Every year, the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) awards an international student at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, who not only distinguishes himself by academic excellence, but also by social and intercultural commitment.
This year’s winner of the DAAD-prize, which is endowed with 1.000 Euro, is Ozren Winkler from Croatia. He’s studying the Master of Finance at Frankfurt School and graduates in October 2017. During the master programme, Ozren Winkler is working as assistant for the Master of Finance team and recently undertook organizational tasks within the MoF Alumni Leadership Workshop, a seminar supported by the DAAD, in which he also participated.
“We greatly appreciate Ozren´s engagement at Frankfurt School. He is not only an active Group Speaker and Ambassador but also successfully represented Frankfurt School in prestigious student competitions, including the HEC Business Game. Ozren has an international mindset and great intercultural competences; he often inspires us with ideas and innovations to develop Frankfurt School. Ozren is definitely an asset to the school”, says Dr Julia Knobbe, Program Director at Frankfurt School.
The DAAD-prize 2016/2017 was awarded at the scholarship ceremony on November 4th at Frankfurt School.
You have been awarded the DAAD-prize 2016 for outstanding foreign students – Congratulations. What was your first thought when you received the good news?
Thank you very much! I was caught by surprise, since I was not aware that this prize exists at all. I have to admit that it was indeed a very pleasant and positive surprise! I would hereby like to thank Frankfurt School and the DAAD for awarding me this prize!
Why did you choose to study a Master programme in Germany? And why at Frankfurt School?
I already have a master degree in economics from the University of Zagreb in Croatia and a couple of years of work experience, so leaving a secure full-time job to pursue another master degree in a foreign country was quite a step for me. Frankfurt and I have kind of a love-at-first-sight story; I visited Frankfurt in autumn 2014 for the first time and immediately fell in love with the city. Since I always wanted to go abroad, I did some research on master in finance programmes offered in Frankfurt and Frankfurt School was my first and only choice, thanks to its ranking, accreditations and a high reputation.
What are your plans for the future? Could you imagine staying in Frankfurt?
I am going to Rice University in Houston (Texas, USA) in January for my exchange semester. After I come back I will still need to write my master thesis. In the long term, I would definitely like to stay in Germany and, if possible, in Frankfurt. This city is amazing and full of possibilities for starting and developing a career in finance or consulting companies.
Do you think studying in Germany will be helpful for your career?
Yes, definitely! It was not only interesting and useful lectures and practitioner talks, but also exposure to infinite networking possibilities. Frankfurt is one of the most important financial hubs in the world and studying here keeps you up-to-date with the most recent trends in the financial industry. Moreover, knowledge of German as another foreign language is a valuable asset to have, just as a famous proverb says: “The more languages you know, the more you are human.”
At some point, everyone has at least one of the famous culture shock-moments after moving to another country. Do you agree and did you experience any culture shock in Germany?
Coming from a Mediterranean country, punctuality often comes as a culture shock. However, since I use the S-Bahn lines on a daily basis, and they are not that punctual either, let’s say that was the main culture shock for me. Another aspect that perfectly describes German culture is efficiency. I am still amazed how things are done in simple, but incredibly efficient ways.
Do you understand yourself as an ambassador of your culture when you are abroad? And do you think that cultural differences blur in international settings such as at Frankfurt School?
Absolutely, especially at Frankfurt School, since there are not many people from my region studying here (although, it is hard to say the same for Germany and Frankfurt in general, as there are many Croats living here). In certain situations, cultural differences blur in diverse environments, but that is not the case here at Frankfurt School. Every person coming from a different country and a different culture brings another perspective and this diversity is something that Frankfurt School can be very proud of. There were many situations where you can observe how diversity contributes to team work, group presentations and other various group activities. Being surrounded by so many different cultures is really amazing and entices you to learn more about them.
Is there a “Frankfurt School-moment” that you will always remember?
I will always remember the Outdoor Campus that was organised at the very beginning of our master programme. Meeting all those new people, who became my peers and later eventually (some of them very close) friends for the first time, while everyone was truly enthusiastic, open and friendly, was that kind of a moment for me.