It takes one quick glance at the Providence College School of Business website, to learn what the school’s all about. It has a liberal arts foundation with a Catholic, Dominican tradition. But what does that mean for a business school? “We offer a liberal arts-based business education,” says Dean Sylvia Maxfield. “At the PCSB we’re shaping a different
kind of business education. As the only U.S. college founded and administered by Dominican friars, we understand the need for meaning, connection, and purpose in business and life. The future of business requires people with the skills to find common ground, thoughtfully analyze options, and contribute ethically to solutions together. Our liberal arts foundation and analytical business program work together to produce graduates who are indispensable to employers and personally fulfilled.”
Most students, faculty, and staff at the Northeastern school are Catholic. The “last chance” 10:30 p.m. mass on Sundays is almost always standing room only. And students are required to take classes in philosophy and theology. But don’t let the overt Catholicism overshadow what the school offers to students from all walks of life and faith.
Located in Providence, which serves as the capital of Rhode Island, the city is also home to Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. With several institutes of higher learning in the city, there are many hole-in-the-wall bookstores where you can find everything from first editions and original manuscripts to bestsellers and book-signing events by reclusive local writers. For comic-lovers, Providence hosts Rhode Island’s own annual comic con where ticket sales have to be capped at 17,000 per day.
Less than 15 minutes away from the city’s bustling downtown is the Providence College School of Business, where students work on undergraduate degrees in accountancy, finance, management, and marketing. The school also offers minors in accountancy, finance, and marketing. For the Fall of 2019, over 3,000 students applied to join the school’s undergraduate business program. After an intensive selection process, 1,436 students were admitted.
RECENT CURRICULAR DEVELOPMENTS
Providence College was founded in 1917 and has a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,125. In the 2020 edition of Best Colleges in Regional Universities North, the school ranked No. 1.
Part of the reason the school is one of the most highly regarded is because of its adaptability to market demands. In recent years, the business school has made several changes to its curriculum, including implementing a First-Year Advising Workshop series for freshman business majors. First-year business students are assigned an academic advisor to work with them on understanding the curriculum and guide them through making important academic and co-curricular decisions. From helping them with time management and registration to exploring career opportunities and campus resources, students can avoid that freshman confusion.
During this seven-week Providence College School of Business First Year Advising Workshop series, students learn about Providence College resources and foundation courses; majors and minors and their varied career options; interact with guest speakers; and learn about advising tools and the registration process.
SOCIAL MEDIA FELLOWSHIP HIGHLIGHTS OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN THE SCHOOL
The school has also stayed on the cutting edge of effective social media management. A look at the school’s activity on Twitter and Facebook reveals a level of engagement and activity that’s unusual among universities. The likely reason? The Benjamin Family Social Media Fellowship Program, established by the school’s marketing department in 2016. The Fellowship is awarded to outstanding students pursuing careers in new media or marketing to provide them with extensive training and opportunities to practice planning and implementing actual social media campaigns for the school of business.
A student who has been selected for the fellowship gets to choose from a variety of roles including Manager, Community Manager, Analyst, Editor, and Brand Journalist to produce targeted social media content. In these roles, individuals then carry out duties including monitoring online competitors’ presence and perception, preparing hashtag strategies, and aligning social media activities with brand story, voice, and goals. Fellowship students also
get to visit leading social media companies and receive a stipend upon completing the program.
The school reports that 94% of the Class of 2019 had an internship before their senior year and many translated into full-time job offers or made the students more attractive to employers. Within 90 days of graduation, 96% of students in the class had full-time job offers.
The school counts among its top employers established firms such as Deloitte, PwC, EY Ernst & Young, Dell EMC, Citizens Bank, Tech Target, Fidelity Investments, Yelp, and Northwestern Mutual.
SCHOOL CONCLUDES MOST SUCCESSFUL FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN IN ITS OWN HISTORY
Providence College launched the biggest fundraising campaign in its almost 100-year history in October 2014, in an effort to increase scholarships and improve facilities. With a goal of $140 million, the school announced they had raised $185 million—over 30% more than the original goal. The funds came from over 35,000 donors including individuals, families, businesses, and foundations, with an incredible rate of over 42% of the college’s 55,000 alumni making donations.
The estimated total four-year cost of attending Providence College School of Business is $191,882.. The amount doesn’t include rent, transportation, living expenses, and school supplies, which the school estimates to be an additional $64,282. Scholarships would greatly help with the burden on students, especially when the school reports that 62% of business students graduated with student debt in 2019.
Addressing the college, Providence College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley said: “The success of this campaign has allowed us to increase total financial aid to students to more than $70 million annually. It is important to me that we are able to fund the scholarships we need to attract the best students we can, and to ensure that Providence College remains accessible and affordable to those who wish to attend.”
A CULTURE OF SERVANT LEADERSHIP
In line with the school’s Catholic and Dominican mission, almost a thousand students volunteer in activities with the school’s Campus Ministry each year. While pursuing careers as analysts, auditors, investment bankers, and content marketing specialists, Providence College business students still find time to help build their community.
For those who wish to offer service, they can assist the Campus Ministry in helping with adult literacy in the community, teaching English as a second language, work with children in schools nearby, or spend time with seniors living in a nearby assisted-living home. In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, students can also choose to go on a service trip to help build homes in developing countries through Providence College’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
Each year during winter break, a team of students from the college also travels to New Orleans to live in community with local residents and neighborhoods that were hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina and continue to struggle. Each participant usually pays $200 to join the trip if they have been selected and the college encourages students of all spiritual backgrounds to apply.
To the students of Providence College, it’s second-nature to give back to their community while they work on improving themselves. While studying for her Bachelor of Science in marketing, Ellie Jenkins was also Team Captain for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. These days, the class of 2015 graduate is busy working as a social influence manager at Connelly Partners in Boston.
When asked what advice she would offer to students looking to pursue a career similar to hers, the high-flyer is quoted as saying in her “I Want Your Job” profile: “Be confident. Be professional. Be persistent…And lastly, stay human, compassionate, and empathetic to everyone you encounter each day.”