On Friday, September 20 and Saturday, September 21, 2019, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management celebrated the biggest Homecoming event in its history.
Frankfurt School alumni came from near and far to attend the reunion weekend. And the first guest to check in on Friday afternoon – despite having one of the longest journeys – was Eydfinnur Olsen, a doctor and head of department at the National Hospital of the Faroe Islands. Eydfinnur successfully completed his Master of International Healthcare Management at Frankfurt School in 2017. He was looking forward to the lectures in particular, and to catching up with other alumni. Andrea Kloß, a graduate of Frankfurt School’s work-study course for bankers and an active member of the Alumni Association, also attended the event. She neatly summarised the essential spirit of the Frankfurt School network: “Doing things with other alumni is part of my life, and I’ve made good friends in the process.” Now Deputy Head of Refinancing and Leasing at Sparkasse Essen, she enjoyed exploring the new Adickesallee campus during a guided tour – one of several organised for alumni who had not yet visited the campus.
The barbeque on Friday evening brought together alumni with current students, Frankfurt School staff, friends and sponsors. More than 1,000 guests enjoyed meeting, greeting and dancing in warm, late-summer temperatures, sustained by grilled sausages and cool drinks. The festivities were accompanied by sporting events – students took part in a charity run around the campus, collecting exactly 1,000 Euro on behalf of Aidshilfe Frankfurt. A live soccer tournament also provided huge entertainment as alumni and students spontaneously formed teams and joined in a hotly contested football fest.
On Saturday, the day started with the great “Reunion Breakfast”. Alumni from the classes of 1999 and 2009 congregated on Frankfurt School’s roof terrace for a relaxed celebration of their class anniversaries. With a spectacular view of the Frankfurt skyline as a backdrop, guests were brought up to speed with the business school’s latest developments by members of the Executive Board, and then enjoyed reminiscing about their university days with former peers.
Homecoming is all about people – and Professor Dr Nils Stieglitz, President of Frankfurt School, did not hesitate to reflect in depth on his personal experience of the business school. In his welcoming address on Saturday morning, he spoke about his own professional career, telling listeners how he first started at Frankfurt School many years ago revising scripts for Economics lectures.
The morning’s keynote speech was delivered by Britta Heidemann, Olympic and World Fencing Champion. In a passionate address, she described the ups and downs of her 15-year career as a top international fencer. Every success, she told her audience, is based on hard training, pain, and defeat. Whenever she experiences an extended period of frustration, it helps to remember her successes – something that applies to work as much as it does to sport. It is also important, she emphasised, not to set your sights too high all the time. “You can’t always give 150 percent,” explained Britta Heidemann. “If things aren’t going so well, you need to have the courage to take a break and take direct responsibility for your own wellbeing.”
Following the opening addresses, the 300 alumni enjoyed further networking opportunities. After lunch, the freshly fortified guests made their way to the breakout sessions, accompanied by the sweet scent of waffles wafting through the foyer. The nine parallel sessions, covering topics such as mindsets, headhunting, leadership, artificial intelligence and starting a business, provided renewed inspiration and impetus for ideas and discussion.
The afternoon’s keynote speech, entitled “Changing Perspectives”, was delivered by Holger Fess from MLP. After warming up his audience with some maths homework, he discussed all the things the financial services sector can learn from other industries and how it is responding to ongoing digitalisation. “At MLP, we focus on our clients to a positively radical extent,” said Holger Fess. “We want our clients to say, ‘my advisor is the one who enables my decision-making’.”
As the Homecoming event came to an end, Alumni Manager Francisca Blenich and Head of Student Services Lisa Ronneburger raffled off attractive prizes donated by sponsors. Finally, Angelika Werner, Frankfurt School’s Vice President of Strategic Relations, warmly thanked all speakers, guests and sponsors – and invited them all to next year’s Homecoming celebration.