Christopher M. Assise
Degree/Graduation year: B.S., Economics and Political Science, 2007
Current Employer: Sidley Austin LLP
Bradley gave me the skills to function as a young professional. Because it is so easy to get involved outside the classroom, I learned how to conduct myself in situations I now experience professionally. How to comport yourself in a business meeting isn’t self-explanatory. There is an art to getting your message across without offending your colleagues and superiors, and it doesn’t come naturally. At Bradley, when students get involved and show aptitude for leadership, they are given more and more opportunities to hone skills applicable in the workplace.
Bradley also did an excellent job of preparing me for the transition to law school. Utilizing a major component of the “Socratic Method,” which permeates law school, professors pose questions to get students to talk themselves (and their classmates) through key concepts and flashpoints in the law. Several of my economics and political science professors at Bradley approached teaching with a similar idea: don’t stand and lecture, introduce a principal and ask the class what the result or application of the principal would be. In this way I got used to speaking in class, thinking on my feet, and analyzing difficult topics on the fly – the exact skills needed to succeed in a law school classroom.
In addition to small class sizes and accessible professors, I’d say one of the hallmarks of a Bradley Experience is that – more than at most schools – your education at Bradley can be what you make of it. If you are driven and seek out opportunities, you can leave Bradley with an education that is as academically rigorous and challenging as any business or liberal arts experience in the nation. If you seek out extra-curricular opportunities, you can graduate with a fantastic collection of leadership skills.
Degree/Graduation year: B.S., Economics and Political Science, 2009
Current Employer: Project Muso Ladamunen (Mali, Africa)
Title: Microfinance Technical Assistance Coordinator
Guidance and support from my Bradley professors served as the most rewarding and impactful form of preparation for my career in West Africa - from practicing French to constructing social impact surveys, my professors were (and are) my most valuable resources and trusted mentors.
Through the flexibility and support of the Department of Economics, I spent my senior year studying microfinance and becoming well-versed in the field, in academic literature, and in microfinance resources, which all apply to every aspect of my job; I use this information daily in writing grants, researching best-practices, and enhancing programmatic documentation. One of my current projects with PML is to create and implement an annual evaluation of our microfinance program, which is directly applicable to some of the research I assisted with and courses I took in the Political Science department. I have also been tasked to analyze the profitability of an enterprise venture taken on by our microfinance participants, which correlates with my economics and business courses.
Never underestimate the power of learning a foreign language! It has been challenging to learn two foreign languages (French and Bambara) while working on the ground in addition to a full-time workload and cultural integration (in the workplace and living with a Malian family), as hardly any Malians speak English. I studied French my last year at Bradley as I anticipated potentially coming to West Africa, but I could barely speak or understand French upon landing in Mali. The adjustment would have been more fluid had I invested more time in learning French and experienced language immersion (for example, through studying abroad in a French-speaking country for a semester) before serving Project Muso.
Degree/Graduation year: B.S., Economics, 2009
Graduate School: Saint Louis University School of Law
I chose the Foster College of Business Administration based on its strong reputation and high placement rate. Additionally, Bradley offered all the features I was looking for in a university: a private school in a small campus community.
Diligence is perhaps the most valuable gift I received from my education at Bradley. Law school is unlike anything I have ever done before, and it would be difficult to be fully prepared for it, but Bradley instilled in me the importance of hard work. Also, after participating in organizations and workshops at Bradley, I now know what it takes to network effectively.
Though I’m no longer on campus, I remain connected with my Bradley Family. I maintain a professional relationship and friendship with my mentor in the economics department and am grateful for the encouragement I continue to receive from Bradley as I complete my law degree.