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Zurich: Swiss Finance or Management Semester Exchange

Finance or Management Semester Abroad

Zurich
Skiers
Winterthur

Upcoming Sessions: 

  • 8/29 5-5:30pm Information Session Zurich  Pamplin 1004
  • 8/29 5:30 - 6pm Information Session Barcelona Pamplin 1004
  • 8/30  3-3:30pm  Prepare applications for Zurich Pamplin 1045
  • 8/30 3:30-4pm  Prepare applications for Barcelona Pamplin 1045
  • 9/12  4:30-5pm Information for Fall Zurich Spring 2020 Pamplin 1028
  • 9/12 5-5:30pm Information for Barcelona Spring 2021 Pamplin 1028
  • 9/12 5:30-6pm General Questions and Answers
  • 10/22 Visit from Barcelona's Center Director 3:30-5pm 1028

This program runs from February thru June.

Application Deadlines:

To Dr. Morgan - September 15th, but apply early!

To ZHAW - September 20th

Study Finance or Management in beautiful Switzerland!

  • Taking the same finance core courses you'd take in Blacksburg
  • Live in Europe - spring of junior year
  • Travel from one of the most central and most livable locations in Europe
  • Achieve a big resume boost in global finance and business
  • Immerse yourself in Europe's culture and economy
  • Understand it as few Americans can

Program

Imagine the cultural excitement of living in centrally-located and beautifully inviting Switzerland. Imagine business visits to a chocolate candy exporter, Credit Suisse, Novartis, or a spicy cheese exporting company! Imagine studying finance at the feet of the gnomes of Zurich. Don't just imagine. Do the VT Finance program in Zurich.

The 17-credit Zurich program is designed to keep finance majors on track or ahead of schedule for graduation. You will not get behind by doing this study abroad. You take the courses required of finance majors* in the spring of the junior year, as if you were in Blacksburg, plus you get a finance elective and six credits toward the Pamplin International Business minor. You do all that in the financial hub of Europe from which you can travel all over Europe easily.

For the cost of VT tuition!

The Benefits are Extensive

We worked with the faculty and International affairs staff at ZHAW to construct a program that benefits VT finance students in a number of ways (non-finance majors use the finance courses as free electives).

  • *You do not get behind in meeting graduation course requirements*
  • *You receive the best academic training in finance
  • *Financial recruiters will be impressed by this program on your resume
  • *You have a life-changing experience in Europe
  • *Courses have already been approved (see Courses Tab) for transfer back to Tech so that you don't have to spend time dealing with the bureaucracy to determine what courses are transferable or not knowing if courses will "transfer" -- all 17 credits go on your transcript (but do not go into your GPA) 
  • *You will engage with some fascinating global businesses (see excursions tab) while in the program including banking and financial firm of international prominence

ZHAW

The host institution is the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) in their top quality School of Management and Law in Winterthur, 2nd largest city in the canton of Zurich. Their finance faculty in the Institute of Banking are the most knowledgeable in the world about global banking trends and the operation of the Swiss banking model.

School of Management and Law has a international exchange program set up with Virginia Tech. The ZHAW incoming exchange student site has more information .

ZHAW Links

  1. International Offices
  2. Courses Offered in English

For Finance Majors

Topic

Counts as:

VT credits

Financial Instruments and Portfolio Theory

FIN 3144

3

Corporate Finance and Risk Management

FIN 3154

3

Banking and Finance

FIN Elect.

3

Global Marketing Management OR

Intercultural Management OR

International Business

MKTG 4704

MGT 4314

MGT 3314

3

German Language

& business & cultural visits

FLL

FIN 3954

2

3

TOTAL

 

17

 

Courses transfer for you as an exchange student. You must pass the courses with an equivalent of C or better, but your grades are not included in your GPA, except for business & cultural visits & German class included in 3954 Study Abroad. Prerequisites: Intro to Marketing 3104, FIN 3104, FIN 3134 (C or better grade). Take those in fall prior to Switzerland in spring.

 

For Mgmt. Majors

Topic

Counts as:

VT credits

International Business

MGT 3314

3

Project Management & Org. Behavior OR

Operations & Process Mgmt.

