In July 2015, two BMCC Business Administration majors, Alex Guarino and recent graduate Sayaka Ohshima, attended the Babson College/Banco Santander Entrepreneurship Program at the Babson College Executive Center in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Guarino said the experience “made me want to work in finance. Many of the professors work on Wall Street and the way they taught the classes made it so interesting. It was the first time I thought about launching a business.”
Ohshima shared her thoughts on being introduced to Babson College’s Entrepreneurial Thought and Action methodology, known as “ETA.”
“It’s a mindset that says whatever field or industry you become a part of, be the most innovative and creative person while you are there,” says Ohshima. “If you see ways to improve on a process, do it. If you can make a better product, do it.”
Santander’s support for international students
Both Guarino and Ohshima joined student teams at the conference, and were charged with creating a new startup.
Guarino’s group came up with a company that develops a camera-sharing platform for people who own or want to rent a camera, especially when they are on vacation. Ohshima and her team envisioned a teacher-exchange program between the United States and The Republic of Mali, a country in West Africa.
The global nature of their projects reflects the international tenor of the Babson/Santander entrepreneur summer program. “There were 29 students from all over the world; including Spain, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, the UK, Germany, Italy, Poland, China, Puerto Rico and America,” said Ohshima, who moved to New York from Japan in 2012.
“America is the center of world business,” she says. “I would like to work in an international context and make a bridge between Japan and America or even other countries and America.”
Guarina grew up in Italy, then spent a semester in Australia to learn English before moving to NYC where he worked as an au pair in Brooklyn. A requirement of his VISA was to earn six college credits in his first year, which he did through a BMCC program, Learning Across America, and that led to his enrolling as a Business Administration major.
A partnership between BMCC and Banco Santander
In 2014, BMCC signed an agreement with Santander Universities, a division of Banco Santander dedicated to supporting higher education around the world. That partnership has enabled BMCC not only to reach out to international students, but also to strengthen the college’s academic management, facilitate access to continuing education programs, and improve cultural, athletic and academic services.
The summer entrepreneur program that Ohshima and Guarino attended was made possible when Babson College and Santander Universities came together in 2007.
“My dream has always been to go to the U.S.,” said Guarino, whose summer also included a trip to China with BMCC’s Study Abroad program, and whose participation in both programs is reflected in the future he envisions for himself.
“When I graduate from BMCC, I would like to transfer to Columbia to the School of General Studies, or to Harvard for Economics, or U. Penn,” Guarino said. “Wherever I go, I would like to study finance and Chinese.”