This is the ninth article in Bears Doing Big Things, a weekly column celebrating the stories of notable M-A alumni. Read last week’s article here.

“The aspect of M-A I remember the most is the people. It was so fun getting to know everyone! There are so many amazing teachers who are really passionate about broadening their students’ horizons,” said Elley Goldberg, a recent graduate from MIT with a degree in Mathematics who now works as a derivatives trader at Morgan Stanley.

At M-A, Goldberg was a journalist on the MArk magazine staff who especially enjoyed her English and history classes. “I was kind of on the history train throughout high school,” she said, “but when I started taking higher level math courses in college, I found them super interesting and fun. I especially enjoyed a class called Numerical Analysis which involved a lot of approximation algorithms, and Computational Linear Algebra. I only took one or two math classes per semester so I was also able to explore other interests. My Pre-Modern China and Modern African History classes at MIT were very cool.”

Working at Morgan Stanley, Goldberg explained, bridges her interests in history and math. “I like knowing what’s going on in the world and the context of why things are the way they are. Financial markets are impacted a lot by current events, so you have to stay up to date on macroeconomics.” In finance, a derivative is a contract whose value is dependent on an underlying asset. Commonly used assets include stocks, bonds, and currencies. Traders like Goldberg use derivatives to speculate how the values of these assets will change over time.

In her free time, Goldberg enjoys going to workout classes with her friends. She said, “the whole reformer pilates movement is slightly gimmicky, but it’s also fun!” At MIT, Goldberg was involved in a club that did dance classes and math tutoring for middle school girls in Boston. She explained, “We would do an hour of dance and an hour of one-on-one tutoring and mentorship with the girls. I always had so much fun with them!”

Goldberg’s advice to current M-A students: “For people going into college, I feel like there’s a lot of debate over whether you should do the fun humanities stuff that you enjoy or if you should be going to college to learn hard specific skills and prepare yourself for a career.

I was really thinking about that my senior year of high school, but looking back I think I was unnecessarily worried. You can do both at really any university. You aren’t going to be forced to choose between STEM and the humanities or specialize in one specific thing if you don’t want to. If you go in the liberal arts direction, definitely take a few technical classes like data science, statistics, or introductory coding. It doesn’t take a lot of time to become somewhat proficient and those skills are important.

Also, stay open-minded about your future and just see what opportunities come your way. Don’t be afraid to change your mind or switch paths.”

On her favorite books, Goldberg said, “I recently read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, about the inner workings of the restaurant industry, which was very interesting. I also really enjoyed Invisible Man—which I never would’ve made it through on my own—but we read it in one of my M-A English classes and it was great.”


Disclaimer: Bears Doing Big Things is not meant to be a list ranking the most accomplished or famous M-A graduates on Earth. It is a collection of people with a wide range of expertise, opinions, and stages of life who were kindly willing to share their stories. All have wisdom, entertaining anecdotes, and book recommendations to share. There are 45,000+ additional accomplished M-A alums out there, so keep an eye out for them!

Caroline Pecore is a senior in her first year of journalism. Her column, "Bears Doing Big Things," runs every Monday. She enjoys meeting new people through journalism and writing about the M-A community. Outside of school, she spends most of her time rowing for Norcal Crew and also enjoys reading, drawing, and exploring the outdoors.

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