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IB seniors solve real challenges for global leaders in AI, travel, infrastructure

The jump from classroom to conference room can be a bit of a blind leap for most college seniors. For Bryant University’s International Business majors, though, it’s “Been there, excelled at that.”

Through the International Business Practicum, a requirement for all seniors majoring in IB, Bryant students, working in teams, operate as consultants for real companies facing international business challenges across industry, from infrastructure to travel to artificial intelligence.

Giana Amaral ’24, who helped Collette travel company conduct a comprehensive market assessment of tailor-made travel packages to their offerings, says the project encompassed nearly everything she learned in the International Business program. reflects   — a rigorous experiential program ranked 17th in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report.

The experience of working with a real industry partner on a real challenge can be exhilarating, she says, — and offers its own special rewards. “This isn’t just another paper — and I don’t think you can get this level of experience many other places,” Amaral states.

Fall 2023 IB Practicum presentation
Giana Amaral ’24 (second from right) and her team present their findings at the Fall 2023 IB Practicum.

Rodne Dorce ’24, who aided digital infrastructure consulting firm APTelecom in assessing the feasibility of installing undersea fiberoptic telecommunications cable on eleven Pacific islands, says it was satisfying to dive deep into a complex industry.

Knowing their findings could have ramifications extending from education to international investment spurred the students to work even harder, says Dorce. “This was a huge project, with a lot of responsibility,” he notes. “It’s something that could impact millions of lives.”

Tackling projects of that magnitude provides a credential that extends beyond the resume, says Dorce’s partner Mariona Planes Fortuny ’24; it’s personal proof that you’re ready to take on the world. “You always want to make sure you’re doing the best job you possibly can, and when our client told us at the end of our project that we had gone above and beyond, well, that’s really encouraging going forward,” she relates.

Their projects also allow the students to explore the cutting edge and their own flexibility. This semester, a team of Bryant students helped healthcare automation software developer Opmed.ai examine avenues of entry into U.S. markets by studying the efficiencies and pain points of American operating rooms.

“It’s an incredible feeling when a real company tells you, as a student, that you’ve done good work — and an even better one when you can actually see it come to fruition.”

None of the students in the group knew much about the field going into the capstone, they note, which gave them the opportunity to hone their critical thinking, analysis, and observational skills. “Being able to develop a fast understanding of a new industry or situation is something that’s going to help you, no matter what organization you join,” suggests Markell Owens-Brown ’24.

In addition to a comprehensive final report delivered to the client companies, the practicum students are also tasked with giving a closing presentation to program director Jacqueline Saslawski, J.D., representatives from their industry partners, and to each other — requiring them to boil down complex analysis and months of in-depth work into twenty-minute summations. “It’s not just about having the right answers,” Owens-Brown points out. “It’s about telling a story that people can understand.” 

At the conclusion of each presentation, the teams take questions from a panel of judges made up of Bryant faculty and industry representatives. This semester, that panel included Will Nye ’21, now a production expediter and customer relations manager at Technimetals, the same company he collaborated with on his own IB practicum as a student. The practicum, Nye says, did more than help him make an important connection with his future employer and provide an opportunity to display what he’s capable of; it ensured he was ready to make the transition from college to the real world.

At Technimetals, he’s witnessed the impact his team’s work had first-hand. “It’s an incredible feeling when a real company tells you, as a student, that you’ve done good work — and an even better one when you can actually see it come to fruition.” 

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