#ThrowbackThursday Couples

Richard and Nicole became a couple during their semester abroad in Korea in 2003

We both started the IM degree in 2001 – it was only the one class then so we all knew each other well and four of us especially formed a very close-knit group. So a friendship between Richard and myself had already been well established before we went on our semester abroad.

Back then allocation of your host university was by drawing lots from a hat.  Nearly all of us wanted to go to Auckland as our first choice but there were only a few places there.  So we drew lots again for our second choice: Ajou University in South Korea.  About half the class had decided that we wanted to do something adventurous – and South Korea seemed pretty different. In the end, there were 8 of us who went to Ajou and there, within the first month or so, Richard and I became a couple.

The other six in Korea were not at all surprised – they’d seen it coming – and so there was no awkwardness.  But those two close friends in our group were not there and we puzzled greatly about how to tell them.  Don’t forget, in those days we didn’t all have smart phones, there was no Whatsapp.  We didn’t want to wait until we saw them again months later, so we mailed.  That did feel a bit weird.  However, being a couple within the IM class was not a problem.  There were quite a few others who had also met a partner during their semester abroad.

 

Richard and Nicole with their twin girls in 2017

What happened next? Nicole: I went on to work for PwC consulting expat clients in international HR.  Richard and I got married in 2010 and then in 2012 our twin girls were born.  I decided I wanted to be at home for at least a year so stopped my job.  Eighteen months later I then found the perfect post for me – I am the Assistant for the IM programme.  It’s part-time, interesting and close to where we live and of course it was a bit like returning “home”.  I very much enjoy being in touch with a great variety of people – I liaise with lecturers, especially external lecturers, coordinating resources, planning. It’s perfect.

Richard: I joined what is now the Bank J. Safra Sarasin immediately after graduating and have been there in different roles and different teams ever since. My current position is Senior Portfolio Manager for institutional clients based in Zurich. What I enjoy since the merger is that the bank has become more international and our working language is English now.

Via the IM Programme many students have learnt a lot about business, made new friends, found future employers, expanded their horizons and also, more often than you think, found their partners.  After nearly 20 years since the programme started there are a surprising number of IM couples and even IM babies 🙂

So – here’s a slightly different #TbT item.  Also, so that we can tell all you IM lovebirds out there that we’re having a Love@IM barbeque from noon on 9 September at a site around Olten (we’ll communicate the place soon).  It’s for all who found love via or during their IM days and for any and all resultant kids:-)  So save the date and sign up now!

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Love@IM

Via the IM Programme many students have learnt a lot about business, made new friends, found future employers, expanded their horizons and also, more often than you think, found their partners.  After nearly 20 years since the programme started there are a surprising number of IM couples and even IM babies 🙂

To celebrate the love that’s been created, we are having a Love@IM barbeque from noon on 9 September at the Pfadiheim in Wangen bei Olten.  It’s for all who found love via or during their IM days and for any and all resultant kids 🙂 . There will be some basic food and drinks (sausages, soft drinks, etc.). Feel free to bring your own meat, extra drinks, a salad, a very yummy cake,..

So save the date and let us know if you are coming and if you’re bringing some food (we will get in touch with you beforehand)!

 

Registration

 

 

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#ThrowbackThursday: Raïna Rasper

The Insight China volleyball team (From left: Kim Quy Ly, Philippe Gutekunst, Fabienne Wheeler, Patric Buess, Nadine Hügli, Raïna Rasper, Inna Schaffner) get ready to play Lanzhou students in a volleyball match. This was before the Snow Beer tour.

We had all been looking forward to the tour of the Snow Beer factory during our Insight China on-site seminar in 2009.  While in the northern Gansu province we were shown around the Lanzhou Snow Brewery.  We were lead over a sort of bridge, a high pathway under the building’s roof, it was 35 degrees and we were all soaking wet in our business suits.  There was no air-conditioning and so we were really beginning to look forward to having a taste of the cold “snow” beer, such a promising name!  They then took us to a sort of bistro where at last we got a glass of beer.  Imagine the disappointment when it turned out to be a glass of quite warm, well, lukewarm beer!  It seems that around that area in China warm beer is much preferred. We could have cried outright, but had to laugh afterwards – it was a memorable moment.

Raïna Rasper today

Graduated Bsc IM in 2009

Now For many years I worked mostly as project and marketing manager for Cendres+Métaux, a medical device company. I was engaged for a development project of a medical device, a vascular access for patients with chronic kidney disease. The product idea was born between two clinic directors at the University Hospital in Berne. The kidney specialist had a problem and the Ear-Nose-Throat surgeon presented him with a solution – this is how they came up with a very innovative product idea: the first bone anchored vascular access for haemodialysis. To me it was a unique opportunity to enter a project like this at the earliest stage possible. It took five years of development before entering clinical trials. Now, two years into it we’re finally able to prepare the market launch.

