Moore School alumna Taylor Bilardello (’18 global supply chain and operations management and international business) focused her undergraduate degree courses so that she can one day incorporate her love for language into her everyday life and career.
Learning Italian since she was 13 and Chinese since she was 15, Bilardello decided to minor in both languages during her undergraduate studies at UofSC. Initially thinking she wanted to major in international relations because she was searching for a career that would let her make practical use out of her multiple languages, Bilardello said she ultimately decided to pursue a degree in international business and global supply chain and operations management because it “seemed to be the best choice for what I was most interested in.”
“Majoring in international business turned out to be an even better choice than I had imagined,” she added.
Bilardello said she learned how to think critically about multifaceted issues and problem solving as well as negotiation strategies and process management tactics while studying international business at the Moore School. Additionally, as all undergraduate international business students are required to study abroad at least once, Bilardello traveled to and studied in Italy and China during her time as a Moore School student.
“During my travels, I met a number of Italians who had studied Chinese at Ca’ Foscari [University], and they all had an impressive handle on the language,” Bilardello said. “When I was considering next steps after graduating from UofSC, I really longed to have a more professional caliber in both of the languages, as I wanted them to be central assets to whatever company I was to work for in the future. Additionally, I wanted to focus on studying China as a whole, and this program offered a wide variety of courses, from law to history and politics.”
So, after she graduated from the Moore School in 2018, Bilardello moved to Venice, Italy, to pursue a master’s degree at Ca’ Foscari University in language, society and institutions of contemporary China. Taught in Italian, the program covers semiotics and linguistics of the Chinese language, economics and law of Chinese culture and requires students to complete an internship and demonstrate proficiency in Chinese upon completing their degree.
“I believe that what I learned at the Moore School set a beautiful foundation for my program at Ca’ Foscari,” Bilardello said. “The ‘global leadership mindset’ that I learned at the Moore School taught me how to problem solve while balancing competing perspectives. That mindset was honed more specifically by living abroad long-term in a different cultural context while studying and seeking to understand yet a third cultural context. I would like to combine all of my different skills acquired at both universities to be able to effectively work for a [multinational corporation], not only utilizing my knowledge of supply chain and international business, but also being a liaison between cultures.”
Graduating from Ca’ Foscari University in May 2021, Bilardello moved back to the United States to begin her career at Bissell as a North American customer service representative while continuing her degree. She has also already become an active participant in the Moore School’s international business engagement efforts.
Bilardello said she has connected with current students to help them with the next steps of their language learning in the international business program through her guest presentations or virtual language rooms via video conferencing software.
“International business outreach is so important because we have an amazing group of people who are in the [Moore School’s] international business program or have graduated from the program,” Bilardello said. “It is so important for current students to have people to consult with as they continue their education and consider next steps. I know it was inspiring and crucial to my success to have people to look up to during my undergraduate years.”
Bilardello also emphasized the importance of continued alumni involvement in the international business program, not just to create value for current students, but also to continue alumni’s own learning. She stressed that the different perspectives, deep motivation to learn and the hard questions current international business students ask “oftentimes challenge my thinking and push me to continue learning about the world even after I’ve left the classroom.”
“I think students should consider the Moore School’s international business program because, in it, you are challenged to think for yourself,” Bilardello said. “The students that you are surrounded with are eager to learn more than any other group I saw on campus. I found a family of people who would have intense debates outside of class just for the fun of it. In fact, we even had one last weekend over Zoom. The love of learning is contagious. The international business program provides students a unique perspective about the world by facing the hard issues head on.”
Thinking about the future, Bilardello said that she hopes to one day hold a leadership position in supply chain at a multinational corporation, run for public office or adopt a “bunch” of kids.
“Or maybe even all three...because why not [continue to] dream big,” she said.
-Erin Mooney, Claire McGrath