley Master of Financial Engineering program in 2003.

Liran graduated from the MFE program at the top of his 60-person class and was hired at JP Morgan shortly thereafter. Starting when he was just 24 years old, Liran spent nine years there developing, marketing, and structuring fixed income derivative products and was eventually named Executive Director of Derivatives Marketing.

After many years on that side of the financial industry, Liran decided to flex his own entrepreneurial skills and envisioned an app that launched early 2016.

“The structuring and problem-solving skills I learned in the MFE program helped me to develop a new financial product that solves a critical market need while adhering to legal, regulatory, and compliance guidelines,” says Amrany.

 

IIT to the Berkeley MFE to Morgan Stanley New York

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After obtaining her master’s degree in mathematics from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Charu Arora, MFE class of 2014, began working at a large bank with their equity derivatives desk. Over time, she realized that although she had a strong quantitative background, her knowledge of quantitative finance and various asset classes was limited. She determined a further degree in quantitative finance would help drive her career in the right direction, and so she applied to the Berkeley MFE program.

“The MFE program at Berkeley is strenuous, but it is also an exhilarating experience. Each day brought new challenges and prepared me to solve practical problems faced by the industry,” said Charu. “The faculty’s focus on questioning the status quo was an integral part of my experience. It not only refined the way I have approached problems, but has had an everlasting impact on my work ethic.”

Charu said that the MFE program provided her with a comprehensive knowledge of finance. The various asset classes and financial theories prepared her to succeed in the workforce and adapt to any finance role she would have accepted in the industry.

Charu’s proudest moment in the program was representing the university at the International Association for Quantitative Finance (IAQF) competition and winning. She worked in a team of six students and presented their analysis on the cause of AIG’s failure in 2008. She found that this was a great opportunity to not only test her application of financial understanding but also form strong bonds with her fellow classmates.

Currently Charu is working as a strategist with the Securities Product Group – Commercial Real Estate Lending Team at Morgan Stanley in New York. She works closely with asset managers and traders on the pricing methodologies and hedging strategies.

“It’s been more than two years since I completed the Berkeley MFE program, but through the tight-knit alumni network, my tie to the program has kept on strengthening. I am proud to be a part of the reputed Berkeley community.”

Learn more about the Berkeley MFE Program here.

Caltech Ph.D. to Berkeley MFE to NYC: Meet Yiran

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Yiran Ma completed her Ph.D. in Geophysics with a minor in Computational Science and Engineering from Caltech in December of 2015. Her research focused primarily on imaging Earth’s interior structure using seismic recordings, which led to five first-authored papers published in top geophysical journals.

When Yiran signed up for an information session about the Berkeley MFE in February of 2015, she quickly realized that the program was exactly what she was looking for; she was ready to pursue a career in quantitative finance, and the MFE was going to help her accomplish that.

While Yiran has been in the program since last March only, she feels that she has already developed a solid understanding of finance and strengthened her data analytics and modelling skills. As part of the practical training required of the MFE students, Yiran will participate in a fall internship as a Desk Strategist at Morgan Stanley in New York. She is also currently working with a team of five other students on an industry project from Citigroup. She will complete her studies on March 17, 2017.

“The systematic training I have received in the Berkeley MFE Program has shaped my understanding of finance. With unparalleled faculty, classmates and one of the kind employment opportunities, I am confident that this year’s learning experience will have a long-lasting impact on my professional life.”

Meet more current Berkeley MFE students here.