On Monday, November 25, 2019, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management bid an official farewell to the students who graduated from multiple programmes last summer semester, including the Bachelor in Finance & Management, Master of Finance, Master in Management, Master of Leadership in Development Finance, Master of Merger & Acquisitions, Master in Auditing, The Frankfurt MBA and Executive MBA programmes. More than 400 graduates and 1,200 guests attended the event, making it the largest graduation ceremony in the business school’s history. For the first time, Frankfurt’s Alte Oper (Old Opera House) was chosen as the venue for the ceremony, and the afternoon event was chaired by Professor Dr Jörg R. Werner.
Professor Dr Nils Stieglitz, President of Frankfurt School, welcomed the guests and congratulated the graduates on their success, telling them they had made the right decision by choosing to study at Frankfurt School, and emphasising the ongoing importance of staying in touch with all those “who enable and support you”. He encouraged them to build steadily on their achievements: “Excellence,” he told them, “is not a present state, but a future obligation.” He drew a parallel between the motto inscribed above the Alte Oper’s entrance doors – “To truth, beauty and goodness” – and Frankfurt School and its graduates, who also represent academic excellence and a positive, open-minded community.
After Professor Stieglitz’s opening address, three prizes were awarded for outstanding academic achievement and final theses. The prizes were sponsored by Interessengemeinschaft Frankfurter Kreditinstitute (IFK), the Frankfurt Institute of Risk Management and Regulation (FIRM) and the NORMA Group, all organisations which have worked very closely with Frankfurt School for many years.
Sarah Schmidtke, Managing Director of IFK, presented the prizes for outstanding academic achievement to new graduates Rebecca-Alexandra Kunz, Master of Finance (in first place), Jessica Joy Morris, The Frankfurt MBA (in second place) and Michael Steinfeld, Master of Finance (in third place). In her address, Ms Schmidtke told the award-winners how proud they could be of their accomplishments: “You should be very proud of what you have achieved. You have accomplished something truly special by putting in enormous amounts of effort and commitment.” Sarah Schmidtke went on to talk about universities and the important role they play in the financial and business sectors – especially in Frankfurt, Germany’s key financial hub: “Frankfurt School is helping Frankfurt to fulfil its role as a financial centre”.
Next, Professor Dr Udo Steffens, former President of Frankfurt School and now Chairman of FIRM, awarded Risk Management Awards to Master of Finance graduates Zlatan Camo (in first place), Andreas Telian (in second place) and Prateek Shukla (in third place).
Dr Friedrich Klein, COO of NORMA Group, explained why his company – even though it is an industrial firm and he himself is an engineer – maintains such close ties with Frankfurt School and the business school’s students. “At NORMA Group, we need people capable of interdisciplinary thinking and working. What’s more, we need financial expertise in all areas of our work.” He went on to say that these qualities are what Frankfurt School students bring to the table. This is why his company is sponsoring the Manufacturing Management Award, presented this year by Friedrich Klein to Markus Kupfer, Master of Finance (in first place), Tomas Faber, Master in Management (in second place) and Alberto Spinelli, Master in Management (in third place). Dr Klein went on to advise the new graduates to stay open to change and transformation as they pursue their professional careers. He too referred to the Alte Oper, which has also had to deal with constant change and reconstruction, but has successfully emerged as a major venue that brings people together for creative and artistic inspiration.
Following the addresses by corporate representatives, Professor Dr Jörg R. Werner, Vice President Degree Programmes, presented the top graduate from each of the eight academic degree courses with a prize for outstanding academic achievements. Programme director Dr Barbara Drexler then awarded a prize to the best graduate from the Master of Leadership in Development Finance course. Five doctoral students were also awarded their doctorates at the graduation ceremony.
Once the graduates had been presented with their certificates, Marleen Zähler, Bachelor in Finance & Management, joined Christian Schwalbach, Master in Management, and Jessica Joy Morris, The Frankfurt MBA, in sharing some of their memories of the time they spent studying at the business school, describing an evocative mix of challenging and wonderful moments. Each of them thanked all those who had given them so much support along the way.
As the ceremony drew to an end, Angelika Werner, Vice President Strategic Relations, introduced Frankfurt School’s alumni network and invited all those present to continue making their valuable contributions to the business school by playing an active part in the Frankfurt School community.