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The Zurich module 2015 from a candidate's perspective

Sep 22 2015
by Jana Kristofova, E.M.B.L.-HSG candidate 2015/2016

Two and half months of „summer break“ (no classes for those who enrolled for the normal version of the program) passed very quickly. On Monday 14th September we all met again – now in Zurich, financial center of Switzerland. Everybody seemed to be happy to see those well known faces of ours. We spotted a couple of new classmates who integrated into our group very quickly (our group is becoming more and more international – we got two new classmates – from Uruguay and Malaysia).

The module in Zurich was focused on Finance. The location of this module could not have been better – we were located at Swiss Stock Exchange (SIX – Swiss Infrastructure Exchange) in the room which previously served as a trading room. The chairman of the program – Dr. Stefan Sulzer, LL.M., Attorney-at-Law was great. He works for Alcon in Forth Worth in Texas. He was very enthusiastic and kept our attention on a high level during classes all the time. On Monday Dr. Sulzer gave us a very deep overview of Finance in Business Law. In the afternoon we got some information about past, present and future perspectives of SIX by Lic.oec.publ. Urs Widmer, MBA who works for SIX. The next speaker – Christine Schmid, M.Econ. provided us with some macroeconomic data in relation to the current global economic situation and gave us more information on the Swiss Financial Center. I found her presentation very interesting.

On Tuesday (day 2) Philip S. Bagdasarianz, Masters of Arts in Educational Science showed us the world of Private Banking – how to asses the investor and to define investment strategy, what about tactical investment decisions, etc. Then Hartmut Renz, Attorney-at-law during his session, gave us some overview of current regulatory framework in the Finance world. Many regulations got implemented into different areas of Finance after the financial crisis in 2007 – 2009. There was an exam scheduled at the end of this module. Therefore, Dr. Sulzer dedicated some time in the afternoon to the preparation for the exam. The last session was about risk and the regulations in banking industry – Basel I, II and III.

On Wednesday (day 3) we started with Capital Markets. Then Dr. Philipp von Randow, Attorney-at-law gave us detailed overview of capital markets transactions and of debt financing. We paid special attention to the convenants related to the issuance of debt securities and to the syndicated loan. In spite of the fact that I work in the finance industry and have a background in Finance/ Economics/ Management, many things were new for me. Prior to this module I had never heard of Coco Bonds. What are those and what does the abbreviation stand for? Coco Bonds – contigent convertible bonds are those bonds which can be converted into equity (as in the case of normal convertible bonds), but just some pre-defined event can trigger this conversion. In the afternoon Dr. Stephan Hutter, LL.M.,Managing Partner at Shearman & Sterling LLP in Frankfurt a.M.,  gave us deep overview of Global Equity Offerings – what it means, the legal framework and processes related to it. One of the highlights that I learned – special conditions for private placement 144A. At the end of the day Dr. Sulzer explained us everything about Derivatives (and regulations related to them). This topic is difficult, but he explained the things very clearly.

Thursday (day 4) started very enthusiastically – Dr. Sulzer and his colleague Daniel Weiss, CFA shared with us their experience from Alcon acquisition. They both participated significantly on this transaction. We found it very interesting and fascinating: Three steps of acquisition, 3 methods of payment, each party held an option (call and put) with the possibility to exercise it in the step 2. During the next lecture we got an overview of SIX´s regulation. In the afternoon Dr. Hans-Joachim Jaeger explained the main principles FATCA is based on, the proposal by G-20 on Automatic Exchange of Information in the world and another topics from the Tax field. At the end of the day we took the exam. Well,  I have to say, it was quite difficult, „we were sweating a lot“, but we hope and believe that we all passed.

Friday (day 5) was amazing . It was the day when E.M.B.L.-HSG program celebrated 20 years. During the day we had a conference. The topic of the conference was – Regulation of the Financial Services Industry and its Impact on Competition and the Economy as a Whole. The topic was very up to date and very well explained. Speakers who shared their experience and knowledge from that area were great. They came from the academic world and the law and finance field (CAS Financial Regulation, European Commission, EFTA Court, Ministry of Finance, Financial Stability Board, Swiss National Bank, FINMA). We started with the crisis, what caused the crisis, how the authorities reacted and then we were more looking into the future – we were talking about options on how to prevent a new financial crisis, what the implications for the competition were and at the end we got introduced with couple cases from ECJ and EFTA court on the topics related to financial crisis. Again, I have to say, I got some insights which I had not come across before – especially regarding „current overregulation“.

In the evening we were all invited for a dinner at the Papiersaal. It was great event, the food was fantastic and people in a great mood. Moreover, the new president of the Alumni Association got inaugurated that evening as well. I was very positively surprised by the atmosphere and how alumni of this program have been keeping in touch and keeping educating themselves during those conferences.

I learned that there are a couple conferences during the year on different topics and in different locations. I found this idea really great.In the name of all E.M.B.L. – HSG XX class I would like to thank Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Carl Baudenbacher, his wife Dr. Doris Baudenbacher-Tandler, the team of E.M.B.L.-HSG and Alumni Association for the invitation to the conference and the celebration event.

Saturday morning (day 6) was a bit difficult for us, but we made it. We all met again at SIX venue. Prof. Dr. Jens Kirchner gave us an introduction into International Management and then further explained different tools which are needed for analyzing the current position of the company and for defining different strategies of expansion internationally. I think he did really great job because even after very intensive week and even more intensive day before he kept our focus all the time.

Looking backward I have to say that the Finance module was very interesting. Every day I learned something new. Moreover, now I see more how Finance and Business and Law are like pieces of puzzle and how they compliment each other.  Everything I heard last week has helped me to see a clearer picture of „Finance world“.

You will hear from me very soon (Frankfurt – the Mergers and Acquisitions module is this week).

Greetings from Zurich,

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