More than 80 students in Bryant’s International Business (IB) program travel to countries all over the world, including Chile, Argentina, France, Morocco, Spain, Italy, Vietnam, and China each year. Over the course of a semester they study the business and culture of another region first-hand and intern with companies in those areas, acquiring valuable international work experience.
“Employers are looking for graduates who are passport-ready,” notes IB program Director Andres Ramirez, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Finance. “They want employees who are able to travel, have experience doing business internationally, and are highly adaptable.”
These study/work abroad experiences, required elements of the program, have been carefully evaluated to ensure that students make the most of their time abroad. Students are placed with families in their respective countries, providing a built-in support network. Before the semester begins, a Bryant professor travels with the students to their host regions to provide a comprehensive primer on living and working there.
“Travel has opened my mind in ways I couldn’t have imagined. It doesn’t just give you a new perspective, it allows you to combine multiple perspectives through experiencing other cultures."
Preparing for the real world
Emily Katz ’20 is currently studying at the prestigious Adolfo Ibanez University in Viña del Mar, Chile, through the IB program. Her coursework includes classes in Latin American film, art, and culture that incorporate unique trips and experiences she couldn’t have had anywhere else.
“Travel has opened my mind in ways I couldn’t have imagined,” Katz says. “It doesn’t just give you a new perspective, it allows you to combine multiple perspectives through experiencing other cultures. Traveling also increases your adaptability and your knowledge of other people, as well as your empathy.”
Katz is interning this semester with Tu Espacio, a co-work company, where she conducts market research and collaborates on social media plans for the organization. “These internships are the first opportunity for most of us to actually work internationally,” she notes. “It allows us to take the concepts we’ve learned in class and use them in real life, which will help us prepare for our careers.”
A great jump start
For Christopher Anderson ’14, now Central Canada District Manager at Schneider Electric, the experience he gained through the IB program and studying abroad at L'Université de Nantes in France gave him a distinctive advantage. “Being able to say that you have experience with foreign language and travel, and that you’ve had experience doing business internationally, is a great jump start to your career,” he says.
Observing even simple things in other countries, like culinary choices or modes of transit, can “get you thinking differently about business,” says Anderson.
“All business is international,” he points out, “so you need to be prepared. When you work with people with different backgrounds in different areas of the world, you gain new ideas on how to work together and approach problem solving.”