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Gabelli School students get global business lessons in Zurich

Global | Jun 13, 2018 |

If you’re looking to learn about European taxation, you could take a typical business course. Or you could travel to Switzerland to learn about it firsthand as Gabelli School undergraduate students did during last month’s global immersion to Zurich.

Over the course of the seven-day trip, part of an accounting course offered at the Gabelli School, students visited business and cultural sites in Switzerland including PartnerRe, Novartis, Schindler, Basel Old Town, and Lake Zurich.

Chris Hogan, FCRH ’95, partner at KPMG Switzerland, along with Hanaa Fawzy, assistant dean of global initiatives and partnerships, and Stan Veliotis, associate professor, organized the week’s activities and led the group.

While some of the student participants had experience with accounting and taxation, the global immersion focused on tax and other international business topics useful for business students of any background, especially those who plan to work overseas.

“Going into this course, I did not have much knowledge of tax,” said Amanda D’Antone, BS ’19. “I think with all of the new changes in U.S. tax laws, this trip provided a great experience to learn how these changes impact other nations as well as how U.S. tax laws [are changed] to be more like those in foreign countries.”

The corporate site visits meant that “I was able to learn both in and out of the classroom,” said Tara Brunner, BS ’19, “which exposed me to the real-world application of what was taught” during the spring-semester lectures at Rose Hill.

Executives also shared their business philosophies. At Julius Bär, Beatrice Sanchez, CEO of the Americas, explained that “We want to do right, not just do well.”

D’Antone said “this quote was not only inspiring but in line with our Jesuit values. We want to be men and women for others and serve our community so that not only we as individuals succeed, but we all succeed.”

In addition to practical business skills and philosophy, the students came away with new perspectives on working abroad. Brunner added that “listening to the stories of each professional, and how they got to where they are now, really inspired me to ensure that I find a position that would allow for an international job rotation.”

Polina Yafizova, BS ’20, recalled the story of Jessica Kaplan, head of legal and compliance at Duergo Group. “Her career path has taken many twists and turns—from transferring from a prestigious university to a state school, to moving to Switzerland to take a chance on a career. She taught us to take risks, be resilient, and remain resolute,” said Yafizova.

What does that entail? “Not copying the path of others,” Yafizova continued, “but finding your own path; stepping out of your comfort zone to grow; doing what makes sense to you; building relationships through networking; being both humble and hungry; and finding purpose and self-confidence.”

Whether the students one day work in Europe, or use their global experience for their careers in the United States, the lessons they learned in Zurich will be taken with them.

As D’Antone noted, “The current business world is as global as ever, and the more we are able to immerse ourselves, the better prepared we will be to be businessmen and women of the future.”

See more on the Gabelli School’s global business programs for undergraduate students.

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