Alumni Perspectives


Winnie Yu

Winnie Yu

MFE 18

Senior Quantitative Analyst
PanAgora Asset Management
Boston, MA

From Microeconomics to the Buy Side

While learning technical skills is important, the more valuable lessons you learn in the Berkeley MFE Program come from exposure to the financial industry. The financial world isn’t pure math; you need to have market sense as well.

Having an impact, equity by equity

My PhD studies focused on operational research, and at CITIC I read more reports than I did quant work. My Berkeley MFE prepared me to do quant research on an equity-by-equity level, which makes it much easier to see the impact of my work.

At Berkeley I learned the entire spectrum of portfolio management: from research to generating and presenting ideas, to implementing them.

Bay Area attraction

With a Berkeley MFE it was easy to move from the Bay Area into a position on the East Coast. The program’s reputation, and the hard skills you gain, can take you anywhere.

I was also attracted by the California weather. And it was good to have time in the Bay Area, to try out all the good restaurants.

Applied finance project tests teamwork

We were immersed in team projects from the very start of the program, culminating with our applied finance projects. By then, I was comfortable being a team leader; we organized ourselves around everyone’s strengths to form a well-rounded, efficient team.

My applied finance project team used natural language techniques to analyze news stories and predict market reactions. It was a great opportunity to apply those techniques in a real-world setting, and is an experience I will be able to apply on the job as the finance industry steps deeper into data science.

At first, our team presentations weren’t as smooth as they could have been. Professor Eric Reiner gave us very good coaching. That helped us improve our slides, refine our talking points, and pay attention to the audience as we spoke. These are lessons I use all the time on the job.

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