Student Perspectives

Student Perspective

Jonathan Humphreys

Jonathan Humphreys

MFE 17

Senior Associate, Transaction Advisory Services
EY
San Francisco, CA

Be Ready for Impact from Day One on the Job

The Berkeley Haas MFE gives you all the skills needed to add value from day one on the job. The work I do at EY helps management make informed strategic decisions. My job revolves around valuations and strategic decisions related to the capital structure of both public and private companies to determine, for example, how much leverage a company should have and how that will affect shareholder value.

Bay Area, a technology and finance hub

The Bay Area is a hub for technology innovation, and that requires capital. When I read, for example, about electric scooters and their deployment in cities, the technology is interesting, but even more interesting is knowing the role Sequoia Capital and other VCs play in supporting startups in the sector. You see stories like that every day in the media here and get to see it play out right in front of you.

As much as I love the Bay Area, it’s very similar to South Africa in terms of weather. I want, someday, to experience a real East Coast winter. My MFE degree positions me to make that kind of move, and I’m even more fortunate that EY is very flexible about where one works. My team is already national, so I can work from just about anywhere.

Being in a business school delivers context and content

As at student at Haas, I was able to take the Mergers & Acquisitions class with MBA students. It was terrific to learn alongside students who came with years of industry experience, but with such different backgrounds from our MFE class. In essence, the work we do as financial engineers is about supplying capital to the market in the most effective way, so being comfortable in a business context is essential.

The emphasis on teamwork in the MFE program makes perfect sense. Teams are the most effective way to cope with the size and complexity of the projects we work on. I learned a lot about how to put together teams that represent a range of skills and expertise, and the ability to work well on a team is a skill I will use throughout my entire career.

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