Ulm University expands cooperation with two top Chinese universities

5. January 2022

The University of Ulm is one of the world’s top locations in the field of finance and actuarial sciences. Accordingly, the Master’s programme in Finance is also in demand among students from abroad. A cooperative Master’s programme that the University of Ulm runs with two renowned Chinese universities strengthens student exchange between the two countries. The partner universities in the so-called “Early Entrance Master’s Programme” of Ulm University are Fudan University and East China Normal University (ECNU). Currently, 13 Chinese students from this programme are studying in Ulm, including Yuling Wang and Yi Liu.

Yuling Wang and Yi Liu both come from Shanghai. Their home universities, Fudan University and East China Normal University (ECNU), are among the most renowned universities in China. The two young Chinese women left the metropolis of 23 million people to do their Master’s in Finance at the University of Ulm. And there are good reasons for this, as the University of Ulm enjoys an excellent international reputation, especially in the field of insurance economics / actuarial sciences. In a worldwide ranking by the University of Nebraska from 2021, the University of Ulm achieved a phenomenal second place among non-business schools. A total of 13 students from Fudan University and ECNU – all female students – are studying at Ulm University in the current winter semester. This is made possible by a cooperative exchange programme of the Ulm Faculty of Mathematics and Economics. The “Early Entrance Master’s Programme” for “Finance” students facilitates the transition to a Master’s degree programme through two preceding exchange semesters.

In China, the business mathematics subject “Finance” is also very popular among young women because it offers the best job prospects and career opportunities. “At my home university, Fudan University, there are even more women than men studying in the School of Economics, especially in the field of insurance,” says 22-year-old Yuling Wang. Her interest in economics topics was sparked by a Chinese comic series. “The comics were very well made and I liked them a lot,” says the young student, who specialised in insurance economics during her studies and wants to become an actuary one day. This is also what Yi Liu, who studies at ECNU and came to economics and financial mathematics via statistics, wants: “Actuaries also have a very good reputation in China. I am working very hard for this degree now.” Studying at a German university is a big change for her. “In Shanghai, I share a room with three fellow students. We always do everything together: study, cook and go out. Here in Ulm, I have a single room in a hall of residence. I’m much more on my own here, but that also makes me more independent,” says Yi Liu.

The exchange students from Shanghai will spend a total of four semesters in Ulm to complete their Master’s degrees. Specialisation is possible depending on the field of interest: the choice is between the fields of insurance economics / actuarial science, financial economics and financial mathematics. “In addition, there are methods from statistics, mathematics and computer science as well as events in which students learn to put what they have learned into practice,” explains Professor Gunter Löffler. The head of the Institute of Finance is responsible for the Master’s programme “Finance” at the University of Ulm. The university’s cooperation programme with Fudan University and East China Normal University (ECNU) was established for the summer semester of 2021. “We are very pleased that the response from our partner universities has been so good,” says Ulm professor An Chen. The Chinese, who studied economics at the University of Bonn, has lived in Germany since 2000. She has been researching and teaching at the University of Ulm since 2012. An Chen heads the Institute of Actuarial Science here and has played a key role in establishing this German-Chinese cooperation in the field of actuarial science and finance at the University of Ulm. “The exchange programme is not a one-way street. There is also the possibility for Ulm students to go to Shanghai to study,” Chen adds.

The International Office (IO) at the University of Ulm makes sure that exchange students arrive safely here. It provides support with admission, entry and accommodation. It also organises orientation events and meetings with other international students to get to know the university, the surroundings and fellow students. The foreign students learn what they need to know about German and what they should know about life in Germany in a four-week online preparation course. “It is very important to us that our students from abroad get along well here,” explains IO staff member Na Yang. The native Chinese, who has lived in Germany for 20 years, also looks after the 13 students from Shanghai.

Of course, life in Ulm is different from that in the “dragon’s head metropolis”, which is also known as the “Pearl of the Orient” and is one of the largest cities in the world. “In Ulm there are far fewer distractions, and so I can concentrate very well on my studies,” says Yi Liu. She mostly communicates online with her fellow Chinese students, her friends at home and her family. What Yuling Wang likes most about Ulm is the old town and the Danube. “Life in Shanghai is much more stressful and studying is much more competitive, but there is also more going on and it’s great to go out,” says the young woman, who appreciates both sides. Yuling Wang still misses her family very much, but she has already met some fellow students with whom she now goes out more often. There is also a chat group of Chinese students in Ulm who exchange tips and advice. And of course, the lecturers also help with questions about their studies: “They are very nice and helpful,” say the two students.

Further information:

Prof. Dr. An Chen, Head of the Institute of Insurance Economics, e-mail: an.chen@uni-ulm.de

Prof. Dr. An Chen; Institute of Actuarial Science