Thursday, September 19, 2013

Last Day in Frankfurt: Finance Day!

Earlier today, we explored the finance industry. First, we visited the Money Museum at the Deutsche Bundesbank. The tour guide took us on a journey looking at the history of money.

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Before the money as we know them today, people would barter goods to trade. At one point, cows were used to determine worth. For example, a plot of land was worth 12 cows. It was really interesting to learn that the "dollar" was derived from the German word "Thaler" used in the 16th Century.

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We were then taken to this room where the currencies from all over the world were displayed:

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We also learned about the monetary policy and the role of the European Central Bank. The EU governing council meets every two weeks. It was awesome to know that the leaders from all over Europe would come here to Frankfurt to talk about monetary policies.

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The tour guide also showed us some of "money game machines" on the floor. Some of the team tinkered with them :)

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After our tour, we headed off to lunch. It gave us yet another chance to walk around Frankfurt (aaahh..always a joy..) and for Indah and Rojmary to run off to Dunkin Donuts to get their donut cravings satisfied :) (Dunkin Donuts doesn't have a presence yet in California).

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Some went to a Thai restaurant. Some of us went to Kleinmarkthalle, Frankfurt's indoor market. There were more than 60 stalls to choose from! There was a variety of meats, bread, cheese, produce, and other exotic foods and drinks. It was so much fun trying different food from the different stalls.

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In the afternoon, we travelled north to visit Feri AG in Bad Homburg. This was a treat because we met Kaarina Suikkonen, a UC Davis GSM alumni!

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Kaarina's colleague, Alexander Krater, taught us about private equity. We learned about creating value in private equity and the J curve effect making it different from equity investments. We found out that private equity firms not only invest in companies but infrastructure as well such as roads, solar parks, and jails.

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Mr. Krater talked about the importance of soft skills and building relationships. Meeting people in person helps open opportunities and assess the situation. Observing who speaks and how he/she treats others can help tell how a team is run and investments are managed. Also, building relationships will help expand your network so that opportunities and resources are available when the time is right.

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Kaarina Suikkonen is the Head of Private Equity at Feri. She shared with us her story of how she went from being a UC Davis MBA student to leading a major division at a Finance firm in Germany. It was inspiring to see a fellow GSMer working overseas. She talked about how great our UC Davis GSM alumni network is and encouraged us to use it to make connections and find opportunities.

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Wow, our trip's almost over! However, we did save the best for last. For our final stops, we will be travelling tomorrow to Essen to meet with the top two energy and utilities companies!

Until then, dear readers!


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