From Here to There: Virtually Traveling to Florence

My name is Ishika Patel and I am currently a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh. I am double majoring in Finance and Business Information Systems and obtaining a minor in Sociology. As a freshman, I was very fortunate to have been paired with such a remarkable advisor whose guidance made choosing the correct path so smooth for me. I chose finance because I was interested in stocks, math, and business overall, while I chose information systems because of my curiosity in technology and data analytics. I am pursuing a minor in Sociology as I found the social science and humanities side to business equally as fascinating as the other parts.

I was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey and raised in South Brunswick, New Jersey where I completed all my levels of education until college. I grew up living in the same township as several relatives, so I was taught family values and close relationships early on. I am very fortunate to have an exceptional support system, which is one quality I was looking for when committing to the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to beginning here, I learned a lot about what the university had to offer through three of my cousins who were upperclassmen at Pitt already. This university’s location, family dynamic, and exceptional business school were a great fit for me, and I have been thriving during my time here tremendously. This school has opened up a multitude of unique opportunities for me and I have sought out some of them including being on the board of two student organizations on campus, completing undergraduate research, joining the honors college, and of course, this internship opportunity itself!

I am so grateful to have been chosen to participate in this virtual internship program. My placement is in Florence, Italy with 440 Industries – a training company dedicated to assisting entrepreneurs with their ventures through international marketing, consulting, and content made for professional growth. Florence was one of the most remarkable cities I visited in Europe, so I decided to return for a professional experience through this program. What I am looking for with this internship opportunity is both gaining AND adding value by offering an entrepreneurial mindset with innovative and collaborative ideas. I believe my experiences have shaped me not only as a student but also as a person who is confident with taking risks and challenging herself. I am most excited to work with the CEO and Founder of 440 Industries, Thomas Brownlees, whose determination to build a company all by himself is inspiring to me.

This will be the first time I am working with an internationally based company so I will need to adhere to being adaptable. I will need to gain an understanding of the work ethic, professional style, and appropriate behaviors/mannerisms of this country, as well as become accustomed to the time zone. This will prepare me for my future career goals, in which I hope to build a career in a field where I am able to travel a great amount. From a young age, my parents explored the world with my brother and I, hence my fondness of international exposure. Prior to the pandemic, it was tradition for my family and I to travel at least once a year; our last destination was Greece. Once it is safe to travel again, I would like to visit Portugal and Spain as I have not had the pleasure of going there yet.

Aside from my education and goals for this internship, I participate in various personal activities that are important to me. I dance for a collegiate cultural organization here at Pitt that stemmed from high school where I used to participate in the same style. I regularly watch football and basketball with my friends and family. I played piano for 8 years of my life, which led me to exploring music further. I listen to several genres of music throughout the day. I have my father’s incredible taste in music to thank for my substantial knowledge and love for retro. I use modern pop as a way to bond with my brother, whether in car rides or just sitting at home. My mother and I frequently have Bollywood music on when cooking together or casually chatting, always keeping ourselves close to our culture.

I am looking forward to beginning this virtual internship and experiencing professionalism in the workplace on a global scale!