An MIT graduate degree can be likened to a bridge between now and a future that holds unlimited potential, said Tamar Pichkhadze, the class speaker at the MIT Sloan Master of Finance class of 2015 convocation June 4 at the Boston Marriott Cambridge.
“Today is about looking forward. Today is a bridge between what you have done so far and what has yet to be achieved,” Pichkhadze told the audience, which included 115 Master of Finance graduates and their families, as well as faculty members including Master of Finance Faculty Director Jiang Wang, Dean David Schmittlein, and Senior Associate Dean Jake Cohen.
“MIT enhanced our potential and taught us discipline, emphasized that leadership is crucial, whether you are leading your own work as a student or a junior analyst or you have reached a position of vantage, where you can help others grow,” Pichkhadze added.Schmittlein praised the class. “This is indeed a challenging program,” he said of the Master of Finance degree, which was launched at MIT Sloan in 2008.
“Congratulations and be proud … you have impressed an amazing faculty,” Schmittlein said.
Professor Andrew W. Lo, the faculty speaker at the event, told the graduates he was a “bit envious” of them.
Lo, who has degrees from both Yale and Harvard universities, confessed that, “I’d very much like to be an MIT graduate, as all of you are.” He shared memories of his older sister who was an MIT undergraduate, and revealed how years later, he was honored to be hired as part of “the MIT Sloan finance tradition,” which includes groundbreaking work by Paul Samuelson, Franco Modigliani, Stewart Myers, Stephen Ross, and Robert Merton, among many others.
“Despite the fact that I’ve been at MIT for 27 years, I still feel like a houseguest in the house that Bob Merton built,” Lo said.
“You are the future of the financial industry … and you have permission to change not only the industry, but to change the world,” Lo said.
Several members of the class of 2015 were honored for their specific community contributions and were called to the stage by program director Heidi V. Pickett. Leonid Mindyuk and Scott Tully were lauded for “building a cross-cultural community;” Finn Althoff, Majid El Ghazouli, Trudy Pham, and Susan Wang were honored for “enriching the MFin experience;” and Raymond Shih and Nasser Wardi were cited for “promoting the MFin program.”
The ceremony also featured a student-created photo and video montage that showcased the year-long program’s many highlights, from blizzards, study tours, and an intramural soccer championship to the birth of Master of Finance student Eonyoung Park’s baby —perhaps a glimpse of a future Master of Finance graduate.