BY PHIL THORNTON
Zurich is a unique place in the world for a myriad of reasons, according to native resident Oliver Banz, ’05. The Swiss city has a range of job opportunities across all sectors and is also a fantastic place to live, he said.
“People work hard, but it is not that cutthroat culture you find in other places,” said Banz, who recently stepped down as chief of staff for global ultra-high-net-worth at UBS ahead of taking on a new position. “You only need a 30-minute journey out of Zurich by car or train and you are in a perfectly beautiful landscape where you can walk, bike, run, picnic, or do whatever you want.”
This work/life combination has attracted scores of Booth alumni to the city, where they work in sectors as diverse as luxury goods, food, pharmaceuticals, and finance, according to Banz, who has been president of the Zurich alumni club since 2015.
The Zurich Experts
Oliver Banz, ’05, Former Chief of Staff for Global Ultra-High-Net Worth, UBS
Monica Dreyer Staub, ’17 (EXP-22), Head of Marketing and Branding, Zurich Cantonal Bank
Rolf Friedli, ’96 (EXP-1), Partner and Chairman, Capvis Equity Partners
Florian Muggli, ’17, Vice President and Key Account Manager, Lombard Odier Group
Julie Muggli, ’17, People Analytics Manager, Swarovski
The club’s 200-odd members meet up for the six to eight events that are held every year—a significant increase from when it was established in 1996. One of its founding members is Rolf Friedli, ’96 (EXP-1), who is now partner and chairman at private equity firm Capvis Equity Partners. “In 1996 there was no formal club,” he recalled. “At the first meeting we had three people including me, so I remember it well. We kept on going and now it’s a thriving club.”
Today’s club provides a forum for Booth alumni in Zurich to meet each other and maintain contact, as well as to keep up-to-date with developments at the school. Club members organize a variety of formal and social events that encompass everything from high-profile speakers and topical panel sessions to ski trips and barbecues on the shore of beautiful Lake Zurich.
Rolf Friedli recommends Haus zum Rüden, located in a 14th century guild hall, for its gourmet Swiss cuisine and its traditional flair.
The Classic Business Dinner: Haus zum Rüden
This gothic dining room in a guild hall serving gourmet Swiss dishes has been catering to the higher echelons of Zurich society since the 14th century. Friedli favors it for its location near the Limmat river and in the heart of the old town, close to the Bahnhofstrasse and Paradeplatz. “It is a house with lots of tradition and excellent French and Swiss cuisine,” he said.
The Family-Friendly Activity: Jucker Farm
Although it is about a half hour’s drive from Zurich’s city center, this adventure farm is worth the trip, said Julie Muggli. “The farm has a delicious buffet, a beautiful view, a petting zoo, and plenty of space for kids to play,” she said. The best time to visit is during pumpkin season, which starts around the first week of September. They have a large display with sculptures made of pumpkins that changes every year. It also features a corn maze, a big haystack for climbing, hammocks, and a playground.
Jucker Farm is a half-hour drive from Zurich’s city center, but Julie Muggli says it’s worth the trip, especially during pumpkin season.
The Stroll with a View: By Lake Zurich around Bellevue
There are so many places to relax over a drink, but Florian said Bellevue is especially beautiful on a sunny day when many people hang out by the lake. Some brave young people jump from the bridge into the water. “I enjoy just walking around this area or sitting there with a delicious Mövenpick ice cream,” he said. “It is also a noticeable contrast to Paradeplatz, although it is only some hundred meters away.”
The Free Afternoon: Wall around the City Center
Zurich may be the largest city in Switzerland, but it is compact enough to explore on foot. Banz recommended starting at Hauptbahnhof, the train station, and walking down Bahnhofstrasse to the lake, crossing the bridge over to Bellevue and up along Limmatquai to Central. From there you can take the cable car up to the Polyterrasse and enjoy the view. Florian Muggli agreed and recommended the area around Lindenhof because the remains of Roman life are still visible today. “I love thinking how life must have been back in the day,” he said.
The Day-Trip Getaway: Lucerne
Because of Zurich’s small size and excellent transport system, there are many surrounding Swiss cities that are accessible for a day trip. Monica Dreyer Staub recommended going to Lucerne. From the train station you can take a boat to Alpnachstad, where there is a cogwheel train—running on the steepest track in the world—to the stunning peak of Mount Pilatus. To descend take the cable car down to Fräkmüntegg before returning to Zurich. “Have a nice dinner at Gustav in Zurich-Europaallee and a last drink at the bar,” she said.