On Track For Success: Alumnus, a Thrower at Stevens, Enjoying Success in Finance
Two Fintech-Flavored Degrees Give Nicholas Krute an Edge at Société Générale
Students at Stevens Institute of Technology are known for their willingness to work hard — a reputation that follows alumni well into their professional careers.
Even among hard workers, though, Nicholas Krute ’18 M.S. ’18 stands out.
Krute, now an electronic market making analyst with Société Générale, simultaneously completed his bachelor’s degree in Quantitative Finance and a master’s in Financial Analytics, both from the School of Business. He did so by overloading on summer courses, all while he was completing two summer internships with Société Générale. On top of that, he competed with the track and field team for four years as a thrower, whose main event was discus.
“Knowing that I would have the opportunity to be a student first was one of the reasons I chose Stevens,” he said.
The other was the Quantitative Finance program. Krute was interested in an engineering program — fitting, as his work today is on the development side of the house — “but on my visit to Stevens, I learned about being a quant, which was interesting to me, and I really liked the job placement rate. Everyone I talked to either had an offer or had done an internship.”
Earning two high-tech finance degrees
Krute said he decided to get the master’s as a member of the Pinnacle Scholars program, which he was able to join thanks to his high GPA. He got involved because it offered him research opportunities — he secured a paid research opportunity as a freshman, developing a forecasting model in R using machine learning, along with a visualization component, to predict equities activity — but it also allowed him to take summer classes to chase a graduate degree. Prof. George Calhoun encouraged him to pursue Financial Analytics after discussing about which master’s degree best fit him.
“Like many students in SMIF, Nick was a good decision-maker — and skilled programmer — who thrived in a real-world setting,” said Dr. Calhoun, director of the QF program. “I thought the Financial Analytics program would give him additional breadth in analytics that would be valuable for his career.”
SMIF — the Student Managed Investment Fund — was one of Krute’s favorite experiences as a student. This two-semester course operates like a simulation of what students can expect from a career on Wall Street, as they manage a portion of the Stevens endowment in creating a high-performing portfolio. In his second semester, Krute served as head of risk for the fund.
“I like the risk side of things, the more technical side,” he said. “One of the things I did in my first semester was to create a couple of R Shiny programs” — web applications using the R language — “for risk screening and simulations. If you proposed investing in a company, but it couldn’t pass the risk screening, you couldn’t pitch the investment.”
Master's degree already paying dividends
His advanced degree, meanwhile, has already paid off — Krute was able to negotiate a higher starting salary when he started at Société Générale, and expects to be promoted to an associate a year faster than he otherwise would have.
“What I learned at Stevens — the applications and the methods — was pretty on par for the workplace,” Krute said. “My Stevens lessons, especially in the master’s program, have been very applicable to my work and are useful even today. I still look back at my notes from time series and modeling lessons once in a while.”
As a Python developer working in an analytics-intensive environment, Krute’s day to day involves a lot of responsibility for the overall health of the systems that connect Société Générale’s traders and the market, to ensure pricing, execution and liquidity are best in class. It’s also a lot of work researching what new developments may be coming online, and how these trends may become core to the business in the near future.
The best days for Krute are the ones where he helps put something new into production — like a new code to improve latency— and no one notices.
“When something goes wrong, within two seconds, you know about it, because the traders are all calling you,” he said with a laugh. “So you could say I enjoy it when my work goes unnoticed.”
That’s fine if you’re wrist-deep in Python, but Krute’s ultimate goal would give him a lot more visibility. One day, he’d like to start a company of his own, probably — continuing the tradition of his SMIF service — in the area of risk management.
“The idea of starting my own thing and running it is something I’d really like to try someday,” he said. “It might not even be in finance — it could be more in the tech space. One thing I learned from professors is that quant, as a career, isn’t as rigid as you think. There are many different ways to specialize, and as someone who enjoys research and learning, I’m happy to keep my options open as I go forward.”