Alumna Becomes Portfolio Manager at World’s Largest Asset Management Firm


A Virtuous Cycle Between UC Berkeley and BlackRock for           MFE'16 Alumna Mengdan Ma


After completing a double major in Computer Science and Statistics at UC Berkeley in 2014, Mengdan Ma joined BlackRock’s Model-Based Fixed Income (MBFI) Group as part of the Alpha Mortgage desk. Mengdan developed systematic trading strategies through research and implementation of alpha signals, portfolio construction, risk models, transaction cost and liquidity models in the specified pool space. After one year at BlackRock, she returned to Cal, enrolling in the Berkeley MFE Program to accelerate her financial career. Mengdan was drawn to our program for its diverse student body, cutting-edge industry projects, and well-regarded reputation.

“The practical skills and insights taught by the incredible faculty and experienced practitioners enable us to start projects our first day at an internship or job. The Berkeley MFE Program taught me how to solve problems and, more importantly, how to ask the right questions - we are Students Always.”

Mengdan excelled while at Haas. Exemplifying financial aptitude, her team won the 2015 IAQF Academic Competition. Mengdan was also a finalist in the Morgan Stanley Applied Finance Project Competition. These group industry projects, along with the intense academic workload, prepared her for the next phase of her career.

Upon graduation from the MFE Program in March 2016, Mengdan retraced her path from Berkeley to BlackRock by rejoining the MBFI Group - now as a portfolio manager. She foresees herself continuing to build her career in asset management, constructing trading strategies and further strengthening her portfolio management skills.

“The insightful knowledge from practitioners, the advanced quantitative analysis skills taught, the valuable advice from alumni, the days of intense teamwork, and the joy we felt after winning the competitions have made us all better professionals, to have Confidence Without Attitude.”

Joined by five fellow MFE alumni representing a cross-section of BlackRock’s departments, Mengdan revisited her alma mater earlier this year to host a financial practice seminar for the current class (MFE 2018).

Learn more about the Berkeley MFE Program and how we can help you launch your career by going to our website or by joining an information session. 

About The Author

The Berkeley Master of Financial Engineering Program, a STEM designated degree, provides you with the knowledge and skills to prepare you for a career in the finance/fintech industry.