Alumnus Donates a Major Gift to Baruch’s Master of Financial Engineering ProgramMoney to support a new directorship for nationally recognized MFE program
September 8, 2021
Baruch College’s Master of Financial Engineering program at the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences has received a major gift from a grateful alumnus and his husband.
The gift comes from Yu Gan, a quantitative portfolio manager for Schonfeld Strategic Advisors and the founder of AXQ Capital, LP, and his husband Bo-Xiao Zheng, the CIO and co-founder of AxiomQuant Investment Management.
The money will be used over five years to support the Gan & Zheng Directorship of Baruch MFE Fund. The directorship will be awarded to the incumbent director of the MFE program, Professor Dan Stefanica.
Acknowledging the gift on behalf of the College community, Baruch President S. David Wu said, “We are grateful to Yu Gan and Bo-Xiao Zheng for their generous gift in support of Baruch’s world-renowned financial engineering program. Mr. Gan’s story is a testament to the program’s academic rigor, first-class career placement, and most importantly, a genuine care for the wellbeing of the students. Ultimately, Mr. Gan’s gift will help to ensure that future graduates of the program also achieve the highest level of success, as proud alumni of Baruch College.”
Mr. Gan says that his interest in studying at Baruch was sparked in part by a student comment on the QuantNet forum that said Professor Stefanica “cares about your career more than your mom does.”
“We have long wanted to express our appreciation and give back to Baruch and the MFE program,” Mr. Gan said. He described the Baruch MFE community as “a real family. It helps you a lot when you are a student in the program. And you still benefit from the community down the road in your career.”
Born and raised in Fujian, China, Mr. Gan earned his BS in math and physics at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He came to the U.S. in 2013 to pursue a career in quantitative finance. He said Baruch’s MFE program was an obvious choice because it is “world-renowned” for a “cutting-edge curriculum as well as outstanding career service.”
He also cited the “strong alumni network,” which “plays a critical role in connecting the program to the industry. Alumni are helping the program in every possible way. Some voluntarily help mentor current students, some share information about job openings, and some provide insights on how the curriculum should evolve with the industry trends.”
Years after graduating, he added, “I still went back to sit in Professor Jim Gatheral’s class. I asked for help from Professor Andrew Lesniewski when I wanted to make a job move. We sometimes joke that we get a ‘lifetime warranty.’”
Baruch’s MFE program was ranked #1 in the U.S. in the 2021 QuantNet Ranking of MFE Programs and #2 worldwide in the 2021 Risk Quant Finance Master’s Programs Ranking. Its graduates are highly sought-after with more than 90 percent employed in the financial industry. The program offers real-world training in Baruch’s state-of-the-art Wasserman Trading Floor, where faculty train students for trading and financial competitions around the world. Among the outstanding wins, Baruch teams have placed first in the Rotman International Trading Competition in 2021, 2020, 2017, 2016, and 2012 and in the International Association of Financial Engineers competition in 2020, 2017, 2016, and 2015.
A new Financial Engineering Hub is under development to be jointly run by Baruch’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and the Zicklin School of Business. The initiative will offer a range of programs and resources including new degree offerings and a Center for Financial Engineering for corporate engagement and partnership.