I came back from the HECA tour in Rhode Island with a new college crush: Bryant University in Smithfield. Here are some highlights.
While touring, I was informed that Bryant is one of the "three B's" -- colleges with big reputations for schooling kids in business. (The others are Bentley and Babson, not too far from Bryant.)
The magic of Bryant, though, starts very simply: student are required to have a major AND at least a minor, if not a second major. One must be in the liberal arts, the other in business.
Come on. That's brilliant. Business is a lens through which one views the world -- not the world itself; it's the means and not the end. That's baked into the philosophy there: successful people in the business world are precisely that because they know how to conduct business around something -- a product, a service, an experience. Something they care about, other than the bottom line.
The students there were sharp. Poised. Articulate. Absolutely in love with their school. Classes are capped at 35. Stories abound of professors giving out their personal cell numbers to students, and even Skype tutoring students feeling adrift the night before a big exam. ThinkPads are included in the tuition so that every undergraduate can work on the go. Everything on this campus is BRAND NEW.
Can't bear the thought of leaving Bryant for a full semester? Try the Sophomore International Experience: 10-12 days between semesters or in summer, conducting business in another country.
It's available to all second years, including transfers. The best part? It counts as class credit.
There's also the Bryant Idea Program during freshman year, when, after getting through various personality and skill assessments, students are assigned to a group with a research question to address collaboratively. It's a three-day course, also for credit. And during second semester of the first year, students take a class in which they develop a business plan. It culminates in a 25-minute presentation, pitching the plan to actual execs from companies like Target.
87% of students live on campus, because there's really no housing nearby; seniors live in cushy on-campus townhouses. Everyone can have cars on campus, for free. They believe in going big or going home: take Big B bingo, for instance, during which students mark those cards to compete for prizes like an Xbox One. Daaaaaanng.
The report was a 98% job placement after graduation. Really, with that sort of approach to the business realm and the rest of the world, I'm not surprised.