Moneyball has come to corporate treasuries as executives learn to win big games with small budgets by leveraging the talent they have and shrewdly drafting young players. The "velocity of change" is moving treasuries farther and farther away from "what worked yesterday" in hiring, says Brian Kalish, finance practice lead at the Association for Financial Professionals.

Microsoft's Shruti Kulkarni is a good example of how treasuries recruit and deploy new skills. Kulkarni, 33, graduated from India's University of Mumbai in 1999 with a degree in computer science and worked three years at Tata Consultancy Services in Mumbai, creating software solutions for financial firms and polishing her skills in computer modeling and quantitative analysis. After completing an M.B.A. in finance at Seattle University's Albers School of Business, she joined Microsoft as a risk analyst in 2005, working under Doug Hoch, a statistical modeling expert with a Ph.D. in chemistry. Microsoft's quantitative risk analysis at that point focused on the company's multibillion-dollar investment portfolio.

Having a risk modeling scientist on staff was a smart move in 2005 and looked even smarter in 2008 when the economy tanked and risk modeling became vital for activities beyond investing.

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