Professor Robert C. Merton made a prediction for the MIT Sloan Master of Finance class of 2016 at the program’s annual convocation ceremony June 2 at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge hotel.
Merton forecasted a scenario in which, in 10 or 15 years, any one of the 90 graduates would be at a business negotiation and would notice a fellow MIT Sloan Master of Finance graduate across the table. The mutual respect would be evident, he predicted.
“You both went through this program and you both know what it took to get in, and you know what it took to get out … the other thing is that you both speak the same language, and I don’t mean English. I mean MIT. So, if you have respect and a means of communication, I believe those are the two best things you can have,” Merton said.
Merton, the School of Management Distinguished Professor of Finance, and winner of the 1997 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, also implored graduates never to be satisfied with so-called “best practices” in creating a better financial system. “Best practice is a legacy; it’s from the past,” Merton said.
“This is a program that’s difficult—deliberately so. It’s a program that took you on a deep dive to the frontiers of modern finance, and you lived. But, you did much more than that. You have impressed an incredible MIT faculty in finance,” he said.
Indeed, the class of 2016 will be “ready to put our minds and hands to work,” said class speaker Sho Nakayama. “We have gained invaluable assets over the past year that will set us apart from others.”
Nakayama spoke of his class’s core assets of community, knowledge, and confidence. “Look around, notice how this room is filled with people from around the world. This network is going to be so powerful that potential business partners will be just a phone call away from you,” he said.
Master of Finance program director Heidi V. Pickett recognized the winners of the year’s Appreciation Awards. Adrian Radzyminski was lauded for his work in building a cross-cultural community; David Dong was recognized for his efforts in promoting the Master of Finance program; and Peter Touma, Sho Nakayama, and Zhenwei Mei were honored for their efforts in enriching the Master of Finance experience for their classmates, specifically as the co-chairs of the Class Gift Committee, which resulted in the highest participation of any Master of Finance class to date. The class raised $19,257.
The ceremony closed with a student-created photo and video montage showcasing highlights from the year. Later, at a reception for the graduates at the Royal Sonesta Boston hotel, Pickett announced that the Master of Finance program is now classified as a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program.
“We are very excited to be recognized as a STEM program, and believe it adds to the prestige of the program and provides more opportunities for both U.S. and international MFin students following graduation,” Pickett said.