Linking alumni abroad:
New AEA chapters appear in Europe
As Emory seeks to reach out to international alumni, chapters of the Association of Emory Alumni are springing up in major European cities, including London, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Berlin, and Moscow.
Wolfgang Bublitz 01BBA, who works for TellSell Consulting in Germany and Switzerland, recently founded the Association of Emory Alumni chapter in Frankfurt. There are about 150 alumni in Germany, he says, so there’s rich opportunity for socializing and networking.
“It’s a means of meeting new, interesting people who have Emory in common,” he said. “The international network is not that strong or well known, so I’m really excited about it.”
Carlos Hornstein 05MBA is Bublitz’s counterpart in Spain, where he has founded an alumni chapter as well. Hornstein lives in Barcelona and is the European sales manager for an American producer of dimmer switches. He also has started a foundation to bring organized sports to African school children, a project he claims was inspired by President Jimmy Carter during a class he took at Emory. “[International alumni] have this shared experience, and it’s good to keep the spirit of the University and our time there,” he said.
Philipp Wagner 02L, who is heading the new AEA chapter in Berlin, hopes the alumni chapters will help Emory become more well-known.
“I think it’s important to make Emory global,” he said. “I’m always wearing this Emory sweatshirt, and people ask all the time, ‘Where’s the M for Memory?’” But his American education serves Wagner well as a lawyer for a firm with offices in Berlin, Munich, and Heidelberg that handles major real estate transactions, half of which involve transatlantic clients.
“A lot of American investors come to Berlin to buy property, and they need to be advised and feel they are understood,” Wagner said. “They need to work with someone who knows German law and the American approach to business.”
The Bellringer: A hobby finds its home in London
Haley Barnett 01C never quite got around to studying abroad while she was earning her Emory degree in political science, so she decided to seek her master’s in library and information studies in London. But the city had an added attraction for her: it happens to be a haven for her particular hobby, church bell-ringing, or change ringing. Barnett’s Washington, D.C., high school was affiliated with the National Cathedral, so, just as other students joined the French club, Barnett got involved in change ringing. She has rung bells at dozens of churches in the U.S. and at least three times a week in London, the change ringing capital of the world.
“I was quite intimidated when I arrived, but in many ways, change ringing is the same everywhere,” she says. “The change ringing community in London has been very welcoming to me. Of course, as with so many things here, you ring bells and then you go to the pub.”
Barnett has completed her master’s degree and will be returning to the U.S. to find work as a government or specialist librarian, “somewhere where there are bells to be rung.”
Lasting connections: Valuing the Emory experience
Like many international students who attended Emory, Michael-Alexander Preclik 04B, of Austria, counts among his most valuable experiences meeting other international students. Michael lived in the Spice House with students from Italy and Spain. “It was very interesting to get to know American culture,” he said. “The best thing I learned was to be open-minded, to deal with different cultures from all over the world. We got different insights on business.” Michael is currently working on his master’s thesis in Vienna, on foreign direct investment in Eastern Europe. Matthias Huscher 02L, an attorney in Berlin, added, “I did so much while I was at Emory. I traveled the whole U.S.” Matthias actually drove his car from Atlanta to the middle of Kansas to visit a small town that shared his last name. There he visited a family, also with his last name, who wound up inviting him to stay for Thanksgiving dinner; his photo made the cover of the local newspaper.
Emory in Russia: Alumna brings Emory education back to Moscow
Elizabet Matiss 99C 01MBA lights up when she remembers how her best friend from Emory, Yoko-Ida, surprised her by coming to Matiss’ wedding in Russia from her home in Japan. Matiss attended Emory from Moscow on a scholarship and claims the experience was transformative for her. “It’s unimaginable how much it completely changed my personality,” she said. “I became much more mature, balanced, and confident. It was fabulous because I just loved school--there was such an international atmosphere.” Matiss now works for Russia’s second-largest telecommunications company. She says it is not unusual for women in Moscow to work and become successful, although in rural Russia it is still rare. Matiss also has recently founded an Emory alumni chapter in Moscow; she says there are at least twenty Emory graduates in the area. “It’s a great opportunity for us to get together, to discuss things and be in touch to support each other,” she says.
Good taste: Alum finds niche in wine business
Frenchman Gonzague Masquelier 87MBA of Madrid uses his business skills to share one of his passions--wine--with other business professionals. In 2000, he founded Vinelis, a company that offers high-end wine-tasting events to corporate clients, mainly in the financial industry. The gatherings are opportunities for financial firms to entertain clients in a relaxed environment while tasting fine Spanish wines. “We are in the business of entertaining,” he says. “These people don’t want to be bored to death by technical things, they want to learn simple things about the way you taste wines.” At most events, the winemaker is there to present wines from some of Spain’s most exclusive vineyards. “I do this from a passion,” Vinleos says. “It’s my heritage. In France, we cherish wine.”
Adventure abroad: Alumna on a ‘mission’ to promote Emory in Europe
Just two months after 9/11, Mary Anderson 81BBA, her husband, Michael, and her three children had the opportunity to move to London, where her husband would head technology for Mellon Financial Europe.
“I’m kind of proud of us as a family,” said Anderson, now in her fourth year in London, over coffee at the British Museum. “It was just a great opportunity to expose our children to the rest of the world.”
The family has visited more than a dozen countries since living overseas, and Anderson’s older daughter, Kelly, has been to seven countries on school trips alone.
After graduating from Emory, Anderson worked for a major health care information systems firm for fifteen years, but scaled back after her third child was born. Now, working with Julia Morgan, she spends much of her time promoting Emory in London and around Europe, attending college fairs and calling on high schools to recruit students. While there’s no shortage of American ex-pats who intend for their children to return to the U.S. for college, one of Anderson’s goals is to increase the number of international students attending Emory.
“You have to be pretty passionate about where you went to school, and I am,” she says. “As long as I am here, it’s kind of my personal mission to expose Emory more to the world outside America and to international students. As Emory increases its focus on being a global university, it’s so important to increase the numbers of truly global kids who have grown up abroad.”