Examine macroeconomics and the global finance system through the lens of social responsibility and the ethics of sustainable business in Switzerland and Greece.
Gain a background in international banking and finance through a social justice lens via an experiential, case study approach.
The program addresses causes of the unstable global economy, alternative systems of intermediation, and the implications of financial crises on economies, in the classroom and through briefings at financial institutions and NGOs.
Build networks with experts at financial institutions, international NGOs, and government agencies.
The international environment of Geneva offers an opportunity to meet experts and academics at banks, financial institutions, and Swiss and international NGOs. This leads to original research, networking, and professional development opportunities.
Spend more than three weeks in Greece.
The excursion allows you to experience Greek culture, history, and cuisine while examining the impact of the recent economic crisis on the country’s financial system and society. While there, you’ll visit Crete, the largest of the Greek islands.
Choose to take either a second thematic seminar or three credits of French.
You can take either the seminar Alternative Financial Systems and Intermediation or receive French language instruction, offered at four levels. You may also be able to practice French with your homestay family.
Choose between doing an internship with a financial institution or NGO or conducting independent research.
Critical Global Issue of Study
Development | Economy | Inequality
Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in business, economics, finance, accounting, math, statistics, management, marketing, or Information Management Systems, as assessed by SIT.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- International banking and reforms and markets within international financial systems
- Solidarity economies, microfinance, and sustainable financing and sustainable business
- Islamic banking
- Financial intermediation systems and risk
- Financial globalization, financial crises, and social responsibility
- Ethics of banking, financial policy, tax avoidance, and market pressure
The program’s thematic seminars address the causes and implications of the unstable global financial economy and the implications of domestic policy approaches that aim to curb inequality. Coursework addresses various issues in global finance including international banking and finance systems, balance of payments, lending decisions and impact of debt forgiveness, banking laws and tax evasion, and monetary market operations and the principles underpinning social policies that promote growth and social progress.
The program seeks to facilitate a more profound understanding of the ethics of sustainable business by exploring viable approaches that can allow profitable businesses to help reduce social injustice and global poverty and protect the environment. Students develop analytical skills and critical thinking on these ethical issues and build networks with international experts on finance and banking.
The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
International Financial Institutions, Financial Crises, and Social Responsibility – syllabus
(EURO3000 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
This seminar addresses issues related to international financial institutions including the IMF, the World Bank, and the European Central Bank. The focus is on the role of regulating financial institutions, questions relating to international finance and macroeconomics, and the functioning of equity and commodity markets and their impact on society. The seminar also tackles the reforms of the international financial system, the global and European financial crises, and their impact on developing countries. The seminar uses lectures, field trips to banking institutions and international NGOs, and case studies from the 2008 US financial crisis and the 2011 Euro crisis.
The Ethics of Banking and Finance – syllabus
(ETHC3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This seminar covers the financial code of ethics and addresses sustainable financing, socially responsible investment (SRI) issues, ethical banking, legal and practical aspects of integrating environment, social justice, and corporate governance (ESG) issues to institutional investment. The seminar gives a detailed overview of major institutional actors, key players in European and global networks in the field of banking and sustainable financing, and the international standards in the fight against tax avoidance and money laundering. This course is highly practice oriented; each module contains at least one field visit in a corresponding local organization or NGO. Lecturers are drawn from academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations, government agencies, and research centers, or are individuals recognized as specialists in their fields
Choose between the following two courses:
Alternative Financial Systems and Intermediation – syllabus
(IBUS3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Recent successive crises in the international financial system have drawn attention to the important role that can be played by alternative systems of financial intermediation. Alternative financial intermediation systems are defined as non-market (stock or bond) and non-modern banking sources, including external financial channels that make it possible for an individual or a small enterprise to access credit that would not otherwise be available to them through modern banking systems. Alternative financial channels are proving to be equally important funding sources in both developing and developed countries. This seminar aims to explore alternative forms and practices of financial intermediation (formal and informal) and their role in the empowerment of individuals and groups that are usually not serviced by modern banking channels and institutions. Modules include solidarity economies and intermediation, microfinance and social entrepreneurship, and Islamic banking and financing.
Beginning French I – syllabus
(FREN1003 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intermediate French I – syllabus
(FREN2003 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intermediate French II – syllabus
(FREN2503 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Advanced French I – syllabus
(FREN3003 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course has an emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom instruction to provide broader access into the host culture and enable participation in daily social life. Students are placed in intensive beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing.
Choose between the following two courses:
Independent Study Project in Finance – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 6 credits / 180 class hours)
For the Independent Study Project in Finance (ISPF), students will do fieldwork and design a project that carries an innovative proposition to address banking or finance issues from a social responsibility perspective. Projects may include proposals for a sustainable business, regulatory mechanisms for financial control and ethical account reporting, or approaches to tax evasion or debt forgiveness. Regular reflection and assessment meetings are held with the academic director to review the progress of the ISPF.
