Welcome 20th E.M.B.L.-HSG class

Jun 29 2015

Impressions of the 1st module 'Introduction to European and International Business Law', St.Gallen, Switzerland

by Jana Kristofova, E.M.B.L.-HSG candidate 2015/2016


On June 15th we started our first module of E.M.B.L. program – Introduction to European and International Business Law. Many of us were new candidates and some were participants of the Sabbatical Program. I was very excited regarding the program. My classmates are very friendly and open minded people. We are a mix of lawyers and non-lawyers (non-lawyers mainly from the business field).

Five years ago I did my MBA in France. If I can compare the first two weeks spent with my classmates in Grenoble and here in St. Gallen, the atmosphere here is better. We felt „team spirit in the air“ already during the first days. In Grenoble, the process of integration took a bit longer.

At the beginning we introduced  ourselves within the group. The representatives/ management of the program introduced themselves – Patrizia, Franzisca, Tirza and Kathi. Prof. Baudenbacher – the chair person of the program – welcomed us. The chairperson of the first week was Prof. Haltern. He is a really enthusiastic person who loves what he does – Prof. Baudenbacher started with the overview of global and regional law. He shared his experience from the EFTA court with us. Then Prof. Haltern walked us through the history of European Union. We analyzed Schumman´s Declaration from 1950. After the session we were invited to the traditional Eglifilet Event at the university where we met Prof. Baudenbacher and the management of the program. The fish was delicious.

The main focus of the first week was on EU law. We were talking about the decision making process in EU law, its constitutional principles and fundamental freedoms. Moreover we analyzed some articles from The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU. The EU law topic is new to me. I found it really interesting – especially in this time of globalization – when law is an essential part of the business. We got an overview of Private International Law area (Prof. Behrens). At the end of the day we attended the tour around the complex of the University of St. Gallen and its interesting pieces of art.

On Thursday during the first week we got an overview of the evolution of law within time. In the afternoon Dr. Hess shared with us his valuable experience while being with Shell. At the end of the day we got case studies. Analyzing the case and preparing the presentation – those tasks were a part of our exam for this module.

The next day we had whole morning to analyze the case and to prepare the presentations. In the afternoon we shared the results of our findings with Prof. Haltern and our classmates. Our case was focused on preliminary ruling, duty of Supreme National Courts to make a reference to European Court of Justice (Aritcle 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU). The time passed very quickly during the first week. For me, as non-lawyer, it was quite intensive week full of new information.  

Our chairman for the second week was Dr. Speitler. Various speakers shared their knowledge with us during that week. We got an overview of the Integration Economics, where we talked about Impossible Trinity Principle* from the Monetary Policy area and analyzed the situation in Switzerland from January this year (unpegging exchange rate). Then we analyzed the current crisis in Greece.  In the afternoon Dr. Malacrida gave us an overview of WTO law and shared his experience with us (he works for WTO in Geneva).

The next day our chairman of the week – Dr. Speitler gave us an introduction to European and International IP Law and introduction to European Trademark Law. In the afternoon we had time to read our second case – another part of the exam. Then we all visited famous and very impressive Stifts Library and Cathedral.

Wednesday was „Compliance and Business Criminal Law Day“. Lecturer and the head of Compliance in Sberbank in Zurich (and alumni of E.M.B.L.-HSG) Mr. Bachmann gave us an overview of Compliance and then we prepared the presentations for our second graded assignment. The assignment was about the famous Wegelin case and non-W9 tax payers who had their bank account opened in Switzerland. In the afternoon Ms. Becker-Toussaint have us the introduction into International Business Criminal Law and shared the experience while working as a private prosecutor in Frankfurt.

Thursday was very interesting day. We had four speakers (PD Dr. Werlen, lic. iur. Frick, Prof. Binder and Mr. Huber). They were talking about Corporate Governance in general, Corporate Governance from a company´s perspective and its development and we heard about Shareholder Activism. Honestly speaking, I found this topic very interesting. Before I had not heard about shareholder activist and had not even had a clue that something like that happens.

Friday – the last day of our module – was different than other days. We learned interesting facts about other cultures and about leadership. Ms. Brandes very enthusiastically shared her knowledge with us. At the end of the process of saying good bye to each other took almost an hour. We all were excited to meet again in September at first in Zurich (Finance Module) and then in Frankfurt (M&A Module).

My feelings regarding the first module – big thumbs up! The topics we were talking about were really interesting. The lecturers are experts in the areas they were talking about. The classmates are very cool, friendly and open minded people.