Standing atop Mount Titlis in the Swiss Alps, about half way through my first trip to Europe, I realized the power of travel, the power of business, and the power of networking. Hopping on a mini sled down the side of the Alps, screaming with excitement and lack of air due to high altitude with my friend and classmate, Madie, brought a feeling of ultimate euphoria and a bond to the cohort of students on The Fisher College of Business’s Freshman Global Lab. From Zurich to Bern to Lucerne, Switzerland’s picturesque cities embody the exact image of Europe. Walking the streets and taking the trams to restaurants and city centers allowed me to envision myself as a working adult in the real world. Only 10 days away from the excessive monotony of America opened my eyes to the power of travel and the effects it can have on one’s personal and career-related choices.
Because Switzerland is one of the financial capitals of the world, we met with investment and accounting firms to wet our palettes with that aspect of business. Reflecting back on the trip, those 2-hour company visits ignited the reality of college, deciding on a major, and creating the start to my future. To truly immerse myself in the experience, I asked at least one question at each company we visited to show my appreciation for their time and to enrich my interest and understanding of the interconnectedness of international and domestic business. Seeing the variety of options and reliable career paths inspired me to further research finance once back at school and picture myself in one of those investment firms.
Torino and Milan brought gelato, sports cars, pasta, and fashion. When I found out we were going on a food tour of Torino’s main square, Piazza San Carlo, my dreams came true. The first solid food I ate as a child was pasta, so to truly experience a 5 course Italian meal (with the best pasta I have ever eaten, ever) really brought the trip full circle.
Visiting Pininfarina, a household name in sports car design known for servicing Ferrari, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo, brought my childhood conversations with my father about our shared love for cars to life. Learning how the owners transformed their experience with designing cars into designing hotels, yachts, headphones, and more was fascinating. As they went into detail about the relationships between the design teams and marketing teams of both themselves and the companies that were requesting their services reminded me of my draw to marketing, but didn’t give me the same feeling I had in the investment and financial firms. Some of my friends became entranced at the prospect of interning for such a prestigious house of design; when I didn’t share those feelings, I knew marketing wasn’t for me. Without this trip and catching snapshots of real world business, I would always be wondering if I enjoyed another aspect of business enough to switch my focus. I found myself dreaming about the New York Stock Exchange and real estate investments rather than ad campaigns and digital media.
Without the ingenuity of design houses, the risks of financial investment firms, and the technological efficiency of supply chain companies, the world would not go round. I could not be more thankful for studying abroad through Fisher; without FGL, I would not be applying into a different major or have the confidence to pursue what I want in life. Meeting over 30 new friends, whom all share similar goals and interests, was a definitive highlight of the trip. Being able to say goodbye at the Milan airport after approximately 4 hours of sleep, due to an epic final night in Italy, and know the friendships I made will continue inside and outside of the classroom bumped going abroad up to the best decision I made as a freshman.