Over winter break, a group of Bowdoin students returned to campus early to participate in the Fullbridge Program, an intensive learning experience designed to give students practical business skills and expose them to a workplace environment. Fullbridge usually holds residential programs students on its main campus in Cambridge, Mass. and Bowdoin was the site of the company’s first external program at a college exclusively for that college’s students. 

The Fullbridge program covered topics ranging from financial statements to Microsoft Excel. “A lot of it was financial analysis,” said Daniel Mejia-Cruz ’16.

“We were learning how to make and read balance sheets as well as a lot of other business skills. I got a lot of vocabulary just from reading material that they gave us.”

Each day, students were given a quick intro by their coaches on what they would be covering that day and then worked through various learning modules on that topic. Students were broken into teams of five or six, and while most of the exercises were individual, some involved group work.

Going into the program, Ryan Holmes ’13 said that he had hoped to come out of the program with a foundation in business math as well as more familiarity with Microsoft Excel. 

“I am definitely more familiar with Excel because of the constant reinforcement,” he said, “but I didn’t really like the teaching style for the rest of the material.”

Mejia-Cruz agreed.

“They tried to emulate a working environment, but I think if they had a more hands on approach the things would be easier to apply. We were essentially reading pdf’s independently and then taking a quiz on the material, which was kind of difficult without further explanations, but regardless, I learned a lot.” 

Mejia-Cruz said that he would recommend the program to others, albeit not wholeheartedly. 

“I would hesitantly suggest it just because I was really let down by the manner in which was presented,” he said. “It wasn’t what I expected—you basically sit in front of a computer.” 

Along with financial literacy, the program stressed interpersonal skills.

“They stressed skills that you keep using—leadership, group skills, presentation—and these are all things that you need at Bowdoin, and will use actively here,” said Mejia-Cruz. “The program is especially good for people who aren’t as confident in their presentation skills.”
Holmes also said that he was unsure if he would retain all of the information.

“I have more of a vocabulary around business math,” he said, “But I don’t think I could do [the math] now. I have access to the materials, though, so if you gave me time to refresh I could do it.”

Holmes said that, along with the in depth work with Microsoft Excel, the best part of the program was the interaction with some of the people involved in Fullbridge.

“The founder and financial expert for Fullbridge were really interesting people to talk to,” he said.