Six years ago, Andy Hamer was awarded a degree in Business Administration by Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, after completing a degree course in parallel with his professional training. For the next two years he worked in the German Small & Midcaps team of Dresdner Kleinwort’s Investment Banking division. In early 2010 he moved to Commerzbank in New York and has been working in their Equity Sales team ever since. He advises American institutional investors – primarily hedge funds – on their investments in European equities. Andy Hamer was awarded a faculty scholarship by Frankfurt School; in those days only one such award was made. Last year he decided to give something back and became a ‘Germany Scholarship’ sponsor.
To what extent did your studies prepare you for the day-to-day pressures of working life? What did you find particularly useful?
Practical relevance is an important feature of Frankfurt School’s degree courses. This meant that once I started working full-time, I was able to get to grips with the job and find my feet quickly and relatively easily. Seminars in which we practised communicating and teambuilding also turned out to be very helpful later on. The course content was dense and challenging: it certainly gave me a few sleepless nights! At the same time it taught me to manage my time efficiently, which also stands me in good stead at work.
In retrospect, how important were your studies at Frankfurt School to you?
Not only was my degree course the perfect preparation for my working life, I also – much more importantly – formed many close, lifelong friendships at Frankfurt School that are still an important part of my life today. These friendships also mean I can stay over in Dubai or Singapore for free – with private sightseeing tours included – which is a very pleasant side-effect!
What’s your favourite memory of your time at Frankfurt School?
I suspect I’m not the only Frankfurt School alumnus to consider my semester abroad as the most memorable part of the degree course. Because it happens in the fifth semester, it’s like a perfect reward for all the hard, time-intensive work you’ve done over the previous four semesters. The impressions I gathered while studying in Buenos Aires and during my subsequent internship in New York were simply overwhelming – there’s no question they represented the absolute highlight of my entire time as a student.
How important are alumni to a university? What – in your view – can alumni do for their alma mater?
Alumni have a lot of responsibility for their old universities. They effectively act as living advertisements for their universities – and it’s a lifelong role. But they can also provide genuine help to current students by sharing their own knowledge and experiences, and acting as mentors or coaches. I’m happy to get involved in this myself. A university’s success is largely dependent on this kind of cohesion and networking.
What’s the motto you live your life by?
“It is your decisions, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny.” (Anthony Robbins)