Internship and Seminar in Finance – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 6 credits / 180 class hours)
This seminar consists of a five-week internship with a financial/banking institution or international NGO. Students do an internship with a financial institution or international NGO and submit a report in which they process their learning experience on the job, analyze a financial or banking issue the institution faced, and design a socially responsible solution to the problem. The aim of an internship is to enable the student to gain valuable work experience within the finance/banking environment. The report should also document a comprehensive schedule and the specific skills and knowledge acquired through the experience. The institution and internship activities must be approved by the program’s academic director. Regular reflection and assessment meetings are held with the academic director to review the progress of the internship.
Program in a minute-ish
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
You will spend more than three weeks in Greece, primarily in Athens, a hospitable city where ancient history intersects with a modern lifestyle, orange and olive trees line the sidewalks, and church bells punctuate the day under the ancient Acropolis and Parthenon. The program also includes a short excursion to vibrant Heraklion on Crete, with archaeological sites and pink and white sand beaches.
On this extended excursion, you’ll examine the impact of the recent economic crisis on the Greek financial system and society while you experience Greek culture, history, and cuisine. Coursework examines international financial crises and social responsibility, and includes a 10-hour Modern Greek language course. You will hear lectures from experts and visit financial institutions such as IOBE, a leading think tank on economic research, and ELIAMEP, an independent, nonprofit, and policy-oriented research and training institute researching European integration and international relations.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
Goran Jovanovic, PhD, Academic Director
Goran, a Swiss and Serbian national, holds a doctorate and master’s degree in international relations and development studies from the University of Geneva, a graduate diploma in American studies from Smith College in Massachusetts, and a degree in sociology from the University of Belgrade. He has wide-ranging experience and expertise in international education. As a professor, Goran focuses on geo-economics, economic diplomacy, international trade organizations, globalization and global governance, strategic foresight, and scenario building. He has taught at the International University in Geneva and in business schools and universities in Afghanistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
Goran was a department head at the International University in Geneva and scientific director at the Research Center on Audiovisual Sources of Contemporary History at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. He has published widely in international relations and political communication and produced educational films and documentaries. Goran was a lecturer and ISP advisor for SIT before leading this program.
Györgyi Blahó, MBA, Academic Coordinator
Györgyi holds a master of business administration (MBA) in strategy and leadership and an undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology. She completed her MBA research on the business model of ethical banks and sustainable financial issues in Hungary and in Switzerland. She is a member of Sustainable Finance Geneva, and her main fields are sustainable finance, NGO management, training, and education. She was born in Hungary and has lived in Switzerland since 2013. She has worked with SIT since 2015 as program development coordinator. She has coordinated education projects, conducted scientific research and advocacy projects, and organized study tours for several years.
Esther Bonafont, Academic Coordinator
Esther was born in Canada and received a BS in business adminstration from Pacific Union College in California. She has worked for several top executives in blue chip companies such as Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, and J.P. Morgan. Her last position was executive assistant to the CEO at Global Blue SA, located in Nyon. She supported the CEO on the executive management committee and the global management committee by simplifying and streamlining decisions for senior management.
Lecturers on this program may include:
Winfried Boeing, PhD
Winfried holds a PhD (magna cum laude) and a master’s in business administration from the University of Cologne, Germany. He has worked for 15-plus years with business universities in Switzerland and is dean of Montreux Business University. His expertise includes international auditing, financing, global financial systems, billing and settlement plans, start-ups and travel companies, and airline management. Winfrield was project leader for the European ESPRIT initiative, working on smart card standards, secure IT systems and the foundation for today’s HDTV standards. He worked with Lufthansa German Airlines, the International Air Transport Association in Geneva, and several start-ups including Private Jet Aviation and was head of finance and chief auditor at the International Air Transport Association, where he was responsible for $120 to 240 billion in cash settlements. He has worked with social media, virtual and augmented reality, and immersive and online learning.
Bernd Balkenhol, PhD
Bernd holds a PhD from the University of Freiburg and an MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Massachusetts. He is a professor of microfinance and financial inclusion at the University of Geneva. He set up the Social Finance Program at the International Labor Organization and directed it for 20 years. He represented ILO at the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, and in 2015 managed the IV European Microfinance Research Conference. He was senior policy advisor to the Central Bank of West African States. His book Microfinance and Public Policy has been translated into French, Spanish, and Turkish. He lectures at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Paris Dauphine University, and the University of Zurich.
Esperanza Duran, PhD
Esperanza holds a BA from El Colegio de México, an MA from Stanford University, and a PhD from Oxford University. She has taught at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), London School of Economics, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, El Colegio de Mexico, and University College, Dublin. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and written and edited books. She was senior economist in the IMF and World Gold Council, country officer and economist in the World Bank, and founding executive director of the Agency of International Trade Information and Cooperation.
Jovan Kurbalija, PhD
Jovan is founding director of DiploFoundation, a nonprofit working to improve global governance and international policy development, and head of the Geneva Internet Platform, an observatory, capacity-building and discussion center. He is a former diplomat with a background in international law, diplomacy, and information technology. In 1992, he established the Unit for IT and Diplomacy at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, which in 2002 became DiploFoundation. Jovan has taught in Switzerland, the United States, Austria, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Malta. He researches diplomacy and the development of an international Internet regime, the use of hypertext in diplomacy, online negotiations, and diplomatic law. His book An Introduction to Internet Governance has been translated into eight languages.
