The Duke FinTech degree brought him a job promotion at Goldman Sachs

September 5, 2023 | Emilia Chiscop-Head, PhD

Lucas Santana applied to the Duke FinTech program with the dream to develop systems that drive impactful change

Lucas Santana is a Duke FinTech Alumn. “I applied for the program to learn more about finance and how technology can become a catalyst for change,” he said.

Six months after he graduated, in May 2022, from the Duke Master of Engineering in Fintech, Lucas Santana got a job promotion at Goldman Sachs where he has been working as a software engineer for more than 6 years. “My current role is senior software engineer supporting the firm’s fixed income ETF and Stable Value products,” said Lucas. He had moved within company divisions with the goal of finding a role where he could drive impactful change. Then he realized that to get his dream job, he needed to go back to school and decided to apply to the new, cutting-edge Fintech master’s program. “I applied for the program to learn more about finance and how technology can become a catalyst for change,” he added.

During the graduate studies, Lucas was particularly interested in business and financial courses. ” I really appreciated how classes like MENG-570 Business Fundamentals and FINTECH-534 Quantitative Financial Analysis were tailored to a tech audience, providing the core theoretical concepts without losing sight of their applicability,” Lucas told me. He added that throughout the program he became interested in investment management and how technology can drive higher returns. Asked how the program prepared him for his job, he said that it provided him with a “solid foundation to understand how the financial markets work and how to analyze financial products.” “As a result, I quickly understood the financial nuances of my current role and could easily communicate with stakeholders on the financial side,” added Lucas.

He also enjoyed the hands-on experience in analyzing data and building quantitative strategies that the program helped students build through real world-based class projects. Therefore, with what he learned Lucas was able to make suggestions to his team about how to automate some of the investment decisions that portfolio managers must make.” Among the most important skills that he learned during the FinTech program, the most valuable to him were financial analysis, business valuation, team collaboration, and time management.

Every FinTech Alum has their own story on how the FinTech program contributed to their career. Lucas invites the new generations of students to ask as many questions as possible to build their one successful story.  “Once you fully understand the context and the main goal, you might identify different solutions that nobody else has thought of before.” Lucas also reminds his younger peers to train themselves well for the industry environment which has many more unknown parts than a structured academic program. “Being open to receiving incomplete answers and filling in the gaps equips them with creativity and problem-solving skills that are key to success,” he added.