The top universities for C++ engineers
Where you go to study can be as important as what you major in, especially in finance. While front office banking jobs still favor graduates from universities like Harvard, the London School of Economics or Oxbridge, technologists can often study further afield.
In the US, Baruch is known for its C++ expertise. In Europe, there are a number of exceptional universities that finance firms love to hire C++ developers from. And they're not in the West.
Warsaw has the top talent… good luck getting them.
Vax Bahram, partner at headhunting firm Durlston Partners says Polish universities are "where all the best C++ developers used to come from." The best of the lot is probably the Warsaw University of Technology. People like Morgan Stanley exectuive director Martin Tomczak, a C++ developer working on automated market making in London studied there. So did Milosz H. who joined CERN after graduating but has been at hedge fund Jump Trading since 2017.
Bahram also says however that "from 2006 to 2010, Bloomberg had a huge number of developers" which banks used as a source of talent. Recently they've been paying their developers more handsomely making it increasingly difficult to be tempted away.
Croatian and Bulgarian universities on the rise
It's not just Poland though. Bahram says finance firms also hire from universities elsewhere in Eastern Europe. He says the C++ developers at the University of Zagreb, for example, are "also great" but they stand out for having "a lot of great female coders."
Zagreb alumni are particularly popular both with local banks and those further afield. Croatia’s biggest bank, Zagrebačka banka, hired graduate Mare Mistrić Jelčić as head of market and liquidity risk in 2019. Another graduate, Ivana Vuković, worked at both Erste Bank and Raiffeisenbank before she became Zagrebačka’s lead credit risk quantitative analyst.
In London, Zagreb graduate Ivan Mandura worked at JPMorgan before moving to HFT firm XTX Markets while Josip Benčić got a role in options at Citadel Securities. Marija Mijic, another female developer, was brought to London by Morgan Stanley and has since become a commodity trader at Goldman Sachs.
Bulgarian universities are also popular hunting grounds for finance employers. Alumni from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski for example have produced the likes of JPMorgan executive director Lazar Ivanov and Hudson River Trading engineer Emil Baronov.
Why Eastern European Universities have an advantage
The extent that Eastern European universities push their students is a key to their success. Bahram notes that university courses in the Eastern Europe typically last five years when 'pre-course' studies including maths and computing are added in. This makes it easier to master difficult to learn languages like C++.
Russian universities are well known for producing exceptional quant talent. The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, has a number of notable alumni. Anton Pasiechnikov spent 6 years doing a masters there and is now head of market making at fintech Revolut, for example.
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