As an integrated part of the module “International Finance”, the fourth semester International Business students and Prof. Bernd Ankenbrand immersed themselves in the centre of international finance – London. One of the main objectives of this field trip according to Prof. Ankenbrand: “Especially for the IB students it is important to understand how financial institutions work – both in theory and in practice. That’s why we – literally – go the extra mile to meet banks and bankers in their native habitat.” In about 48 intensive hours starting Sunday afternoon, the course took a tour of the historic financial city, met with commodity experts from Barclays Capital and an investment banker from Morgan Stanley, experienced the excitement of metal trading, learned from a bank’s treasurer at Barclays, heard authentic insights from a structured trade finance expert at DZ Bank and discovered the Chinese walls between equity research and equity sales at Berenberg.
Although the program and the meetings were organized by Prof. Ankenbrand, the journey organization was done individually providing unique travel experiences. “After a more or less comfortable journey we finally arrived in the heart of Europe’s financial centre. Contrary to all expectations, London’s Canary Wharf district welcomed us with a lot of sunshine,” said Abdullah Tekbas, one of the participating students.
One of the highlights was the visit of the London Metal Exchange (LME). It is one of the last open outcry exchanges. “It was very interesting to see the different ways traders are able to communicate with their brokers. Each trading session took five minutes. However in the first three or three and a half minute nothing happened, and suddenly all of the traders started shouting out loud and gesticulating heavily with their hands and feet. Very interesting to see this kind of trading in comparison to the all known internet trading, where actually nothing really happens”, said Eva Varich. Marvin Rottenberg described his impression with the following words: “Using open-outcry-trading to strike a specific bargain was just stunning. Also amazing was the hurly-burly on the trade floor and the real-time rapidity of the LME ring members.”
Other highlights were meetings with experienced financial professionals. “The openness of the different persons impressed every participant and guaranteed a very informative and exciting exchange of expertise and insights,” said Maximilian Mank. One of the comments after the first day: “Reading facts and information about international finance and institutions is one thing. Getting exclusive insights about the business of a trader and an investment banker and discussing interesting issues in magnificent conferences halls of modern skyscrapers are experiences that no text book on the world can give you,” said tired Abdullah Tekbas, while having a cup of tea at Jamie’s Kitchen, which is a restaurant chain of the famous British cook Jamie Oliver. “During dinner we had the chance to talk about what we had experienced throughout the day and had deep discussions about what we plan to do or to become in the near future. The food was fantastic and the wine did the rest to make it a pleasant evening in canary wharf. We can highly recommend this restaurant for those who would like to spend time in London,” said Eva Varich.
Although – when they first saw the packed programme – some were intimidated, in retrospect the trip seemed to be worthwhile. Abdullah Tekbas: “Everyone was very excited and curious, because the schedule planned and organized by Prof. Ankenbrand was filled with meetings with some of the world’s most important and influential financial institutions. Yet still the two days were better than we imagined.” Another of the participants, Moritz Lopka, summarized the expedition in his words: “Altogether the trip was very successful, with a lot of new knowledge, fun, and – untypically for London – sunny weather.”