Eric Handa '97 is providing new opportunities
When Eric Handa ’97 was a student at Bryant, he took advantage of every opportunity he could to set the foundation for a successful life and career as a global entrepreneur.
As an Economics major, Handa thrived with the small class sizes and mentorship of the faculty. He further developed his global perspective by spending two semesters studying abroad and immersing himself in the cultures of London and Hong Kong. And, as a member of Bryant’s varsity baseball team, Handa enjoyed the competitive spirit and camaraderie he shared with his teammates.
So when he decided to pledge a gift in honor of Expanding the World of Opportunity: The Campaign for Bryant’s Bold Future , it’s no surprise he chose to support the three areas still close to his heart: the Center for Global and Regional Economic Studies and the Economics program at Bryant; a scholarship for the Sophomore International Experience; and Black & Gold Baseball. Handa’s $75,000 pledge includes $5,000 gifts to each of his three areas of interest every year for five years.
Commitment to international business
Now CEO and co-founder of international telecommunications carrier and consultancy business APTelecom LLC, an award-winning company specializing in emerging markets, Handa still spends a lot of time on airplanes. Since launching APTelecom, he has personally visited more than 20 countries to support clients across the world. He uses some of that flying time to contribute to Wired.com ’s “Innovation Insights” section as an expert in telecom in emerging markets.
"After [traveling to China in high school], I knew I wanted a job that was going to take me around the world."
Originally from Bridgewater, NJ, he had been to China – the type of trip practically unheard of in the early ’90s – by the age of 18. "After that, I knew I wanted a job that was going to take me around the world," he says.
Handa set about achieving that goal through study abroad at Bryant for two separate semesters. "The flexibility of both Bryant's academic program and of the faculty allowed me to spend my last semester at Bryant in Hong Kong." His last semester overseas paid off for his career – he landed a job with AT&T in Hong Kong while studying there.
From his first job based in Hong Kong to London and back to the United States, Handa has pursued opportunities that draw on his strengths, develop his expertise in the expanding field of telecommunications, and satisfy his wanderlust.
Even global paths lead back to Bryant
The one-on-one time Handa spent with his professors paid off as well. "One of the best things about Bryant is that I was able to meet with the faculty informally and discuss anything. It's something that sets Bryant apart from other schools. And President Machtley introduced me to some people overseas, which was helpful in making business contacts and getting adjusted."
Handa’s appreciation for his Bryant education is illustrated by his many levels of engagement with the University. He was recognized with the “Young Alumnus Leadership” award at Bryant’s Alumni Achievement Awards in 2013. He has supported the Bryant Leadership Council, the Black & Gold Club, and has come back to campus to share his expertise with students in various classes. His experience as an international businessman is one that the students have found invaluable. Some comments include: “He gave me an idea of what my future may look like and how to get there,” and “His stories have really inspired me to find my real focus and concentrate on my passions. Listening to his career experiences has given me a renewed perspective on my future goals.”
APTelecom established a charity organization under Handa’s leadership that donates to select global non-profit organizations. “It’s important to give back,” he says.
Bryant’s alumni network is 45,000 strong – accomplished men and women who influence, lead, and innovate in their professions, industries, and communities around the globe. They remain engaged with the University by sharing their expertise with students and faculty during campus visits and through the career center network, participating in alumni activities, and making Bryant a priority for their philanthropy.