From Yvonand (VD) to New York, NY
Who said big cities are the cradle of great men? Coming from a small town in Vaud of 2,500 inhabitants 500 cows, Cyril Racchetta – our expat of the day – completely belies this assumption. Serial Traveler, this young 23-year-old Swiss man settled last year in New York, landing his dream internship as Junior Project Manager at swissnex! Let’s talk about his story, his experience in a large company, his life in the Big Apple.
Yverdon’s highschool, the ski slopes, the cash register at Manor, the volleyball courts, green pastures, pottery workshops; these were places young Cyril wandered until taking off from solid ground to study further in Lausanne. Never fed up of reading, writing, learning and studying, he completes a Bachelor in Management at HEC Lausanne and then a Master in Management, still in Lausanne, but specializing in quite a specific and invaluable field: Organizational Behavior!
On top of this five years university marathon, Cyril, eager for new sights and meeting new people, managed to find the time to travel a bit. A lot actually! Canada, where he spent almost three months of his 16th year to learn English in New Zealand via Dubai, Iceland, Singapore, Maldives, Morocco, Cuba and Australia, Cyril has almost mapped half the planet! Must admit, once you contract the virus, you get seriously ill.
You find it not normal to have done so many things before turning 24th? People succeeding in everything they do annoy you? So rest assured, Cyril is not perfect: in addition to being a university accomplished and seasoned globetrotter, the Vaudois is first … a potato behind the wheel! There you go. Wham! We are all relieved to know he has set his sights on the aircrafts rather than trucks.
Freshly graduated in September 2014, Cyril landed the internship with swissnex and flew on the 29th of this very same month to begin working on October 1st in the brand new New York branch of the company. We warned you, the Vaudois does not waste a second of his life! So what gave him as much motivation? What had swissnex to offer for him to exile as fast one possibly could, to the other side of the Atlantic?
«I must say, there is only few options more exciting than starting a career in New York. And I certainly will never entirely realize the full impact of this opportunity, right out of Uni, on my future. »
And don’t take this statement as excessive enthusiasm, indeed, Cyril takes part in building the first “scientific consulate” in the world! Yep, that’s loaded, indeed!
But, what is swissnex anyway?
Imagine you are a young Swiss entrepreneur, highly motivated, full of ideas and ambition. You are sure to keep the gravy train with your thoughtful project and think seriously about the USA as playground to start your business. But before you start, you feel like you need guidance, insights, advice from professionals in the field, to put you in touch with scientific collaborators and potential investors. In short, you need a boost before putting your entrepreneurial hat. Well, swissnex is here for you!
Swiss entrepreneurs: swissnex open the doors for you! Operating as a platform for exchanging knowledge and expertise, swissnex committed, since 2000, in connecting Switzerland with the rest of the world through the providing Swiss startups with impressive business networks, universities, researchers and investors willing to advise you, train you and coach you to successfully carry out your business.
Established in Boston under the leadership of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Training (SERI) and managed jointly with the Department of Foreign Affairs, swissnex, active in the field of science as well as the world of innovation, supports Swiss-made startups abroad and trains them. For instance, the company offers to EPFL, UNIL (Lausanne), or ETH (Zurich) students extended stays in prestigious American universities or forums linking young graduates and experienced entrepreneurs worldwide.
Maintaining networks with South America and Asia, swissnex is now present in many countries, thereby expanding entrepreneurial opportunities and international collaborations.
Running since 2013, the swissnex New York office now opens the door to Silicon Alley to all Swiss entrepreneurs wishing to settle in the Big Apple. And this is right where we found our ‘expat of the day’!
Being at the heart of a company that encourages its fellow citizens to try their luck abroad, Cyril believes to have found the perfect job because it allows him to emigrate while serving his Swiss peers.
« In New York, we focus on Technology, Innovation and Higher Education. As such, we help Swiss start-ups enrolled in the CTI program to expand their activities in the US with our two accelerating programs, called “camps”. During these “camps”, swissnex offers start-ups a workspace, hours of coaching with experts, workshops, and access to local swissnex network. In addition, we jointly organize with Boston and Venture Lab, the “Venture Leaders“, a selection of the 20 most promising startups in Switzerland that we invite for a 10-day business trip to the East Coast including workshops, company fieldtrips and conferences. This year, we will hit 300 start-ups who came through the doorsteps of swissnex Boston and NYC In »
Positioning Switzerland as a central hub for innovation by promoting Swiss research and entrepreneurship internationally, as well as increasing the number of Swiss startups abroad, this is the most outstanding perk Cyril sees in his job. A job making the country move forward, beyond any doubts!
Cyril, aside from the job, how’s life in New York?
« I think nobody will be surprised to hear me say that life in New York is fantastic and thrilling. But there are nevertheless some downsides in living here. First of, NYC is very expensive. Secondly, it is difficult to develop and maintain a consistent social circle. New Yorkers are too busy to take the time to invest in a new relationship (at least not superficially), and American culture is much more centralized on High school’s friends and suburban neighbors. Do I absolutely want to stay in New York? If the opportunity arises to have a work visa and a salary that allows me to live decently, why not. »
What about Switzerland?
« I don’t really have time to be homesick with work and the countless distractions offered by New York. However, the more I travel, the more I see how much Switzerland is a golden country to live and work in. Comfort, quality of life, well-oiled mechanisms, and clean facade, you get used too quickly, and only when living abroad we fully realize how lucky we are to be born in Heidi’s homeland. No, coming back to it won’t be a problem. »
Cyril, any other projects inspired from your New York life to make Switzerland move forward?
« I think our country needs a fundamental reform on the German teaching-learning system within the French-speaking schools. How can we explain that after 11 years of learning it at school, most French speakers are barely able to stammer “Hallo, ich heisse Bruno.” while two months of full immersion is sufficient to become virtually bilingual in English? Certainly, there are important differences between the two languages, English is omnipresent around us and sexier. German has a serious negative stereotype among French speakers – and I guess it’s the same for our German-speaking friends. So we shall start by stop saying “I hate German”. Hire teachers whose mother tongue is German to teach in the French-speaking part of the country and reciprocally in the German-speaking parts of Switzerland. Reinforcing the exchanges of young students cross-country, or even making it mandatory, could be part of the solution. »
Again, breaking down the barrier of rosti is easier when you can communicate with your neighbors. So do as Cyril, try fully immersing! At least Berne and Solothurn aren’t as far away as New York!
Want to share your point of view with Cyril, ask for advice or even meet him over there in Manhattan, at the swissnex offices located on 115 E 23rd St ?
Want to know more about swissnex and opportunities that the network offers to entrepreneurs like you, who want to make science, education, art and innovation in Switzerland and and abroad move forward?
Find all of their info on www.swissnex.org.