After the Spring 2017 semester wrapped up, I embarked on a journey to Frankfurt, Germany, home of the European Central Bank and financial center to the Eurozone. For seven days, along with 14 other Flex MBA and online students, I learned about the European financial system. Taking Global Immersion: Finance in Europe, a class led by Professor Lasse Mertins, has been the most rewarding experience during my tenure at Carey, but I almost missed it because I was “too busy.”
Leading up to the course, you could say I had a lot going on. During the spring semester, I was working full-time, planning a wedding with my then fiancée (now wife), working with a Carey professor as a research assistant, and putting together more than a dozen events for the student organization I co-founded, Carey Connect. Needless to say, I was all over the place and well within my right to pass on an international trip that would require a lot of work in a short period of time. Ultimately, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass because there aren’t many chances as a flex or online student to take advantage of a differentiated learning experience like this one. I don’t regret my decision even though it came with sacrifice and I believe, if asked, anyone who participated would say the same.
While in Frankfurt, my classmates and I attended lectures to learn about the formation of the European Union, the introduction of the Euro as a unifying currency, and the European Central Bank’s (ECB) role controlling monetary policy for 19 European countries. We analyzed the impact of the 2008 financial crisis; ongoing sovereign debt crises in Greece, Portugal, and other countries; and the cause of the British vote to exit the European Union. These lectures were uniquely delivered not just by Professor Lasse Mertins but by lecturers at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, some of whom worked for the ECB during the formation of the Euro:
- Chief Economist at Commerzbank, the largest bank in Germany;
- a business journalist for a leading German newspaper;
- staff at the German central bank (Deutsche Bundesbank); and
- governors of Germany and Greece, during an international conference held by The Economist to discuss investment opportunities in Greece.
With each of these lectures we received diverse perspectives on the European financial system which provided a multi-dimensional view of the challenges and opportunities Europe faces.
Sounds like a lot for a week in Germany? It was. At the same time, no other class I have taken has given me such a deep understanding of the subject in such a short period—it was amazing.
So make the time to take advantage of the best opportunities at Carey. They will challenge you, expand your perspectives on the world, and be some of the most rewarding experiences of your program.