UNIGE Master of arts in international trading, Commodity finance & shipping

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.

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Comments (48)

Best Response
Dec 31, 2016 - 1:21am

The Master of arts in international trading, Commodity finance & shipping at Université de Genève is unique.
It combines the academics of an international university in Genève 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 Sàrl, Koch Supply & Trading Sàrl, 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.

  • 5
Jan 1, 2017 - 11:27pm

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?

Jan 2, 2017 - 12:10pm

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
Jan 2, 2017 - 5:15pm

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

  • 1
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Jan 1, 2017 - 7:10am

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.

Jan 2, 2017 - 2:36am

Before comparing Cass Business School with Université de Genève, 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 Genève.

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 Université de Genève. It's two different schools of thought.

That's how I would define them.

  • 2
Jan 2, 2017 - 6:47pm

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.

Jan 5, 2017 - 4:08pm

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
Jan 16, 2017 - 7:20pm

For those interested in the Program, just wanted to say that I spoke with an admissions representative at UNIGE today and she said for those without EU work authority, it is difficult to get a sponsorship (4-9% of foreigners typically get placed). To me, the inability to take advantage of working in the field and developing experience while in the program severely devalues the experience. Can't speak to others opinions but it seems an entry level position at a commodity house, or even somewhere down the value chain, would be more relevant and applicable as compared to forgoing salary for 2 years and living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Best of luck to you all in whatever you decide to pursue.

Feb 24, 2017 - 8:44am

I guess i'm too late...
What did she tell you? Would you be willing to share your experience?
I'm interested how many places there are/how big the class is and the GMAT requirements
This program looks really decent.

Feb 25, 2017 - 10:14am

Sure thing. Well I expected the talk to be very formal but she was really supportive and clear about what they can and can not do for their students. It felt more like she is trying to open the door for people into the industry and not so much like just selling the program.

First things first....the GMAT. The minimum score is 500 and she told me that 600 is just fine(my 650 felt like total overkill). I read that about 120 people apply and that the class size is somewhere around 30.

They don't have any language requirements and according to her a lot of people don't bother to lern any french at all.

They changed the program format because they are seeking some further accreditation and therefore have to offer this more academic pathway also. If you are not interested in 2 more years of studying and rather choose to work then you could do that from February the earliest.

As far as finding work goes...they don't provide students with any help what so ever. She referred me to the STSA site (https://stsa.swiss/stsa/members) and told me that students just cold call the firms themselves. Well, no help is maybe not fair...there will be a jobs fair around October. The sense I got though was that it is totally up to us to land a job and when we do, we have to stay there for 2 years or pay back the tuition fees.

It was very difficult to get anything out of her concerning the compensation. It was my first time in Switzerland and paying 9€ for a beer just seems ridiculous so I really needed to know if it is possible to get by on the kind of money students get...and I got a clear, yes! She couldn't talk about the actual amounts because that varies significantly(experience, type of shop, ...) but she said I could rent a room for around 700francs and have enough left to get by.

Oh and btw she even mentioned St.Gallen and that people get into the business that way too. They have a few commodity related classes and the head of the MBF program told me that they want to expand on it. They also got approached by some trading association to partner up with them next year. The class size will shrink though, to 120 people next year(average GMAT of this year's class: 729).

That's pretty much it. I hope it helps.

Nov 28, 2017 - 11:16am

Hello all,

I had some questions regarding the program?
How competitive is it to get into this master in Geneva?
To give you some context, I am currently a student at Columbia University in a Master of Financial Engineering. I started this master after working a year in New York in Sales and trading at Societe Generale (french bank for people not familiar to it). I thought that studying financial engineering would be enjoyable but it turns out it is only math, math and math. No application whatsoever. I am pissed with my situation and after talking to people in the commodity industry, I have decided to change my career aspirations. I have been trying hard to get into the commodity trading industry, applying to Glencore, Trafigura and other graduate programs....without success so far.
I was thinking about the master of commodity trading in Geneva to get my foot into the door and learn more about this specific industry.

Here is my concern. My grades at Columbia so far really suck. I got destroyed in very difficult exams on Stochastic processes which really lowered my GPA. To compensate for that I still have a 3.9 GPA from my undergrad but the results from my current degree are just not on par with my previous performance academically speaking(meaning around 2.8).... Does anyone know how competitive the admission is for the program?
I contacted people in companies in Geneva to clear the ground and prepare for potential interviews if I was to be accepted. All I basically need is to optimize my application and make sure I get in.
Your advice would be really appreciated :)
Thanks !!!

Dec 16, 2017 - 11:53pm

non written rule but nonetheless very **important **rule, a non-swiss must be twice or triple good as the swiss to be considered in the Geneva Job Market.

Frenchman or European whatsoever, you are still a "Foreign" to the eyes of a Swiss company. Just "exceptional" to be hired a non-Swiss

My estimation this year at the UNIGE only 2 out of 10 foreigner had an internship,
(two Shes). One is two totally freaking hot from could break the hearts of many. she is from albania. think about the most sublime and Exotic Don't say but...Yes- also it does

  • 1
Dec 15, 2017 - 8:19am

Hello,

Thanks for sharing your opinion.
Can you develop more on the non-swiss thing?
I did not know that all the students in the UNIGE master were in majority Swiss nationals.
Were you a student in the program this year?
Shoot me a PM. Maybe we can discuss a little bit more about this.

Cheers!

Jan 28, 2018 - 10:09pm

Seems as if once again the program has been changed. Back to mandatory traineeship as of the first semester, e.g. September 2018, or else no enrollment.
I really dig this program, but this troubles me somewhat. Why would they change it to change it the very next year? Maybe because the academic path was shit. Maybe because of the new Dean. Probably both.

Apr 9, 2018 - 10:38am

I have got a conditional offer from them. There will be 12-13 companies recruiting, mostly trading houses and similar, a few banks and a consultancy. Is that a good number?

Jun 8, 2021 - 8:25pm

Hi,

I am an engineer with 2 years of work ex in the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen,UK. I have an Indian passport. Will a high GMAT score be enough for me to get into this course? Will it be possible for me to apply for internships if I am accepted?

regards

Jun 8, 2021 - 8:42pm
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