After completing his undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Physics at the University of Warwick, Ashley Whitfield headed to London to pursue a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at University College London. Throughout his studies, Ashley gained vast experience in scientific computing, specifically in numerical modeling of nonlinear PDEs. As a result of his extensive work, Ashley published four first author journals, participated in two conferences, and won four departmental prizes. Upon receiving his Ph.D. in October 2016, Ashley set his sights on the Berkeley MFE Program to kick off a career in finance.
“I applied to the Berkeley MFE Program because there is more to a successful career in financial engineering than just knowing the math. The active career support, curricular emphasis on practical problem solving, and unique program structure made the Berkeley MFE Program the ideal bridge between academia and finance.”
Ashley emphasizes the formative role of the industry research project with Citi, citing it as a highlight of his first term at Berkeley.
“Having no previous financial experience, the weekly meetings with the team from Citi proved to be a really valuable learning experience. Furthermore, the diverse backgrounds of my classmates, which range from an Engineering Ph.D. to somebody with seven years trading experience, means that we’re always learning from each other; everyone has something different to bring to the table.”
Ashley accepted an internship offer with Morgan Stanley in New York as a desk strat, which he attributes in part to the preparation the program provided to him, preparation that started well before he arrived on campus.
“I accepted an offer to join the Program in April 2016. Soon after I received a personalised study plan and from then on had monthly online check-ins with the Program to assess my progress. In effect I had been preparing for interviews for almost a year before I arrived at Berkeley. I really think this preparation played a huge role in helping me land an internship so early into the program.”
After the Berkeley MFE Program, Ashley envisions himself in a similar position to many of the alumni he has already met: “I want to be responsible for mentoring the next generation of financial engineers.”