Carnegie Mellon University

MSCF Giving Updates: November 2020

More than 25 years ago, the Master of Science in Computational Finance (MSCF) program at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) emerged as the first of its kind in the U.S.. As pioneers in the field, MSCF alumni have risen through the ranks across the finance industry. To date, there are more than 14 CEOs, 12 C-Suite executives, 39 department heads and 29 managing directors who graduated from the program and are working in the world’s top firms.

As MSCF alumni have advanced into these leadership positions, they are giving back, recognizing the impact Carnegie Mellon University has had on their success. Alumni also see this as a way to support and develop future talent, as many have gone on to hire high caliber MSCF students for their own teams. Some have also chosen to support Carnegie Mellon research in fast-growing areas like data science.

“We believe in supporting the next generation of scholars and the importance of cutting-edge research in the field,” said Nick Psaris, MSCF ‘06, who recently established a research grant in the Dietrich College at CMU to support the study of statistics and data science. 

Psaris is just one of many MSCF alumni who are finding new and creative ways of giving back.

Steven Cash, MSCF ‘05, recently endowed a MSCF student fellowship to increase diversity in the program. Others have chosen to honor those who played a pivotal role in their success, such as Chetan Vohra, MSCF ‘03, who named the main student area of the NYC campus in honor of his parents, and Peter Guan, MSCF ‘99, who named a space in the new TCS Hall after Professor Steve Shreve.  Other graduates, like Sven Helsen, MSCF ‘98, are choosing to support students across the university. Through the Tartan Scholars Fund, Helsen is helping scholarship students from underprivileged communities. This fund helps students meet basic expenses such as travel, food and school supplies not covered by their scholarships, as well as offering social connection and mentoring, all essential to ensuring students do not leave the university due to a lack of resources and individualized support.

“Many of our alumni are just reaching a point in their lives where they are beginning to explore their philanthropic interests,” said Kristin DiFoglio, senior director of development at CMU. “My role is to connect alumni to work at CMU that mirror their interests, and show them corresponding opportunities to give that make an impact in these areas.” 

MSCF Alumni are clearly making an impact. Total support for MSCF students and programs have increased 43% year over year.  In the past four years the number of MSCF alumni making gifts rose 46%. Giving has come both in the form of large, one-time gifts, multi-year pledged gifts and smaller recurring annual or monthly gifts, often matched by the financial firms which employ these alumni.  Every gift counts no matter how small.

To learn more about giving back to support MSCF or other CMU initiatives, visit us at MSCF Giving, or contact Kristin Difoglio at