My name is Björn Alexander Senger. In 1998, I enrolled in a part-time degree course at Frankfurt School while I was training as a banker, graduating in 2003. While I was still a trainee, I worked at Deutsche Postbank AG in Cologne and Bonn. Then, in 2002, I moved to the Commerzbank Group where I worked in various areas in Frankfurt and Luxembourg, most recently in the Corporates & Markets department on the management and optimization of regulatory costs of trading book transactions. Since 2019, I have been employed at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), a Japanese megabank, and helped set up SMBC Nikko Capital Markets Europe GmbH in Frankfurt after Brexit. After various tasks in the management, including as Chief Risk Officer of the company and then various development and restructuring projects at SMBC Bank EU AG, I moved back to Luxembourg in November 2023 as a member of the board of SMBC Nikko Bank (Luxembourg) S.A. Here I am responsible for the Control & Support functions and act as a link to our Frankfurt parent company.
The degree course at Frankfurt School equipped me with a well-stocked box of useful tools to take with me as I embarked on my professional career. They still come in very handy – even though, at the time, I sometimes had doubts about how useful they’d be! I found the combination of theory and practice particularly helpful, not to mention the opportunity to familiarise myself with a wide variety of subject areas and try out new theories in a risk-free environment.
My degree course has lost none of its importance over the years. It’s always been one of the highlights in job interviews, and has often opened the door to new responsibilities and challenges. The extensive network of students and alumni both inside and outside the company means I can easily share information and ideas.
Whenever I indulge in a stroll down memory lane with other Sternstrasse alumni (Sternstrasse is where the business school was located in those days), one of the first things we remember are the student parties in the basement of what was then the Hochschule für Bankwirtschaft. You have to imagine a small, tubular room with a bar, packed to the rafters with students. At peak times, we used to have to pass drinks around over people’s heads, with condensation dripping from the ceiling. Later in the evening, Professor Seeger would bring out his guitar and we’d sing through the entire back-catalogue of songs by BAP (a well-known German rock group). Not that I want to give the wrong impression! The exceptional thing about my time as a student was the great sense of solidarity, team spirit and mutual support throughout the course, both while we were studying and on a personal level.
Alumni act as living advertisements for a successful higher-education policy. They represent their university and form a network of expertise, opinions and lifestyles – not just in terms of their academic or professional achievements, but also in their private lives. Conversely, universities shouldn’t ignore the views of alumni, and should be open to their ideas and suggestions. That’s the only way to build a successful symbiosis between a university and its former students. Frankfurt School and its staff have really taken this to heart and excel in university management.
As a good Cologne boy, I always keep strictly to the 11 articles of the Cologne Charter (the sensible way to live life)! *