Last month we had the unique opportunity to enter Frankfurt’s most recent addition to its increasingly impressive skyline and we can tell you, it is quite the treat.
As alumni of the Master of Finance program we are frequently invited to a variety of different events. This time it was for a reunion of our Class of 2013 and we had the great chance to visit the new European Central Bank building way before other visitors would be allowed to even sign up for tours in 2016. As catching up with former classmates is always a great opportunity to bond over past experiences and to expand your network within the financial industry, we were all excited to get together again at such an interesting location.
Starting off, we took a tour of the architectural highlights of the new ECB complex, like the 185m Highrise, enjoying a magnificent sunset over Frankfurt’s skyline on the 27th floor.
Our tour guide pointed out the almost excessive use of glass, suggesting that people are able to almost look inside the central bank, making it transparent and open to everybody, not just a secret black box. We were also quite surprised to learn that the highrise is not just one tower, but two separate buildings that are sharing one atrium. Additionally the two towers are connected by little bridges and so called “interchange plattforms” on connecting floors. These floors also serve as meeting and networking space for the ECB’s employees that otherwise enjoy modern open space working areas.
But that is not all, we also got the chance to hear first-hand about the European Central Bank’s perspective on the recent crisis events, how they perceived their role during those critical weeks and their decision making process. Gabriel Gloeckler, the Head of the Division Directorate General Secretariat at the ECB, walked us through the headlines of the last few weeks and pointed out why it is never that simple to explain a crisis event in our interconnected financial markets in one short newspaper article headline and why there is no easy solution in such a complex structure as the European Monetary Union. He also commented on German fears that the ECB might be overstepping their mandate with the current actions, stating that they have to do something right, if on the one hand people think they are doing too much, while others are complaining they are not doing enough.
After this very interesting and current executive talk we were able to get together with fellow Alumni, network and enjoy a nice glass of wine in the ECB cafeteria. We took away quite a lot of interesting points from the executive talk, a slightly different perspective on the role of a central bank in our interconnected financial markets and quite a few new contacts. It was a great event.
Thanks so much to everybody who made this evening possible!