(Federal Board of the “Studenten bilden Schüler” Association. Center: Christoph Bischoff).
IT’S THE HEIGHT OF THE FIRST CORONA WAVE WHEN CHRISTOPH BISCHOFF DECIDES TO BREAK A VICIOUS CIRCLE. HE’S BEEN DEALING WITH THIS ISSUE FOR A LONG TIME: PUPILS FROM EDUCATIONALLY OR FINANCIALLY DISADVANTAGED FAMILIES HAVE A HARD TIME IN OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM. COWEN ANALYST CHRISTOPH IS COMMITTED TO CHANGING JUST THAT.
At that time, Christoph was studying business administration at the University of Mannheim. A flyer drew his attention to the “Studenten bilden Schüler” (“Students Educate Pupils”) initiative. The association cooperates with various social institutions in more than 55 cities and brings students together with pupils from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. The result is a nationwide network of volunteers who help children and young people with their homework and prepare them for tests and exams. The aim is to improve pupils’ educational opportunities and their chances of success in vocational training and university studies by improving their grades. In this way, the vicious circle of educationally disadvantaged families can be broken.
IF THERE IS NO LOCATION, YOU CAN FOUND ONE
Christoph likes the association, but he faces a challenge. Due to the Corona pandemic, the universities are closing and he is moving back to his hometown near Dortmund. But the association is not active there, so there is not yet an organizational group of students who run the association locally – “Studenten bilden Schüler” does not have offices anyway. Now would be the moment when many would have given up, but not Christoph. Without further ado, he founds a new local association group in Dortmund and sets it up. With great success! Within a few months, students in Dortmund are able to support pupils. “The initiative came at just the right time,” says Christoph, “Because especially during the Corona pandemic, when more and more schools were closing and lessons could no longer take place in classrooms, children and young people need the support.”
Some of the students lack not only specialized support, but more basic things: A place to learn and work in a concentrated manner. For this, the association offers meeting places in social institutions where they can arrange to meet for tutoring. Others lack the technical equipment to take part in school lessons from home, and sometimes there is also a lack of money for school materials such as compasses or notebooks. Here, too, the association provides support in the form of donations in kind.
CAREER START AND FEDERAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Christoph is not resting on his laurels, however. After founding the site in Dortmund, he wants to pull even more strings for the association. So he applies for the federal board. This board takes care of basic things like finances, IT infrastructure and public relations for the 55 locations. He took on the role of Chief Financial Officer and has since been in charge of fundraising – in other words, winning over donors for the association’s goals. In addition, the financing of events, equipment, administration or scholarships is the responsibility of Christoph and his team.
In the meantime, Christoph has finished his studies in Mannheim. At Cowen Europe, he starts as an investment banking analyst in the M&A industry – an area that already interested him during his studies. “I learn an enormous amount at Cowen thanks to the close cooperation with the MDs and my colleagues,” Christoph says. “What sets Cowen apart is how quickly you can take on responsibility in national and international transactions here and grow from it. Every level is open to all questions. Newcomers to the investment banking profession don’t experience that everywhere.”
Despite demanding tasks at work, Christoph remains true to his commitment to the club. He has moved his center of life to Leipzig, where Cowen has its main office, a city he finds much to like from its cultural offerings to its generally young audience. The next step for the association is international expansion! “Studenten bilden Schüler” has already put out feelers to the USA, Austria and Italy, and the first locations are in the making. Where does Christoph’s motivation come from for the double burden between job and honorary office?
“It is of course a great feeling to take the association forward or even to acquire donations for the important purposes of the association,” says Christoph, “but the best thing is when we receive the thanks of the pupils or their families for everyone’s commitment to the association. That way, we experience directly that we can improve the educational opportunities of individuals and thus we make a difference.”
Copyrights: Association “Studenten bilden Schüler”