Alumni Association


We have an active alumni association that meet regularly for recruiting, networking and industry specific events in New York City and elsewhere. The mission statement is for the alumni association is:

To create, maintain and enhance relationships among alumni from the Mathematics in Finance program, and its students, faculty, fellows, staff and friends. We strive to foster loyalty, interest and support for the program in the area of quantitative finance.

Contact the Alumni Association: You can reach us via email or connect with us on LinkedIn.  


Past Events

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Quantitative Portfolio Management Panel and Joint Networking Event (October 12, 2018)

On a Friday evening alums from the NYU Courant's Mathematics in Finance and Columbia's Financial Engineering programs got together for a joint event on quantitative portfolio management. The event featured well-known market practioners and portfolio managers, including Ian Adelson, David Angel, Attakrit Asvanunt, Kelsey Letang, and Gordon Ritter (see their bios below). 

Moderated by Joseph Cerniglia, the panel discussion cover topics such as alpha research practices, portfolio management techniques, managing people and leadership. The large audience provided a lot of insightful and interesting questions. 

Ian Adelson, Director of Research, Exile Capital Management
Mr. Adelson is the Director of Research at Exile Capital Management. Previously, he was a principal at Atlas Merchant Capital from 2014 to 2016, and an investment analyst at Kingdon Capital Management from 2008 to 2013. Before that, Mr. Adelson was a trader on the credit proprietary trading desk at Societe Generale from 2007 to 2008. Mr. Adelson holds a M.S. in Mathematics in Finance from NYU Courant, a M.A. from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, and a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Emory University. Mr. Adelson has passed all three exams in the Chartered Financial Analyst program.

David Angel, Principal, 683 Capital Partners
Mr. Angel is a Principal for 683 Capital Partners, a long-biased hedge fund that targets dislocations and special situations across industries, geographies, and capital structures. Previously, he was a portfolio manager for Geode Capital, a fund founded by Fidelity, where he oversaw the portfolio of derivative investments. David’s investment experience began more than a decade ago, and includes spending four years as an associate in equity volatility strategies at Goldman Sachs. He has earned an M.S. from NYU Courant in the Mathematics in Finance, an M.S. from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, and the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Attakrit Asvanunt, Senior Vice President, Two Sigma
Mr. Asvanunt is a Senior Vice President at Two Sigma Investments, where he is responsible for expanding the firm’s trading capabilities into the credit and fixed income markets. Prior to Two Sigma, Attakrit was a senior researcher and a portfolio manager at AQR Capital Management, where he oversaw research and managed credit strategies across multiple funds. Before that, he was a quantitative researcher at Barclays and Lehman Brothers. Attakrit earned a B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and an M.Eng. in Financial Engineering from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Columbia University.  

Kelsey Letang, Researcher, GSA Capital Partners
Ms. Letang is a Researcher for GSA Capital Partners, a global quantitative investment manager, where she focuses on fundamentally-motivated, systematic long-short equity signals. Previously, she worked for SG Americas on the high yield credit desk (formerly credit arbitrage proprietary trading). She has a M.S. in Mathematics in Finance from NYU Courant, an HBSc in Mathematics and its Application to Finance from the University of Toronto, and the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Gordon Ritter, Adjunct Professor NYU Courant, Rutgers and Baruch College  
Gordon Ritter completed his Ph.D. in mathematical physics at Harvard University in 2007, where his published work ranged across the fields of quantum computation, quantum field theory, differential geometry and abstract algebra. Prior to Harvard he earned his Bachelor’s degree with honours in mathematics from the University of Chicago. Prof. Ritter is currently a Professor at NYU, Rutgers, and the award-winning Baruch MFE program, where his research interests are focused on portfolio optimization and statistical machine learning. Prof. Ritter is also a leader in the quantitative trading industry. He is preparing to launch his own company which will manage money for institutional clients by means of high-Sharpe pure alpha systematic trading strategies. He has ten years’ experience doing this; most recently he built a successful trading system from scratch at GSA Capital, a firm which won the Equity Market Neutral & Quantitative Strategies category at the Eurohedge awards four times. Prior to GSA, Gordon was a Vice President of Highbridge Capital and a core member of the firm’s statistical arbitrage group, which although less than 20 people, was responsible for billions in profit and trillions of dollars of trades across equities, futures and options with low correlation to traditional asset classes.

