#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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#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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#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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