Office of Alumni Engagement

Manuel Burbano

My hometown when I was a student was:

Quito, Ecuador

I graduated from Alma in:


I studied:

Business Administration

I currently live in:

Zurich, Switzerland

I am now:

Finishing my master’s degree in Banking & Finance at the University of Zürich in Switzerland. I am writing my master’s thesis about Venture Capital investments in Swiss Startups. Additionally, for the past 1.5 years, I have been working part time as an analyst at the Swiss office of Zanders, a Dutch consulting firm specializing in treasury and financial risk management, where I plan to start as a consultant in February 2017. 

Since graduating from Alma:

I moved to Switzerland to start my master’s degree, worked part-time and continued learning German. I have had the chance to travel Europe, for holidays but also for work, and have visited Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Netherlands. 

My Alma education:

gave me the chance to meet a variety of people, topics and cultures. Its emphasis on international awareness and exploring the world allowed me to look for new challenges in completely different countries. Its liberal arts education gave me a well-rounded education that helped me remain open-minded as I have travelled the world.  I developed the ability to effectively work in teams and develop my public speaking skills.  

My favorite place(s) on campus included:

REC center, Highland Java, Fraternity houses (was not part of a fraternity but had friends in several fraternities and sororities), international house. 

My favorite professor(s) included:

Murray Borrello, Elizabeth Cameron, Gregory Baleja, Ron Lemmon.

My most vivid/best memory of my time at Alma is:

There is not just one special memory, however, it was amazing seeing all your friends, professors and the whole Alma community on graduation day, entering the Hogan Center while listening the bagpipes and sharing this accomplishment with the whole Alma community.  I think each memory about Alma is influenced by how tight the Alma College community is! Whether it was having a talk with your professor, drinking an Awkward Turtle coffee at Highland Java with friends, attending summer BBQs, going out to parties & events, I always felt at home. The small-college experience allows you to know pretty much everyone on campus and feel you belong there. 

How Alma has helped with my current plan/job/graduate school/etc.:

Alma taught me to work hard and play hard! I found a balance between my studies at Alma and setting ambitious goals (like getting into Grad school in Switzerland), all while working together with other people to achieve these goals! It made me look forward to new challenges and to embracing change with an open mind. Finally, it showed me how defying the status quo pays off and how important it is to focus on finding solutions rather than focusing on problems, no matter how big these problems seem to be. This was essential for my success at my current Master’s degree, and my work experiences in Investment Banking and Financial Consulting.

Advice I would give a new graduate:

Take advantage of the different international opportunities that Alma has to offer (exchange semester, spring term courses, language classes, extracurricular activities and clubs). Having the chance to learn other languages and visit other countries will prepare you to travel abroad and discover countries, peoples and cultures in a whole different way. 

As an international student at Alma, I had the chance to experience the American college experience and I found fascinating how people would go eat at Saga and you could clearly see people seating in clear-cut groups: Athletes, artsy people, internationals, frat members, etc. One of the best decisions I made during my time at Alma was to not limit myself to belong to one group only. I constantly approached people from different groups and had a great experience meeting people from all the different backgrounds and with different interests, hobbies, and majors. I had a great time and met so many people that made my Alma experience unique! Life after graduation will expose you to being in contact with very different people, and the earlier you get used to breaking this mental barrier of opening yourself to getting to know other types of people, the earlier you will be ready to integrate wherever you go (whether is a new job, a new city, or a new continent).