Interview Chris Zanda
Can you quickly present yourself ?
My name is Chris Zanda. I am American. I have been living in France for almost 19 years. I am from the Chicago land area. I also have the french nationality. I have always worked in Finance. The recent years of my career I have been with CEFAM, and I have been teaching Finance and Accounting since 2007. Prior to that I was a Financial Analyst for probably over 15 years. I was working for an investment banking group, for a bank, for some auditors; so, I have some various experiences with that.
Can you explain your educational background ?
I have an undergraduate degree or bachelor degree in Finance; and about 10 years after getting that I decided to go back for my MBA to get my Master degree. For me that was a great way to do it because I was able to put into practice some of the things that I have learned in undergraduate school. Then, when I went back to school, 10 years later, I got to see the theories of what they were teaching us at school; and how they work or don’t work with the reality of what I see at my job. But, I think it improved me as an employee, as well. In fact, after going back to school there is a lot of things that I had maybe not been thinking about, and that I started to think about; definitely from a salary point of view, I was given a higher salary because I had a better education. So, that was very helpful.
From which school are you graduated ?
I have my MBA from DePaul University of Chicago.
When did you start teaching at CEFAM ?
I started in 2007; I tought two Finance courses, just Finance 1 and Finance 2. I was not very sure if I wanted to teach or not; so it was a good way to exploring. And the more I did it, the more I was interesting in doing it, and now I teach a lot of hours.
What is the first word that come in your mind if I tell you “The classes in CEFAM are…” ?
You are very appreciate by all the students, so what is you secret ?
Hum… empathy ! Because I know that you are struggling with the new language in business, and all of that in not easy to do. And I think about how I started out; and how it is not easy, particularly when you are coming in from a foreign language. I appreciate all the steps you are going through.
How do you do to catch the students’ interest in Accounting and Finance ?
I try to bring real life examples, because then people can relate to what they learn.
What is the part of being a teacher you prefer?
The personal contact with the students ! The part where I see a student coming their freshman year, and they struggle their freshman year, and they live their junior and senior year. And then the students totally change, their english skills have completely changed, their knowledge, all the skills have improved for the better. Just to see that evolution in the students, it is amazing !
What was the most difficult thing to adapt to when you first came in France ?
The language, that was the toughest thing. [You never learned french before ?] No, I basically arrived on Sunday, and my husband had me enrolled in french classes on Monday. So that was the hardest part, because when you can’t communicate with people you are miserable. That is how I am, I need to talk to people !