Klebert Kentia Tonleu,
BMS Phase II student,
BSc University of Dschang,
Honors University of Yaounde,
Qualifying Exam BMS

When I arrived in Berlin in October 2008, it was my first time ever to set foot on the European continent. I immediately felt a difference in the lifestyle and the weather; more specifically the first thing I noticed was that everyone seemed to be in a hurry, be it at the train station or even on the street. A month later I saw snow for the first time in my life, this was very beautiful despite the freezing cold weather it symbolized. Right away, I started wondering if I will be able to survive in my new environment. Surprisingly, my stay in Berlin so far has been very enjoyable in the mathematical side as well as in the extracurricular one. As a student of the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS), I find it very agreeable to study in Berlin. In particular, attending classes with other BMS students and taking part in the many BMS activities such as soft-skills seminars, kayaking, BMS Beer Nights, or the German conversation group prove to be quite resourceful and very entertaining.

The quality of mathematics offered in Berlin is really high, and the range of fields of mathematical research quite broad. At the beginning, I was especially surprised by the German system and way of teaching and doing mathematics. For example, I was not used to submitting assignments every week, or attending classes with only a handful of students. I was, instead, used to attending large classes and doing mathematics more theoretically than practically. It was amazing how people would look at me in some classes the first days, being the only African face. I have quickly adapted to the German way of living and studying that I am also always in a hurry. I now even have some knowledge of the German language which I acquired through the language courses supported by the BMS and the German conversation group in which BMS students gather around drinks to practice their German.

Since I arrived in Berlin, I have been specializing in stochastic analysis and stochastic finance. There are many excellent research groups in Berlin focusing in this area as well as other areas of mathematics. This makes Berlin a suitable city for any graduate student who wishes to pursue further studies in mathematics. The BMS makes this mathematical environment even more convenient for anyone who wants to quickly complete an excellent PhD in any field of mathematics. This is achieved through the diversity and the quality of the mathematics offered at the three Berlin universities, and the very desirable atmosphere provided by the BMS for its students. I have now finished the Phase I studies at the BMS and entered Phase II; this means in particular that I will spend at least another two years in Berlin working on my dissertation. I am really looking forward to all the excitement that comes with this.

published in November 2010

Update 2018: Klebert successfully defended his PhD in Mathematical Finance in 2015 at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Between 2015 and 2017, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Mathematical Finance Group at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. Since 2017 he has been working as Senior Consultant for a management consulting firm in Frankfurt am Main.