Student Perspectives

Student Perspective

Achuthan Sekar

Achuthan Sekar

MFE 18

Quantitative Research Associate
Arrowstreet Capital
Boston, MA

Open Mind & New Perspectives

When you come to Berkeley Haas, come with an open mind. You never know what will come your way or how your perspective will change, thanks to your coursework or your classmates.

Competitions test problem-solving skills in practical settings

I was proud to be part of the team that maintained the Berkeley Haas MFE program’s winning record at the IAQF's (International Association for Quantitative Finance) annual competition. All of those wins are evidence of the rigor of the program and the students’ skill.

The IAQF is a worthwhile competition because the problems are set by industry practitioners. This means they are practical—the kind of problem an asset manager or hedge fund would encounter on the job. My team looked at the pitfalls of momentum strategies.

A pivot from quant research to data science

The finance seminars on campus give firms of all sorts—investment banks, tech companies, asset managers—the opportunity to tell us about what they do and how they do it. I appreciated getting that broad overview of the playing field. I came into the MFE program thinking I would prepare myself to advance in what I had done before: traditional quantitative research. Then I encountered data science and became very excited about using machine learning in the finance field.

Seeing problems through different lenses

The use of study groups and project teams in the MFE program ensures that you get to meet lots of people and to know each other’s strengths and their perspectives. I was on teams that included PhDs as well as people just out of undergrad. This helps you see problems through different lenses.

Thanks to all of the projects we do, I always had a project I could talk about in my job interviews. This meant I was confident talking about something familiar, rather than having brainteasers tossed at me by the interviewers.

Unequaled access to jobs

When I applied to the program, I didn’t understand why people kept emphasizing the Haas and MFE networks. My impression changed very quickly when I realized how seriously members of the Haas Alumni Network and the subset of MFE grads take the responsibility to support each other. Now I realize it is one of the great benefits of the program.

The job board for MFE students is so rich in opportunities. The Program Office makes it easy to find and apply for positions. They also are there to help you prepare for interviews and salary negotiations.

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