Oliver Binz (’15) moved to San Diego from Germany last year to pursue a Master of Finance from the Rady School. Unsure of whether he wanted to continue in his current field or transition to academia, he joined the program to gain a deep understanding of finance and decide what direction to advance his career. Fast forward to today, nearly complete with his Master of Finance, Binz has achieved these goals and recently accepted an offer to join Duke University’s PhD program in Accounting.
Binz, whose extracurricular activities include Rady’s intramural volleyball league, gymnastics, and working as a research assistant at Rady, described the biggest highlight of his Rady experience as the close interaction he has with Rady faculty. “I’ve never had that before in my education,” said Binz. “We have Nobel Laureate Harry Markowitz, great economists like Allan Timmermann and Rossen Valkanov as well as one of the most promising finance professors in the field at the moment – Joey Engelberg. They are all very open to you.” In fact, encouragement from Rady faculty led Binz to apply for his PhD. “My original plan was to finish my Master of Finance at Rady, take a year off, and then maybe apply for a PhD next year. The professors here really helped me figure out where I want to go and who I want to be. They encouraged me to apply for a PhD this year and supported me throughout the whole process. It was definitely one of the most life-changing experiences in my whole life.”
Binz believes Rady’s rigorous Master of Finance coursework helped him secure his position at Duke. “First we have the theory courses that really enhance the depth and breadth of understanding of the finance field and then we have the technical courses,” said Binz. “We had this one class with Professor Huerta, who is a computer scientist, and he taught us a new programming language called GAWK. It isn’t well known but it is incredibly efficient, which is very important when processing big data. Just being able to program in these alternative languages and the overall rigorous focus on quantitative mathematics – I was really able to leverage them in my interview process and I’m very sure they were some of the decisive factors of my eventual acceptance into Duke.”
Binz’s favorite Master of Finance class is valuation with Professor Engelberg. “Especially working in a bank, I think valuation is something people see as a very fundamental and predetermined process but Professor Engelberg helped me to clear up misunderstandings that I think a lot of professionals in the industry have about valuation– about different methods, how to apply the correct discount rates, the different nuances, and how to construct the whole process,” said Binz.
Binz will complete his Master of Finance program from the Rady School at the end of this school year and go on to start his PhD at Duke in the fall. After getting his PhD, Binz hopes to become a professor in the U.S. to pursue his passions for finance and accounting research in the field and teaching students.
Watch our interview with Binz to learn about his background and Rady experience.
Rady’s Master of Finance is a year-long program and emphasizes rigorous training in empirical finance, quantitative methods, financial econometrics, data analysis and risk management. Learn more about the program, what sets it apart and if it is the right fit for you.
Lauren Herr is the Social Media Manager for the Rady School. In her free time she can be found snapping landscape pictures and taking advantage of San Diego’s amazing beaches and coffee shops.