Brazilian Student Combines Global Business with Art History

Julia Vilela was initially drawn to Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center because of its global business program and location in the heart of New York City.

“It’s amazing to be in a school that allows you to take advantage of being in New York,” Vilela said. “There’s something about the pace and person that New York attracts—it’s a driven individual who wants to be able to explore multiple interests.”

What she didn’t expect was that she’d get to explore a completely different interest as well—all while she made connections and secured a full-time position at Deutsche Bank.

Vilela said her background as an international student from Brazil helped inspire her to major in global business. But minoring in art history wasn’t something she saw coming.

“It’s one of the things that would have never crossed my mind if it wasn’t for the core curriculum,” she said. “Fordham is so good at giving us the opportunity to be exposed to and pursue disciplines we are passionate about. You don’t have to give up one over the other.”

After she took an introductory art history course, Vilela studied abroad at Fordham London, where she took a course on art and architecture. All the classes, she said, met in museums.

“It trains different parts of your brain,” she said of studying art history. “It wires you, in a way, to be very detail-oriented. Your critical thinking gets honed to a very sharp degree. It hones in a part of your brain where you’re constantly questioning things.”

Julia Vilela finishes classwork at the Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center.

From Art to Investment Banking: Asking the Right Questions

Vilela said she used some of those skills to stand out as when she interned at Deutsche Bank.

“Especially at a junior level you’re expected to ask questions,” she said. “I think the art history part my brain was incredibly helpful in that.”

Vilela will start as a sales, trading, and structuring analyst at Deutsche Bank following graduation. She credits Armani Nieves, GABELLI ’21, with helping her in the recruitment process. Nieves helped create networking events as a student, such as Finance Diversity and Inclusion Night.

“He mentors students from Latinx backgrounds into the investment banking recruitment process, said Vilela, who as part of her major is pursuing a concentration in global finance and business economics. “He connected me with Fordham alums who were incredibly supportive and helped me prepare for my interviews.”

Vilela said that she’s seen this level of support throughout her time at Fordham.

“Everything is so much smoother because everyone’s in it together.”

Business for Positive Change

Vilela also said that she appreciated the Gabelli School’s focus on business with a purpose.

“I got accepted into Ignite Scholars Honors Program—it’s for people who have a social entrepreneurship background who want to use business to affect positive change, which is very cool,” she said.

She also serves as an Angel Fund fellow at the Fordham Angel Fund, where she works to connect with Fordham entrepreneurs and vet their applications for funding.

“What’s cool about it is it’s not an undergrad club; it’s people from the Law School, MBA students, and undergraduates,” she said. “It’s also a really nice opportunity to learn from your peers—that’s what I love the most about it. You put a business student and a master’s in social work student and a law student together—the types of questions we’re asking these companies are very different.”

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