Coming to Berkeley Haas, Aditi Narware, MFE 23, knew she wanted her experience to be more than learning in the classroom.
“Of course, I appreciate everything we learn in the classroom—from math and coding to machine learning and data science—but what I really value is that everything is closely related to the real worlds of finance or technology. For me, it makes a real difference that the Berkeley Haas Master in Financial Engineering program is in a business school, not an engineering school,” she said. “Even more, I appreciate the all-around approach that Berkeley Haas takes. The professors and the MFE office staff really care about us as individuals. They listen to us and support us in ways I didn’t even know I needed.”
Aditi’s interest in mathematics might have been inevitable. “My mother was a math teacher who, when I was a child, tutored me in advanced concepts one or two levels above the other students in my class.” But it was an early internship with a financial consulting firm that introduced Aditi to the intersection of math and finance. “I like knowing that there are all of these abstract concepts in the background that you can use to accomplish real, tangible results with practical implications,” she said. “And financial markets are so dynamic. Regulations change, economies shift; you have to constantly tweak your models to make them more robust. That is exciting.”
She is equally excited that the MFE class of 2023 is a record-breaking 31% female. Yet, Aditi noted that “the financial industry remains dominated by men in leadership and managerial positions, so there is work to be done. I am committed to empowering women to reach their full potential in the industry. I wanted my MFE experience to benefit not only myself and my career, but other women.” To that end, she ran for the Women’s Chair position in the Financial Engineering Student Association. In that role, Aditi oversaw a promising partnership with Financial Women of San Francisco, that encompassed joint meetings and networking events. And thanks to the MFE Alumni Mentorship program, Aditi connected with a mentor with whom she could discuss anything from what she does on the job to the challenges of the MFE program.
Pursuing her MFE in a business school environment, Aditi said, “teaches superior technical skills as well as the softer skills to advance in our careers, when we start to lead teams and work with clients,” she added. The Berkeley Haas MFE curriculum includes Positioning Yourself for Opportunities in the Financial World, a class that addresses communication and networking skills, as well as the Financial Institutions Speaker Series, which brings experts into the classroom for in-depth discussion of the “skills needed to contribute to a firm’s mission.”
Aditi applauds the array of MBA club activities where MFE students are welcome. “Here, you get to listen to how people in business talk and think. You learn the vocabulary and gain insights into their thinking. Since we will be working alongside people with MBAs, it makes sense to meet them and get to know their priorities,” she said. “And these are good networking opportunities, as well.”
Aditi’s next out-of-the-classroom learning experience is her three-month internship in the Fixed Income/Securitized Products Group at Morgan Stanley in New York. She has never worked on fixed income before, nor lived in New York City, but she “came to Haas to explore. I am still in the early stages of my career and am eager to apply my skills and find out which arena is best for me.”
And perhaps Aditi’s most unexpected learning experience happened on the waters of the San Francisco Bay. “I love sitting on the waterfront in San Francisco’s Marina district. Even though I am not at all familiar with watersports, I decided to try kayaking,” she said. “It was so much fun! I went one step further and tried windsurfing. I actually windsurfed! Never would I have done this anywhere else.“
Whether on the bay, as an advocate for women, or on the job, Aditi is confident she will emerge from her MFE studies “more mature and confident in myself. I know that I can push my limits and succeed.”