The parking lot is empty, the cafeteria is deserted and there is unusual silence. The university’s library is the only place where students are poring over their books. This atmosphere is rather untypical of the usually so bustling campus – but this is the way we, Dr. Marcus Wrede and Dr. Henrik Pontzen, know Witten/Herdecke University. The reason is quite simple: It is Saturday morning and our seminar is the only one taking place on this weekend.
However, it won’t be quiet for long, as our risk management block seminar will begin shortly. A couple of minutes later, we are right in the middle of a lively group discussion on the origin of banks, risks and finances. Our interactive teaching concept goes down well with management students, and this is why we really enjoy coming here.
The students’ high motivation, delight and competence in discussing make Witten/Herdecke University unique.
Learning from practice
To Dr. Wrede and me it is very important that students elaborate risk management topics themselves. For this, we put extensive studies up for discussion. Students shall recognise pitfalls and problems themselves and try to solve them when developing theories and methods.
In addition to this interactive approach we attach much importance to conveying practical knowledge. We aim at demonstrating the relevance of the theories and methods learnt at university to everyday life as well as their limits. As such practical relevance was missing during our own studies we find the practice-oriented approach of Witten/Herdecke University to be exemplary and are pleased to support it.
Viewing topics from different perspectives
In our professional life we also experience that risk management is closely intertwined with other disciplines. At HSBC, we are responsible for different fields of activities resulting in different views of the same topic. While Dr. Wrede is a typical risk manager, making decisions based on analyses and modelling, Dr. Pontzen attends to the group of asset managers. There is much to discover and convey in particular at the interface between these different perspectives. It is therefore important to us that students learn about the entire risk management dimension in our seminars, meaning that we do not only focus on financial risks but also discuss psychological, sociological and philosophical risk terms. Handling morally relevant risks in the best possible way is also part of the seminar.
The seminar’s interdisciplinary orientation perfectly complements the didactic concept of Witten/Herdecke University. Here, we meet seminar participants being interested in the fundamentals and open to perspectives of disciplines other than their own.
In our opinion, this practical and outside-the-box thinking is indispensable as good managers do not only know appropriate methods but mainly stand out by finding a solution for situations for which a method does not yet exist. Education and personality are therefore as important as knowledge.
In Witten we meet many interesting personalities interested in education and being enthusiastic about the topic. The impetus we take in from our seminars is great. Witten works. With us, too.