Catherine Ferrier, PhD
Catherine holds a PhD in social sciences from the University of Geneva and attended the University of Grenoble, France. Her thesis focused on carbon markets’ legal and institutional frameworks. She studied European and international affairs before focusing on environmental issues including water, climate change, biodiversity, and economic instruments. She has managed the Certificate and Diploma of Advanced Studies in Corporate Social Responsibility at the University of Geneva since 2008. She lectures in master’s and advanced education programs at University of Geneva; Université de Versailles St. Quentin en Yvelines, France; and WWF Switzerland.
Ritsa Panagiotou, DPhil
Ritsa holds an MPhil and a DPhil in international relations from Oxford University. She is senior research fellow at the Centre of Planning and Economic Research in Athens and a visiting professor at the International Centre for Hellenic and Mediterranean Studies. She was a research associate at the European Business School in France, a visiting professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business and University of Athens, and a visiting research fellow at the European University Institute. She has published in journals including Contemporary Southeast Europe, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, and the Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies.
Paschalis Aganidis, PhD Candidate
Paschalis holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Crete and an MA in European and international studies from the University of Athens, where he is pursuing his PhD. He has taught for College Year in Athens since 2009. He researches European political economy and policy ideas in structural state reforms. He has been a consultant in the private sector and a policy advisor at governmental institutions. He was a member of the scientific council of the Greek netroot movement G700. His most recent publications include a co-authored article entitled “The Economic Adjustment Programmes and the Resilience of Neo-Liberal Ideas: The Experience of Greece and the Future of Progressive Politics.”
Demetris Kamaras, PhD
Demetris holds a BA in economics, an MA in communications policy, and a PhD in journalism from City University in London. He is a journalism professor, journalist, political analyst, and communications specialist and founded dailyGreece.net, Private Information Network, and alyunaniya.com. He’s interested in political communication, next-gen web apps, digital R&D, internet ethics, and social networks. He taught at the University of Indianapolis Athens from 1999 to 2013 and has published online and in print. His first co-authored book is Digital Communication, and his recent publications include Elections and the Internet and Crisis Talk: Greece, parts one and two.
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
You will spend about 10 weeks living with a Swiss or international family outside of Nyon in a small city, town, or village. Activities during the homestay may include skiing, tennis, swimming, volleyball, and hiking. Swiss cultural offerings are vast and include music festivals, art exhibitions, museums, and theaters.
Families are usually middle class and reflect the cultural diversity of Switzerland. Host parents and siblings may speak more than one language, often German, English, or Italian, in addition to French. Many families are in Lausanne or Montreux, and most are about 40 minutes by train to the SIT center in Nyon and one hour by train to central Geneva. Trains to Geneva run every 15 minutes.
You will continue to live with your homestay family during the Independent Study Project in Finance or Internship in Finance period.
During the excursion to Greece, you will stay in student dorms, hostels, or small hotels.
Independent Study Project in Finance
Independent Study Project in Finance
You can choose to spend five weeks near the end of the semester conducting original research for the Independent Study Project in Finance (ISPF). For your ISPF, you will critically analyze a topic related to financial systems in a Swiss or international context with guidance from the academic director. The ISPF will be conducted in Geneva.
Sample ISPF topic areas:
- Awareness level of sustainable finance issues among bank workers and consumers
- Profit-generating potential of ethical bank products versus classical bank products
- Role and efficiency of multi-stakeholder initiatives in the field of ethical investment
- Gaps in the existing sustainable finance regulatory system
- Alternative ways of financing new initiatives and their risks (e.g., crowdfunding)
Cost and Scholarships
Cost and Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students
- All educational excursions to locations such as Athens, Greece, including all related travel costs
- Independent Study Project in Finance or Internship in Finance (including a stipend for food)
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
Room & Board: $6,860
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Geneva), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project / Internship period, and during the final evaluation period.
- Homestay (10 weeks with a Swiss or international family in rural villages and other communities near Nyon)
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.
Estimated Additional Costs:
International Airfare to Program Launch Site
International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
Visa Expenses: $465
Books & Supplies: $ 50
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.
Internship in Finance
Internship in Finance
You can choose to complete an internship during the last five weeks of this program. For this internship, you will work with a Swiss organization to gain experience and develop professional skills.
The internship will help you understand socially responsible banking and finance and assess the challenges of international finance systems and alternative forms of intermediation in Europe. You will submit a report in which you process your learning experience, analyze a financial or banking issue the institution faced, and design a socially responsible solution to the problem.
Potential Internship in Finance placements:
- Codethic (ethics, good governance)
- Diplo Foundation (e-governance, e-commerce)
- Impact Hub (alternative financial services, micro-finance)
- Monnaie Léman (alternative financial services / currencies)
- Sofies (sustainable development / environment)
- Van Cleef & Arpels (luxury)
- World Organization Against Torture (human rights)