On Tuesday, November 24, Frankfurt School Alumni & Friends gathered for a Thanksgiving Dinner in New York City. Frankfurt School’s international alumni management and three alumni, Sebastian Lutz (BSc Class of 2012, MoF Class of 2013), Andy Hamer (BSc Class of 2007) and Dennis Guenther (BSc Class of 2011) had teamed up to organize the informal evening event.
Manhattan still impresses me with its condensed splendor; its busy buzz everywhere, a race of new raising skyscrapers, construction sites and traffic jams, yet the spacious promise of American ambition and grandeur at the end of each block.
For a bunch of our alumni however, New York has become their home and location of their daily life routine. Sebastian, for example, who did the FS Bachelor and Master of Finance, including a semester at the University of St. Gallen. When we met in midtown to check locations for future events, one of the first things he said to me was: „What I find really amazing about Frankfurt School is its drive, this motivation that FS people share.” He is certainly a good example himself. Having started a vocational training in a rather remote small town in Southern Germany, he currently builds his own team at Commerzbank’s New York branch. “Back when I was working and thinking about starting a Bachelor, Frankfurt School seemed so expensive. But once I had visited the campus and met the professors, the staff, the students, I knew that this where I wanted to study. ” And he hasn’t regretted it. Among the things he appreciated the most were the combination of earning a degree and learning on the job in the bank, as well as his semester in Brisbane, where he took a course on wine business that made a lasting impression.
In terms of education, Andy’s vita looks more American. Rather than adding a specialized master to his FS Bachelor’s degree, he gathered several years of work and management experience after graduation. Then – while continuously working full-time – he enrolled for the Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Executive Program at Columbia University. Columbia also accentuated his already inspiring view of alumni relations. In the US, he said, it was much more common for students to “give-back” to their university, to sponsor events, to donate for new buildings or to support scholarships. Lucky for Frankfurt School, Andy shares his ideas, views and generous spirit with his alma mater, having already sponsored various scholarships.
Dennis, who earned his Bachelor in 2011, had already taken up the role as alumni representative last year, organizing a ‘floating dinner’ in August. This time, the alumni picked ‘Die Blaue Gans’ in Tribeca as our meeting spot. The restaurant matched the American Thanksgiving mood and inspired some memories of homely Germany with its choice of ‘Spätzle’, ‘Sauerkraut’ and the likes. The non-German guests also appreciated the location for its food and atmosphere. Yuka Yamashita, who works in a Japanese life insurance company, especially enjoyed the evening’s ‘physicality’ of Frankfurt School. Having done the LinkEd course on Microfinance, she hadn’t actually been to the campus or met any other students. She liked the alumni meeting all the more: “I did all my course work online and only met one other student when during the final exam in Washington D.C. So this chance to meet other Frankfurt School Alumni is very exciting and fun. ” Caroline Wünsch, who had updated her profile in our Alumni Directory and hence received the invitation at her new address, agreed: “I wasn’t expecting to receive an Frankfurt School invitation for an event in New York – a nice surprise. Andy and I even studied together. But I didn’t know that he was also working here.”
No surprise then, we all agreed that we should keep up the FS Alumni dynamics in New York. And we will do so. The next event is coming up soon. On January 28, 2016, we will host an FS Alumni & Friends Event in New York featuring a discussion on the risks of short-term incentives among managers by Professor Dr. Zacharias Sautner, Professor of Corporate Finance. Places are limited and almost booked out. So if you want to join, let me know as soon as possible.