CQF Alumni Story: Leo Cerina, Market Risk Associate, J.P. Morgan
I am originally from Italy but moved to France where I did a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics. However, I quickly realized that I wanted to do something in finance instead. At the time, my English was not great, so I decided to move to Sydney, Australia to work on the language. Whilst in Sydney, I did an internship with someone who was doing automated trading in the foreign exchange market, which led to an internship with a firm in Luxembourg, also in FX. It was good to be there and gain some industry experience, even though it was back-office job, but I knew I needed further education to advance professionally.
I decided to do a master’s degree in finance, after which I took a job in Madrid in banking and insurance. After a friend of mine got a job at JP Morgan, I decided to apply as well, and I was hired as an assistant in the market risk group in the UK. After a while, one of the guys I was working with told me I should consider doing the Certificate in Quantitative Finance (CQF). I looked into the program and thought it seemed very interesting and a good challenge for me, so decided to enroll.
Studying the CQF was intense. I was working full time, studying at night, and then going back to work again in the morning. Weekends were busy with my studies too, so that was my whole life for six months. I graduated in January and at the same time, a new role became available in market risk at JP Morgan, which I applied for right away. There were some technical questions in the interview, but quite a few of the topics had been covered on the CQF. Between my past experience and my new knowledge from the CQF program, I was able to take that role. This year I moved to Paris and am now in market risk with JP Morgan there.
There were some technical questions in the interview, but quite a few of the topics had been covered on the CQF. Between my past experience and my new knowledge from the CQF program, I was able to take that role.
One of the things I liked the most about the CQF was the chance to learn from practitioners and pioneers. The way the CQF faculty explained things made them seem so easy. They were so clear, concise, and patient with their teaching. There were many good lecturers and I learned a lot in each module.
The CQF moves very fast, so make sure you are ready to start on time and keep up. It is a good idea to start studying in advance with the primers if you can, especially if you have been out of school for a while. You will have access to a lot of material and very smart people on the CQF so it’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in quant finance. If you look at the CQF Institute and the Lifelong Learning options as well after you graduate, you will be able to continue to learn more about the subjects you are interested in, now and in the future.
You will certainly learn a lot on the CQF and when you add this credential to your past academic and work experience, you bring a whole package to job interviews.