I am Rady Made: How my Master of Finance Transformed my Career (and Can Transform Yours Too)

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August 20, 2015
by Oliver Binz

I Discovered My Passion

Before I came to the Rady School at UC San Diego, I was sure that I wanted to end up as a portfolio manager for some hedge-fund-like investment vehicle or investment bank.

The Rady School’s recently launched Master of Finance program promised to teach students cutting edge data analyzing techniques with a strict focus on quantitative estimation approaches – pretty much exactly what you want to learn if you aim to be successful in the modern, fast-paced trading world.

What I did not expect from my Rady School education were the numerous data analysis projects, replicating famous finance papers and the faculty’s contagious enthusiasm for research, which would make me change course from my previous industry and pursue a Ph.D. degree to become a Professor.

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I Gained Experience That Helped Me Advance Immediately

One month after handing in my capstone research report which examined the effects of accrual catering policies on companies’ market prices, I now sit in my office at Duke University in North Carolina and think about research questions that came up in a conversation with one of the Professors in my department at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

The rigorous training that I went through at the Rady School qualified me to be involved in research projects right from the start – a privilege that is a rare commodity among incoming doctoral students.

After my year at the Rady School, I can confidently handle a wide range of econometrical methods including OLS, MLE, GMM, event studies, random forests, dynamic Monte Carlo simulations, binominal trees, Kalman filtering, MSM, GARCH modeling, and so much more. You can basically tackle every empirical research or forecasting problem with such a toolset, and you will be able make the most out of the information that is deeply hidden in your data set.

Because data seems to overtake the world since recently, this knowledge serves well in the job market – it doesn’t really matter whether your field is Finance or Micro Biology.

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I Lived in and Explored One of the Best Cities in the World
Located in La Jolla, San Diego, the Rady School is right across the street from the ocean, inviting students to frequent surf sessions and long beach walks.

While it may seem like it would be hard to handle three to four data projects a week while the sun shines approximately 365 days a year in La Jolla, I was able to explore many of the local treasures. Day visits to Balboa Park and the Gas Lamp Quarter as well as weekend trips to Joshua Tree National Park and the Grand Canyon did result in some additional study nights, but the reward was definitely worth it.

Oliver Binz (Master of Finance, ’15) is a Rady School of Management alumni and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at Duke University. After getting his Ph.D., Binz hopes to become a professor in the U.S. to pursue his passions for finance and accounting research in the field and teaching students.

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