International Studies & Business

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Ursina Beerli

Class: 2009

Hometown: Zurich, Switzerland

High School: Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich

Target Language: French

Study Abroad: Lyon, France

I treasure my experiences in KC3… I have memories of going to Chinatown for Chinese New Year, being taught how to do a Greek dance, listening to political conversations in foreign languages, going to cultural shows together, bathroom signs in Chinese, and random Russian movies. I also will never forget late nights spent reviewing for the next day’s midterm, making sure everyone understood everything, no matter how long it would take. I will forget some of the models, concepts and theories I have learned in my classes, but I will never forget all I have learned from my fellow Huntsman students.

Why Huntsman?

Ursina grew up in Switzerland, but moved to the United States in 8th grade. Though attending high school in a second language and in a new country might be daunting for some, Ursina described it as a great opportunity and a challenge. She became involved in Model UN at her high school and this solidified her interest in international affairs. In addition, she had always been interested in business, because she wanted to be flexible and be able to work anywhere. So, she applied to the Huntsman Program, but says that "I never thought I would get in, and when I did, I was so surprised!"

Now a senior in the Program, Ursina says that she likes the combination of being at a great school that's big enough for her to explore various interests, and at the same time, having a smaller community of Huntsman students with similarly diverse backgrounds. In fact, she has enjoyed her experience so much that she's keen to share it with others. As a Wharton ambassador, Ursina gives info sessions to prospective students, and as a member of the Huntsman Student Advisory Board, she plans events to help Huntsman students stay in touch after moving out of KC3, the freshman year housing. She also serves as a peer advisor for Huntsman freshman.

Exploring Diverse Interests

One of the things that Ursina loves about the program is the ability to pursue all of her academic interests. "I enjoy going from a French History class to a Marketing recitation and then to a Huntsman board meeting," she says. 

Though she originally applied with German as her target language, Ursina decided to change to French. She studied abroad in Lyon and says that some of her most interesting classes were taken there. One course, on French history since 1940, was particularly memorable for Ursina. She found French culture and history so stimulating that she decided to write her senior thesis on the eating culture in Lyon, and how it has been influenced by the regional history. A Huntsman Faculty Director served as Ursina's thesis advisor and has been particularly helpful during her research, going so far as to lend her books from his personal collection.

At the same time, Ursina has been just as engaged in her Wharton coursework. When she took "Negotiations & Conflict Resolution," she liked it so much that she returned to the class as a teaching assistant. She's now finishing a concentration in the OPIM department, with a specialization in Decision Processes, and she is currently conducting an independent study on that topic, in addition to her work on her senior thesis. She is even thinking about eventually pursuing graduate study in that same field.

What next?
Ursina's immediate plans after graduation include traveling through Ireland and Scotland with two fellow Huntsman seniors and then beginning work at Bain. She worked for Bain & Co. twice before, as a summer intern in Zurich and New York, and has now been offered a permanent position as an Associate Consultant in the company's New York City office.