This is now what I am doing and loving – the mother company is currently in the process of setting up a new enterprise, called Diavantis, and I am the product manager.  This is challenging, diverse and exciting at the same time. It’s genuine start-up work. We’re building up our own brand, creating the company name, image and identity and also of course building the product brand, not only of this one device but also thinking ahead by innovating the next  product generation.  What I really like is that we’re in a small team of 7 people and together we’re creating something so meaningful and important, because if successfully launched the product could help to increase the quality of life for a great amount of people suffering from end-stage renal disease. I also get to do a great variety of tasks, such as product documentation, instructions for use, surgical guidelines etc…  I compare it to childbirth – I’ve carried this baby, so to speak, for over 8 years.  It’s a hell of a ride.

How did studying IM help? Certainly when I first started working, having all the business knowledge, knowing how to write a business plan, do marketing research, create a supply network – all of this was relevant for me.  But what I valued most was that we’d already gained experience during our studies in dealing with international partners and different cultures.

After graduation Raïna went straight to Cendres+Metaux, in Biel. She started a MSc in Life Sciences over a year ago and is currently working on her thesis in the field of Urban Ecology.  Raïna also still practises Tae Kwon Do – she was on the Swiss National Team until 2015 and was a frequent national champion.  Now she’s back to practicing the sport in her club and enjoys teaching the younger generation.  Get back in touch with Raïna on LinkedIn

 

 

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#ThrowbackThursday: Oliver Ivisic

Enjoying life and the semester abroad in Madrid: Oliver and Eva Vaquero (far right) who later came for a semester to Olten.

“Due to personal challenges I didn’t expect to be going on a semester abroad. But then the situation changed and everyone at the school helped me still organise an exchange in Madrid.  So I left, having had a very tough time for over a year without any high expectations. However, this exchange had a very positive influence and helped me to recover. I began to meet great people from many different cultures who despite speaking different languages somehow all understood each other. I am still in contact with some of them. Suddenly I was living a different life, I was getting back to normal and regaining my motivation.  This semester was life-changing for me.”

Oliver Ivisic

Graduated BSc IM 2010

Now  Finance Project Lead at Hirslanden

“Hirslanden is a big company with 16 hospitals – I’d known it for a long time as my mother worked as a nurse for them. I’m in the corporate office and am part of the finance project team in a multi-million project to centralise parts of these unique, independent hospitalsI love it as it enables me to network with many people, develop my project management skills and deepen my knowledge of financial business topics.  Beforehand, as a management consultant, I was an external and I really appreciate having an internal position.  There are similarities but now all my clients are within the same organisation and we’re all in transition together. I want to develop my own USP’s within the next few years and even in the short time I’ve been here, and with great team support I’ve already managed to move this project forward which is very rewarding.”#

How did studying IM help? “Basically it gave me a great education – I didn’t realise the full value of such an education until much later.  We all got amazing opportunities.  For me one of the stand-outs was going to India for my Bachelor thesis.  FAIRMED wanted a cost analysis and a breakdown of funds sent to India.  A relatively easy task technically – the challenge lay in obtaining the information from the many different people in India.  I spent six weeks in a fairly rural area in India which was quite isolated and then travelled to Mumbai to meet with a friend and fellow student: suddenly I was surrounded by more people than you can imagine.”

After graduation Oliver followed his Bachelor with an MA in Banking and Finance at the University of St Gallen and then worked for over three years as a Management Consultant for Vectoris AG before starting with Hirslanden last December.

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Boss#2: Talk with Melanie about Controlling

Melanie Auer, Head of Controlling at Roche Pharma

Melanie Auer is Head of Controlling at Roche Pharma.  And she’s our Boss#2.  She’s been with Roche since graduating from BSc IM in 2011 – including six months in India helping to establish the controlling unit there.

Bid for her on 27 April #BidforaBoss and get individual time with her to talk about controlling, networking and planning your development.  Drinks in the Pebbles Bar – that’s the one at the top of the Roche tower – are included.

Sign up here or on Facebook

By the way – there will be something pretty special to eat and drink on the night – we’ll tell you more next week

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#Throwback Thursday: Esin Cengiz

The Missing Podium. From left: Robert Buttery auctioning Dean Antje Leukens and Esin Cengiz finding it thoroughly amusing

“At the kick-off event for IM Alumni we were beginners and made a few hilarious mistakes. Not only were we not able to print the name tags on time, we realized we didn’t have a podium for the charity auction and Robert as auctioneer and Antje who was being auctioned tried to stand on the same chair. This was hilarious. Later at the speed-networking there were some misunderstandings as some thought it was speed-dating.  But it was great – so good to launch this connection and I’m certainly looking forward to the next one – the Bid for a Boss on 27 April – where we do have a podium!”

