Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Anibal Mares Marquez (BBA accounting ’20), risk assurance associate at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), recently took some time to reflect on the impact of his study abroad experience as an undergraduate at the University of Iowa. Anibal studied in Paderno del Grappa, Italy, through CIMBA, and was the recipient of a Diversity Ambassador Scholarship

Anibal Mares Marquez in Geneva, Switzerland

Anibal Mares Marquez in Geneva, Switzerland

How did you decide to study abroad in Italy?

My Tippie advisor, Mark Archibald, pitched the idea to me. He told me that if I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone both academically and personally, I should study abroad. I was really scared to study abroad because it was expensive and costs were a huge factor in my decision. The academic factor was not an issue because the classes that I was going to take on-campus were the same ones I took at CIMBA. Once I talked it over with my parents and sorted out the costs, I decided that I would study abroad. It also helped a lot that my friend, Brooke Kelley, decided to go during the same semester. We have been pushing each other to try new things ever since we met at the Tippie Gateway program.

What did you gain as a result of studying abroad?

During my time at CIMBA, I was able to assess my personal and professional traits for the first time ever. I realized that some of these traits were not developed enough or were non-existent. Thanks to the curriculum and social activities that the CIMBA staff created, I was able to learn about professionalism and etiquette in social settings. Through one of their classes, I learned more about mindfulness and how to make sure that my mental health is in good standing. Outside of the classroom, I got the opportunity to travel to many different countries. While exploring, I had a lot of time to reflect on where I wanted my future to go and what was driving me to push forward. I also learned to be appreciative of other cultures and found a stronger significance to relationships. When I came back from studying abroad, I felt refreshed, more eager to explore the world, and ready to continue improving myself.

What are some of your favorite memories from your study abroad experience?

My favorite memories are definitely all of the trips that I took. The trip that stands out the most is the spring break travel week. I coordinated with my brother to meet in Geneva, Switzerland, and take a trip to Jerusalem, Israel, and consequently make our way to Cairo, Egypt. We encountered many hiccups throughout the week which made the experience even better. Needless to say, we had a lot of fun bonding over food and exploring amazing places.

From your travels within Italy, is there a city that stands out as your favorite?

Every city that I visited within Italy had a different appeal to it. Whether I ate pizza in Rome, toured the overly expensive shops in Milan, or admired the Ligurian Sea in Genoa, I kept thinking “Venice is nicer." I might be biased because Venice was the first European city I have ever explored. During my time abroad I visited Venice a total of three times and had a blast every single time.

How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your job at PWC? 

Studying abroad helped me out a lot with my career opportunities. Not only am I able to talk about the challenges I faced during my time abroad, but I am also able to talk about the personal development that I acquired through my time abroad. Studying abroad is a really good way to set yourself apart from other candidates. I am confident in saying that CIMBA gave me an edge when I applied for my current position at PwC. If you are looking for a boost in your resume and want to get to know yourself better, study abroad!

Do you feel that your study abroad experience will contribute to your effectiveness in working at a multinational corporation?

I believe that studying abroad influenced the direction that I want to take my career towards. I want to be able to work internationally in the near future either as an auditor or as a consultant. While I was traveling through various cities in Europe, I kept seeing PwC offices and I kept wondering if it was possible to ever work with one of those offices. My plan is to work my way into a position in one of PwC's international teams by using my identity as a Mexican immigrant and the cultural appreciation I gained from studying abroad. I want to be able to further my career while exploring the world and learning about new cultures.

Do you plan to return to Italy in the future?

Absolutely! I have been planning a trip back to Italy with my parents. I want to show them the beautiful places I visited and then some. I owe them a slice of chocolate salami and a glass of prosecco for helping me cover the cost! Hopefully things go back to normal in 2021 so I can actually set my plans in motion.