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The Mathematics of Deep Learning – A Special Presentation By Prof. Joan Bruna (May 23, 2018)

This was a great evening that drew many alumni to come and socialize and learn more about the cutting edge research in the filed of deep learning. 

Joan Bruna began his talk by providing background material necessary to understand the current open problems in this interesting field. He then turned to the main focus of his talk and discussed the emerging mathematical questions around deep learning. In particular, he  highlighted different geometrical aspects of these models, from input geometric stability priors to the geometry of optimization, generalization and learning. This was a talk full of great insights, and a fantastic opportunity for us all to learn more about deep learning. 


Joan Bruna, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Data Science and Mathematics, NYU Courant
Joan Bruna is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Data Science and Mathematics (affiliated) at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, and at the Center for Data Science. His research interests touch several areas of Machine Learning, Signal Processing and High-Dimensional Statistics. In particular, in the past few years he has been working on Deep Convolutional Networks, studying some of its theoretical properties, applications to several Computer Vision tasks, and extensions to more general geometries. Before that, he worked at FAIR (Facebook AI Research) in New York. Prior to that, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Courant Institute, NYU. He completed his PhD in 2013 at Ecole Polytechnique, France. He is the recipient of an Alfred. P. Sloan Fellowship (2018), and he has organized multiple tutorials and workshops on geometric deep learning, including NIPS and CVPR in 2017.

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In the honor of Petter Kolm's 10 year anniversary as Program Director, the Mathematics in Finance Alumni Organization (under the leadership of Joe Cerniglia '06 and Kelsey Letang '12) hosted a discussion and networking event on October 25, 2017. Petter moderated a panel discussion that focused on the major changes in the financial instrusty over the last decade and its current trends. 

The panelists were Daniel Cheeseman '07, Jason Dolatshahi '06, Raghav Misra '06, Prithvi Ramesh '07, and Adrien Vesval '02. Their bios are included below. 

Daniel Cheeseman, Director, Senior Research Analyst and Portfolio Manager, Guggenheim
Mr. Cheeseman is the portfolio manager and senior research analyst covering Guggenheim’s equity derivatives and liquid alternative strategies.  His key focuses include developing systematic equity volatility models, cross-asset risk premia and implementation of the firm’s macroeconomic views through derivatives.  For six years prior to joining Guggenheim, he was a research analyst covering equity and volatility derivatives at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.  Mr. Cheeseman holds an M.S. in Mathematical Finance from the Courant Institute at NYU and B.A. in Mathematics and Economics at the University of California, San Diego.

Jason Dolatshahi, Head of Data Science & Data Engineering, Bonobos
Mr. Dolatshahi is the Head of Data Science and Data Engineering at e-commerce apparel company Bonobos. He has previously held data scientist roles at a variety of startups and designed the data science curriculum at General Assemb.ly. Mr. Dolatshahi holds a MSc in Theoretical Physics from King's College London, an M.S. in Mathematical Finance from the Courant Institute at NYU, and a B.S. in Mathematics and Economics from UCLA. 

Raghav Misra, Director, Trading Analytics, Point72
Mr. Misra is a Director at Point72 Asset Management where he is leading the trading analytics effort for the internal alpha capture team. Prior to this, he worked at JP Morgan Chase co-leading the primary analytics effort within the Investment Bank, managing a global team that engaged with multiple lines of business. This effort focused on using agile development to deliver trading solutions to the business and in parallel extending the research and data science platform to enable developers across the bank. He started his career at Goldman Sachs over 10 years ago where he focused on a variety of roles, including new issue CLO structuring, mortgage strategies, macro trade strategies, and asset allocation advisory. Mr. Misra holds an M.S. in Mathematical Finance from the Courant Institute at NYU and a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Toronto.

Prithvi Ramesh, Director, Rates Quantitative Analyst, UBS
Mr. Ramesh worked as a front office quant for close to 10 years, starting at Merrill Lynch in 2007, and at UBS for the past 7 years, focusing primarily on interest rate options and exotic derivatives modeling. He also worked in the financial engineering team at Duff & Phelps, where he investigated the Lehman Brother's portfolio and advised a law firm employed by the court on the asset valuation. Mr. Ramesh holds a M.S. in Mathematical Finance from the Courant Institute at NYU, a M.A. in Mathematics from the Indian Statistical Institute, and a Hon. B.A. in Mathematics from St. Stephen's College.

