Passion for international business takes double alum to Germany
Joel Sedlacko (BBA ’12, MBA ’13) got his first taste of international business during his time at Quinlan – and now works as an IT project manager for one of the largest media houses in the German speaking world, Südwestdeutsche Medienholding GmbH.
Below, he shares how Quinlan helped him work abroad.
Loyola is all in the family
Joel is not the first Sedlacko to chose Loyola. His mother, older sister, and several other extended family members are all Ramblers as well. Sedlacko decided to attend Loyola after attending a “little siblings weekend” hosted by the University.
“I fell in love with Loyola,” Sedlacko says. “I realized Loyola offered numerous opportunities for study. Even if you started in one school, you could switch majors easily. That offered a safety net for me.”
Marrying business and the humanities
Sedlacko was initially attracted to a career in the humanities and studying anthropology, languages, and culture. Then he attended his sister’s Loyola graduation and met Quinlan professor Mine Cinar. She encouraged him to pursue economics like his sister, as he would be able to engage in the humanities with his core requirements and interdisciplinary honors program. This advice helped him decide to pursue business.
“I combined liberal arts and humanities with business,” says Sedlacko. “Especially looking at human relations or business plans, you need to think about your coworkers, ethical implications, and how can you benefit society. Quinlan without a doubt encourages trying to improve the world through your company.”
As an undergraduate, Sedlacko spent an entire year studying abroad, spending his fall semester in Germany, spring semester at the John Felice Rome Center, and summer session in Spain. While abroad, he gained an understanding of European business and culture. For example, he found that he had to be more direct in his communication in Germany.
“It’s hard to build relationships if you don’t understand the second layer of communication in a particular country,” Sedlacko says.
Moving to Munich
Sedlacko received a job offer in Munich after earning his MBA and credits Quinlan and Loyola for preparing him to move across the world.
“Odd as it sounds, living in Rogers Park, riding the El train every day, and coming into contact with so many ethnicities and cultures helped prepare me to live in Germany. You become able to adapt and see the benefits diversity offers, and that made it much easier for me. I have friends from Quinlan who live in Europe agree that the cosmopolitan, multinational nature of Chicago prepared us.”
He also says Quinlan prepared him to see how companies operate across borders and stressed the need to understand how different cultures value relationships.
“Recognizing you have to meet in the middle was something we talked about a lot, and we had so many speakers who lived international business experiences and could give insight on how to build those relationships,” Sedlacko says. “Looking at international trade regulations and international business as a subject and then to actually move and live my education is really amazing."
Staying connected with Quinlan
Despite living on another continent, Sedlacko remains connected with his Quinlan community.
“One thing I’ve always been impressed with is the relationships you can develop at Quinlan. You are able to get to know professors well and I’m still in contact with some of them,” says Sedlacko. “When I’m stuck on a problem, I can always contact my professors and they’ll provide insight.
“I want people to know that Quinlan’s professors are experts, even world-renowned, and once you’ve attended Loyola, that network will always be there for you.”