Mila Brassart (B.A. finance; B.A. French; International Business Certificate, ‘14) had one goal for her college years: conquering the French language.
“Ever since I was in high school I had the very specific goal of first learning French, and then working for an American company overseas,” the McHenry, Illinois, native said. “Ignited simply by appreciating the language and culture, whilst having the comfort of having American roots.”
Her parents, however, wanted her to find something more “applicable.” Mila recalls the drive up to an Iowa admission fair and arguing about their differing opinions.
“We walked in frustrated, I visited a couple of booths, and my enthusiasm was on the decline until I found the International Perspectives Program representative,” she said. “I learned that I could major in both business (where my secondary interest lied) and French and get an International Business Certificate all while graduating within 4 years, which my parents especially loved. A couple months later I decided to visit the UI campus and was sold.”
Mila dedicated her time at Iowa to learning French, expanding her horizons, and embracing every opportunity at the UI that would help her achieve her goals of becoming a global citizen.
“From that point forward I worked toward achieving that goal and the UI made an invaluable contribution to that,” she said. “The IPP program gave me the opportunity to study both finance and French, and to have a semester abroad. It could not have set me up better for the position I am in now.”
Mila studied abroad in Rennes, France, on a CIEE program.
“Studying abroad was one of the best times of my life. Period. Putting myself out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to try new things really sculpted who I am as a person today and empowered me to have confidence to achieve my goals.”
Mila now is a part of the Financial Management Program at General Electric in Paris and is confident her international experience has strongly benefitted both her professional and personal life.
“I am much more marketable,” she said. “The world is becoming more and more global and the fact that I’ve worked overseas shows that I am understanding of other cultures and willing to forego familiarity to benefit the company. I have learned to adapt my communication and learning styles to work best with people from different countries, and my network has become numerous and expansive. At this point, I also have friends from all over the world, with whom I share appreciation for history, art, music, food, and life itself.”
As far as advice for recent UI graduates entering into the early stages of their career, Mila encourages them to go above and beyond.
“You are much more capable than you think you are. Work hard, be willing to learn, and admit mistakes. You’ll be surprised by how much and how fast you learn when you’re first starting out and, as long as you have the hunger to grow and improve, you’ll be able to get wherever you want to be.”