Blog Post from MEng ’14 John-Marcus Phillips
One of the most intriguing aspects of the MEng program at Berkeley is the capstone project. It’s been amazing to hear first-hand accounts of the research & development of various projects that range from creating a low-cost device to prevent blindness in developing countries, to developing the next generation of Internet security frameworks, and even building commercially viable private drones. UC Berkeley is on the cutting edge with some of today’s leading innovations, and it’s been an experience to be in the thick of it.
It all starts with the capstone selection process, which is intense, but in a good way. Two weeks before the rest of campus arrives for the fall semester, the entire MEng cohort shows up to dive into management & leadership case studies and to begin the selection process. The pace of information is rapid, but it’s incredibly stimulating to have direct access to so many innovative research opportunities.
Having returned to graduate school after three years of work experience as a derivative trader at a New York investment bank and then two more years in the Internet space, this was the type of environment I sought to accelerate my career. I ultimately decided to work on a project titled “Simulated Investment Fund & Technology Blindside Analysis” with Professor Ikhlaq Sidhu. Along with my teammates, I’ve identified Internet-based behavioral data that improves the accuracy of forecasting stock price movements. I’m blown away by how much we’ve accomplished; our progress is a direct result of the talent caliber within the MEng cohort.
Additionally, the support available at UC Berkeley further enhances the capstone experience. Each project usually has at least one industry sponsor as well as a Berkeley faculty advisor. Depending on the project, industry sponsors can range from large Silicon Valley-based tech companies to Bay Area start-ups to small hedge funds, so there’s something for everyone. Lastly, the entire Berkeley community is very collaborative, so it’s not difficult to find someone who can suggest an idea on how to get around any roadblock that might present itself.
John-Marcus’ concentration is Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR). Learn more about JM on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-marcus-phillips/38/632/341