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Gastrednerin beim Campus for Finance - WHU New Year’s Conference 2024
01/19/2024

Campus for Finance – WHU New Year’s Conference 2024

Renowned experts highlight strategies for an ever-changing financial landscape

From January 10 – 11, 2024, the WHU Campus for Finance, a fully student-run organization at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, held their 24th WHU New Year’s Conference. This year’s event, billed “Navigating the Future: Strategies for a Changing Financial Landscape,” offered students a diverse agenda replete with keynote speeches, panel discussions, interviews, and workshops.

As has become custom over the years, the WHU New Year’s Conference brought together many students from various universities all over Europe to witness renowned guest speakers in action. The twelve-person team behind the event welcomed around 450+ guests, including Dr. Wolfgang Fink and Jans Meckel, CEO and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs Europe respectively. Christof Bechtel, Head of Investment Banking for Germany and Austria at Bank of America, and Dietrich Becker, Founding Partner and President of Parella Weinberg Partners, offered their own insights in a fireside chat. Other guests in attendance included Klaus Froehlich, Chief Investment Officer at ADNOC, and Dr. Ingrid Hengster of Barclays Germany, rounding out the roster with Sigrid Kozmiensky of ING Germany and Dr. Jana Währisch of Morgan Stanley Europe.

The event’s exciting program shared the spotlight with the students’ own perspectives on the future. And many of those young talents had several chances to network and come into contact with representatives of renowned companies. “The event is a major opportunity to share knowledge, expand one’s network, and collaborate on innovative solutions for today’s financial challenges,” said Antonia Westphal (BSc, 2025), who was responsible for the conference’s budget and all communications.

On day one, Professor Markus Rudolf, the conference’s academic director, greeted the guests by highlighting the fact that Campus for Finance had become a longstanding tradition. He also made note of the students’ impressive accomplishment in having once again put on such a largescale, high-quality event.

Moderator Ali Aslan then gave a rundown of the day’s major points: A presentation from Dr. Carsten Berrar of Sullivan & Cromwell, followed by a panel discussion with Christof Bechtel, Stefan Hafke (CEO of Citi Germany), Christian Kornhoff (Managing Director at Centerview Partners), Dr. Marcus Schenck (Co-Head of Investment Banking DACH), and Julian Schoof (Head of Investment Banking DACH) on the future of their field.

On the second day, the event kicked off with an exciting discussion between Jans Meckel and Wolfgang Fink, who spoke of their time with Goldman Sachs, reflecting on the previous financial year and offering a glimpse into the one approaching. Topics such as artificial intelligence and new strategies for the financial landscape in flux played a central role in these discussions. “There are many areas where we see artificial intelligence and algorithms at play, for example, with protocols,” said Fink. “But for the most part, that’s when it also has to do with investments or negotiation processes. In our field, that is, in consulting, it’s used more as a productivity tool. And who is responsible here anyway?”

A presentation from Dietrich Becker followed, wherein he spoke both of his own entrepreneurial journey at Perella Weinberg Partners and of his personal successes and the lessons he had learned along the way. Later, Dr. Jörg Kukies, State Secretary of the German Federal Chancellery, spoke of the potential uses of artificial intelligence and globalization.

The event was rounded out with an inspiring fireside chat between Ingrid Hengster, Sigrid Kozmiensky, and Dr. Jana Wärisch centered around the topic of diversity in the financial world. “The diverse range of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences that this panel provided was imperative for the success of the event,” said Antonia Westphal of the conference’s conclusion.

Campus for Finance – WHU New Year’s Conference is an internationally known forum for spirited discussion on the most important opportunities and challenges affecting the world of finance today—and it has made it its mission to bring actors from that world together. The team behind the event offers leading company representatives, prominent academics, junior associates, and students a platform for them to engage in the discourse.

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