The school was originally founded as a separate entity by the LSF Foundation. “That was run by people who were flown in from outside [the Grand Duchy] because at that point there were no resident professors in Luxembourg,” says Professor Christian Wolff, director of the LSF since 2008. The Dutch graduate of the University of Chicago explains that the school became part of the University of Luxembourg, when the university was founded the following year.
“Growth and change are the key words here. Ninety percent of the people who work with us now were not here” four years ago. “We’ve been growing, hiring new people. That’s still ongoing; we’re still recruiting very seriously, both for professors and other positions.”
Also in that time the original master’s programme has produced more than 300 graduates. That course hosts 75 to 80 students at any given time, in both the full-time and part-time tracks. The master’s in economics and finance programme has about 50 students, and about ten students annually are accepted into its two-and-half year old doctoral programme.
Part of country’s evolution
In Wolff’s view, the LSF has played an important part in the country’s evolution over the past decade.
“Luxembourg has a very important financial centre. Not just important in abstract, but important in economic terms for the country,” he says. “It is quite important to have a team of academics who can support the financial centre. You see in the City and on Wall Street academia working relatively closely together with people in the financial centre” and it is important that the Grand Duchy also benefit from the “knowledge transfer”.
He cites the LSF staff’s work with insurance firm AXA on Luxembourg’s pension system and “different projects with the central bank here in Luxembourg on issues of financial stability.”
The works the other way too: “We received a chair from Deutsche Bank, so we now have one of our colleagues, a well-known academic that we managed to get here from the US, who is the Deutsche Bank Luxembourg professor of finance.”
The third edition of its Islamic finance executive programme begins in late April, and in February it launched an “executive programme in wealth management, which is something we have organised together with the private banking group of the ABBL, the bankers and banking association.”
New master’s programme
Indeed, in October the LSF will initiate a new master’s programme in wealth management, also in cooperation with the ABBL private banking group.
“With the new masters… we will be experiencing a 100 percent increase in teaching volume in the school”.
Although focused on ensuring the new programme goes well, Wolff still has an eye on the future. “We are actively thinking about developing with law colleagues in our faculty a master’s in law and finance. This is at the ‘idea generation stage’. I would not be surprised if this is a programme that is coming out in the next years.”