Tag: Germany

The invaluable experience of an international elective: A MSc Management trip to Mannheim

After a lengthy exam period, I was certain the other MSc Management students were also looking forward to our trip to Mannheim, Germany.

The Procurement international elective choice took place at the highly reputable Mannheim Business School, its main campus located within Mannheim Palace, one of the largest baroque castles in Europe. Needless to say, we were excited to see it in person.

When we arrived, my jaw dropped as I marvelled at the building. Wow. Mannheim may not have made it onto Germany’s most beautiful cities rankings but the university looked absolutely majestic.

I didn’t want to begin class immediately so I could soak up the atmosphere from the square, among the students congregated on the fine Monday morning.

Lectures commence

We were escorted to the lecture hall where we met Dr. Thorsten Makowski. Thorsten left the impression that he was more than a lecturer, and so it was true; the man loves hiking and he is set to climb Mount Kilimanjaro sometime next year.

Before lectures commenced, he talked about the German culture and briefly about its economy, but I particularly enjoyed his talk on the “mittelstand”– commonly referring to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Most of the establishments around the city are small businesses, and the city does not rely on global corporations to drive the economy. I was pleased by this concept as common traits associated to mittelstand establishments include family ownership, emotional attachment, generational continuity and strong regional ties.

Kicking back in the German vineyards

Fast forward about 36 hours to Tuesday afternoon. After two days of lectures and case study discussions, our hosts were kind enough to take us to the Palatinate wine region. We had a wine tasting in a small yet beautiful winery, followed by dinner in a neighbouring region, where we dined on delicious German cuisine.

Though we has our own friendship circles on the course, I particularly enjoyed the dinner, as we got the chance to mingle with everyone outside the classroom – a different experience altogether.

Socialising with one another in such an environment gave us the opportunity to connect on a deeper level, whether it was football, hobbies or interests, I am glad the dinner forged new friendships that evening.

Facing our true selves

One of the activities which took place during our lecture on Wednesday was the simulation of the infamous prisoner’s dilemma. The “dilemma” faced by the prisoners is that whatever the other does, each is better off confessing than remaining silent. But the outcome obtained when both confess is worse for each than the outcome they would have obtained had both remained silent.

It gave me a true opportunity to learn about myself. I imagined it was the same for everyone else, as some of the students were astonished by their results and others!

Good vibes to end the trip

During the closing ceremony, Dr. Makowski and our hosts reflected upon the three days and if I were to simply put it, there were good vibes flowing around the room.

I felt a sense of accomplishment. Studying in that lecture theatre – albeit beautiful – for three straight days may have sounded daunting, but the overall experiences certainly compensated for that. It was a bittersweet goodbye as we went our separate ways.

Departing from the team

A few of us decided to spend a day in Frankfurt where we would board our flight back to London. Why not experience Frankfurt as it was only an hour away by train, right?

It was undoubtedly a memorable trip and I will cherish the moments I had with a great bunch of people with whom I feel I have made lifelong friendships.

How to maximise your international elective?

If you’re considering taking the leap and joining the Cass MSc Management programme, I have a few words for you. You must attend the international electives. Immerse yourself in areas unfamiliar to you, the experiences will last a lifetime. There are a few prerequisites for you to follow though.

(1) Do your research.

Familiarise yourself with the area you will be based in, and trust me, you will learn and accomplish more.

(2) Use this opportunity to make friends with the students and staff on your course.

You’re not alone, there will be people out there who share the same passions, interests and hobbies as you – I spent a lot of time talking about my religion; football.

By the time you read this, the few of us who once knew nothing about each other prior to the trip, would have played football together at least twice after, reminiscing the great times we had in Mannheim.

(3) Keep a positive attitude.

Make the most of the Cass resources available to you. Such experiences can change your perception on life and make you appreciate who you are.

On a final note..

Oh, and if you are going to Mannheim, bring some Euros along with you, as most of the local bars – serving truly authentic and ice-cold beer – prefer cash. You really think I would have written a post about Germany WITHOUT mentioning beer?

Amit Tolani, MSc Management (2018)

Trip to Frankfurt

Known as “Mainhattan” of Germany because of its impressive concrete skyscrapers which chararacterise its main river skyline, Frankfurt is a dynamic finance and business hub.

Home to the new headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) and one of the largest stock exchanges worldwide, Frankfurt has everything needed to become the leading financial capital in Europe. Moreover, the compact city laying in the heart of Germany, with its charming old town and plenty of social activities, ensures a high standard of living.

As part of the MSc Finance programme, 80 students went on an educational trip to explore Frankfurt. Our group departed from London Heathrow on Thursday 15th February. After quickly checking-in at our hotel, we had the opportunity to relish the first presentation, held by Mr. Alexander Pfister, a renowned lecturer at the University of Mannheim.

Alexander talked about the strengths and weaknesses of the German economy and its transformation. The key lessons learned were that the now flourishing German economy was not always as strong as it is today.

A clear turnaround could be noticed after Germany hosted the FIFA world cup in 2006. This unique opportunity proved to the German population why they should be proud of what they can achieve as a nation. This motivation still holds true today and is broadly represented by the main pillar of the German economy – its middle-class companies.

A refreshing shower and a quick wardrobe change later, all participants went to a traditional apple wine tavern to enjoy dinner. The combination of good food, wine and pleasant classmates created a delightful ambience. Networking events such as this represent one of the strong characteristics of the Cass Business School community and forges strong lifelong friendships.

On our second day we experienced the highlight of our trip: a visit to the European Central Bank. Usually only encountered in television or newspapers, we had the opportunity to visit the institution where all the important decisions for the Eurozone are made.

Entering the impressive building, we could sense the importance of this place. The flags of every nation stood proud in the middle of the entry area and were a popular spot for student photos. After being warmly welcomed, we attended two presentations.

First we received information on the monetary instruments of the ECB, as well as a detailed insight on its current quantitative easing.

Ms Valerie Jarvis, Economist Analyst for the United Kingdom at the ECB,  gave us economic analysis on the current Brexit discussion and its expected impact on the British economy – supporting economic data was presented to illustrate the impact Brexit decision has already had on UK citizens.

One consequence of Brexit could be the movement of several banks from London to other locations. One possible candidate is Frankfurt and therefore we wanted to know more about this financial hub in Germany. A representative from Frankfurt Main Finance, a promoting organisation for Frankfurt, gave us a very detailed overview about the benefits of living and working in Frankfurt.

With its low taxes and rents, as well as its outstanding infrastructure and quality of life, Frankfurt is a very attractive place for banks.

Furthermore, a wide range of business schools and universities provide a talented pool of candidates for the diverse roles. It is no surprise that many banks, such as Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley, have already decided to move to Frankfurt.

We finished this informative day with a presentation on the banking industry of Germany by two representatives of the German Landesbanken.

An international trip like ours offers students first-hand insight and an opportunity learn more about an alternative financial hub besides London. Moreover, it helps to enhance interpersonal skills and gain knowledge that can’t be developed in a classroom. We all enjoyed this trip very much and we are thankful to Cass Business School for organising it.

Fabian Frech & Timon Wyder, MSc Finance (2018)

© 2020 Cass MSc Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Skip to toolbar