Special Activities Mark the Beginning of the Master of Engineering Year
|M. Eng. students Luke Baer, Crystal Diaz and Betsy Wang watch Jared Gearhart grill burgers at Stewart Park. Baer, an ORIE BS graduate, is from Canada, Diaz and Gearhart from Arizona, and Wang originally from Albany, New York.|
The Fall 2008 semester for some ORIE Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) students began at newly remodelled Cornell Financial Engineering Manhattan (CFEM), ORIE's facility at 55 Broad Street in the Wall Street district of New York City on August 21, even before the students registered in Ithaca. They and other new M.Eng. students were welcomed at an orientation in Ithaca a few days later, and soon after that students continuing their Financial Engineering program in the new third semester gathered at CFEM for an orientation to their program for the fall. The opening events for the semester culminated in a picnic at Ithaca's Stewart Park, on the shores of Cayuga Lake.
New Financial Engineering Student Orientation
Those M. Eng. students admitted to the Financial Engineering Concentration of ORIE's M.Eng. program met at CFEM in August for an all-day introduction that focussd from the outset on career aspects of the program. After an introduction by Master of Engineering Director Kathryn Caggiano in which which she noted that only 13% of applicants were admitted to Financial Engineering and more than half of those accepted admission, CFEM Director Victoria Averbukh discussed her organization's role as the students' "Bridge to Wall Street."
Averbukh told the new students that at CFEM (as opposed to in classes in Ithaca), "you are a Wall Street professional first and a student second!" She urged the students to immediately begin their summer internship search, especially considering the turmoil in the financial markets, noting that with CFEM's help all of the students in the prior Financial Engineering class had obtained 2008 summer internships. To assist in this year's internship search, ORIE has established an online 'resume book' for all MEng students, with an initial emphasis on the financial engineers seeking internships. Students were also urged to work through Cornell Career Services, which organized a two-day Career Fair in Ithaca in early September.
|Financial engineering student Xin Cui meets consultant Jonathan Flaks. Cui is from China and has an MS from Florida State University.|
To reinforce the career message, Averbukh, who worked for Citigroup and Deutsche Bank after receiving her Ph.D. from ORIE, presented a lunchtime session on "What Employers Want" that focussed on verbal and written communications as well as computer skills and analytical maturity and depth. In support of communication skills, career coach Jonathan Flaks conducted an introductory "Master Class" on the subject and Susan Glendon, a UBS Managing Director responsible for recruiting and training, held a workshop on resume writing and interviewing. Robert Ferstenberg, Managing Director of Morgan Stanley's Institutional Equity Division and a member of the CFEM Advisory Council, provided an industry perspective and the day ended with a visit to Deutsche Bank's New York headquarters, a short distance from the CFEM location.
|M. Eng. students at the fall 2008 orientation in Ithaca.|
New Master of Engineering Student Orientation
At the orientation for the full M.Eng. entering class in Ithaca, Engineering Dean Kent Fuchs and ORIE Director Jim Renegar welcomed the students. Dr. Caggiano, who presented the students with ORIE shirts, then profiled the MEng class, noting that students came from 52 universities and 26 undergraduate majors. Much of the session was devoted to reviews of the concentrations - Strategic Operations, Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering, Applied Operations Research, Data Mining and Analytical Marketing, and Information Technology as well as the Systems Engineering minor -- that are available to the incoming students not concentrating in Financial Engineering representatives from Engineering Co-Op Career Services and the International Students and Scholars Office described the resources available to the students. Dr. Caggiano announced upcoming workshops and seminars relating to professional development, including two communications skills master classes by Jonathan Flaks and a "Manners Matter" session led by Cornell's Brian Earle, a faculty member in the Department of Communication.
Third Semester Financial Engineering Student Orientation
Although in the past some Financial Engineering students opted to extend their program to three semesters, for the first time this year the third semester, located at CFEM, is a formal part of the program. In an orientation at CFEM for these students, Dr. Averbukh announced that the curriculum for this second fall semester includes completing a team-based Master of Engineering project, supervised by CFEM Research Director Dr. Sasha Stoikov, for one of several Wall Street companies, together with required and elective courses. The required courses include Credit Risk, taught to students in Ithaca and at CFEM by Professor Philip Protter via a video link, as well as a colloquium featuring a series of industry speakers.
Among the electives available to the financial engineering students at CFEM are courses covering bond mathematics and mortgage-backed securities (by Dr. Averbukh), private equity investing (by Steven Greenberg, founder and president of Fox Meadow Capital Partners), corporate credit analysis (by Michael Levesque, senior vice president at Moody's Investor Service,), and hedge fund management (by Leon Metzger, formerly vice chairman and chief administrative office at Paloma Partners Management Company).
As a general partner of Clarity Partners, a private equity firm based in Beverly Hills, CA, ORIE alum Greenberg founded ImpreMedia, now the largest publisher of Spanish language newspapers in the US. Levesque, also an ORIE alum, is currently the lead analyst covering major pharmaceutical manufacturers. Previously he worked as a health care actuary for William M. Mercer, Inc. and KPMG Peat Marwick. Metzger is an adjunct professor and lecturer on hedge-fund management at Columbia, NYU and Yale as well as Cornell.
Averbukh also announced that a January event that has been featured at CFEM in the recent years has been moved up to the evening of October 14 (at the end of Cornell's Fall Break) in order to accommodate recruiting schedules. The "Meet and Greet Wall Street" activity brings together hiring managers, alumni and financial engineering students. It is being sponsored by UBS and Morgan Stanley.
M. Eng. Picnic
|Joe Bocchino from Vassalboro, Maine, and Sandy Mtandwa from Zimbabwe and Greencastle, Indiana, prepare to create their name tags at the picnic. Aayush Mahendru, from Mumbai, India, is behind them.
After their intensive first days at Cornell, MEng students and faculty in Ithaca welcomed the opportunity to socialize at an early evening picnic at Ithaca's Stewart Park, on the south shore of 40-mile-long Cayuga Lake. Students were introduced to Professor Peter Jackson's grilled specialty, fire-roasted corn on the cob. On a sunny and warm evening the Master of Engineering students from a broad array of backgrounds got to know one another better and many established what are likely to become life long relationships.