Group in front of the rebuilt castle ©Edyta Cegielska

New exchange programme with the Warsaw School of Economics

The Bundesbank’s University of Applied Sciences and the Warsaw School of Economics (known as the SGH for short) have launched a new student exchange programme. The programme enhances the University’s international outreach and adds to the range of cooperative arrangements it maintains with other educational institutions around the world. This spring, a group of five students – Stefanie Roth, Janina Sperl, Annalena Ritzdorf, Nicolas Thiebes and Tommy Bartl, accompanied by Urs Lendermann – visited the SGH at the invitation of Professor Małgorzata Zaleska, Director of the SGH’s Institute of Banking. The students prepared for their trip in a spirit of keen anticipation and curiosity. After arriving in Warsaw, they received a warm welcome at the SGH from professors Marcin Gospodarowicz and Edyta Cegielska before being escorted to their accommodations, which were kindly provided by the Narodowy Bank Polski (NBP), Poland’s national bank. Activities on Monday started out with a tour of the SGH campus, whose old, well-preserved architecture inspired much admiration and interest. The students were fascinated not only by the lecture halls fitted with rustic, narrow rows of benches that they otherwise knew only from watching television, but also by the wide-ranging courses of study offered by the SGH. The academic side of the exchange programme featured a number of lectures in English. For example, Professor Piotr Kuszewski gave a presentation on developments in investment banking, and Professor Marcin Gospodarowicz teamed up with Magdalena Kozińska of the NBP to provide detailed insights into the Polish banking sector. One key insight was that, while Poland’s banking sector tends to be dominated by a small number of big banks based in other European countries, Germany’s banking sector also features a large number of small savings banks and cooperative banks.

In another lecture, Professor Emil Ślązak focused on state-of-the-art issues such as mobile payments and the use of blockchain technology in the financial sector. The visiting students from Hachenburg were especially interested in the topic of mobile payments: the general level of interest in mobile payments is much higher in Poland than it is in Germany, resulting in a significantly wider range of mobile payment options in retail outlets and restaurants. 

Art and culture in Warsaw

Warsaw also has a great deal to offer in terms of sightseeing and history. During their stay, the Bundesbank University students enjoyed tours through the beautiful old town and royal palace. They also visited the Palace of Culture and Science, which has an observation deck that provided them with a magnificent view of the entire city and the many modern skyscrapers that have been erected in recent years. Warsaw is currently experiencing a construction boom. This means that the skyline will continue to grow in the coming years, giving the city an increasingly modern face. At the same time, the city also features an astonishing amount of greenery and nature. This includes the Wilanów Palace and its expansive park, which the students had the opportunity to visit. Other highlights included a tour of Frédéric Chopin’s birthplace, which is bordered by a park where visitors can listen to the beautiful sounds created by the famous composer. The group rounded out their sightseeing with a tour of the Polish national bank’s Money Centre, an informative, interactive museum that offers three floors of discovery. 

For both the German visitors and their Polish hosts, the first round of the exchange programme was a complete success. Krzysztof Kozłowski (Vice Rector for Teaching and Student Affairs), Professor Jan Koleśnik (Vice Director of the Institute of Banking) and Urs Lendermann all praised the exchange programme and affirmed their hopes that cooperation between the Bundesbank's University of Applied Sciences and the Warsaw School of Economics will continue to expand. Next year, colleagues from Warsaw will again be paying a visit to Hachenburg Castle during the International Week on Central Banking.