MGT 3324

BIT 3414

3

Innovation & Entrepreneurship OR

Intercultural Management

MGT 3064

MGT 4314

3

 

Global Marketing Management OR

Statistics

MKTG 4704

MGT 3604  

3

German Language

& business & cultural visits

FLL

FIN 3954

2

3

TOTAL

 

17

 

Courses transfer for you as an exchange student. You must pass the courses with an equivalent of C or better, but your grades are not included in your GPA, except for business & cultural visits & German class included in 3954 Study Abroad. Prerequisites: Intro to Marketing 3104, MGT 3304. Take those in fall prior to Switzerland in spring.

As a semester exchange program, you only pay regular tuition at VT and do not pay any tuition to Zurich. 

The advantage of this program is that you don't pay any more for tuition than you would pay for taking courses in Blacksburg.

  • You are going to pay tuition for spring anyway.
  • You are going to pay rent anyway.
  • You are going to eat meals anyway.
  • Why not do all that and live in Europe instead?

 

Pamplin College's Estimated Cost Table

ZURICH SEMESTER PROGRAM In-State in US Dollars Out-of-State in US Dollars
VT GEO fee $200 $200
VT Tuition (based on 2019 rates) 6,810 15,954
ZHAW Tuition none none
Lodging in apartment 3000-4000 3000-4000
Books and Materials 250 250
Meals  4,000 4,000
Travel and admissions on required excursions/tours 500 500
Airfare 700-900 700-900
Passport 135 135
Consular visa (est.) & res. permit 171 171
Required cell phone purchase 65 65
Local transportation 400 400
Health insurance 620 620
Personal and other expenses (variable) 2,300 2,300
Total estimated costs $19,151-$20,351 $28,295-$29,495

From "Airfare" to "Personal" expenses in the table above are the costs that you would not incur normally during a semester in Blacksburg. Those plus the VT GEO fee sum to the incremental cost of the Zurich Semester = $7,000-$9,400.

 

Category        Description
Program Costs
  • No additional tuition for taking classes in Zurich
  • Airfare to Zurich ~ $800
  • Lodging in dorm
    • Does not include the damage deposit of 1000 Swiss francs for the apartment, refundable
  • Travel & admission fees on required excursions and tours - see Travel tab
Tuition & Fees at VT*

Standard on-campus rates:

  • $6,810 (for in-state undergraduates)
  • $15,954 (for out-of-state undergrads)
  • VT imposed student exchange fee to VT GEO ($300)
Personal Expenses

For meals and additional travel, laundry, mementos, entertainment, health insurance, passport, cell phone rental, cell phone air time, etc.  Visit the Living in Switzerland site.

* the figures are based on 2019 rates.

 

The summary here is not legally binding and is provided for information purposes only. Consult the Financial Agreement/Contract and other forms for details.

Virginia Tech reserves the right to make cancellations, date, cost, and deposit adjustments, and other necessary changes in the program. Prices may change due to global economic or other conditions.

 

Currency

Switzerland is not part of the Euro zone nor part of the EU

  1. Current exchange rate between the Swiss Franc and the dollar is approximately
    • 1 SF = $1.01  This varies on a daily basis 
  2. The Swiss central bank has placed an upper limit on how high the value of the Swiss Franc can go.
  3. Switzerland does not use the euro even though every country around it does. They have so far been successful in maintaining that level.They don't want such a high Franc because it makes all the stuff they export more expensive.

 

Costs of Living

Zurich is a relatively high cost of living city even more expensive than NYC or London

  • However, "student living costs in Switzerland are comparable to major European cities and are, in fact, lower than those in Paris and London." (from ZHAW web site)
  • The university Mensa is a cost efficient way to get 2 meals a day

Start the application process early.

Who can apply

Applications are accepted one semester in advance of the program or more. Thus sophomore finance majors should apply if they will complete the prerequisites (especially Financial Analytics) in the following fall.

There is a GPA minimum of 3.25. Candidates must be able to manage their time very effectively between the fabulous personal experience in Europe and the coursework from ZHAW professors.

This program runs from February thru June.

Apply by Sept. 15th

How to Apply to VT’s Finance in Zurich Program

View this powerpoint on the application process.

(For Early Bird Applicants)
Follow the process described below but your application must be submitted to Dr. Morgan by May 1 of the year prior to the program and to ZHAW by May 15. You should receive a response from ZHAW in mid-summer and thus be able to make arrangements for Spring much earlier).

