When leaving Frankfurt for Luxembourg I had 2 thoughts on my mind. First, that nothing would have been more enjoyable than the Outdoor Campus we had in September. Second, that Luxembourg was just a tiny city somewhere in the middle of Europe, with only banks and boring people. I could not have been more wrong!
The hostel and the city: I wish I brought my camera
The location was stunning, a valley right beneath the old city center. The hotel is on the banks of the Alzette River, with a stone railway bridge above it; and beside it, was the medieval fortification, a UNESCO world heritage. Just a 7 minute walk and you are in the old downtown. Narrow roads, colorful houses, and thousands of other beautiful sites, it felt like “Dragon Halley”. The accommodation itself was very nice: 4-6 people per room, most of them with an en-suite. Everything was perfectly clean.
Moreover, the food they offered was good, and I’m saying that as an Italian. There was a big conference room where our lectures took place; a pool table and a ping pong table which we used during breaks on our well-planned schedule.
Last but not the least, not far from the hostel were bars and clubs; here we had the possibility to show the amazing variety of talent an FS-student acquires after a couple of drinks.
Sustainability: outdoor activities and Dr. Hakan Lucius’ insights
Doing the right thing vs doing things right
Day one: After a quick lunch we met the extraordinary coaches from Faszinatour, who we had already met during the Outdoor Campus. With their passion and expertise, they guided us through a few team-building exercises. We met the new students who joined us from the FS-Bachelor’s programmes after their 7th semester. Every challenge had the goal to make us face situations where we’d have to follow strict rules and work together as a team, in order to succeed. Each activity made us more aware of how to be responsible in specific situations and let us develop as individuals whilst making new friendships.
Day two: We alternated between outdoor activities and lectures by the outstanding Dr. Lucius, Head of the Civil Society Division, who was teaching apart and in addition to his professional position. Both with the aim of introducing us to the topic we will face in the third semester: “Responsible Management in Finance”. The lecture taught us that taking account of externalities is crucial, especially the material ones, and it will allow the corporation to perform a positive alpha. The externalities that we discussed in depth are those related climate change and decrease in biodiversity, two big topics of our decade.
We concluded this wonderful and intense day, with all 149 students working together on a huge task. We had to coordinate with one another in order to create a humongous water pipe track. The FS-Spirit came along and yes, we did beat the clock!
Luxembourg as a workplace: Fintech hub and FS-Alumni careers
Whilst in Luxembourg we had the chance to talk about the different careers opportunities with FS-Alumni and recruiters. In a very informal and comfortable atmosphere, we went through all the different pros and cons of working in Luxembourg, then we talked about what HR look for in this context. Our chat was concluded with some suggestions on things to do in Luxembourg and recommendations for the rest of our evening.
One of the best parts of the trip was a terrific presentation held by the charismatic Mr. Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the Luxembourg House of FinTech (LHoFT), and Mr. Sascha Bremer, Advisor – Market Intelligence of the Luxembourg for Finance. After introducing themselves and talking about their amazing careers, they went through all the pros of Luxembourg as a working place and especially as FinTech hub; location, legislation, official languages and working environment were the main topics. Words can’t describe the amount of experience I got from attending their speech, and I’m sure that my colleagues will agree. The Q&A session lasted a good two hours more than planned, nobody wanted to leave! Thus, for those who are reading this and didn’t attend, I truly suggest you check them out.
The European Investment Bank
To end this wonderful experience, we went to the financial district of Luxembourg to visit the EIB. After a quick security check, we took a seat in the convention room, we felt like real delegates with our own position and microphone. Here Ms. Saunders, Civil Society Officer, who has worked at the EIB for the last 20 years, presented the role, position and strategy of the EIB. She concluded by talking about the unique work environment and position they have as the world’s largest multilateral lender and borrower.
We headed home with incredible memories and new friends.
A special thanks to Guglielmo Gualtierois Balzola who made this article possible.