Deutschlandstipendium – a genuine success story

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Deutschlandstipendium scholarships are one way for individuals, foundations and firms to help FAU and the federal government fund outstanding students at our University. One example for the success of the programme is FAU alumnus Dr. Benjamin Hübel. He completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes at the School of Business, Economics and Society at FAU, before graduating with a doctoral degree in June 2020. Since 2021, Dr. Benjamin Hübel has been employed as a portfolio manager at the insurance company HUK-COBURG, thanks in part to the fact that HUK-COBURG supported him throughout his time at university with a Deutschlandstipendium scholarship. A win-win situation.

When I think back to my time at FAU, I don’t just think of it as somewhere to gain new knowledge and an education, but also the fact that it taught me to be brave and seize challenges as opportunities.

Why did you decide to study and complete your doctoral degree at FAU?

With its history lasting more than 100 years and its interdisciplinary approach, the School of Business, Economics and Society offers an outstanding setting for students who want to give free reign to their thirst for knowledge. The combination of regional ties and global networks allows students to take a hands-on approach to studying, whilst benefiting from international connections.

You completed your doctoral degree in June 2020 on the topic of ‘Empirical essays on sustainable investing in equity and credit markets.’ What exactly did you investigate for your doctoral thesis?

In my thesis, I investigated whether the sustainability of companies and states has an impact on their financial performance in the capital market. I focused mainly on rates of return and various categories of risk. One of the main findings was that sustainable companies are less of a risk, which has a positive effect on their long-term financing costs.

You received support from a Deutschlandstipendium scholarship during your studies. How did this funding benefit you?

Financial assistance meant that I was able to devote more time to studying, internships and hobbies instead of student jobs. The events organised by FAU also helped me come into contact with the organisation providing my scholarship and expand my own network.

Do you have any tips for students interested in the Deutschlandstipendium?

The Deutschlandstipendium is aimed at funding outstanding students. However, ‘outstanding’ doesn’t necessarily mean an average grade of 1.0. Instead, companies are interested in people with particularly interesting portfolios. Passion, self-reflection and clear goals can all help swing the balance in your favour.

The Deutschlandstipendium offers an outstanding opportunity to get and stay in touch with other ambitious students.

Your scholarship provider, HUK-COBURG, is now your employer. Which role did the Deutschlandstipendium have to play?

The Deutschlandstipendium marked the start of a long relationship. It started with an internship, followed by my Master’s thesis and a research collaboration during my doctoral thesis. A crucial role was played by the excellent communication with the Deutschlandstipendium coordinator at HUK-COBURG, who supported me every step of the way and is still on hand with advice and support even now.

You are employed as a portfolio manager by HUK-COBURG. What does your work involve?

We invest the contributions paid by those who have insurance policies with us on the capital market. I am responsible above all for fixed-interest securities and, along the line of my doctoral thesis, for managing risks pertaining to sustainability and the climate.

To what extent do you use the knowledge and experience you gained during your studies at work?

My day to day work involves considerably more of what I covered during my studies than I had originally expected. My spectrum of tasks covers, for example, economic analysis, investment calculations and accounting. The more general training provided during a Bachelor’s degree programme is definitely also relevant, not just the specialisations acquired during a Master’s degree programme.

Are you still in touch with other students who received a Deutschlandstipendium scholarship?

Yes, I am. The Deutschlandstipendium offers an outstanding opportunity to get and stay in touch with other ambitious students.

And last, but not least: What is so special about FAU for you?

When I think back to my time at FAU, I don’t just think of it as somewhere to gain new knowledge and an education, but also the fact that it taught me to be brave and seize challenges as opportunities.

Thank you for taking part in the interview, Dr. Hübel.