Every year, as part of its Best College rankings, U.S. News & World Report includes a list of top international business programs, and this year Bryant’s International Business (IB) Program came in at number 25, one of the nation’s best. It's a significant accomplishment for such a young academic program whose first graduates entered the job market just a decade ago.
The program's distinctive features are garnering national attention from presidents, provosts, deans and senior faculty members of AACSB-accredited institutions, whose nominations for the rankings were solicited by U.S. News. Their responses earned Bryant the outstanding recognition.
A program built with global ambitions
Through the program, students gain the knowledge and credentials necessary to become multinational specialists in a chosen concentration, graduating with a B.S. in International Business. The program boasts a nearly 100% placement rate within six months of graduation, with most grads going into full-time employment and some to graduate school.
"Because we take such great personal interest in them, they achieve what we’ve set out for them to do, and they do it well.”
“The precise combination of all the elements of this program make it entirely unique, and that’s by design,” says Bryant’s College of Business Dean Madan Annavarjula, Ph.D., the program’s co-founder. “We’ve sought to build a best practices program.”
“When we started the program, we were able to create what was needed,” said Andres Ramirez, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Finance and Director of the International Business Program. “We drew from our own impactful educational experiences and the world around us, and augmented and built upon them in ways that would benefit our students.”
At the end of the four years, IB students have taken 10 unique courses in international business, a functional concentration, and a second language up to the intermediate level of proficiency. They have studied abroad, worked as an intern abroad, run a virtual publicly traded multinational company, and consulted with a real company with a real need or opportunity in the international arena.
Some of the program's distinctive features
Individually—and together—these features set Bryant’s IB program apart:
- Freshman year: Students take specialized courses in international business theory to start to develop the global mindset as a way of learning business. Students also begin their language and cultural competency component—by graduation IB students must have intermediate fluency in a foreign language and be able to apply it in a business context.
- Sophomore year: Students explore and choose a concentration and, through a specialized series of international courses, learn their chosen functional domain through a global lens. Bryant is one of the few in the country that offer international functional concentrations.
- Junior year, a.k.a. integration year, fall semester: All IB students experience full language and cultural immersion as they learn, live, and work (intern) abroad for at least one semester, a requirement of the program. Through a customized study abroad program, students undertake approved courses, internships, professional development opportunities, cultural activities, and business visits, and are housed with families. Just before the fall semester, they take a three-week business course that focuses on the host country. This course is taught by Bryant faculty in the host country.
- Junior year, a.k.a. integration year, spring semester: Students learn to cross-apply knowledge in finance, management, marketing, and accounting through a highly coordinated integrated block of four advanced courses. Students are placed into a cohort, with each cohort running a virtual company as they learn to balance functional domains and the market’s influence.
- Senior year: Students collaborate with Bryant’s award-winning John H. Chafee Center for International Business to develop strategies to help real businesses expand globally. It is part of a required senior practicum, an intense consulting experience that culminates with team reports and presentations to a panel of business judges, followed by presentations and recommendations to company representatives.
- Not to be overlooked are the program's inspirational faculty members from around the world who are experts in their fields, combining the latest theory with direct experience in the business world. And personal attention is built into the fabric of the program: Professors are dedicated teachers who understand the students—not just their first names but also their strengths, challenges, and aspirations.
Says Dean Annavarjula, “It's a very rigorous curriculum; we require them to do a lot of things that other programs don't require. But because we take such great personal interest in them, they achieve what we’ve set out for them to do, and they do it well.”
IB student and alumni profiles