June 16, 2014

Fullbridge Program Comes to Emmanuel

This spring, Emmanuel College partnered with the Cambridge, Mass.-based Fullbridge Program, enabling a group of students to spend two weeks on campus engaged in intensive professional-development curriculum, led by personal coaches, through the organization's Internship Edge program.

The College received dozens of applications for the inaugural program's 15 fully-funded spaces. The selected students, who ranged from rising sophomores to rising seniors and represented a broad spectrum of majors, were divided into three teams to complete rigorous coursework in the areas of effective communication and teamwork, project management, marketing and finance, all in the context of a global setting.

Management major Larisa Cassie '16 said that while her academic background may have given her a slight edge in some areas, the diversity of knowledge among the group was the biggest factor in her team's success.

"There were, of course, some aspects to it, such as analyzing financial statements, that I did have background knowledge on," Cassie said. "When I completed my individual exercises on the material, I didn't hesitate to help students of other majors who may have been struggling with certain topics.

"Everyone had such an open mind about these new concepts and their willingness to learn was incredible. My team was great and since we all had different fields of study, each one of us had something different to contribute during each session."

For the final project, each team acted as a group of consultants advising the Starbucks global management team-specifically, analyzing the Chinese market and recommending an innovation that will generate significant growth for the Starbucks in that country. The project required the teams to research Starbucks existing brand and strategy, brainstorm techniques to develop their product or idea, generate a simple financial analysis and give a clear and compelling presentation addressing the strategic and financial rationale for their ideas. Each team developed a distinct product or idea, including:

  • An eco-friendly cup, which would portray Starbucks as an empathic company, willing to contribute to the country's current health and environmental initiatives;
  • A new drink, the Bobacchino, which combines elements of Starbucks coffee and the "bubble tea" already popular in China's tea-drinking culture; and
  • A new brand of Starbucks stores, Starbucks Select, which offer traditional cafés on the first floor, with private meeting space as well as a restaurant with an expanded menu on the second floor. Starbucks cafés in China are already popular social gathering places in the evening.

Sheila Drakeley '16 had the opportunity to build on her own research skills to examine the environmental aspects behind her team's development of an eco-friendly cup.

"My background as a biology major made a huge impact on my ability to contribute to my group," Drakeley said. "In the final project, when my group decided our product for Starbucks was going to be the eco-friendly cup, I immediately knew I would be of huge help in terms of the science behind it, mostly because I knew where to look for information and how to go about an efficient process to obtain statistics."

For Drakeley, the program was an opportunity to complement what she was already learning through Emmanuel's liberal arts and sciences curriculum  

"My reason for doing the program was to learn how to 'market' myself to the working world and particularly medical schools," she said. "I believe this is a specific skill that can make an impact if you get a job or accepted to the school of your dreams."

For others, the Fullbridge Program was a starting point in discovering new interests and goals.

"Before the program started, I was undecided on my major," said Kaitlyn Atkinson '17. "Although the days were long, and some lessons were frustrating, I came out of the program knowing I wanted to go into business."

Fullbridge's Luke Owings, who served as the head coach for Emmanuel's program, praised the students' work ethic and teamwork, also noting students were never late and always dressed professionally.

"There are a lot of special things here," Owings said. "From the moment the program started, it was obvious Emmanuel has a culture of collaboration."

Cassie recommended the program to any Emmanuel student looking for a competitive edge during their internship and job search.

"Any non-management major going into this program is going to take so much away from it and learn more than they thought they could in such a short period of time," she said. "It's also a great program for management majors because it really introduces you to a business workplace environment, rather than just sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture."

Learn more about the Fullbridge Program here.