Lena Wolf is from Germany; however she grew up in Kazakhstan. She currently lives in London and works as an Admin Officer for the Risk Department at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). She participated in the Summer Academy in Micro and SME Banking (2014) organised by Frankfurt School.
Lena, you’re currently working at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. What’s your position? What are your responsibilities and some of the challenges you face?
Currently I work as an admin officer for the Risk Department at EBRD. Our projects take place in developing countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and North Africa. More specifically I work for the Portfolio Review team that monitors the risks of the projects. Most of the projects have a very large exposure, but we also have a few SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises).
Why did you decide to participate in the FS Summer Academy 2014?
Last year there were discussions within the bank to be more involved in direct SME finance. As I had very little experience in SME finance, I saw a great opportunity to learn more about it and the Summer Academy in Micro and SME Banking was a great platform for it.
What was you experience of the Summer Academy like? What did you like best?
I truly enjoyed the Summer Academy. It was really well organised, the lectures were well structured. The lecturers themselves were very approachable and you could ask questions after the sessions. There was a huge amount of information but the delivery methods made it easier to deal with. The Summer Academy also offered a wide range of social events which was very useful for participants to get to know each other.
In terms of courses I enjoyed my technical electives, I had Risk and Financial Management and SME Banking, but also a Leadership elective and Social Performance Measurements.
Looking back on the past year – How has the summer school been helpful for you? Can you use your learning on the job?
It definitely helped me to understand the risks of SME development projects and working in a Risk Department this information can be very useful.
What about contacts you made? Are you still in touch with fellow Summer Academy alumni?
I have to say I met some fantastic people at the Summer Academy and I am still in touch with some of them.
What is your best memory of your time at Frankfurt School?
Actually everything was really good. A good mixture of knowledge combined with social events.
The Summer Academy only lasts a week – still, you’re now part of the FS alumni community. What do think about being part of the FS alumni network?
I think becoming part of FS alumni community is the best part of it. Being in London and belonging to the FS alumni community gives you a great opportunity to meet others who went to Frankfurt School as well.
Have you benefitted from the FS alumni network, yet?
The alumni events here in London are really well organised. The slightly ‘informal’ settings of the alumni events makes it easy to meet others who did different programmes at Frankfurt School and now live in London. So far I am the only one in London who participated in the Summer Academy, but I hope there will be more with time. Last time I had the opportunity to talk to our Vice President at EBRD – Luise Holscher, who used to be a Professor at Frankfurt School. We had a great conversation over some nice food and a glass of wine, which would not have been possible without the alumni evenings. Thank you for organising the events.