For Rich Bozzuto ’00, everyday life with his wife and their toddler is quintessentially American: a walk in the park, a swim in the pool, a trip to the local zoo or aquarium. Only now, that life is unfolding on the streets of Shanghai, China, where Bozzuto works as financial controller for IBM Growth Markets.
It was in 2009 that Bozzuto accepted the job in IBM’s new division, which serves emerging populations beyond Western Europe, North America and Japan. As controller, he manages financial operations and strategic planning for the Growth Market CFO.
“I had the advantage of traveling to China for business previously,” says Bozzuto. “In IBM, it’s almost impossible to have a successful career working exclusively in the U.S.”
The former Finance major is no stranger to global thinking. His Bentley years included a one-week intensive course in London, a conference in Mexico City, and a paid summer internship in Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro.
“Shanghai is a fairly modern and cosmopolitan city,” says the 32-year-old who hails from Connecticut. “To transition from New York to Shanghai was probably easier for my family than, say, relocating to Montana would have been.”
Home is an apartment high-rise in Shanghai’s Financial District, just two blocks from IBM offices. The Bozzutos are among a robust community of expatriate families that includes nearly 20,000 Americans. Wife Megan (Ziemba) ’01 has learned enough Chinese to haggle with local vendors and direct taxi drivers, while 1-year-old Angela has fallen hard for fried rice and dumplings.
There are some striking parallels between his native and adopted homes, reports Bozzuto, who holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
“The greatest similarity is the pervasive sense of optimism and focus on providing a better life for the next generation,” he explains. “In many ways, the ‘Chinese Dream’ is very similar to the ‘American Dream.’ The Chinese are willing to work hard to advance their careers and provide for their families.”
Ditto for Bozzuto, who expects to live outside the U.S. for the foreseeable future. As this issue went to press, in fact, he was promoted to CFO for IBM Middle East and Africa. The family trio will soon relocate to Dubai, where their days are sure to include walks around town, swims in the pool, and sampling the local falafel.