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Nobel laureate to address financial engineering graduates at Haas School of Business
13 March 2002

By Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations

Berkeley - The Master's in Financial Engineering program at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business celebrates a milestone on Saturday (March 16) with the graduation of its first class of students. Nobel laureate Robert C. Merton will give the commencement address.

The program that starts at 10 a.m. in the Arthur Andersen Auditorium at the Haas School is open to the 46 graduating MFE students, faculty and guests.

Merton, the John and Natty McArthur University Professor at the Harvard Business School, received the Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 1997. He is credited with changing the nature of financial markets around the world with his work on evaluating the pricing of options and other financial derivatives. In 1993, Merton received the first Financial Engineer of the Year Award from the International Association of Financial Engineers, which elected him a senior fellow the following year. Merton holds a PhD in Economics from MIT and served on the finance faculty of MIT's Sloan School of Management until 1988, when he moved to Harvard.

The one-year Haas School MFE Program, launched in 2001, prepares its graduates for a growing niche of quantitative finance careers. Its curriculum balances teaching the latest financial theory with practical applications to financial modeling, security structuring and risk management. A new class of 60 students will begin studies in April.

The inaugural graduating class represents 19 countries, with 18 percent of the new MFE graduates already possessing a PhD, and 25 percent holding a master's degree in another field. One-fourth of the class performed in the top percentile of the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

"The MFE program gave me exactly the right tools to refocus my career and land the type of job I wanted," said Benjamin (Yu) Meng, president of the MFE class.