(For September Deadline)
Step 1: Go to the Global Education website to apply. Fill out the required questionnaires and submit your application by the deadline above.  Please be aware that part of the application process includes an interview with Dr. Morgan.
Step 2: Once you are nominated by the Global Education Office, ZHAW will send you the link to apply. 
Step 3: File the Authorization to Study Abroad form with Dr. Jennifer Clevenger in the Pamplin advising office.
Step 4: Once you get an acceptance from ZHAW, you need to apply for a visa from the Swiss embassy because you will be in Switzerland for over 4 months. There are several pieces to the application process that will require preparation. These should not be an obstacle, but they do consume time and require your attention to get completed. This may require three months or more. So you need to start the whole process mid-late November. You must physically deliver your visa application (with your passport) to the Swiss Embassy in Washington, DC.
Step 5: Apply for housing in the International Dorm (Camp AXA is recommended by past students) in November.
 

Checklist

  1. Apply on the VT Global Education office website
  2. ZHAW Application
    1. ZHAW guidelines
  3. Passport
  4. Purchase Swiss approved health insurance
  5. Student Visa from Swiss embassy

Be sure to consult the University Education Abroad staff to ensure that you have everything needed.

 

Excursions

Part of the program is the opportunity to receive business briefings and conversations with business people as well as opportunities to visit cultural sites to help you understand European and Swiss culture.

Some examples of excursions are given below (you will be able to do many more on your own).

Possible Excursions

Site Type Location
Zurich Kunsthaus Art Museum Zurich
Tour of Zurich old city History & Architecture Zurich
Landesmuseum Swiss History Zurich
Fasnacht Carnival Basel
Lavaux Wine Production Lake Geneva
Alpine hiking (Zermatt, Lauterbrunnen) Natural wonders Central Swiss Alps
Maestrani Chocolate Production Flawil
Appenzeller Cheese Production Stein
St. Gallen Church & University St. Gallen
Zimmer Precision Manfucture Winterthur
Am Romerholz Mansion & Museum Winterthur
Munich Museums & Spa Munich
Dachau History & Museum Munich

Estimated costs for admissions, train/cable car transportation: $500. This will be a cost you must budget to come out of your spending money in Switzerland. The excursions are a required part of the program.

Students will document their visits and write about their experiences on these excursions as part of their grade for the Study Abroad course. Video conferences with VT faculty will also be scheduled to discuss reactions and reflections on the site visits.

Zurich-- a superbly located home base for travel

Europe is beckoning with its wide assortment of languages and cultures, its famous resorts, museums, churches, and places in history.

Zurich is a widely-used jumping off point for people traveling around Europe because of its central location as well as the trendy and vibrant city life. It has been said that it is like San Francisco, Boulder Colorado, and New Orleans rolled into one city.

Trains in Europe are phenomenally efficient (especially Swiss trains) and effective at transporting you across the continent. For longer distances, you can use air travel from Zurich's international airport. The airport is only 15 minutes by train from Winterthur. The train station in Winterthur is virtually across the street from the ZHAW classroom builiding so you can step out of class and start your journey.

You will have 3-4 long weekends for travel including a four day weekend around Easter. The variety of Swiss locations are easily accessible by train for a day trip or during a two day weekend as are other sites in Austria, Germany and France. So there is lots of opportunity to travel from Zurich.

There is required travel to banks and businesses in Zurich, Winterthur, Basel, Flawil and other locations. Plus cultural visits are required to the Mythens, museums, and the old town of Zurich.

Where can you go?

  • There are so many locations available it will be hard to choose!
  • Travel times by train are as little as under an hour (most everyplace in Switzerland) to several hours away.
  • Use Zurich as your homebase for exploring Europe!
  • Zurich is centrally located for travel to many of the locations you will want to visit during your stay in Europe. Train travel is the most convenient way to go.

Here is just a small list of the places you can visit on weekends or on longer excursions.


 

Destination

 

Travel Time from Zurich

Comments

≤ 3 hours from Zurich

   

Basel

Switzerland

      1

Easy day trip!

St. Gallen

Switzerland

      1

Easy day trip!

