Business Fellows travel to France, Italy to learn about culture and business in the European Union

The Business and Culture in the European Union course offered first-year Business Fellows the opportunity to visit organizations such as FactSet, Campari Group and the Borsa Italiana.

The Elon Business Fellows Class of 2023 traveled to Paris, France, and Milan and Piacenza, Italy, during Winter Term 2020 as part of the Business and Culture in the European Union course led by Assistant Professors of Finance Kate Upton and Margarita Kaprielyan.

Business Fellows on the steps of the Milano Stock Exchange
Elon Business Fellows Class of 2023, along with Assistant Professors of Finance Kate Upton and Margarita Kaprielyan, in front of the Milano Stock Exchange.

The 31 Business Fellows gained exposure to business practices in the European Union through guest lectures, economic and cultural sight visits, and company visits. The main course goal was to develop a context to evaluate the differences in culture and business between the U.S. and the EU while also understanding how historical events and cultural beliefs have shaped the identity of the union.

In Paris, students visited FactSet, an integrated financial data and software solutions company, with 63 offices across 23 countries on six continents. Mattiue Savi, CFA, regional consulting director for FactSet in France and Switzerland, presented about the company, including its values and the differences in business culture between France and the U.S.

Students were also able to get a feel for the culture of Paris by visiting the Arc De Triomphe, Versailles and the Louvre, and by participating in a Seine River cruise.

“With our last night in Paris, a group of us went to the top of the Eiffel Tower,” said Ava Rosen ’23, a finance major. “It was the perfect close to the trip to Paris, saying goodbye to Paris from up above and appreciating our new knowledge and familiarity with the city.”

In Italy, students learned about the food and beverage industry and participated in a cooking class at Eataly, a marketplace comprised of a variety of restaurants, food and beverage counters, bakeries, retail items and a cooking school. Colby Ehrnhart ’23, a finance major, noted “the best part about Eataly was the atmosphere that surrounds you when entering. The company was able to create a marketplace with a very friendly ambiance that allows for everyone to feel welcome.”

The fellows also attended lectures at Elon’s business dual degree partner school, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC) in Piacenza. They learned about the diverse geography of Italy, the country’s currency and economic transition, immigration to Italy and stereotypes of Italians, as well as the brand management of “Italian excellence” through food, fashion and design.

Rachel Abbott ’23, a finance major, said the lectures helped her understand that “Italy has great fashion and class, but their economy struggles because of the ability to distribute their products across the world. This, in turn, makes the people suffer and creates more of a hole in the economy.”

Group standing behind Dallara sign
Business Fellows visit Dallara while in Italy.

The group also visited Dallara, an automotive company that specializes in manufacturing chassis for race cars; Campari Group, an alcoholic beverage company founded in Milan in 1860; and the Borsa Italiana, otherwise known as the Milano Stock Exchange. The fellows learned how the Exchange operates and witnessed a live trading demonstration.

The last company visit during the group’s time abroad was to Maisto e Associati, a tax law firm, where they enjoyed a lecture on the Italian legal environment and taxation and discussed the differences between American and Italian tax laws. Kayla Nadot ’23, a finance and marketing double major, noted that “while tax law is not necessarily applicable to the current lives of most of the Business Fellows, the lecture will serve importance in the future. It was a privilege to receive an individualized information session from a knowledgeable source being one of the top law firms in Milan.”

This Winter Term truly helped me grow not only as a person but as a global citizen.

Ben May ’23

“This Winter Term truly helped me grow not only as a person but as a global citizen,” said Ben May ’23, a finance major, about his global experience. “Visiting all of the companies gave us a true insider’s perspective of business culture that is quite different than that of the United States. The trip goes well beyond business culture in Europe and the business models that all of these companies have. We all grew as a cohort, as classmates, as friends, but most of all, as people.”