Sebastian Merkel was born in Kaiserslautern, Germany, in 1989. In his last high school year he gained first study experiences via "Früheinstieg ins Mathematikstudium" at TU Kaiserslautern, a distance learning program in mathematics targeted at high school students prior to their graduation. Afterward he was enrolled in the Bachelor program in business administration at the University of Mannheim while continuing his math studies in the Bachelor program at the University for Distance Learning in Hagen (FernUniversität Hagen). During the course of his studies he spent one semester abroad at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. Influenced by both the courses in economics taken at that time and events related to the eurozone crisis, Sebastian began to think more thoroughly about economic issues than previously, which led him to develop a particularly deep interest in questions related to international macroeconomics, monetary economics and finance. Consequently, he decided to join the CDSE via the Master of Economic Research after finishing his two Bachelor degrees in 2012. In fall 2014 he completed his master thesis on "Belief-Driven Financial Market Fluctuations and the Effects of a Financial Transaction Tax" under the supervision of Klaus Adam and is now on leave to write his second master thesis in Mathematics. He plans to continue with his own research in economics in spring 2015. Sebastian also held two positions as a research assistant during his studies: Since 2012 he has been working at the Department of Financial Mathematics at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Mathematics in Kaiserslautern, in 2013 and 2014 he worked at the chair of Monetary Economics and Macroeconomics of Klaus Adam. He is funded by Stiftung Geld & Währung.
Why I chose the University of Mannheim and in particular the GESS
In studied in the Bachelor program of business administration in Mannheim, but realized, that I am more interested in economics. Since I wanted to do a research-oriented Master, switching to the Master of Economics Research in Mannheim and thereby getting admitted to the GESS' PhD program seemed to be a natural choice.
The best part of being a doctoral student here
I don't know. There is no specific thing I could identify as being "best". But I am quite satisfied with the overall conditions at the GESS.
A description of my fellow doctoral students
I don't think there is a set of attributes that suits (almost) everyone. So it is certainly impossible to describe my fellow students in an accurate way in only a short paragraph.