This January, the Fullbridge Program—described on its website as “an intensive, transformative learning environment that prepares highly motivated undergraduates…for a successful transition to the working world”—will hold two sessions for Bowdoin students on campus over winter break. Fullbridge is a program that is designed to simulate the real world business environment and equip students with crucial skills for careers in the professional world.
Fullbridge began as a residential program in Cambridge, Mass., and its sessions at Bowdoin will be its first program on an external college campus.
President Barry Mills met with Fullbridge Director of Admissions Oliver Snider this past summer, and they began to discuss the possibility of holding the program at the College.
Although Fullbridge will be operating on Bowdoin’s campus, it will not be tailored specifically to Bowdoin.
“It’s going to be the typical Fullbridge program,” said Snider.
Students who participate will be broken up into small groups under a Fullbridge coach, and will work through various modules dealing with topics such as financial analysis, professional development, analytical tools, and other business concepts.
Snider said that before bringing Fullbridge to the College, the administration at Bowdoin wanted to make sure the program would be a comfortable fit.
“They wanted to make sure we covered the real nuts and bolts of finance,” he said, “and that we covered the language that isn’t really being taught in a liberal arts environment—reading financial statements, basic things that aren’t necessarily complex but require exposure.”
Director of Career Planning Timothy Diehl stressed that the Fullbridge program and others like it act as a complement to a Bowdoin education.
“This just gives them insight into a simulated real world experience,” he said.
In the past, Bowdoin students have participated in programs similar to Fullbridge.
Each summer, a number of students participate in the Tuck Business Bridge Program at Dartmouth.
Michael Yang ’14, who participated in the Tuck Program this past summer, had a different perspective on the purpose of a supplemental program.
“It’s an education we don’t get [at Bowdoin],” he said. “Bowdoin is super against learning anything practical; that is what liberal arts means.”
Yang is a member of Bowdoin Student Government (BSG), and he said that the Board of Trustees often discusses adding quantitative, practical aspects to the Bowdoin education.
“They realize businesses are looking for smart, liberal arts—educated kids,” he said, “and that we should give our kids some business or quantitative skill along with a liberal arts side.”
Snider agreed that exposure to the skills provided at Fullbridge would make students more attractive to potential employers.
“I think the thought is that if you match the Bowdoin degree with the skills to help you on day one [of a job], it’s a very powerful mix,” he said. “You can learn a lot of those skills the hard way, but this is a very wonderful asset to have with you.”
Snider also said that Fullbridge was not intended to shuttle students into one career path.
“We’re not just preparing you to go into finance,” he said. “We can help demystify the world of work, show the jobs that are out there, and help discover which might appeal to each student.”
About 20 students have signed up for Bowdoin’s program so far, and the final day to register is November 15. The program is open to all years and majors, and the application process is non-evaluative.
“If we fill all the spots, we’ll have a waitlist,” said Snider.