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Alumni News July 12, 2023

Alex Aronovich (MFin ’23) reflects on his time at Princeton on the heels of graduation

Mission Accomplished: Alex Aronovich (MFin ’23) reflects on his time at Princeton on the heels of graduation.

In 2016, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Alex Aronovich started his career as a business analyst with Censeo Consulting Group in Washington, DC. He then became a Fulbright scholar in Brazil. Following this fellowship, Aronovich became a senior research assistant at the Federal Reserve Board in the Monetary & Financial Market Analysis Section. 

After these illuminating experiences in the financial and governmental spheres, Aronovich wanted to expand his understanding and dive deeper into the theoretical aspects of finance while enhancing his practical expertise. This led him to apply for Princeton University’s Master in Finance program through the Bendheim Center for Finance.

Now, newly graduated from the program, Aronovich looks back on his time at Princeton as he begins the next chapter of his career and life. Currently, Aronovich is a Macro Analyst at Balyasny Asset Management in NYC, where he completed his summer internship last year.

Lindsay Bracken, BCF’s Manager of Career Development and External Relations, recently reached out to Aronovich for his perspective on the program as one of its most recent graduates.

If you’re a Princeton BCF alumnus who’s reached a milestone in your career, we’d love to hear from you. Reach out to Bracken ( to stay in touch and tell your story.

Bracken: What motivated you to pursue a master’s degree in finance after obtaining your bachelor’s in economics? And how did you choose Princeton? 

Aronovich: After working on some research in the field, I wanted to go deeper into the theoretical foundations of finance and quantitative methods. I was also really interested in more macro-focused coursework and trying out an internship in this area. Princeton was the perfect fit for these; it allowed me to take the hallmark courses of mathematical finance while having ample flexibility to choose electives. I also thought the smaller size of the program would be a great fit, and, indeed, this really helps in getting to know your classmates.

Bracken: Did the program or any courses, in particular, alter or affirm your career goals in any way? 

Aronovich: Definitely. While I knew I was interested in interest rates, the conceptual beauty of the FIN521 fixed income course made it fun to learn. I really enjoyed going deep into a couple of statistics courses—it affirmed both the power of some of these tools but also the need for parsimony. 

I also had the feeling that a macro role on the buy side would be a good fit for me, and the program provided the opportunity to experience this during my summer internship. That solidified my interest to continue in this type of role full-time after graduation.

Bracken: What were your favorite courses in the program?

Aronovich: That’s a tough choice. But the standouts include FIN580 (Quantitative Data Analysis in Finance), which had a perfect mix of theory and practice; learning the theory of certain high-dimensional statistical methods as well as the nitty-gritty of how to tune them in the most theoretically-acceptable ways was definitely very interesting, and something I have used a lot. FIN 521 (Fixed Income: Models & Applications) was kind of a tour through the history of mathematical finance leading up to methods of interest rate derivative pricing. I also took Professor Mian’s SPI582F (Topics in Economics: House of Debt: Understanding Macro & Financial Policy) course about the linkages between financial markets and the macroeconomy and loved every minute of it.

Bracken: You were involved in several research projects during your time at Princeton. Can you share more about your papers and comment on the importance of research in grad school?

Aronovich: While master’s programs tend not to be research-focused per se, I personally love to work on research and found that there are always opportunities to develop new ideas for projects or continue previous ones. While some of these were continuations of work I had started at the Fed, being at Princeton helped stimulate new ideas and deepened my intuition for the best choice of statistical method. I also took a course in computational cognitive science, which cultivated an interest in the cognitive mechanisms involved in pricing option-like instruments without a formula. Beyond being a lot of fun, research helps you think out of the box, which I think is useful across the industry.

Bracken: Can you describe your Fulbright program opportunity in Brazil? What was its impact on you personally and professionally?  

Aronovich: I was an English Teaching Assistant working at a university in Caxias do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, in the south of Brazil. I wouldn’t trade this time for anything; I had a great opportunity to learn about a new part of Brazil that I had never been to, improve my Portuguese, meet great people, and travel around. Professionally it was also very valuable; I had the time to introspect about what I wanted to do next and to improve my skills to move in that direction.

Bracken: What are your plans after graduation? How did Princeton BCF’s Career Services department help you throughout the program and in regard to your placement?

Aronovich: I will be working at Balyasny Asset Management as a Macro Analyst through their rotational program. In this role, I will work on different macro-focused trading desks.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of BCF’s career services in helping me with this process. Even before arriving on campus, BCF was preparing us for the upcoming internship recruiting process. Once we arrived on campus, we had many informational sessions and a career boot camp where we met potential employers and alumni who offered great advice. These sessions were very important for me, and one of them resulted in discovering a match for an internship. BCF was always there to support me with interview advice and to discuss how things were going. Even during my internship, BCF’s career services were very helpful in providing advice to make the most of the experience.

Bracken: What advice do you have for current and future MFin students? 

Aronovich: Enjoy the ride, and make time for great conversations with your classmates. Take some of the classic courses but don’t be afraid to venture off and take a course that no one has taken before. On your walk to class, don’t forget to look up sometimes and enjoy the beautiful campus—you’ll miss these walks soon!

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