Talk mathematics of rarefied kind lead success

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“I worked for five years in London,” says Mr. Gaul, who preferred that we not use his real name. His team at a major British bank eventually had about 40 people on it, he said, and of those, at least 75 percent were either French or had a French educational background. Among the elite schools they attended: Paris VI at Jussieu, which has a one-year intensive course in financial math; the ESSEC international business school; and the University of Paris Dauphine. But there are many more where formal mathematics is a strong suit.
Let’s say you want to develop a financial product that will protect investors with huge amounts of money against various movements in the market. “The people who build the models are the technical guys, and those are called the ‘quants,’” says Gaul, “quant” being short for quantitative analyst, although the math may be reminiscent of quantum physics in its incomprehensibility. “Everything is very mathematical in derivatives, and it is pure math, even though we say it is applied mathematics,” says Gaul.
The City of London and Wall Street are full of men and women from France who pass for geniuses, and sometimes they are. The key to their success is the language they speak, but not necessarily that of Camus or Molière. They know how to talk mathematics of a very rarefied kind that most of us find quite impossible to understand. And as the market for derivatives, the exotic financial instruments and


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