This year, Alex and Ani will donate $1 million to Bryant University’s International Business Program! The gift will support the University’s nationally recognized International Business (IB) program.

The program matches local companies in need of business consultants with seniors who are earning international business degrees at the Smithfield University. Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce believes that the multilingual students deliver solid business plans and help to navigate local businesses through international territory.

Giovanni Feroce calls the gift “a commitment to growth and international expansion. Bryant offers local unparalleled expertise for any serious business to access and leverage in their international efforts. My hope is that other companies in the region understand the value and necessity of partnering with Bryant and follow suit.”

The gift illustrates Alex and Ani’s “give as we grow” approach to philanthropy, Feroce said. “With Carolyn’s support, we are coordinating major gifts to local institutions that are long-term partners in creating jobs in Rhode Island. Bryant was at the top of that list,” he said. Rafaelian’s father, Ralph, graduated from Bryant in 1955. In honor of the gift, Bryant’s Chafee Center for International Business has renamed its conference room The Ralph Rafaelian ’55 Conference Room.

The gift was inspired by a relationship that began in 2010 when Alex and Ani approached the Chafee Center seeking guidance as it expanded its business into Spain. The Chafee Center connected Feroce with faculty and students in the University’s IB program. In the spring of 2011, Alex and Ani became one of 17 companies to partner with the IB Senior Practicum – a hands-on business lab in which seniors majoring in IB serve as consultants to help companies meet global business challenges.

Feroce received the students’ recommendations in May 2011. “The immense professionalism of the Chafee Center and its director, Ray Fogarty, along with the detailed feedback and continuous support provided by the practicum team, Prof. Madan Annavarjula and staff at the Chafee Center have proven extremely valuable in our global business expansion strategy,” he said.

“Corporate partnerships like this one with Alex and Ani give our students opportunities to practice what they learn in the classroom as they prepare to lead in a global context,” said Jose-Marie Griffiths, vice president for academic affairs. “In addition, the company is an especially relevant corporate role model. Its domestic success is turning into an international success in front of our students’ eyes, and its commitment to corporate philanthropy offers Bryant students an example to follow.”

About Bryant University’s International Business program

International Business (IB) is the University’s fastest-growing undergraduate academic program, with enrollment more than doubling between 2006 (with 150 students) and 2010 (with 328 students). The program, begun in 2004, already is ranked 41st in the nation by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and is gaining recognition for its robust curriculum, integrated language component, and hands-on senior practicum.

About the IB Practicum

The practicum (now called the Carolyn Rafaelian International Business Practicum) combines global business strategy with practical business experience. Students operate as consultants for Chafee Center clients by identifying, analyzing and designing market entry, and developing competitive strategies for new global markets. Since 2008-09, the practicum has produced nearly 70 business plans for scores of R.I. companies.

Read more about the donation here!

Local company donates $1M to Bryant U.:

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