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Dimensional Perspectives

Dimensional Co-CEO and Chief Investment Officer Gerard O’Reilly delivered the commencement address to Fall 2018 graduates of the Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

O’Reilly shared his observations on the power of education, the use and limitations of models, and the softer skills that are critical to real-world success—like empathy, communication, and collaboration.

On mentors:

“If you're interested in a topic, there's almost always somebody who knows more about that topic than you do. Find that person. Make yourself useful to that person. And they will be happy to teach you.”

On learning:

“Learning by doing is an incredibly efficient way to gain knowledge. You're only going to get out of a project what you put into it. Give it your all and you will learn more quickly.”

On models:

“We understand the world through models. And models are wonderful. They’re also false. Every last one of them. They're simplifications of reality. To teach you something, they have to be false.”

On communication:

“People think good ideas speak for themselves. They rarely do. If you can't communicate your ideas clearly and succinctly, you will not be able to influence other people.”

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This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any security for sale. Robert Merton provides consulting services to Dimensional Fund Advisors LP. Eugene Fama and Ken French are members of the Board of Directors of the general partner of, and provide consulting services to, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP. Myron Scholes is an independent director of the Dimensional US Mutual Fund Board. The Dimensional Mutual Fund Board refers to the DFA Investment Trust Company, DFA Investment Dimensions Group Inc., Dimensional Investment Group Inc., and Dimensional Emerging Markets Value Fund Inc.


Dimensional Fund Advisors LP is an investment advisor registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

This publication has been prepared by Dimensional Fund Advisors LP and is provided in Australia by DFA Australia Limited (AFS Licence No.238093, ABN 46 065 937 671).