Welcome Incoming Class!

August 30, 2023 | Emilia Chiscop-Head, PhD

Duke FinTech and Cybersecurity programs hosted Orientation week – a comprehensive, required training for success.

The incoming class of FinTech Students in front of the Duke Chapel

The incoming class of Duke FinTech and Duke Cybersecurity masters’ programs were welcomed last week and met their colleagues, professors and graduate services who will work together to ensure another successful class.

For a full week, starting on Monday, August 21 and ending on Friday afternoon, the news students attended orientation training – an intense and eye-opening set of presentations and activities centered around the concept of success. “What do you think being successful is? Is It a 4.0 GPA?” Dr. Jimmie Lenz, the director of Duke FinTech and Dube Cybersecurity programs asked the audience. “No, it is not that. Successful means that you landed the perfect role shortly after graduation,” he continued.

The orientation week started with a general session hosted for the full Pratt School incoming graduate cohort. Associate Dean of master’s Programs Brad Fox and managing director of Graduate Student Programs and Services Bridget Flatcher discussed the mission and vision of Duke Engineering, the Duke community standard, and the structure of services and support. To help facilitate a smoothe transition students received immunizations in a special mobile clinic, and visa consultations from visa services experts. They attended career building training and intercultural communication sessions. And they had fun on the quad, with good food and refreshments.

For three days, students also received program-specific orientation, during which they heard from alumni, second year students, program directors and instructors. The Director of the Institute of Enterprise Engineering, Prof. Jeff Glass, gave an impressive speech about ethics and integrity for academic pursuit. “We want to train you to be the most skilled in the world. And to do that, we take the course assignments very seriously. We have zero tolerance for cheating and unethical behavior because we want you to be the very best, the ones who will move the field forward, “said Dr. Emma Rasiel, the Associate Director of Duke Fintech.

The Director of the Institute of Enterprise Engineering, Prof. Jeff Glass, gave an impressive speech about ethics and integrity for academic pursuit.

Key ingredients of success

Second Year Students in front of the incoming class

To be able to succeed, students learned that they need to master academic materials and to build communication and career skills. One without the other is not enough. Students were instructed on how to network, how to use their LinkedIn to maximize their opportunities, how to conduct informational interviews, how to look for internships early and to prepare their mind for unexpected opportunities.

“Be flexible, start applying for an internship as early as possible, talk with your professors and use the great career coaches in the Graduate Programs and Services Office,” encouraged her younger peers Qian Liu, a second-year student and member of a student panel focused on Internships. Hanyu Duan, another second-year student, was an intern at China International Capital Corporation. She applied in January and had two rounds of interviews in February and March. The timeline seems similar for other students. However, there are companies where internship selection starts very early and years ahead.

Zhiyuan Chen shared his experience for acutting edge blockchain project focused on data mining and data analysis. “I did very enjoyable research and I gained a lot of knowledge,” he said.

Meet the professors!

Professors in front of the incoming class

Duke FinTech and Cybersecurity faculty presented their courses in front of the incoming class. “I recommend that you go this weekend to buy notebooks and index cards to practice your memorization skills. You will write more than you think in this class. Your phone has more transistors than people on the planet. In this class you will learn how to design and handle the software,” said Patrick Morrison, PhD, who teaches FinTech 510- Programming for FinTech. Dr. Benjamin Bauchwitz, who teaches Human element in Cybersecurity described his course as “unique and fun”, an atypical course for software development, about how design choices interact with human principles and can result in unforeseen consequences. Alessio Brini, PhD, instructor for Machine Learning for FinTech advised students to identify and focus on what interests them most because “finding your passion is key for being successful”. Marvin Chang just joined the core faculty to teach FinTech Product Development, which will give students a toolkit for designing fintech products. He will also teach Financial institutions, products and services, a class which will help students  acquire skills to develop interest rate forecasting models, asset management methodologies, and time value of money applications. Jake Vestal, who teaches Financial Analysis and Advanced Algorithm Trade Systems has invited the students to compete in the Intercollegiate Trading Competition where “student traders from around the world create paper trading accounts at Interactive Brokers and trade anything they want, including stocks, bonds, options, futures, currencies, crypto, and any of the other products offered by Interactive Brokers.”

 Students attended a career workshop to learn about their strenghts and how to use them