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Proof that Brevan Howard only hires über-qualified, elite, quantitative graduates

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Think it’s tough gaining a graduate job in an investment bank? Try securing a graduate trainee job at the notoriously secretive hedge fund, Brevan Howard.

Like many hedge funds, Brevan Howard hires a handful of graduate recruits each year, and sets the bar ludicrously high. It tends to favour students from Imperial College for its London office (founder Alan Howard is an Imperial alumnus), having invested £20.1m so the school can set up a research centre in financial economics. However, this is merely one of many factors it demands from its junior recruits.

This week two new graduate trainees have been given FCA approval at Brevan Howard’s U.K office. The conclusion? In order to get through the door you have to be highly qualified, highly quantitative and have the sort of academic excellence that would leave even investment banking recruiters open-mouthed.

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Take James Solano, who joined in May but was given FCA clearance earlier this month. He has a PhD from Imperial College London, having spent nearly four years working on a paper called “Numerical Modelling of Melt Segregation in and Around Sill Intrusions”. Anyone? He also has a first class Masters in Physics from Bristol University, during which time he gain the George Pugh Memorial Prize for ‘outstanding contribution to the life of the school and the wider student community’.

Impressed? Well, Solano also spend seven months working for NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Not a single investment banking internship is present on his CV.

Another graduate the be accepted into the fold at Brevan Howard, Alexi Esmail-Yakas, has a BA in Mathematics from Oxford University and an Msc in Theoretical and Applied Fluid Dynamics from the University of Manchester. He also knows C++ and has worked on structuring asset backed securities at French investment bank Natixis.

The implication of the two hires is that Brevan Howard has both a tiny intake of graduates each year and the barriers to entry are abnormally high.

The $40bn hedge fund has been going through a rough patch, having suffered its biggest monthly loss since 2008 in June, and has been showing a number of senior traders the door. It’s known for being intolerant of underperformance, so being a high-achieving, highly ambitious student will prepare you for what’s to come once you take the role.

More recently, it’s also been hiring, having taken on Asif Ghiawadwala, who was formerly co-head of foreign exchange options at Westpac, and Giampaolo Serra as a client manager, who was previously working at Man Group.

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