Headshot of Dean Madan Annavarjula, Ph.D., superimposed over a photo of a student presentation
Practicum projects give students real-world, hands-on experience with client companies. In this 2019 presentation, IB students presented their detailed analysis and recommendations for business opportunities.
Practicum projects offer global impact, real-world skills
Jan 21, 2021, by Staff Writer

Bryant students in several departments and the MBA program cap their degree programs with highly valuable Corporate Practicum experiences. Through these practica, connections in the corporate or nonprofit sectors can tap into the University’s energetic and well-prepared students to tackle problems they may not have time or expertise to solve.

“The companies involved receive professional-quality consulting advice with a value far beyond their financial investment in the practicum project,” notes Dean of the College of Business, Madan Annavarjula, Ph.D. With over ten years of positive feedback from practicum sponsors, the program is on solid ground, but Bryant is always seeking new partners to expand our reach and variety of projects. 

Emphasizing practical, hands-on experience, student teams work throughout the semester, under the guidance of their professor and the companies involved, on research, analysis, and market strategies. International Business projects range from developing entry strategies for overseas sales, to determining export potential for products, to finding targeted opportunities for new global markets. Bryant’s Global Supply Chain Management (GSCM) students help companies explore savings by adopting innovative technologies, payment systems, and new forecasting models.

The companies involved receive professional-quality consulting advice with a value far beyond their financial investment in the project. 

“The IB Practicum capstone experience proved not only to be a springboard for skill development, but also for skill deployment,” notes Maia Correll ’21 who worked with her team on a project for APTelecom this year.

As an International Business student, Sawyer Lea ’20 served as a student consultant through the practicum. Now, as an employee of sponsoring company ACS Industries, he’s had the chance to experience it from the perspective of a client.

“The quality of the project and the level of professionalism I experienced from the students far exceeded my expectations… I am grateful to be able to help support a program that provided great value to me,” he says. 


Supply Chain projects save millions

“All of the projects were very impressive, but some of their financial impacts are beyond comprehension, especially when you consider that they were done by college students,” says Christopher Roethlein, Ph.D., Professor of Management and Chair of the Global Supply Chain Management (GSCM) Program. “Our students have shown that they are more than capable of meeting the needs of industry, even before they graduate,” he adds.

I would not hesitate to bring any of the members of this team on board within our organization based on the work performed and the professionalism and enthusiasm demonstrated.  

The pandemic hasn’t slowed down the practicum program, which has always relied on virtual meetings with corporate sponsors around the world.

This year, GSCM students, meanwhile, partnered with local, national, and international companies to take on real-world supply chain problems. Working in teams as consultants, the students faced industry challenges such as selecting enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, choosing a source-to-pay (S2P) platform, and determining an optimum forecasting model appropriate for the client.

Megan Tan ’20, who graduated with a degree in International Business and concentrations in Finance and GSCM, was proud of the results her team achieved for BNY Mellon, the world’s largest custodian bank and wealth management company. The group worked with Nirbhay Kumar ’97, Global Head of FinTech and Market Data Sourcing at BNY Mellon, to select an S2P platform that fits the company’s needs. The potential savings reach the high eight-figure mark, based on the trillions of dollars the company spends annually.

“It was amazing to be a part of such an important project for such a large company,” says Tan. After the semester’s end, she continued to work with the company to help facilitate the final decision regarding the platform.

Emily Katz ’20, a dual-degree graduate in Spanish and IB with concentrations in GSCM and Applied Analytics, and her team partnered with Legrand, a $7-billion publicly traded company based in France.  “We sparked a conversation [and] we were able to update and improve Legrand’s shipment process that was in existence for over 11 years,” amounting to a projected savings of $2.5 million, she says.

At the end of the semester, all the teams showcase their semester-long efforts in presentations to a panel of executives and leaders from industry, who serve as judges and award cash prizes to the top teams. 

Ben White, Vice President, Corporate Development, Taco Comfort Solutions, summed up the feedback from the practicum sponsors, saying “I would not hesitate to bring any of the members of this team on board within our organization based on the work performed and the professionalism and enthusiasm demonstrated. Amazing job and best of luck to them in their futures!” 

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