Carnegie Mellon University

Michelle Ruvolo, MSCF '09

What led you to the MSCF program?

I was working on the asset management side in a risk management role at Stamos Capital Partners in New York City, trading derivatives on the portfolio, and wanted to enhance my hard skills. My supervisor had researched financial engineering programs and felt MSCF was the best –the most practical and well rounded. I trusted his judgment and enrolled.

Which MSCF courses have been the most helpful throughout your career?

The course on linear models has the most direct ties to my current role. While the industry is more sophisticated, this course provided an initial understanding of models and has helped me to communicate with Ph.D.’s in the field. It taught overarching concepts and ways to approach different models and problems. MSCF courses provide an understanding of the different modeling techniques, portfolio construction techniques, model risk and model securities. It’s imperative for me to understand how to make judgments and assessments on those topics. That knowledge is invaluable.

What do you enjoy most about your career?

I enjoy the freedom to be creative in my role. It's a bit like detective work.

What are the strengths of the MSCF program?

The program is very rigorous, which means you are going to graduate knowing something you had not previously known. It’s not a degree that is just a name – it’s a degree that you have to earn. The four integrated disciplines introduced different aspects of job functions and provided a qualitative overview, which was helpful for students with different backgrounds. The homework included practical examples, and the curriculum covered a variety of aspects that appealed to a wide range of candidates. 

What recruiting demands are you seeing from the industry?

Trends in hiring are shifting away from banking and more towards boutique buy-side firms. With more specialized needs, these firms are increasingly looking to graduate degree programs like MSCF for recruiting, where candidates have both the hard skills to succeed and relevant exposure to the problems confronting today's investment community.