Archive for Andreas Maerki

A look at ‘Emerging Capital Markets’ class

Professors Bruce Wolfson and Jorge Mariscal.

Professors Bruce Wolfson and Jorge Mariscal.

By Andreas Maerki, MPA International Finance and Economic Policy Dec ‘14

This semester I’ve been taking the “Emerging Capital Markets” course at SIPA with Professor Bruce Wolfson and Professor Jorge Mariscal. Professor Wolfson is a seasoned, emerging markets lawyer who’s counseled global financial institutions for more than 30 years in virtually every region and every aspect of financial services. He has substantial experience in negotiating and rescheduling sovereign and private sector debt. Professor Mariscal has more than 25 years of experience in international financial markets, with more than 20 years specifically dedicated to emerging markets. He was a partner and chief investment strategist at a multibillion asset manager and a managing director at one of the largest global investment banks, where he coordinated the firm’s emerging markets investment research product. Both professors have been teaching this course at Columbia since 1999.

The goal of “Emerging Capital Markets” is to expose students to the historical relationships between financial risk, capital structure and legal and policy issues in emerging markets. Students identify patterns in investor and borrower behavior, evaluate sovereign capital structures and analyze sovereign defaults—including the debt negotiation process during the various debt crises of the past 175 years. This course also studies the genesis and outcome of several banking and stock market crises seen in emerging market (EM) countries.

Typically, a solid understanding of economic and financial history is an important—and usually neglected—background needed for anyone interested in the banking industry or economic policy-making. But this course doesn’t require that its students have a high level of finance theory or law (although, some macroeconomic or finance theory will be useful).

The first half of the course consisted of lectures and reading materials about the definition of emerging markets, liquidity and pull theories and various recent crises and the implemented solutions. We also covered the current default of Argentina and the role of the so called “Vulture Investors.” During the second half of the course we presented group research projects about emerging markets. My group analyzed the emerging markets in Africa. Specifically, we compared and contrasted Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa, and identified the risk and opportunities these countries are experiencing.

“Emerging Capital Markets’” rich lesson plan makes it easy to see why the course is one of the most popular classes at SIPA. Despite its popularity, the professors keep the class size small to maintain healthy and vibrant class discussions, and to ensure their students are getting the one-on-one attention they crave. Therefore, I highly suggest that you don’t wait until your last semester to take this course!

It’s truly a class you don’t want to miss while at SIPA.

what I did this summer

Internship in Country Risk Management at J.P. Morgan

Prior to attending SIPA my experience was in banking; however the reason I chose SIPA for my graduate studies was to transition into a role that offers more of a macro and international picture, allowing me to work in a field where macroeconomics, capital markets, and risk meet and of course a role where I am challenged every day and get to learn and apply my skills. I had the chance to work in Country Risk Management (CRM) at J.P. Morgan during the summer. It all started with three representatives visiting SIPA to host an information session in the fall of 2013. What followed was an application process, consisting of four phone and four in person interviews.  I consider myself fortunate that I received the opportunity to be a part of the team and the culture at the bank, because this is a dream job for a SIPA student. It was a 10 week internship, starting in June with a couple of weeks of training. The first week I was part of the Sales & Trading (S&T) Markets Training group, where about 100 interns were trained on basics, such as what is equity, what is a bond through how markets are supposed to behave to how financial derivatives fit into the bank. The second week, I took part in a more risk specific training to be prepared for my eight weeks at the desk. Before the training weeks were completed, students were formed into groups of four to prepare a case study to competitively pitch to senior management.

After some valuable training I was excited to finally join my CRM team and to apply my skills learnt and advanced at SIPA. The team in CRM was relatively small on a global basis and therefore I had a chance to work closely with colleagues also based in London and Hong Kong. The eight weeks were packed and I had several deliverables on top of assisting with ad-hoc tasks. However, it was a super learning experience and with the great support of the team I was able to master my objectives successfully. My summer objectives were based around the main work the team does, such as internal ratings of countries and measuring the exposure risk the bank experienced.

The summer program was well structured. Each intern had a junior and senior mentor, who assisted the intern throughout the summer. Throughout the program there were also different social and professional events. Social events consisted of visiting a New York Yankee game and having dinner at different places. The professional events included senior speaker series with management from the bank. These were all very interesting; however I would say the highlight was when Jamie Dimon spoke to us and shared his experiences in banking and at J.P. Morgan.

My summer experience at the bank has been wonderful and it was great to meet so many professionals with whom I look forward to staying in touch and working together in the future. It may be the fall semester only; however the sooner you start looking for your dream internship, the higher the chances that you will be working there during the following summer. Good luck!


by Andreas Maerki, MPA International Finance and Economic Policy Dec ‘14


Professor Goldberg’s Financial Services Sector in the 21st Century: Final Case Presentations at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York

I had the pleasure of taking Professor Richard Goldberg’s course, Global Financial Services Sector in the 21st Century, during the fall semester of 2013. It was a valuable experience to learn from a 25-year Wall Street veteran who has covered the financial sector for international M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) and worked at various global banks.  Professor Goldberg is actively involved with the Columbia University community in general, and particularly with the IFEP concentration.

The  course  provided  a  framework  within  which students  could  evaluate  and  understand  the  global  financial services industry.  In class, we explored perspectives such as the current and future roles of the major financial services participants, key driver s influencing an industry that has always been characterized by significant change, and strategic challenges and opportunities facing today’s

financial services CEOs. That said, this course is tailored so that students with various backgrounds can follow and appreciate all of the materials read and discussed. The assigned readings were current, applicable to today’s financial markets, and focused on what was important.

 goldberg class

In particular, Professor Goldberg’s course taught how a SIPA student might look at global financial institutions from a different perspective, focusing more on global macroeconomic and political risk over just simple returns. For example, we learned about how regulatory changes in the capital markets could affect the global strategy of a financial institution, and how a supermarket  approach may  be  of  benefit  to  one  institution  but  a  boutique  approach  might  be  better  for  another,  depending  on  a  financial  institution’s strengths. Understanding the dynamics of policy and financial markets is a valuable proficiency that this course teaches.

