One of the highlights of the Master in Management (MiM) and Master of Finance (MoF) at Frankfurt School is the study trip to Brussels or Luxembourg in the 2nd Semester. However, with the pandemic we had resigned ourselves to the fact that the furthest we would be travelling would be to the supermarket and back. Then, one magical morning in February, we received an email informing us that there would be an optional study trip in June (Corona willing) for MSc students in Management, Finance and Applied Data Science to Nova School of Business and Economics in Carcavelos, Portugal. Naturally, a weekend of sun, sea, sustainable lectures and a chance to visit one of Europe’s top business schools had everyone beyond excited.
After a colossal organisational effort from Frankfurt School and Nova SBE team the day finally arrived for all 200 of us to fly to Portugal, and we were doing it in style. In order to reduce the Corona risk, Frankfurt School chartered an entire plane for us and the excitement was tangible. The combination of meeting classmates face-to-face, travelling for the first time in several months and being on a chartered flight resulted in the entire plane becoming one giant party. Music was playing, people were laughing, and spirits couldn’t have been higher. The mood remained high as we touched down in Portugal and made our way to our 5-star hotels in Cascais. It was late and we had an early start in the morning, but nobody had any intention of sleeping (a theme that would continue through the weekend).
The next morning after a sleepy breakfast we were taken to Nova SBE for our first full day. As we stepped out of the bus any remaining tiredness was quickly forgotten. The modern, sustainably designed and light-flooded campus with an ocean view welcomed us warmly. After a brief but beautiful campus tour in which the magical tunnel that led to the beach on the other side was introduced to us we started with the first lecture from the incredible Prof. Ricardo Zózimo on the Sustainable Development Goals. After lunch on the beach and two interesting afternoon business talks we were treated to a cocktail evening on the Nova roof top deck overlooking the ocean. In the golden evening light, with good friends, food, and sangria we watched the sun go down to the hauntingly beautiful sounds of traditional Fado.
The next day we had a morning of insightful sustainable finance lectures from further Nova SBE Faculty specialized in sustainability as well as experts invited from the Caixa Geral de Depositos – National Bank of Portugal and Altri, one of the most efficient European producers of eucalyptus pulp from Portugal.
In the afternoon, we drove to Lisbon where we had a treasure hunt planned for us giving us a chance to explore the famed city. Armed with a box of Pastéis de Nata we set off and it soon became very clear why exactly Lisbon is called the City of Seven Hills. After 3 and a half hours walking around Lisbon discovering its secrets and history we happily sank into our restaurant seats and enjoyed good food and drinks on our last evening in this beautiful place with new friends and old.
During our whirlwind weekend we had all fallen in love with city and Nova and the idea of leaving it so soon felt heart-breaking to say the least. We had an experience of a lifetime, and it was one we definitely won’t be forgetting soon. The plane back to Frankfurt was deathly quiet as everyone slept, exhausted but incredibly happy. It could not have been a more perfect weekend.