A bitter sweet announcement by Stevens regarding the first ever undergraduate program for Quantitative Finance in the country. My only disappoint is that it wasn’t done four years ago when I first came in to Stevens. I already know of one person who is interested and I am certain it is going to generate more interest as the years go by. Kudos to Stevens on this one.
Program in fast-growing, multi-disciplinary field to begin in fall semester 2009
By John Holl
Special to the Stevens News Service
Beginning in September 2009, Stevens Institute of Technology will launch the first undergraduate program in Quantitative Finance in the country.
This fast-growing, multi-disciplinary field is based on applying modern science, mathematical and engineering methods, and advanced technology to model and execute decisions in the financial domain. Quantitative Finance applications extend from classical investment portfolio management and the design of sophisticated hedging strategies to mitigate business risks.
“Quantitative Finance is becoming essential in the business world,” said George M. Calhoun, Executive-in-Residence at Stevens. “It is not simply enough to stand on the trading floor. The next generation of finance experts will come up with ways to out think the market.”
Quantitative finance – typically used with hedge funds – is more than just analyzing stock portfolios. It is at the heart of all modern financial strategies and operations, from managing pension funds and insurance companies to controlling operations operational risks at manufacturing companies and modeling the behavior of financial markets.
Offered through Stevens’ Howe School of Technology Management, the four-year Bachelor of Science undergraduate program will have a heavy emphasis on math and statistics, but will also teach student to get the understanding of the underlying economic substance of financial decision making, said Calhoun.
When it starts at the beginning of the 2009/2010 academic year, the program will have 20 students, but Calhoun believes there is room for as many as 80 students in years to come. Potential students or those who would like to learn more about the program are invited to visit www.qf-stevens.com
Each student accepted to the program will launch an investment program at the start of the sophomore year. Using a web-based investment platform, the student will start with $1 million in virtual cash, to be invested according to a graded series of financial criteria as the semesters progress. Over the subsequent semesters students will have a chance to focus on everything from common stock in US-listed companies to commodities and exchange-traded options. By their senior year, students will be ready to focus on a project involving real-world implementation challenges – for example, the design and management of a Hedge Fund, or the construction of an Electronic Trading Platform.
“This is a program where being smart gives you an advantage. This is where the employment growth is going to be.”
Stevens’ campus along the Hudson River is uniquely suited to host such a focused undergraduate major, given its proximity to New York City and Wall Street – the financial capital of the world. Students will have unparalleled opportunities to have direct contact with the world’s elite finance firms, bankers, traders, regulators and policymakers.
Members of the Stevens faculty have worked diligently to design the program. They received input from both financial and non-financial firms. As such, the graduates of the program will be part of a broad trend towards a more rigorous management of the world’s financial assets and risks.
“Risk is going to be the name of the game for the next 20 years,” said Calhoun, “and Quantitative Finance will be key.”
Given the recent problems in the global economy, Calhoun and Stevens believe there is no more appropriate a time to launch such a program, continuing a tradition of forward-looking education that fills a major industry need.
“Quantitative Finance is here to stay,” said Calhoun. “In fact, we believe it will become the benchmark for a modern financial education.”