The world opens up to Bryant students in the International Business (IB) program’s capstone practicum. Through the course, a requirement for all seniors majoring in IB, students operate as consultants for real companies facing international business challenges and test their ability to find effective solutions as they consider logistical, political, economic, and social issues concerns that transcend borders.
The practicum serves as a culmination of four years of study and hands-on experience for the IB students, says Jaqueline Saslawski, director of Bryant’s International Business program, which ranked #18 in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report College Rankings. “This practicum requires students to put into practice everything they have experienced — from what they’ve learned in the classroom to studying and interning abroad,” Saslawski says. “Because of that education and that experience, they are able to add value for client companies while still undergraduates.”
Gaining an international advantage
This semester’s partnering companies included AVTECH, Darlington Fabrics, Hope Global, MediMynd, and TCIExpress and projects ranged from identifying and capturing new business opportunities to opening up new markets to analyzing procurement possibilities.
“I think working with an international client is extremely helpful, as the economy is growing more global every year and being able to understand the effects of international policies, currencies, and competition is increasingly vital to a company’s success,” says Aidan Smith ’23, whose team worked with TCIExpress, Asia's largest road network express delivery company, on establishing a pan-Asia road network connecting India and Singapore.
“The skills I learned from the practicum will be used in all projects I participate in moving forward,” agrees Smith’s teammate Alejandro Vaquerano ’23, who notes that working on professional-level challenges presented by the IB Practicum offer students an opportunity to benchmark themselves as they get ready to enter the workforce.
For Brianna Catino '23, the practicum was excellent preparation for life after college. "I think the work we did in the practicum will help in my future career because we were put into a real-life business situation," she says. "We had to be sure to keep in consistent contact with our client and gained experience in both preparing for and engaging in regular meetings. Situations such as these will occur in our future jobs and we will need to be prepared to discuss our progress, challenges, and successes throughout projects."
Traveling the world
To prepare understand the context of their project, the TCIExpress team traveled to Singapore on a trip sponsored by the company. “Through the trip we were better able to understand the region’s current infrastructure, regulations, and policies,” says Vaquerano. “Traveling to the region allowed us to fully grasp the different elements of research that we had been conducting for the previous two months.”
The trip, says Smith, added even greater depth to what was already an invaluable course. “It was extremely helpful to experience the border crossing between Singapore and Malaysia ourselves so we knew exactly what TCIEXpress’s trucks would experience, and it helped us to go one step further in our proposal.”
Catino notes that even simple things like observing the city's architecture added nuance to their understanding of how the solutions they posed would work in a larger context. "In Singapore, we were able to experience the culture firsthand which helped us understand the country, and our project, even more," she says. "I'll always remember that."