12/29/16

Hey all!

Current undergrad student at a target in my country with internship experience in commodities trading. I am looking at my options for when I finish my degree, and am considering various different routes especially seeing as graduate programs (and there are very few openings across the industry in general) are highly competitive. I just started looking at UNIGE's Master of arts in international trading, commodity finance and shipping. How well do students place at the supermajors and commodity houses? How would a degree here stack up against a degree from top EU schools like LSE or Oxford/Cambridge for a career in physical commos? I would appreciate any insight you guys may have into this.

Comments (13)

12/29/16

What intern experience do you have? In Calgary? Honestly you dont need a Masters to get into commodities trading. Direct was hiring a gas scheduler, check if they are. Someone told me Husky is looking for a Summer student in crude marketing....

PM if you want

Financial Modeling

Best Response
12/31/16

The Master of arts in international trading, Commodity finance & shipping at Universite de Geneve is unique.
It combines the academics of an international university in Geneve and practical on-the-job experience in Geneva...
In this 25km2, this is the highest concentration of physical traders anywhere in the world. It's the game level.

The program in partnership with the Swiss Trading and Shipping Association, STSA
David Fransen VITOL, Dominique Le Doeuil CARGILL, Nicolas Tamari SUCAFINA and so much more.

Unlike other programs, they absolutely don't do it for money, think the tuition fees is like 800 USD per year.
It's specialized in energy, shipping softs, dry and concentrates.
As you know, you have to secure a intern/apprenticeship offer with a STSA member to get there.
Usually companies who send people: Mercuria energy trading, S.A Cargill, Duferco, CS, BNP Paribas, Louis Dreyfus Commodities Suisse, Gunvor, ADM International Sarl, Koch Supply & Trading Sarl, Totsa Total Oil Trading, Addax Energy, Socar Trading, ED&F Man, Litasco, Metinvest, Gerald Metals, Englehart Commodities Trading Partners, Bunge, Barry Callebault all kind of specialized traders , gas, petroleum, sugar, cotton, coffee, metals, concentrates.

Classes are held bi-weekly Friday afternoons and Saturday morning.

Some people fly from very far ( even outside of Switzerland), reserve an hotel room in Geneve to attend these Friday afternoon classes Saturday morning... Beyond this they must think their benefits (future employability) from this program is priceless.

It gives an idea of the level of motivation and the caliber of the selectes students as well as the contacts/network you make in Commodity Trading in Switzerland

Think it's world class, and just invaluable.

1/1/17

Seems as if they are changing things up a bit as of 2017. From their website:
''As of September 2017, the master will have a new format and will be called Master in Commodity Trading. Students will start with one semester of core courses, then as of the second semester there will be a choice to either be a full time student or do a part-time traineeship and courses. [...] During the first semester, several core courses are proposed to the students in an inter-disciplinary spirit. From the second semester and for three semesters, the students will be able to take an internship. Additional courses may be followed for 30 ECTS, in lieu of an internship.''

From what I understand, the previous condition for admission into the program which required students to have secured an internship prior to classes starting has been altered/removed? I've been digging on their new admission page and it isn't very clear how the internship comes into play. I understand this is a very specific question, but can anyone shed light on this?

1/2/17

Interesting to see how this is changing. Try reaching out to the programme, hopefully their admin staff is helpful (as opposed to that of many Swiss universities, from what I've heard). I have a friends who work at STSA companies (some have done the master, some have not) and it really seems like a top opportunity.

1/9/17

The sponsor plays a key role.

we know someone who did not really had to write a masters thesis but still got the Masters of Arts.

18 months of classroom plus the hours of internships, enough knowledgeable.

1/2/17

Because the Universite de Geneve wanted to have more freedom to recruit students and not entrust the recruitment to the swiss trading and shipping association STSA[*], the internship will no longer be condition precedent to the admission in the program.

The program is still in partnership but by removing this condition, the STSA will no longer have a veto on recruitment.

[*]My thread on WSO "Cargill-Gen a freeze on new hiring ? no Commercial Management Trainee Program in 2017"posted 20 days ago gave pointers and gave some context.

@UBC1995

12/31/16

someone posted that not alot of firms are sponsoring students this year?

1/1/17

Definitely no harm in applying, easily the best program of it's kind out there. The Shipping and Energy Msc. at Cass are probably distant seconds.

Still, I would do it as a backup if you already have contacts in the industry, not that many people have advanced degrees in commodities, including at the very top firms.

1/2/17

Before comparing Cass Business School with Universite de Geneve, one would first have to define Cass.

Cass being necessarily in London, where there is a strong maritime community with all the financing and related activities has a different market demand than Geneve.

Cass Business School, City University of London: one of the leading business schools for shipping.

Cass has always had a strong base of Greek and Scandinavian ship-owners who wanted to send the next generation of sons and daughters at a good school to prepare them to take over the family business and that's somewhat how they came to develop a Master in Shipping, Trade & Finance.

Among the people who have been at Cass school over the years, there are notorious founders, employees and executives from. Clarkson Research, Stealthgas Inc, Clarksons Platou, Scorpio Bulkers, Inc. Drewry Shipping Consultant Ltd, Howe Robinson Partners, Socatra Group, d'Amico. Arcadia, Hoegh LNG, TEN (Tsakos Energy Navigation), Bank of Greece, DVB Bank SE, Lloyd's Register Group, Nordea Bank, Norge ASA.

The WS banks and City Banks shipping finance-arms of Citigroup GS, HSBC Plc also have Cass alumni.
BP, Shell trading, RCMA Asset Management and I guess a few other physical traders have some.

Their Shipping and Trade is taught more from an investment point of view so I hesitate to draw the direct comparison with Universite de Geneve. It's two different schools of thought.

That's how I would define them.

1/2/17

Sure, I just mean in terms of your odds of getting a job in physical commodity trading job out of it, seems like UNIGE is a more directly applicable program.

I'm not crapping on Cass by any stretch of the imagination. But if you want to do commodity trading, shipping is a good second choice to get there. Part of where I am today is due to getting passing a couple ICS exams despite the fact that very little of that really applies to my job in metals.

1/3/17

I don't know what is "in terms of odds" in the actual context of 2017 nor could suggest the more direct applicability.

However, one thing that I know, after one deal and another: things are not straightforward.
There is no such thing as a plain-vanilla structure in physical commodity/energy trading.

A medium-term deal in Latin America with the usual complices:

The "French oil bank", its Manhattan-branch but with the credit coming from Paris with a banker who did 15 years at Paribas Geneve.
The inspection is done by a swiss-based international warehouse and inspection company.
The insurer is British.
The shipping is executed with a greek-american, both the ceo and his father are Cass Alumni.
A commodity floor provided by at a U.S Bank with the typical NYU and Boston College Alumni.

and the physical trader... with the performance risk resting on its shoulders.

Because of all the 'don't do', wouldn't it be preferable to have a plurality of 'killers' from very different backgrounds but with the hand-on expertise to put you 'off the hook.'

To know which school is better than the other would be rather a futile debate and a pointless venture.

@EnergyHOU

1/5/17

It's a great programme (thinking of applying) but less and less companies are sponsoring positions (hence the change in structure) there are however plenty of top class companies that still sponsor.

The one thing I would say is, if you're at a good school, with relevant experience - then you may not need that masters. Try to get onto an entry level programme - definitely look for those opportunities alongside applying, theres nothing to be lost by doing that.

1/16/17
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