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Visiting Switzerland and Germany from home

Every year, our Masters and MBA students take part in international study experiences. These provide the opportunity to visit international organisations where students immerse themselves in local business culture and learn about all of the complexities of operating in the global marketplace.

Of course, due to COVID-19, these then swiftly became virtual versions. One of our students, Cosima Stitzl, talks us through her experience.

Visiting Switzerland and Germany from home

As part of my MSc in Islamic Finance, I signed up for a study trip to Frankfurt. Throughout the academic year, I got more and more excited about going to Frankfurt and combining this with a trip to my family in Stuttgart, but then COVID-19 happened.

I ended up travelling to Stuttgart earlier than expected and the prospect of the study trip happening started diminishing, with the pandemic getting worse worldwide. Eventually, the careers team from the Business School held a virtual meeting with all of us participants and came up with the wonderful idea to run this trip virtually. What did this mean? Well, surprisingly, it meant that not only could I take part in the trip I signed up for (Frankfurt), but also got to go to Zurich (virtually)!

Whilst I was sitting at my desk in Stuttgart, I got the opportunity to e-meet a professor from the KOF Swiss Economic Institute, briefing us all on the impacts of COVID-19 on the macroeconomy and giving us an outlook on what possible scenarios we might encounter in the near and distant future. Moreover, I was appealed to learn more about the cryptocurrency scene in Switzerland and how, for instance, Bitcoin Embassy is creating an ecosystem for all those who would like to be part of this scene. Toward the end, we spoke to a Durham alumnus who works at Credit Suisse, giving us valuable insights on the banking system in Switzerland and what makes it so special. We also had the chance to ask lots of questions about securing jobs in the financial industry.

A few weeks later I was part of the next ‘trip’ to Frankfurt where we learned about private banking and asset management in Germany, and how one of Germany’s oldest banks is managing its business. What I found interesting, as a German and potential entrepreneur in the future (who knows?), was learning more about the start-up scene and the venturing process in Germany, which is a bit different from how things work in the Anglo-Saxon world.

The trip ended with us talking to Moneyfarm, an online robo-advisory, and a virtual encounter with one of Germany’s largest banks, Commerzbank.

Overall, I had a great experience and learned many new things. Ultimately, despite lockdown, the goal of the study trip was fulfilled – I used all of the knowledge that I gained to perform well in my job interviews and secured a job offer shortly after the trips. Without the great opportunity to network and learn more, this might not have happened. I’d like to thank every person from the Business School who got involved in organising these trips, for helping me with the first building block of my career.

Although this was a cool experience, I of course hope that next year’s cohort can visit these two beautiful cities (luckily, I have been in both of them many times before) to have an even more positive experience.

More information

  • Originally, from Germany, Cosima has studied, worked, and travelled to many places throughout her time at university and is keen to visit more. Read about Cosima’s travels to Saudi Arabia at the start of the year here.
  • A photographic piece about last year’s international study experiences can be viewed in IMPACT magazine.
  • Read more about our Masters programmes here.
  • Our next digital event for Masters students takes place on Sunday 31 May for prospective students in India. Click here to register.