Bridge to expand to Smith College

by Maria Brenes | 10/27/14 6:39pm

The Tuck Business School’s Bridge program, which teaches business fundamentals in a condensed term, will expand to Smith College this summer. The three-week program will be taught by Tuck faculty on Smith’s campus, covering accounting, marketing, leadership and more in a program targeted to women.

The program, established in 1997, will be open both to Smith students and women from other colleges.

The curriculum will replicate the Hanover program, but due to the program’s shorter duration, several career-related topics will not be included, Tuck senior associate dean Robert Hansen said. Though mock interviews and resume reviews will remain part of the curriculum, students will be expected to rely more on Smith’s campus services for career-related guidance.

“We’re offering it certainly because there’s a demand at Smith, but more important there is a real demand from the industry to engage college-aged women in business preparation and give students the chance to really roll up their sleeves and get some of the fundamental skills under their belt so that they can be competitive in the field of business,” Smith’s career center director Stacie Hagenbaugh said.

The all-female environment could benefit some women, while others might prefer to attend the coed program on Dartmouth’s campus, Hansen said.

Maria Moscoso, a Smith senior who attended the Bridge program in Hanover last summer, said she missed the “comforting” environment of being in an all-women’s class, and added that she felt there was sometimes a lack of women’s voices present in the class discussions.

“A program solely with women will help create a strong network amongst its participants who will continue encouraging one another once the program ends,” Moscoco said. “It may not be an accurate representation of the experience in the business field, but that is only because these are the same demographics that we hope to change as future business leaders.”

At Fortune 500 companies, women comprise 5.2 percent of CEO positions, according to data published by Catalyst, a nonprofit that aims to broaden opportunities for women in business. While both the program’s teachers and curriculum will be from Tuck, Hansen said he anticipates that Smith graduates and friends will be invited to speak and mentor women in the Business Bridge program at Smith.

Tuck professor Jonathan Lewellen, who will teach at Smith this summer, said teaching in an all-women environment will be new to him. Lewellen said the program will benefit undergraduates who do not get exposure to a business school program.

Hagenbaugh said the Tuck curriculum will give participants an advantage in business.

“It’s a unique opportunity to be surrounded by smart, intelligent, business-minded women who are all looking to strive and be leaders in the business industry,” she said.