Plamen from the UK
BMS Phase I student,
BSc University of Oxford
In October 2008 I've just started at the BMS Phase I program to specialize in stochastic and finance, having previously studied for a Bachelors degree in England. Berlin really has one of the best research environments for stochastic in the whole world, there are a lot of researchers here, and there are plenty of PhD opportunities and a wide variety of fields, not only in finance but also in biology and in pure stochastic. Berlin is also extremely good in many other mathematical fields, so there is something for everyone's taste.
The universities are all very well connected with other universities, both nationally and internationally, and there are regular conferences and colloquia on every research area with guest speakers from all over the world - Berlin is really in the epicenter of mathematical research here! An important fact about the graduate program here is that the school really encourages students to explore areas outside of their direct field of research through BMS Fridays and the very flexible way in which you can structure your course.
This is great for people that have not decided exactly what to research yet or to get a new perspective on other fields in mathematics for those that have already decided. I've found this to be one of the benefits of being in such a large campus. The BMS offers great administrative and soft skills training that really lets you make the most out of your postgraduate career, including language courses, computer courses, and lecturing and presentation - giving seminars. All in all, I've found BMS to be a great foundation for my career in research, and I'm very glad that I chose to come here from England!
published in April 2009
Update 2013: Plamen is a postdoc at École Polytechnique.