Adrien Vesval, Managing Principal & Founder, Voltrade Capital LLC
Mr. Vesval recently founded his own investment firm, which focuses on options, volatility and macro trading. Prior to that, he was a founding partner at Kepos Capital, a systematic macro fund with about $3Bn in assets. From 2002 to 2010, he was a portfolio manager in the Quantitative Investment Strategies group at Goldman Sachs Asset Management where he was in charge of options and volatility trading for the Global Alpha hedge fund, a fund that peaked at about $12Bn in assets. Mr. Vesval holds an M.S. in Mathematical Finance from the Courant Institute at NYU, a MPSI in Mathematics from Lycée Louis-Le-Grand, and a B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics from École Polytechnique.

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Data Science in Quant Finance Conference (June 1, 2017)

On June 1, 2017, the  Alumni Association of the Mathematics in Finance Program organized the Data Science in Quant Finance Conference at NYU Courant.  There was a number of very interesting presentations that were given at this well attended conference.

Schedule
1:30 PM: Registration
1:45 PM: Welcome address
2 PM: “Data Science in Quantitative Finance,”  Ivailo Dimov (Bloomberg LP)
2:45 PM: “Statistical vs. Machine Learning Approaches in Buy-Side Research,”  Joseph Cerniglia (BlackRock) and Petter Kolm (NYU Courant)
3:30 PM: Break
4 PM: “Risk Management of Large Option Portfolios via Monte Carlo Simulation,” Marco Avellaneda (NYU Courant)
4:45 PM: “The HUMAN Project at NYU and the Future of Big Data,” Paul Glimcher (Glimcher Lab @ NYU)
5:30 PM: Concluding remarks & reception

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From Marriage to Option Pricing: Optimal Transport and its Applications with Professor Alfred Galichon

At an alumni event on Wednesday, October 26, 2016, Professor Alfred Galichon spoke about optimal transport and its application. Mass transportation is a celebrated problem, initially studied by Gaspard Monge two centuries ago, revisited by Kantorovich in the 1940s and rejuvenated over the last decade by Cedric Villani's textbooks, Recently it has found a range of various applications to Economics and Finance, from predicting the odds of individuals on the marriage market, to computing model-free bounds on option prices. Galichon discussed several of these applications, as well as related computational challenges and algorithms.

 

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Panel Discussion with Courant Alumni in Finance 

On May 25, 2016, we held a panel discussion with a number of alums from the program. This event was organized by the Mathematics in Finance Alumni Organization, under the volunteer leadership of Joe Cerniglia (MS '06), and the Courant Institute Development and Alumni Relations staff.

The panelists were Sara Angrist '07, Benoit Bosc '05, Geoff Duncombe '05, Socrates Ioannidis '02, Julien Prado '08, and Adrien Vesval '02. The moderator was Alexey Kuptsov, who has been a Fellow of the Math Finance Program since 2008. 

A number of interesting themes were covered by the panel, including: 

  • Don’t stop learning: The panelists felt the program prepared them very well for their careers in the industry. Nevertheless, they stressed the importance of learning new skills and techniques. Colleagues, articles, books, and online courses are all good sources. One panelist found that learning game theory gave valuable new insight. Several reported doing a lot of study related to changes in the regulatory environment (especially recently).
  • Manage change: The finance industry changes constantly. Therefore, it is important to stay on top of recent trends and adapt to changing market environments. The panelists shared several examples of how they personally have managed change by embracing transformation.
  • Career management and networking go hand in hand: The majority of the panelists have over the years worked at multiple companies, in varying roles. Their career moves, both lateral and vertical, were greatly facilitated by their professional and personal networks. The panelists agreed that the wonderful network of alums and supportive Courant faculty has contributed to their career advancements in a positive way.
  • Diversity of careers: The panelists shared that as students they did not have a full grasp of the scope of the financial industry, often considering just traditional buy-side or sell-side “quant” roles. With time, they came to understand that the range of opportunities is actually very broad, and new types of roles are constantly being created; for example, FinTech is bringing many new roles into the picture, and regulatory requirements have led to the creation of entirely new groups.
  • The importance of the internship: The panelists who were full-time Math Finance MS students emphasized the importance of their summer internships. Even when the internship doesn't lead to a full-time placement, it still provides access to a network of colleagues, and it still provides practical exposure to a segment of the finance industry.

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