Class Dismissed! Duke Engineering FinTech and Cybersecurity Graduation 2023!

July 10, 2023

Class Dismissed! Duke Engineering FinTech and Cybersecurity Graduation 2023!

A few of the 2023 Master of Engineering in FinTech Graduates.

Oh, the places they’ll go!

About 70 students in two new and cutting-edge Duke master’s programs - Duke Master of Engineering in Financial Technology and Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity - were in full force as they graduated, said their final goodbyes, and prepared to start new roles across the world. In a crowded Page Auditorium, the graduation ceremony was not only an occasion to officially celebrate the students in front of their parents, friends, and professors, it also was a great time for recollecting memories, show gratitude and prepare for the exciting new flight as industry leaders.  “I always have mixed feelings about graduation: while it’s great to see my students moving on, I do miss them,” said Jimmie Lenz, Director of the Master of Engineering in FinTech program.

 Graduation 2023 seated

Some of the Duke Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity graduates.

Since Fall 2020, respectively Fall 2021, when they started, the FinTech and Cybersecurity Master of Engineering programs continued to grow and have already become among Duke’s most competitive professional graduate degrees. Both programs have an overwhelming global pool of applicants who want to deliver innovative technology solutions to market challenges or to protect humanity’s digital infrastructure.

Many of the students who have been hooded in May 2023 had completed the program in December 2022 - but returned to campus to join their classmates for the Spring ceremony.  This is possible because the programs provide the flexibility of two graduation tracks – in three and in four semesters to accommodate various student backgrounds and objectives.

The students are moving into, or have already started, some very interesting roles. 

Jimmie with graduates

Nilakshi Mondal and Adriana Sierra Todaro with the FinTech director, Dr. Jimmie Lenz

A FinTech 2023 graduate, Adriana Sierra Todaro is now a Multi-Asset trader at Virtus Investment Partners in New York.  “I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude from the moments I collected, the academic triumph after pulling all-nighters, the lifelong friendships I forged and the great professors I had the honor to meet. My Journey at Duke simply marked my soul,” said Adriana, who came to FinTech from Columbia.

Another FinTech student, Nilakshi Mondal, originally from India, will be headed to Burlington Vermont, working in the area of asset management for National Life Group.  “Duke holds a special place in my heart due to the experiences, friendships, and memories I cherished during my time there,” said Nilakshi.  As an Investment Analyst she will analyze market trends, develop analytical tools for evaluating and supporting investment strategies, leverage technology to improve the efficiency of investment processes and influence key decisions through recurring analysis. During four semesters in the FinTech Program, Nilakshi prepared for this exciting career through an interdisciplinary and thought-provoking curriculum that combined financial engineering, policy, business, and ethics.

Graduates of the Cybersecurity program shared similar experiences at their graduation ceremony.  “I want to convey my deepest gratitude for my invaluable education in the Cybersecurity program.  The knowledge, skills, and experiences I gained have shaped my personal and professional growth, and I am sincerely thankful for the exceptional faculty and resources,” said Parul Shah, a Cybersecurity graduate and North Carolina native, who has already started his job at Palo Alto Networks.

 Graduation 2023 Chapel Pic

Cybersecurity students after the graduation ceremony

Other students have leveraged their education to found their own business. You may have read about Mike Liu and Mike Cutro starting their own company, Validity.ID, which  was recently funded by Mavin VenturesMike Liu will be working from Boston as a full time employee for Paymagic, while Mike Cutro will be working in the Southeast to continue to develop and grow the new company, Validity.ID. 

 Graduation 2023_3 students

FinTech 2023 graduates 

Each student of these two master’s programs has a unique, promising, and exciting story that started for all of them in Durham, North Carolina, at Duke Fintech or Duke Cybersecurity. A path that takes them to places like New York, California, or South Asia.

The graduates assured their professors that they want to continue to be connected to Duke. As FinTech and Cybersecurity Alumni, they now have the opportunity to mentor future students and give back to the program that changed their lives.