France is famous for its quants because of one woman - El Karoui. She is an architect in quantitative analysis and has been instrumental in shaping France's academic institutions. In general, quants are using the computers to tell them what/when to buy and sell, and quants requires a deep level of mathematics and algorithms.
Head of US equity and derivatives department in BNP Paribas, Amine Belhadj told that El Karoui "played a crucial role in finding interns when the bank began handling derivatives for clients in 1989."
El Karoui is leading "Probability and Finance" course, and banking headhunters sought after the 75 or so students that were being tutored in this course. For example - Rama Cont, a former student and now Professor of Mathematics and Chair in Mathematical Finance at Imperial College London. The programme was the first of its kind to teach complex derivative pricing.
"Probability and Finance" course is now one of the most prestigious programmes in quantitative finance in the world operated by École Polytechnique and the Pierre and Marie Curie University.