Graduated BSc IM 2009

Now Head of HR and of CSR at Pernod Ricard “What I really love about my job is working with people, supporting them supporting them to be at their best as well being there for them when they just need someone to talk and share their thoughts. It’s especially the change management that I find challenging and rewarding.  It allows me to be creative and innovative and put my footprint on our culture – the way we want to work, to shape our organization. Hence why I was actively looking for roles in HR where I could embrace the change management aspect in my area of responsibilities. What I enjoy a lot about working at Pernod Ricard is definitely the great brands we have but also our decentralized organization which  gives us the liberty to shape our business according to the Swiss market needs. We are all asked to be entrepreneurs and take responsibilities for our decisions and actions. We are quick to make decisions and bring change, and that is what keeps me going every day. That also is reflected in our CSR actions where we should not just talk about it, but do it seriously, set an example.  So, for instance, we’re now changing our cars to emission A standards and introducing a paperless office or working with SpiritsSuisse to actively raise awareness about misuse of alcohol.  Additionally, we’re sponsoring ESN (European Student Network) parties at the FHNW with the objective of supporting responsible drinking.”

How did studying IM help? ”It taught me to be flexible and open-minded. This attitude was intrinsic in the studies and then consolidated on the semester abroad. My world was opened to the fact that different people perceive things differently and do things differently – you can’t just go from your own perceptions.  Of course we experienced this too during our studies here – there were many students from different cultures.  And our lecturers – not only different cultures but teaching us diverse topics: our professor in Maths and Statistics also taught an elective in Books of the World. I truly believe that we are very lucky to have gone through the studies as we have, we were exposed to diversity in a way that is very special and prepared us all to what was to come. I think that is the reason why I enjoy being the Chair of the IM Alumni Association Board so much, to be able to give back and contribute to the great community of IM is still very rewarding and exciting as ever. It is great to see that every year the school is graduating top class students and opens many doors for them to go and be great at what they do. I am certainly grateful that I have had the opportunity to study International Management at the FHNW, not only for the great people and experiences but for the long lasting relationships I have gained out of it.”

After Graduation “After an initial internship in HR at PwC I became an HR Assistant and HR Consultant @PwC.  Then I became PMO for the Global Talent Acquisition team to shape the new recruitment strategy for Zurich Insurance Company. In 2013 I had the great chance to join 3M EMEA, where my role as HR Coordinator was to coordinate/manage the start-up of the newly created Supply Chain Center of Expertise EMEA in Burgdorf, moving over 200 people from across the world to Switzerland and building up the organization from day one on. Since 2013 I am also the Chair of the IM Alumni Association Board.”

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#Throwback Thursday, JP Persico

It's spot JP-time! Anyone found him - three times?

It’s spot JP-time! Anyone found him – three times?

“I organised a trip for the exchange students to the Jungfraujoch – we had such a great time.  The setup of the Student Council was to organize events with the exchange students that fostered inclusion into the general student body and the exploration of Switzerland.  Everyone helped to make the students from abroad comfortable and participated in these great days out.  What’s amazing is that these experiences have led to long-lasting friendships.  Just recently I was visited here in Chicago by a former exchange student from Germany.”

JP Persico

JP Persico

Graduated BSc IM 2008

 Now Manager Digital Innovation and Strategy for Bosch North America

“I really enjoy innovating new pathways which can lead to improved business results. Currently I’m leading the digital marketing teams and digital innovation at our Automotive Aftermarket division here in North America, where we are developing new strategies to increase our digitally derived business from a single digit percentage point to 20% in the next three years.  I’m based in Chicago and my organization spans three countries, so I’m working with many different teams to create a focal point.  We’ve created new business models to tackle the disruption our market will face in the next few year and are continuously innovating our approaches to achieve the highest possible success.”

How did studying IM help? “When I look back, what I really enjoyed was the diversity in the classroom.  Not only the exchange students from abroad but also all the different experiences everyone brought along. The fact that people came from different backgrounds and trades made the learning experience even more substantial.  I was involved in the Students Council and also led with two other Students the project Insight China in 2008. The management of Insight China was a boost to my career start after the IM program.  The creativity involved in the sponsorship models we built and the responsibility given as a student equipped me with the right tools to start my job in marketing consulting.  So I was able to grow my career much more quickly than would normally have been possible. All in all the time at UAS NW/FHNW was amazing, the friendships and experiences were timeless and the semester abroad helped my Spanish and introduced me to my now wife from the United States!”

Post-Graduation JP started as a Junior Consultant with Futurecom interactive AG in Switzerland and after two years was promoted to Consultant where he consolidated his expertise in digital marketing including account management for such companies as Ford (Switzerland) Lindt & Sprüngli (International) and Colgate-Palmolive (Europe). He moved to Bosch in Chicago in 2012.  He’s currently close to completing his Executive MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg’s School of Management.

