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A Sabbatical Journey: An Analytics Consultant’s Exploration of Europe and Work-Life Balance at Schwab.

Written by: Joe S., Sr Specialist & Content Writer

What does work-life balance mean to you? Here, having time off to relax, reset, and recharge helps Schwabbies prioritize their wellness and excel in doing important work. We want you to love your career and feel energized, because when we feel our best – we can do our best, both in and outside of the office.

As part of our Benefits Spotlight series, we sat down with seasoned analytics consultant Greg at our Lone Tree campus to chat about his recent sabbatical – a benefit that is available to Schwabbies after every 5 years of service. Join us as we dive into the details of his European travels, learn more about his background and why he joined Schwab, and uncover the profound experiences that have shaped his journey.

Where it all began - the problem solver

As early as Greg can remember, he was programming calculators and computers with formulas. It was that initial interest in math that inspired him to study at the University of Denver, where he majored in statistics. He smiles recalling how he chose the program. 

“When I was reading through the course catalogue, it said that in statistics – “we teach you how to solve problems”. I thought, well - everybody needs a problem solver.”

After graduation, he sought to gain as much real-world experience as he could through a series of great positions. He worked as an actuary in benefits consulting and managed data analytics for operations, human resources, and customer care organizations. Then in 2017, when a former colleague recommended a company that recently opened a new campus in Lone Tree, Colorado – he jumped at the chance.

Fast forward 6 years and Greg has been a pivotal part of Charles Schwab’s Data & Analytics organization. In his tenure, he’s supported Marketing, Schwab Asset Management (SAM), Corporate Risk Management (CRM) and now serves as a Director in the newly formed Strategy, Data & Analytics (SDA) org. It appears that the saying holds true; everyone needs a problem solver.

Planning & preparation - pack your bags

After 5 short years, it was time for his much-anticipated sabbatical. In addition to being a numbers person, Greg is also a planner – he mapped out his trip and saved the money long in advance, and now his dream of backpacking Europe was finally coming to fruition.

When asked how he planned a trip of such length & complexity, Greg said he didn’t have a huge agenda, relatively speaking. He knew he wanted to end in Porto, Portugal because it was the shortest flight home, and knew that he wanted to start in Budapest and could not pass up seeing Prague, as these cities were special to him due to family history. With his starting and end points now set, Greg began planning the middle portion of his trip.

One of the best things about Greg’s itinerary was his ability to include family, friends, and solo travel into his time abroad. Grant, one of his best friends since early childhood, was the first to come along on the adventure. Their styles of travel are similar – they both love visiting historical sights and being able to walk everywhere. They traveled together for 3 weeks and averaged about 10 to 15 walking miles per day, burning off enough calories to warrant a small detour to Oktoberfest in Munich!

Charles Schwab Sabbatical Benefits Matterhorn Visit

Some Greg’s favorite experiences on the first leg of his trip were seeing the Matterhorn in Switzerland, visiting the Parliament in Budapest, and discovering the Festival of Lights at night in Berlin.

“The Festival of Lights in Berlin was such a pleasant surprise to stumble across. It ended up being one of the most magical and memorable experiences of the whole trip, a celebration of life, love and diversity.”

After 3 fun-filled weeks, Grant had to depart, and Greg traveled from Switzerland to Paris where he met up with his wife, kids, and aunt. Together, they spent the next 12 days touring western Europe as a family. Greg notes a unique highlight while seeing the world renown sights in Paris with his wife and two sons. They participated in a family cooking class where they learned of French culinary history, walked to a local street market for food supplies, and cooked a meal together of coq au vin, veggies, potatoes, and soup.

Schwab sabbatical benefit cooking class picture

In total, Greg visited 9 countries, 15 cities, and took 627,800 steps! When asked for one of his favorite memories of the entire trip, he recalls visiting the Berlin wall and mentions how it invoked memories of his early childhood. He remembers watching the nightly news with his mother when the wall fell in November 1989. He didn’t quite understand the significance of the event when he was a kid but seeing it in person as an adult was something he will never forget.

Homebound – newfound appreciation

In talking with Greg, you can see and hear his zeal for life. He fondly recites the experience of being a nomad for just a little bit; he exudes gratitude for being able to learn and experience history and culture on a daily basis. He now feels ready to come back to routines with a newfound appreciation for homelife and the stability it affords. His advice to other Schwabbies going on sabbatical:

“Once you get there, just enjoy it. Disconnect and know that your team's got your back, we all support each other. It’s a ‘We’re All in This Together’ type of approach.”

So, what’s next on his sabbatical radar? Not surprisingly, he has a lot of ideas in mind. One includes national parks in North America’s Last Frontier, but we’ll just have to wait and see what his next adventure brings.

If you wish to read more about Greg’s backpacking path, follow his blog.

To read more about the benefits of working at Charles Schwab, visit our summary of benefits page.