Master of Financial Engineering Program

Laptop Requirements - FAQ

Why do I need a laptop?
In terms of our program, a laptop will facilitate your communication with your classmates in team projects. Our collaborative project laboratory uses WiFi (802.11b/g) technology which will connect your laptop to the Haas Network and the Internet. WiFi will also allow you to communicate and share information directly with your teammates. While there are some workstations available for specialized data access and heavy-duty number crunching, our main lab is designed for laptops.

In terms of the your career beyond the MFE program, having a laptop is a standard requirement in most jobs. The machine that you use here will most likely be part of your work life while you are involved in your internships and after you graduate.

What specifications should my new laptop meet?
We recommend the following specifications when purchasing a new laptop.

I have an older computer that does not meet these specifications. Do I have to buy a new one?
You are welcome to try and use your old computer. However, you will rely on your laptop during the entire MFE program. Thus, it is in your best interest to meet these minimum specifications. If you have questions or concerns please contact the MFE Lab Manager.

Why do I need Windows 7?
Windows XP is capable of offering the best performance with the services offered by the Haas Computer Center and is far more stable than previous versions of Windows. In particular, Windows 7 is much easier to set up and operate with the remote access programs and wireless connections offered by Haas.

Can I use Windows XP Home Edition instead of Windows XP Professional Edition?
Haas Computing Services will not provide support for Windows XP Home Edition. There are several key networking functions, such as printing to a Haas network printer, that Home Edition does not support. It is highly recommended that students use Windows XP Professional Edition instead of Windows XP Home Edition.

What is a wireless card, and why do I need one?
It is a device that allows you to connect to the Internet through a radio base unit without the need of a cable and a plug. It uses technology that is referred to as IEEE 802.11b/g/n or WiFi. Wireless cards can either be built-in as an integrated device inside the laptop, a USB dongle, or as a removable PC card.

The Haas School of Business supports WiFi throughout the building. WiFi will be your primary method of connecting your laptop to the Haas Network and the Internet.

Can I use a Apple MacBook/iBook/Powerbook instead of a IBM/PC compatible laptop?
Yes, you may purchase an Apple notebook, but should consider the following before doing so:

1. ECSM will support a majority of the issues that you will encounter but as our environment was built for PC's, particular methods may not work (i.e. printing).

2. You will also be called upon to do team projects, and cross-platform files may be a problem or at least an added burden for you to reformat.

MFE recommends you purchase your laptop in the U.S.
Most laptops only come with a 1-year warranty. If you require warranty service, you typically ship the laptop back to the country in which it was purchased. By purchasing your laptop in the U.S. avoid any delays in receiving warranty service while in the MFE program.

What brand should I purchase?
Most of the major brands have worked well, including Lenovo/IBM, Dell, Sony, and Toshiba.

Where can I buy my laptop?
Purchasing directly from the manufacturer may allow for the highest degree of customization. U.C. Berkeley also resells certain configurations of Dell, Lenovo and Sony laptops through its campus computer store: The Scholars Workstation (TSW). You can also try electronics retailers such as Best Buy, Fry's Electronics/, NewEgg, TigerDirect.