Need some advice to choose between apprenticeship and MSc in Finance ESCP

Hi Everyone,

I've been a long time lurker on this forum and honestly you guys helped me a lot, so I'd like to first thank you all ! 

To give you a brief presentation of my background, I'm currently finishing my gap year after a BSc in Pure Math and a MSc in Applied Math and Statistics at Paris Dauphine University - PSL which is afaik kind of target for S&T in Europe, at least for some of its masters (MSc 203 and 272). I'd like to work either in S&T in a BB, or, if it's possible in a Quant HF (think Citadel, D.E Shaw , Jane Street ...) as a Quant Trader / Market Maker.

I managed to secure 2 internships in Exotic Derivatives Trading in French Banks (SG/BNP/Natixis) during my gap year and a Summer Intership as a Data Scientist during my BSc. 

The problem is that right now I'm facing a dilemma : I've been admitted to the MSc in Finance of ESCP (I have until July 8th to give accept or decline, but I come from a poor background, so I'd rather not have to spend the extra 26kE ), an MSc in Applied Maths in apprenticeship (still at Paris Dauphine but definitely not target), and I'm waitlisted for the MSc 272 in Quantitative Finance also in apprenticeship. 

I already received two apprenticeship offers: QIS Structuring at Natixis and Systematic Indexes Structuring at BNP AM, and I'm still waiting for the final response for a Quantitative Trading position at Tikehau Capital. 

On one hand, the missions at Natixis are much better; however, the pay is slightly lower than BNP and the name is less appealing. On the other hand, I don't know if the name BNP (especially since it's BNP AM) is worth doing less interesting work to my view for a whole year, and I don't know if it will have that much of an impact on my future applications. All advice are welcome because I feel kind of lost, I don't know what is the right choice in order to see my ambitions come to fruition ... 

P.S : Sorry for possible english mistakes, this is not my mother tongue :) 

Comments (19)

Jul 1, 2022 - 9:52am
WSO Monkey Bot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey Prospect in IB - CB, I swear if I had a silver banana for every lonely thread I posted too I'd be richer than @compbanker ...

More suggestions...

I hope those threads give you a bit more insight.

  • Prospect in IB - CB
Jul 6, 2022 - 5:02am

Hmm, it will depend greatly on the asset class on which you trade and the type of product. For instance, Cash Equities Trading will require close to no mathematical abilities whereas Exotic Derivatives Trading will require at least BSc level kind of math. But to be fair some Calculus, basic Mental math, and the ability to reasonate logically should suffice.  

Jul 6, 2022 - 5:11am
Matsby, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My undergraduate degree is in finance, and I have not studied too much mathematics. What other math courses do you think need to be supplemented? If I choose the latter desk. Thanks a lot!!

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Jul 7, 2022 - 3:51am
DeltaDecay, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Natixis is a trading oriented firm. Dont look at the pay at the start of your career. If you're good the pay will come. I am assuming you are French. Trust me if you want to work in France, Natixis is not a name people will look down on. The people who only look down are mostly the one's who have just entered into their role.

Now ESCP will open doors since it is a Grande Ecole but hey work your ass of at apprenticeship and join Natixis when its over. If you're a hard worker you will find a job. Furthermore, I would not be as worried especially if you landed an equity derivs role at SocGen since they are the best in that space globally.

Should you take ESCP or Paris-Dauphine I cannot help with that. Like i mentioned ESCP will open more doors but if you are willing to work hard you will land safely. I dont see the difference between starting FT in structuring at GS vs starting FT in SocGen/BNP/Credit Agricole/Natixis working there 2 years and then moving to GS. Do you? :)

Jul 8, 2022 - 10:38am
DeltaDecay, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Depends on what kind of trading you want to do. Exotic products, options, structuring i think financial mathematics and stuff will be very useful.

In France, if you go to HEC, ESCP or ESSEC MFin on MiM you will get the same opportunities. Just that MFin will take 1 year where the courses will be cramped into that time frame and GE will be over 1.5-4 years. Depends on what you prefer tbh.

