International Finance

Finance Across the Pond

April 29, 2024

Professor Michel Robe’s International Finance course takes students to Paris and London to experience classroom learning first-hand.

Textbooks, class discussions, lectures, and projects do much to introduce students to international finance, but experiencing it personally is an unmatched learning opportunity. In Michel Robe’s International Finance course, students spend time in the classroom analyzing the financial markets confronting globally oriented firms before traveling to France and the U.K. to see it in action.

Robe joined the Robins School faculty in 2023 as the Patricia A. and George Wellde, Jr. Distinguished Chair in Finance and soon after began developing content to be taught both on campus and abroad. “I designed the course to be useful for finance students, of course, but also for students in marketing, accounting, economics, logistics, and all areas that benefit from knowing about identifying, measuring, and managing international risks,” he said. “A first-hand experience abroad is critical to anyone working in the international space—not just in finance but also in other business disciplines.” 

The class of 12 students traveled to Paris and London over spring break, and their days were filled with lectures by faculty experts from the Université Paris-Dauphine (France) and the Bayes Business School (London) and conversations and meals with market regulators, currency traders, and international finance executives. Senior staff and executives from the AMF (the French financial market regulator), and the Banque de France (the French Central Bank) hosted the group in Paris, and in London they visited world-class financial institutions like the Baltic Exchange, Lloyd’s, and Citibank where they met a UR alumnus who hosted them for a roundtable with senior colleagues.  

Colin Kuni, a junior in the course, found these meetings the most memorable. “The panel at Citi was mesmerizing,” he said. “I was instantly gravitating towards learning more about the corporate FX team’s work and how I could find a similar role—an opportunity I didn’t know existed before this conversation.”  

Ahoefa Nanevi, a senior studying accounting, also credits the course with introducing her to career paths she hadn’t previously recognized. “Visiting the AMF and the Banque de France allowed us to see how our in-class lectures applied in the government and regulation sector,” she said. “After going to both I was able to reflect on the operations at either facility as a suitable career.”

Among their full agendas, students also found time to experience the culture of the cities. “I really enjoyed going abroad with my peers,” Nanevi said. “Over meals we were able to bond and talk while eating delicious food.”

For Kuni, the trip was the first time he traveled abroad, he enjoyed taking in the architecture and unique feel of the cities. “I loved being able to see how these cities adopted their financial and banking systems to reflect their size and power in the global markets.”

“The real-world experience to back up the content learned in class is unparalleled,” Kuni said. “I have never been more engaged in a class before, along with being truly challenged to think critically. Seeing the scenarios unfold in real time was the key aspect in helping every lesson click for me. You never truly understand how global business can be, and how immeasurably difficult it can be for the financial system to work on this stage.”

Resources have been committed to ensure students can again participate in the course next year, regardless of need, and Robe looks forward to helping more students gain international exposure. 

“The chance to see Richmond students soak in the novelty of the experience, to grow from meeting industry professionals, and to represent the University abroad was truly incredible,” Robe said. “The fact that all the professionals who met with our group want to see us back next year is a testament to the students’ ability to be true ambassadors of the Robins School and of UR.”