Leaving on a Jet Plane (Destination Firenze)

Good afternoon,

In 23 days, I will depart for the experience of a lifetime – a 4-month study abroad program in Florence, Italy, organized by Pitt Business Study Abroad and the CAPA organization.

My name is Colin Jones and I am a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Finance, with minors in Economics and History.  In my spare time, I enjoy watching movies, reading nonfiction literature, cooking, running, and studying current events and history.  I decided on Finance as a major because I am interested in markets and academic theories accompanying this field, including opportunity costs, maximizing utility, and tradeoffs between work and leisure.  In a way, Economics covers many areas of Finance through a different lens (with less Excel), so I chose the Econ minor for its complimentary attributes to the Finance major.  History has always fascinated me, so I decided to add on the History minor.  Thus far, Corporate Finance, Investments, Business Ethics, Intermediate Macroeconomics, U.S. History Since 1945, and Soviet Russian History have been – in particular – the most intellectually stimulating and enjoyable classes I have been fortunate enough to take part in at Pitt.

Although it is difficult for me to pinpoint where, exactly, I want to be professionally 5 years from now, it is important to have a plan; right now, my plan is to go into commercial or investment banking, once out of college.  Fortunately, I am beginning a Middle Market Banking and Specialized Industries internship with J.P. Morgan Chase in June 2019.  This excellent opportunity will provide the fellow interns and I chances to experience lending agreements with clients, working capital management procedures, and Treasury services.

This spring semester, along with dozens of students from Pitt, UC Boulder, and other universities, I am taking part in the Global Business Institute study abroad program in Florence, Italy.  I chose the Florence program for the opportunity to witness Renaissance Era art and architecture, to meet fellow students from around the world studying there, to enjoy Italian food, and to take classes important to my major, all at the same time.  Almost 3 years ago, I visited my sister in Florence – where she studied abroad for 4 months with UCONN – and it quickly became my favorite place I have ever visited.  I found that the food in Italy is better than everyone makes it out to be, and the architecture is truly awe-inspiring.  While in-country, I plan to visit Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Milan, and Venice.  I will work to utilize the many resources Pitt Business and CAPA provides to us, in order to make excursions safer and more enjoyable.  Another reason the Florence program is so great is that it provides students the opportunity to take buses, trains, and planes to other European countries.  Between my arrival in early January and departure in early May, I hope to visit Barcelona, Germany, and Paris (where 2 fellow Pitt students and I are planning to run a half marathon).

Personally, I hope that this experience will introduce me to new friends [from Pitt, other parts of the U.S., and abroad] and help me reinforce relationships with people I have already met.  Academically, I hope GBI Florence will teach us basic conversation skills in Italian, make us more prepared to safely adapt to unfamiliar environments, and show us Italian ethics, history, and customs.  Professionally, I hope that this abroad program will help us develop the skills necessary to having a healthy work – life balance.

Take care,

Colin Jones