Monday, October 27, 2008

UC Berkley to offer degrees in Financial Engineering

Next Monday, the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley is having an afternoon panel lecture for business school students seeking degrees and jobs in their newly invented field of financial engineering. Is the use of "engineering" here the same as in "electrical engineering"? Or does "financial engineering" refer to doing finance while erroneously drinking lots of alcohol - "financial in-Gin-erring" (which watching Wall Street implode is a reasonable alternative). UC Berkeley is one of the leading engineering schools and one of the leading business schools, so their use of the word means much. If in their minds, and the minds of other universities offering degrees in financial engineering, is that "engineering" is being used in the same way as with "electrical engineering" and "chemical engineering", i.e., applied science, then FOR ALL YOU IDIOTS - business methods belong to a technical field of knowledge. To all of the anti-Bilski people (at least those of your whose financial firms are not bankrupt) - either learn the science and engineering or shut up. Consider the flyer for the panel lecture, and notice the words used: "The recent explosive growth and current events in quantitative finance have led mathematics, physics, computer science, economics and engineering students of all levels to wonder whether a career in quantitative finance is right for them." Notice all of the fields of students they suggest this pathway: mostly fields of science and engineering as preparation for a career in financial engineering - how can anyone (outside PTO/EPO management) deny that there is much that is technical - applied science - here? The flyer continues: "With the rapid increase in sophisticated quantitative and computational techniques employed in financial firms there has been increasing demand for students with highly quantitative backgrounds to work in the financial field." "For more information, please visit the the Berkeley MDE Master's in Financial Engineering program," So the PTO, EPO, CAFC, House of Lords, etc., all must ask themselves one question here: is this use of "engineering" the same as when the word is used in phrases like "electrical engineering"? If so, many business methods are as technical as anything else is technical. When Wall Street bond traders are using quantum field theory to calculate interest rates, what idiot denies they are not being technical - not engaged in engineering? When Wall Street traders subscribe to the montly "Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities", are they deluding themselves as to the relevance of "technical"? No.