Also, go to the WSO meets at Paris. I know a guy got into an IB from one of the non GE schools because he met some guys at the WSO Paris meet who forwarded his CV internally. Like i said as long as you work hard and hustle you will be fine.

Jul 8, 2022 - 10:44am
Matsby, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly Ge might be my better choice because I can get many internships during 4 years, which means a higher opportunities to get a better trader job. (Consider I'm a Chinese without any internships in Europe before )1-year MiF can't offer me job in Europe actually. And do you think FICC Trader requires mathematics?

Jul 8, 2022 - 10:54am
DeltaDecay, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm not in banking so cannot really comment on how much maths is required across interest rates desk. But, in general yes if you do not have any internships in Europe then GE is the better option since you can get 2 internships within that time frame. Furthermore, ESSEC GE allows apprenticeships as well which is an added advantage. My most important piece of advice that I can give you is if you do not know French, focus on learning that to the point that should be your highest priority. Will make it much more easier in landing jobs in Paris.

Jul 8, 2022 - 8:32pm
Matsby, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks! Do you think what GE teaches in classes can provide enough Financial Mathematics knowledge to work in, for example, options desk as a traders? Or the pure mathematics is necessary? And what do you think of the career development of the traders? (Traders can not end up as PM)

  • Prospect in IB - CB
Jul 9, 2022 - 5:49am

For what I know, the courses in Business Schools will only cover the basics of Financial Mathematics without going too deep into the theory as it's very practice oriented. You will probably need to work a bit on your own if you want to master thoroughly the subject of option pricing and hedging, but I don't think that it is required for most desk of option trading. This will greatly depend on the bank, SocGen and BNP go pretty hard during trading interview with Stochastic Calculus proofs or proofs using No Arbitrage Theory, whereas friends of mine who ended up at GS literally had no technical questions, only fit. 

For the second question I'm not informed well enough on the subject sorry ! 

Most Helpful
Jul 11, 2022 - 4:34am
DeltaDecay, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I know a guy who did GE and is currently on the options desk at a a tier 1 BB. Furthermore, there are courses on Financial mathematics if you want to go down that path. The guy who is on the options desk did not have a mathematics background. So I would say you have an advantage. GE course for example will teach you the basics of option theory (first order derivatives). It will be up to you to learn about second order derivatives and stuff but I'm sure you can pick it up. A desk would first expect you to know the basics theoretically and how it can be affected in real world examples. No use knowing theory if you cannot explain how it will be in practice.

Knowing options theory deeper, and there are multiple good books on this topic (Hull for basic, Dynamic Hedging by Taleb, Volatility Trading by Euan Sinclar, Option Trading: Pricing and Volatility Strategies and Techniques by Euan Sinclair, Volatility smile by Emauel Derman, Stochastic Calculus by Steven Shreve if you want to learn the math side of it, and there's another book on option risk that i dont rememeber anymore) you can do much better. 

Like i said i have limited knowledge since I'm not at a bank but given i was prepping for it at one point in my life GE can prep you for options desk. but as mentioned before if you going to France learn French. That will be your biggest hindrance. 

In terms of career development i think a Trader is the final position on the sell side. What i've picked on from this site is you can then go to buy side but i do not have much knowledge so cannot really comment.

Edit: Also at GE sometimes the options courses are taught by practitioners. Most student fail the class because let be honest without a mathematics/engineering background options is not an easy subject to pick up. But given your background I'm pretty sure it will be up your alleyway.

  • Prospect in IB - CB
Jul 8, 2022 - 11:53am

Yes as you guessed one of my roles was at SocGen in the EXO desk :) Other people told me that I shouldn't worry that much about the name since I already have SocGen in my CV, and that, furthermore previous interns and apprentices managed to secure solid positions in various BB

Eventually, I accepted the offer at Natixis, I will work there for 1 year as a QIS Structurer. I'll consider in the future whether or not I choose to work FT there, or maybe by the time I will receive offers for summer internships or graduate programs, only time will tell.

Also, Paris Dauphine is a special status university, some of its degrees are GE (all those finance related afaik) :) 

Thanks again for the advice DeltaDecay !

Jul 12, 2022 - 3:26am
qweadgadfgdsfgdfgd fgsdf, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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