Want to catch up with JP? You’ll find him on our LinkedIn group.

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#Throwback Thursday, Sabrina Gallardo

Sabrina and fellow participants get ready for a banquet with officials during the 2010 Insight China seminar. From left: Michael von Arx, Sabrina Gallardo, Andrea Krebs, Chung EnhTaing.

Sabrina and fellow participants get ready for a banquet with officials during the 2010 Insight China seminar. From left: Michael von Arx, Sabrina Gallardo, Andrea Krebs, Chung EnhTaing.

“I had on no occasion experienced anything like the banquets with Chinese leaders we had during Insight China in 2010. I had never been so far away from home, in such a different culture and there we were, proving our great respect to them, drinking shot after shot with these officials. Not all students could keep up with these drinking habits. This trip was an amazing experience and certainly taught me to be much more tolerant.”

Graduated BSc IM 2010

Sabrina GallardoNow Country Division Controller and deputy CFO at Siemens Industry, Switzerland

“Consulting and supporting projects is what I love best. Cost is key for me so the opportunities to analyse situations and develop a strategy allows me to use my whole potential and not just my mathematical abilities.  It also involves more contact with people.  Obviously my job involves cycles of controlling where I have to deliver budgets and quarterly forecasts and so on but then for the rest of the year I am involved in projects on a diverse range of topics such as pricing tools, IT dashboards or recently I worked on business development based on the impact of the strong Swiss franc. Here I had to not only work with finance but also with logistics and the MarCom guys, exploring what the projected impacts were on the Siemens volume and the clients’ behaviour… I can get very involved and passionate about such projects.”

How did studying IM help?  “The key thing for me, I think, are the student networks.  These are really strong – not only during studies when we help each other study, and have fun at parties, but also afterwards. I was astonished, when I came back to Switzerland after working abroad for 4 years, that my former classmates were there for me, supported my job search. The most helpful course for me was Consulting, I took this as a minor and it taught me how to speak with different stakeholders.”

Post-Graduation During the on-site Insight China, Sabrina actually linked up with her future employer, Alstom, during the Insight China seminar. She asked if she could send her CV and next thing found herself on a train to Paris to be Financial Analyst for the Latin America Region & Controller of the Business Unit Alstom Transport. Next she took on the role of Business Manager with Estée Lauder Companies, based in Madrid, where she concurrently completed a MSc in International Relations and Affairs at the Comillas Pontifical University.

Want to catch up with Sabrina? You’ll find her on our LinkedIn group.

 

 

 

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#ThrowbackThursday, Olivia Jeup

From left: Gabriela Stefanini, Olivia Jeup, Eveline Bürkli and Timo Kaufmann at Dick's Last Resort in Boston - taking it on the chin.

From left: Gabriela Stefanini, Olivia Jeup, Eveline Bürkli and Timo Kaufmann at Dick’s Last Resort in Boston – taking it on the chin.

Olivia in Boston with connectUS in 2012: We went to a restaurant called Dick’s Last Resort which is a place where the waiters are intentionally obnoxious to customers; like they really insult you. It brought up loads of our vulnerabilities but we had grown so close as a team that we were able to laugh about ourselves and about many silly little things.  After a day of intense but formal presentations and visits, it was very so nice to ‘let loose’.

Olivia Jeup, graduated 2012, now works as International Communications Manager at Roche

Olivia Jeup, graduated 2012, now works as International Communications Manager at Roche

Graduated BSc IM 2012

Now International Communications Manager for two divisions (Immunology and Ophthalmology) at Roche.

“I love this job – it is challenging at times working with highly educated clinicians and physicians and trying to understand the complex field – but of course this gives me a ‘free education’.  I work in cross-functional teams and develop and implement communications strategies to support achieving the marketing goals for individual products.  This mostly means we maintain relations with various audiences and are responsible for informing and educating them about specific diseases and drug developments.  For instance, informing journalists about the latest research into a particular disease.  It can be very creative and I enjoy working in the health industry as it’s something that really matters.”

How did studying IM help?  “Many of the courses were useful and connect to my current position, especially by giving me an insight into business.  Although I’m specialized in communications, I need to have insights into the business side to successfully contribute to market growth. For instance, I now need to provide information about our products that investors look for or manage issues to protect the brand’s reputation so I need that kind of insight. The Intercultural Communication courses helped in that I now work in global teams and need to be culturally aware.  It is amazing how well connected the school is to the world and prepared me for my current working environment.  Studying in English, for instance, means I am entirely at ease working here at Roche”.

Post Graduation Project Manager at Richmond Events and then joined Roche 3 years ago.  Also completed a (online) MSc in Marketing at the University of Liverpool.

Want to catch up with Olivia? You’ll find her on our LinkedIn group.

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