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After completing Frankfurt School’s Bank Administrator and Management Studies programmes, Kerstin Girmann (45) graduated in December 2001. The two part-time continuing education courses opened up new career opportunities for her. Even as she stayed with her existing employer, Nassauische Sparkasse, she made the move over to Dublin to join their Irish subsidiary. Added to her previous experience in Corporate Lending, the knowledge she acquired during her banking studies proved crucial for the next stage in her career. Kerstin Girmann gained even more professional experience while working in Ireland, and then spent another two years working as Credit Manager on the bank’s German portfolio.

She embarked on the next stage in her career in early 2004, when she took up the post of Head Auditor Lending Business in Nassauische Sparkasse’s internal audit department, combining her professional responsibilities with the management of a team. Since 2004, she has also worked as a part-time lecturer for Frankfurt School’s banking business game – an important part of the Bank Administrator course. The game is a banking simulation in which participants must manage the global banking operations of “Euro Business Bank AG” and deal with a variety of realistic market scenarios.

In October 2008, Kerstin Girmann joined Frankfurt School’s Education Management department as a coordinator. The Education Management team successfully guides trainees through the theoretical part of their training. Every year, more than 3,500 trainees in Germany benefit from the department’s help, from course enrolment right through to exam preparation. Two years later, in November 2010, she became the department’s Training Management Team Leader. In addition to leading her team and handling various management accounting activities, she also manages projects for Deutsche Bank’s Education Management programme.

How well did your academic studies prepare you for the challenges of working life, up to and including your current job? What did you find especially useful?

I was able to actively apply a lot of the banking knowledge I acquired on the Bank Administrator course to my work at Nassauische Sparkasse. And the Management Studies course prepared me for a leadership role; this really helped me while I was taking my first steps as a team leader and executive. I was able to focus on my team members and develop my own leadership style.

Looking back, how important was your time as a student at Frankfurt School in the greater scheme of things?

When I look back, my time as a student was a really important, formative period. Working closely with students from other banks, discussing ideas with faculty staff, building up my specialist and managerial know-how – these things all helped expand my horizons. What’s more, my courses gave me plenty of opportunity to explore a wide variety of specialist areas in more detail, enabling me to better appreciate and understand the various complex interactions and processes within the bank.

What’s your favourite memory of your time at Frankfurt School?

I particularly like to remember the time we co-wrote our final thesis for the Management Studies course as a team. For hours and days on end, we sat together, thought up ideas, made plans, threw them out again, wrote new ones… all with plenty of laughter and tears. It wasn’t always easy to combine four different opinions and points of view in a single paper – there were some rocky moments along the way. But we always managed to smooth things out and make things better between us, and in the end we submitted a great thesis.

How important are alumni for a business school? What do you think alumni can do for their alma mater?

Alumni relations are very important for business school and graduates alike. Alumni stay in regular contact with the business school, meaning they can provide students with real-world perspectives and help them by sharing experience. At the same time, alumni benefit from being able to stay abreast of the latest developments in their specialist areas. This tight interweaving of theory and practice creates a huge, collaborative network.

What’s your favourite motto?

Love it, change it or leave it!