In the summer of 2016, I was honoured to be selected as one of the students representing the University of Edinburgh Business School to visit Frankfurt – the undisputed financial centre of continental Europe – and to participate in a 3-day master class at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, where I had the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the German economy.
A common theme of all group travels is that it can get very hectic, especially when transporting a bunch of people from one country to another. Despite the slight chaos caused by the thunderstorm and the airline, the university staff did a good job of getting us safely to Frankfurt. Upon arrival, we checked into the beautiful Lindner Hotel – the slightly evil looking building (at night) was located only a river apart from our day 4’s key visit – the Europe Central Bank (ECB).
On the evening of Day 1, at a rather popular local restaurant, Ebbelwoi Unser, we had the opportunity to taste some delicious German food (pork, sausages and mashed potatoes) and drink some traditional German apple wine. As seen by the smile on everyone’s face, we all had a fantabulous night.
After waking up to a delicious breakfast served at the hotel, we were ready to roll. Day 2 was filled with interesting classes. In the morning, Dr. Drexler explained to us a number of unorthodox factors (education system, exports concertation, labour unions and etc.) that are believed to have driven the prosperity of German economy. The afternoon session, held by Mr. Christian Hecker from ING, illustrated the structure, inner workings and current dilemma faced by the German banking system.
The interesting classes, coupled with gorgeous weather, ‘forced’ us to end our day sitting by the poolside at a rooftop bar. Surrounded by buildings with all the big names in the financial world, we felt the energetic side of the city of Frankfurt.
In the morning of day 3, we headed to the 10th largest stock exchange in the world – the Börse Frankfurt. The knowledgeable exchange staff gave us an educational presentation about the history of the exchange and the current technology system used to match buyers and sellers. The quietness present in the exchange makes it difficult not to feel shocked at how much technology has advanced over the past 2 – 3 decades. The old days of stock exchange seemed to be long gone.
In the afternoon of day 3, we had another session at the Frankfurt School, held by portfolio manager Mr. Jakob Munzinger, who walked us through one approach of index tracking. The hands-on iBoxx tracking exercise at the end of the session concluded the educational sessions with everyone learning something practical.
In the evening of day 3, we had the opportunity to meet and chat with students from the Frankfurt school and alumni from both UEBS and the Frankfurt school, over a delicious BBQ. Everyone appeared to have enjoyed the trip so far.
European Central Bank (ECB). Being the first group of visitors at the ECB’s new building, our excitement was truly undeniable. The talk about the history of Euros given by the ECB staff was very interesting. And for someone who is not very familiar with how Euros came into existence, I truly learned a lot.
Overall, our trip to Frankfurt was definitely a meaningful one.
I want to say thank you to the University of Edinburgh and the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management staff for organising such a great trip for us. You guys did an amazing job and deserve all the credit!
P.s. I loved German food!!