Keep perspective, keep it simple, keep it real: Graduation Ceremony at Paulskirche

Frankfurt am Main, November 9, 2017


On November 3, 2017, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management celebrated 156 graduates at the graduation ceremony in Frankfurt’s Paulskirche. Professor Dr Udo Steffens, president of Frankfurt School, welcomed the guests and warmly thanked the city of Frankfurt for allowing Frankfurt School to hold the graduation ceremony at this historic location once more. He also emphasised the smooth process of getting the necessary permits for the new campus of the business school, which had been inaugurated the week before. He was particularly happy to greet Peter Feldmann, Lord Mayor of Frankfurt, who spoke for the city of Frankfurt. 


In his speech, Peter Feldmann stressed the long history of Frankfurt as a trading hub welcoming and integrating inhabitants from all over the world. He praised Frankfurt School as an institution that builds bridges and promotes diversity with its many international students.

Gabriel Glöckler, Principal Adviser Communications at the European Central Bank, held the laudatory speech. After congratulating the graduates, he offered three pieces of advice: keep perspective, keep it simple and keep it real. “When you are starting out in your chosen field”, he explained, “it is important to keep in mind that you don’t know everything yet, but you still bring something to the table that will help your company.” He stressed that it was important to know what your passion was and to work towards making it real, but also to remember that not everything is glorious and you have to work hard to get where you want to be. He also underlined the importance of simplicity and sticking to the essentials. “Only people who really understand a topic can make it simple”, he said. Keeping it real was the third point Gabriel Glöckler highlighted. He asked the graduates to keep in mind, why they were doing what they were doing and to stick to what was right. Compliant behaviour didn’t always equal ethical behaviour. “It is not enough to know the rules, the foundation of your decisions should be your own ethics”, he explained. In closing he expressed his wish that the graduates continued to experience the sense of diversity shown at Frankfurt School. “Working together with people from different nationalities and different backgrounds can sometimes be hard work. But it is also a lot of fun”, he ended.


Frank Behrends, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Interessengemeinschaft Frankfurter Kreditinstitute GmbH (IFK) and member of the Board of Managing Directors of ODDO BHF AG, presented the IFK sponsorship awards to the year’s top-scoring students. In his speech, he emphasised the importance of education and the willingness to learn. “We all have to adapt to new developments all the time. If you continue to learn, you have nothing to worry about. The awards went to Master of Finance graduates Oleksii Rakov and Sven Herrmann, and to Master in Management graduate Patrick Schüttler

Frank Behrends, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Interessengemeinschaft Frankfurter Kreditinstitute GmbH (IFK)
Frank Behrends, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Interessengemeinschaft Frankfurter Kreditinstitute GmbH (IFK)

John Stephenson, Board member in charge of Supply Chain and Operations at the NORMA Group, presented the Manufacturing Management Award sponsored by the NORMA Group to Martin Samitz, Giulia Vignotti and Kim Knors, all graduates of the Master in Management (MSc) programme. The award honours students who have written outstanding Master theses with a strong relevance to industry. “All three graduates showed exiting potentials for companies moving towards “Industrie 4.0” in their theses”, emphasised John Stephenson.


Frank Westhoff, Chairman of the Executive Board of Frankfurt Institute for Risk Management and Regulation (FIRM), presented the Risk Management Awards to three top-scoring graduates and the best theses of the Master of Finance programme who took the Risk Management concentration. The highest achievers were Justin Bunch, Felix Rössing and Maria Castro. Sarah Grimmelbein and Oleksii Rakov were awarded for submitting the two best theses. 


After a musical interlude, Professor Dr Udo Steffens and Professor Dr Michael H. Grote, Vice President Academic Affairs, presented the degree certificates to the graduates. Juliane Oswald, Programme Director of the Master in Management, Professor Dr Christoph Schalast, Academic Director of the Master of Mergers & Acquisitions, Claudia Bieber, Programme Director of the Master of Mergers & Acquisitions, and Professor Dr Gerhard Muth, President of the University of Applied Sciences Mainz, joined them on stage to congratulate the graduates from the Master in Management, Master of Mergers & Acquisitions, and Master in Auditing respectively. 


Wei Chang, who had studied in the Master in Management programme, spoke on behalf of the graduates. Although she was excited for the professional life ahead, she looked back fondly at the life as a student at Frankfurt School, thanking the faculty, admin staff as well as the staff from the mensa for their various support throughout the years. 


Finally, in his capacity as President of Frankfurt School, Professor Steffens thanked all the speakers, as well as all the Frankfurt School employees who had contributed to the success of the graduation ceremony. He then invited all the guests to a reception in the rotunda of the Paulskirche.