Clearly, the guest speakers (from banks and asset managers) and the two presentations were the highlights of the course. For example: For the final case study, we divided our class into teams. Each group recommended specific strategies to senior management at Bank of America Merrill Lynch New York headquarters that could potentially strengthen the bank’s position in the financial markets. Senior executives provided feedback to all teams on how our suggestions would or would not be feasible in the current marketplace.

This live presentation to professionals was a unique experience, especially for students who have not worked much prior to attending SIPA. The skills acquired in this course will serve students well in several sectors; however, it’s tailored for careers in finance, banking, management consulting, and policy-making. I encourage students with various backgrounds to take Richard Goldberg’s course, because it teaches rich information, offers great opportunities, and is entertaining.

Posted by Andreas Maerki, MPA ’14, IFEP

Solution Providers Case Study Event

Irene Coffman from the Office of Career Services (OCS) in coordination with the Consulting and Finance Club at SIPA hosted Solution Providers, a boutique Management Consulting firm headquartered in Switzerland. The consultancy was founded in 1996 and has since grown to 160 professionals globally with offices in Switzerland, Germany, Singapore as well as the USA.  It officially opened an office in New York this year. Earlier in the semester Solution Providers hosted a well-attended information session about the firm, the professional opportunities and how policy students from SIPA may add great value by advising renowned international financial services companies that seek support in the whole process from working out strategies and realizing these operationally through technical implementation.

Solution Providers is looking for well rounded, curious, and intelligent Senior Consultants, who understand and are ready to advance their knowledge within Financial Services firms and how financial regulations and policy may impact the sector in order to serve the client best. As Daniel Zelkas (Senior Consultant) said, the “start-up” culture is a great opportunity for students with various backgrounds to get involved, contribute towards the firm’s success generally and in New York competition Maerki pic for blog

Solution Providers has organized similar “Case Study” events at other prestigious academic institutions locally and internationally to seek talent and last Monday at SIPA. After some refreshments and a short presentation about the team, the culture and the firm’s mission (Passion, Process, Progress), there were 4 teams with 5 students each gaining insights in the life of a management consultant by practicing their casing skills. Each team approached the case differently to manage the case that was number heavy and represented a typical challenging situation of gaining new business, by not neglecting the existing clients and by having a cost-efficient operation to support the firm’s growth.

Some groups divided the tasks immediately to quickly focus on specific areas and others discussed the issues as a whole team to get a good handle on the challenge the case study offered and potential solutions that may be recommended. Felix Gniza (Senior Consultant) mentioned that this case was from a real client; however slightly modified to make it manageable to be solved within 45 minutes and to follow compliance standards to assure confidentiality of the actual client’s identity. After an intense team work session and a 15 minutes break that was used to finalize the team’s presentations, each group made their case by identifying the issues that were discovered during the analysis of the case and the various recommendations that the students recommended to senior management, represented by the 4 Solution Providers professionals present. Ilya Usorov (Consultant) shared that this “case study” represented the actual process he and his fellow colleagues face to provide the best solution possible under a tight time schedule and with the information available.

The students experienced this challenge firsthand through the follow up questions posed by the consultants and other students to the presenting team; however the students appreciated the valuable learning experience and the feedback on what to emphasize on during the next time a case or actual client study is worked on. The official part of the 3 hour workshop was concluded by a general feedback from Ahrum Pak (Associate Consultant) and the aforementioned Solution Providers representatives. A casual commingling between the students and the Consultants followed, where business cards were swapped and future career plans were enhanced.

Please feel free to reach out to SIPA’s career office (OCS) or to me if you want to learn more about this case.

SIPA students and Solution Providers professionals after the presentations

SIPA students and Solution Providers professionals after the presentations

Posted by Andreas Maerki, MPA ’14, IFEP

J-Term Student Orientation 2014

SIPA’s Dean Merit Janow had the pleasure to welcome the newest J-Term class on January 15th and 16th. J-Term stands for January Term.  SIPA accepts a small class of global minded students in January (in addition to the main fall admittance). One great benefit among many is that students who enter in the J-Term have two full summers to do internships. The class of 34 students had two days of a heavily packed orientation schedule that informed the new “Seeples” (combination of SIPA and people – SIPA students sometimes like to refer themselves as Seeples) about how to register for courses, what classes to take for their respective concentration, where to find assistance for IT issues, where to get the best coffee and where the best study areas are. The orientation also was a great opportunity for the new students to get to know their Deans, career services representatives, Admission and Financial Aid staff, and to tour the beautiful Columbia University campus in the heart of New York City.

Three Peer-Advisors, current students and also J-Termers from the previous year had the wonderful tasks to make the new Seeples transition as smoothly and convenient as possible, and share their best practices. This of course would have not been possible without the great support by the Office of Student Affairs, by its Deans and all the other great assistance from staff we received. The best part of the orientation according to many new students and my fellow Peer Advisors was the commingling and making new life-long friends while at SIPA and beyond the time on campus. The two days of orientation were wrapped up with a fine wine and cheese reception while enjoying the magnificent skyline of the Big Apple.

Welcome class of J-Termers 2016 and all the best! You will have an awesome time!


posted by Andreas Maerki, MPA International Finance and Economic Policy, J-Termer 2015 & Peer Advisor


"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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