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Published 03/17/15

International Business Program connects students to careers

Long before graduation, most seniors in Bryant's top-ranked International Business (IB) program have the security of accepting a job offer. What leads to their achievement? Kristen Kennedy '12 says it is Bryant's IB practicum. In her senior year, she participated on a student team assigned to help ChemArt, a R.I.-based manufacturer of custom metal keepsakes, including the White House Christmas ornament, in the last stage of its plans to launch in Mexico and Canada.

"To a future employer it looks fantastic. They know you can come in prepared on that first day," she says. "The IB program itself is a differentiator, but the practicum provides real-world work experience."

"To a future employer it looks fantastic. They know you can come in prepared on that first day."

The IB curriculum — one of the few in the country to feature concentrations in business functions including accounting, computer information systems, entrepreneurship, finance, global supply chain management, and marketing — is globally focused from the first semester.

Bryant's IB program runs the senior-year practicum as a capstone project that matches students in small groups based on their backgrounds, strengths, and the needs of participating companies. The students work as consultants to help businesses with aspects of their international strategies, gaining the direct experience of applying theories to real-world situations. The project might pair a student with a local business owner who wants to export overseas, and a faculty member who once oversaw the growth of a Chilean multinational forest products firm.

In the end, the hard work make a difference and the experience is one that prospective employers want to hear about. Associate Dean of the College of Business Madan Annavarjula, Ph.D., designed the course. "The practicum is a win-win situation," he says, "because the students get valuable experience and the employers get to see what would bring to the table."