Tony Gazich '14
What inspired you to become a global business leadership major?
Growing up, my dad was a global sales manager for a large adhesives company. I was intrigued by the global nature of his role, his approach to managing diverse stakeholder relationships and his efforts to actively immerse himself in the various countries and cultures where he worked. He was not only meeting new people, understanding their business challenges and identifying solutions to increase his customers’ sustainable and profitable growth — he was building meaningful relationships that are still intact many years later.
When I started at Saint John’s, I often reflected back on my dad’s attributes. I knew I wanted to work for a Fortune 500 company in a business function and build a strong foundation to become a future leader. The global business leadership major gave me the best opportunity to do so.
Why study global business leadership at a liberal arts college?
As a child, I was constantly asking my dad questions about his business experiences in various countries. His work overseas involved more than just business transactions. He fully immersed himself in the cultures in which he found himself. For example, he came back from China with a video of him walking the Great Wall of China, long before there was the technology capability that we have today.
Liberal arts colleges offer unique opportunities to students who are interested in learning across multiple functions and are seeking to work in a global environment. The global business leadership major ties in well with the liberal arts concept — it provides the opportunity to have visibility into many different functions, whether it’s marketing, supply chain, operations, procurement, global functions or sales. These different areas of study help broaden students’ views and give them multiple perspectives. The global element of the program is also essential. With continued globalization, it’s paramount that future business leaders understand the various cultural factors that influence businesses and stakeholder relationships.
What makes the global business leadership major at CSB/SJU unique?
The global business leadership major gives students the opportunity to excel in many different areas of study. There are also programs such as Entrepreneur Scholars and Mayo Innovation Scholars that promote critical thinking and entrepreneurship. Students are given the opportunity to excel and succeed both in the classroom and through internships.
Further, the major truly molds students to become future leaders. It allowed me to build the foundation I needed to work in a large, global organization. As a child, I observed that a big part of my dad’s leadership style was learning. He was always curious to learn, quick to listen and sought to understand others. I saw how his positive leadership style influenced those he worked with in countries all over the world. I also was fascinated by how these business relationships positively impacted my dad and our whole family as our perspectives were broadened after hearing about others life experiences that were much different than our own.
What advice do you have for students considering a major in global business leadership?
There are many great majors offered by CSB/SJU and each has its own benefits. However, for those students who want to build their business acumen in many different areas, global business leadership is for you. Post-graduation employers are looking for students that can articulate their interests while also showing an understanding for business concepts. As a global business leadership major, I found that I was able to do both of these things by the spring of my junior year and my classroom experiences helped me land an internship at 3M. I practiced and sharpened my business skills in the real world and was able to apply my knowledge from the classroom to the internship, which helped me land a full time job with 3M before my senior year at Saint John’s. The global business leadership major gives students the tools they need to succeed and it is up to the students to take advantage of the resources and do the best they can.
What has your experience with the CSB/SJU global business faculty been like?
The CSB/SJU global business faculty has been extremely knowledgeable, insightful and supportive. Part of my role at 3M has involved partnering with CSB/SJU faculty to identify 3M recruitment opportunities on campus and provide other Bennies and Johnnies the same opportunity that I’ve been blessed with. As part of this effort, I connected with former professors to see if I could give a presentation on 3M and reconnect with the faculty to recruit at CSB/SJU. They welcomed me with open arms and helped me plan ways to connect with current students to teach them about 3M. Since then, I have visited CSB/SJU many times to present in classrooms, attend seminars and recruit at the Career Expo. All of this has been done through connections and relationships with the faculty in the global business leadership department. To me, this is a big testament to the CSB/SJU faculty’s dedication to supporting alums as well as enabling current students to land great opportunities in the business world after graduation.
What has been one of the greatest challenges you have faced?
When beginning my career at 3M, I was quickly amazed by the vast number of intelligent professionals that I worked with on a daily basis. I was eager to contribute to my team and to the broader organization. It was challenging to not know all the answers early on. However, I quickly learned that, due to the positive, team-oriented environment at 3M, there were plenty of resources I could use to help me learn, grow and be successful. I also learned that mistakes can often be our greatest teachers and I was fortunate to be in a work setting that allowed me to take certain business risks without fear of failure.