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!


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


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.

New York bound for their Internship at BNP Paribas


From left to right: Adam Plantinga, Qiuyi Chen, Stephanus Coetzee, and Philippe Tann

The MFE Program continues to place its students in key internship positions in New York, a favorite location of our students. We are proud to announce that four of the students in the MFE class of 2017 will be interning next fall at BNP Paribas in New York. The investment bank has been a loyal recruiter of our students, a testament to the strong caliber of our MFE17 class. After completing a challenging second term students Philippe Tann, Qiuyi (Claire) Chen, Adam Plantinga, and Stephanus Coetzee look forward to relocating from coast to coast and beginning their work at BNP Paribas.

Our students’ backgrounds are impressive. Adam Plantinga graduated from Stellenbosch University in South Africa with an Honours degree in Actuarial Science. After gaining two years of work experience as a management consultant at Bain & Company, Adam joined the 2017 MFE graduating class. For his internship, he will be joining BNP Paribas New York in structured credit sales. There, Adam will be developing investment ideas, selling and cross-selling products, and representing the bank on important business issues. Adam came to the program to transition from consulting to a front office position at an investment bank.  “If I was still working in South Africa and sent off my resume to BNP Paribas it would be very difficult to get an internship,” said Adam. “The Berkeley MFE made this transition possible for me.” Before Adam goes to New York, he is planning a backpacking trip through Yosemite.

Stephanus Coetzee came to us from South Africa too. He graduated from the University of Cape Town with a degree in Business Science specializing in Actuarial Science. He has just accepted an internship from BNP Paribas in New York in credit structuring. He will be helping in the structuring of complex products and transactions, supporting market efforts, conducting market analysis, and assisting in transaction execution, as well as creation and maintenance of cash flow and pricing models. “The Berkeley MFE is the best way to get into a finance career” said Stephanus. “Not only is there an extensive alumni network, but the program guarantees the necessary practical application knowledge to perform well in the financial field. I could not be more pleased with what this program has given me so far.”

For her part, MFE student Claire Chen received a Bachelor of Science and Business Administration in 2013 from the National University of Singapore. She then gained two and a half years of work experience in market risk management at Goldman Sachs before joining the Berkeley MFE.  For her internship, Claire will travel to New York to work in FX and interest rate structuring at BNP Paribas. “The Berkeley MFE courses are intense but rewarding. We have learned a lot,” said Claire. After completing a challenging second term, Clair and a group of other MFE students are going to explore Yellowstone.

French-born Philippe Tann came to the Berkeley MFE program with four years of experience in risk management. He received his master’s degree in Applied Mathematics with a concentration in finance from Ecole Centrale Paris, but applied to the program in an effort to transition from the insurance industry to the investment banking field. He will join BNP Paribas in New York for an internship on their credit trading desk. Philippe has worked on a Citi industry project on sector optimization in risk premium as part of an elective course and is currently finalizing an industry project at BlackRock. “This second term of the program was intense. However, the material has taught us to go beyond the scope of the class and has given me strategies and intuition that will be necessary to outperform in my internship.”

Learn more about the Berkeley MFE Program here. 


Fixed Income Trading in New York City: Meet Rodrigo

Nunez_Lago_Rodrigo_001-095482-editedBefore coming to the Berkeley MFE, Rodrigo Nunez held Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Actuarial Science from ITAM, a top university in Mexico.

After working for a few years in Mexico City at Deutsche Bank and ING as a derivatives trader, Rodrigo joined the Berkeley MFE class of 2009 to deepen his skillset and gain a deeper understanding of the financial models underpinning the markets.  During the program, he was placed in an internship with the Latin America Group for Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco and post-program, he accepted a full-time position with BGI (which was later acquired by BlackRock).

The Berkeley MFE program didn’t only help Rodrigo land his first position.  In 2010, he accepted a position as Vice President at BNP Paribas in New York City, where he now holds a Director position in Fixed Income Trading.

Learn more about the Berkeley MFE here.

“The Berkeley MFE exceeded my expectations, not only for its full placement of students in internships but also for its commitment to full-time job placement and personal involvement with each and every one of the students. The Berkeley MFE is the best investment I have made so far.” — Rodrigo Nunez Lagos, MFE class of 2009

Learn how the MFE helped Aude transition from ENSAE to NYC

Haas-MFE_Portraits-2012-LR_033-910787-editedAude Barthelemy received her Master’s Degree in Applied Math, Statistics & Economics from ENSAE ParisTech, a top university in France.

After interning at HSBC in Paris as an Equity Derivatives Structurer, Aude applied for the Berkeley MFE and joined the 2012-13 class. During the program’s fall internship period, she worked as an intern at Citi on the CVA Quantitative Analysis team.

Aude graduated from the MFE program in March 2013 and was the valedictorian of her graduating class.  After graduating, the MFE program helped her to land a full-time position at Goldman Sachs in New York City, where she is currently a Vice President in the Derivatives Analysis team.

Learn more about the MFE program at  For information on placement, you can view our placement reports.

 “The Berkeley MFE Program helped us develop strong quantitative skills, but what made the program unique was the preparation for interviews and the 3-month internship in the fall. It allowed us to apply the skills and tools that we learned during the first part of the program.” — Aude Barthelemy, MFE class of 2013