If someone had told me that one day I would be in Congress, I would have said, ‘You’re crazy. You don’t know what you’re talking about.’
― John Lewis.
That is exactly how I felt when I got an offer for a Working Student position at Commerzbank AG. It was an unfathomable thought, to be working at the tallest building in Germany. What makes it even more special is that it is a Frankfurt School Cooperation position. Due to the long-standing ties between Commerzbank and Frankfurt School, there exist positions in the bank exclusively for Frankfurt School students. Almost all such positions, including mine i.e. Working Student – Finance require B2 level German or higher. However, one must not get discouraged – since I was an overall good fit for the department, the hiring managers overlooked the need for a specific German level. There are many benefits of a cooperation position, such as additional financial support like 25% deduction in tuition fee, and contract that usually lasts until the end of your studies. As students of Frankfurt School, we also get opportunities to attend internal management events of the bank.
Since the very start of the studies, Frankfurt School puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of building networks. I got to know about the position when my fellow classmate posted it on the class group. Immediately, I contacted my classmate who alleviated my fear of the German requirement and gave me valuable insights into the position. I was also in constant touch with HR and the contact person, who gave me regular updates and advices. One can also reach out to current interns or trainees on LinkedIn for helpful insights into the application process. Most people are happy to share their experiences!
It is worth mentioning that since my job is in Division Finance, most of my colleagues speak and work in German. This has been a great environment for me to hone my language skills. Additionally, working in this setting makes you comfortable with things as simple as a German-layout keyboard and as complex as the German work culture. Working in two big German firms – both Merck and Commerzbank has been a huge learning experience for me. I would recommend all International students to take up working student and internship positions early on if academics allows them to. This brings me to my next point.
On the first three days of the week, I am a working student at Commerzbank. The next three days I attend lectures and complete group projects for my Master of Finance at Frankfurt School. It sounds hectic, but it has been the greatest experience for me. At Commerzbank, my work revolves around the Corporate Clients division. On a day-to-day basis, I learn a lot about the financial products offered by the bank to its corporate clients. This highly complements what I learn in the Corporate Finance concentration at Frankfurt School. For example, in one of our lectures in Debt Finance, we studied Syndicate Finance and touched a bit on the structure of the syndicates and the roles of various participants. During that exact time, I was tasked with reporting the various fees earned through Commerzbank’s DCM Loans business. Throughout the process of moving back and forth between theory and practical application, one can find topics that really excites them. Currently, I am interested in DCM Loans and aiming to do my next internship in that department.
To conclude, don’t be discouraged if a position requires a specific level of German. The focus should be more on being an overall good fit for the department. There is a lot of value one can derive from these positions including a great environment to master the German language.