Walenstadt (Walensee)

Switzerland

      1

Easy day trip!

Bern

Switzerland

     1.5

Easy day trip!

Interlaken

Switzerland

      2

Could do this as a day trip!

Lausanne

Switzerland 

     2

Could do this as a day trip!

Lucerne

Switzerland

     2

Could do this as a day trip!

Dijon

France

    2.5

Using the high speed TGV

Geneva

Switzerland

     3

 

Lugano

Switzerland

     3

Italian Speaking Switzerland

Stuttgart

Germany

     3

 

Zermatt

Switzerland

     3

The Matterhorn

       

3-6 hours from Zurich

   

Milan

Italy 

    3.5

 

Frankfurt

Germany

     4

 

Munich

Germany

     4

Better to use the FlixBus

Paris 

France

     4

On the high speed TGV

St. Moritz

Switzerland

     4

 

Köln

Germany  

     5

 

Lyon

France

     5

 

Florence

Italy

     6

 

Turin

Italy

     6

 
       

>6 hours from Zurich

     

Aix-en-Provence

France  

    6.5

Combine w/ trip to Geneva or Lyon

Salzburg

Austria

    6.5

Combine with trip to Munich

Rome

Italy  

     7

Combine with trip to Milan

Vienna

Austria 

     8

Fly if you only have a weekend

Nice

France

     9

Combine with trip to Milan

London

United   Kingdom

     9

Fly if you only have a weekend

Amsterdam

Netherlands

     9

Fly if you only have a weekend

Barcelona

Spain   

    12

Definitely more efficient to fly

 


Zurich
itself is a wonder. This site has some great suggestions for things to do and see: Art Museum, Am Romerholz, Design Museum just in Winterthur.

 

From the Basel or Zurich airports, you could even travel easily to London, Amsterdam, Prague, Madrid, Berlin, Krakow, Budapest.

Also see the NYTimes travel guide to Zurich

Zurich Tourism Site

Places in Switzerland

  • Berne
  • Luzerne
  • Geneva
  • Ski resorts

Living in Zurich/Winterthur

Housing

Camp AXA (Gartnerstrasse, 4) is the recommended dorm with spacious single rooms at at reasonable cost and close to the  train station.  Accommodations are available specifically for international students.  This dorm has single rooms that are reasonable to spacious.  See this Dorm video.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Winterthur is reasonable. Remember that you would be paying for housing, food and transportation in Blacksburg, so consider that when looking at these prices.

Student living costs in Switzerland are comparable to major European cities and are, in fact, lower than those in Paris and London. Living costs depend heavily on personal lifestyles and on one's choice of recreational activities. Based on the experience of former students, you should budget between 1,400 to 1,900 Swiss francs per month (or $1,500 to 2,000 usd).  (But remember that is not the incremental cost because you would pay rent and eat meals in Blacksburg anyway.)  See this ZHAW link for estimates in Swiss francs.

Behavior Expectations on Study Abroad

You are expected to behave on your study abroad in a manner that is safe, that brings honor to VT and the US, that respects the local culture, and that otherwise maximizes your engagement with the local culture. See policy here.

Living in Switzerland for more details on living in Winterthur.

Tourism in Winterthur.

Each student must have a valid passport from their home country. You can apply for a passport on campus, in Squires, no appointment required.  Check their website first!   You can get passport photos at most local pharmacies.

You should insure that you have the proper vaccinations for this program. This can be done through your family physician. Your familiy physician usually does not have the more specialized vaccines and should refer you to the county health department. You can see a list of recommended vaccinations and other health information at the CDC travel website.

These sites have additional information:

You will be living in a bedroom for a semester. Do not try to take your entire wardrobe with you. A small suitcase or medium-size backpack is ideal for weekend trips. The airlines limit the weight of your luggage so pack light. The suggested packing list will help you choose what to take.

Electric Applicances

Spain and the rest of Europe uses 220 volt, 50 HZ electricity. Your standard USA hair dryers, curling irons, shavers and battery chargers will not work in Europe. You should check that your computer and any electronics that you take will work on 220 V/50Hz current.

*
Packing - checklist.pdf
*
Packing List-detailed.pdf
*
Pack Light.pdf
*
Zurich Bookmark.pdf

Why Switzerland?

Why Zurich?