How Stevens Plugged into a Changing Wall Street to Create a Leading Quant Program
Stevens and Wall Street have always been neighbors, but there was little to no significant partnership between the two — until the university's School of Business began exploring the addition of new academic programs in finance in the early 2000s.
The timing was perfect: the financial industry was also at a crossroads, transitioning from a relationship-based business to a largely technology-driven model. Professor George Calhoun, a veteran of the telecommunications industry, sketched out the curriculum for a bold new Quantitative Finance program over long lunches with Wall Street managers, whose struggles to recruit quant-minded graduates with strong math and programming skills represented a unique opportunity for Stevens.
“The QF program is based on the premise that any job in finance today is a high-tech job — asset management, trading, risk, audit or insurance,” notes Calhoun. “They’re all driven by the same set of requirements.”
Once the curriculum had been outlined — including topics such as time series analytics, data structures, algorithms and optimization — Calhoun knew he needed a high-tech environment where students could learn lessons. One that mirrored the split-second world of finance.
Enter Stevens alumnus Sean Hanlon ’80, CEO of Hanlon Investment Management and a keen believer in technology’s ability to solve problems in finance. Through his support, Stevens' leading-edge Hanlon Financial Systems Lab opened in 2012; a second Hanlon Lab for Financial Analytics and Data Visualization followed in 2016, sporting industry-leading tech.
Since then, the QF program has become a tremendous success. Many students secure internships on Wall Street, and in most years every graduate of the program is hired — or enrolls in a graduate school — within six months of Commencement. Now that's a return on investment.