Published 02/11/16

Cadre of faculty mentors guided Brent Lavitt '15 to success

Brent Lavitt ’15, chose Bryant for its business curriculum, and arrived as a freshman with an idea for a sports apparel company. While Barry Bayon, his Business 101 adjunct professor, pushed Lavitt to think about the drivers of a business, Professor Teresa McCarthy, director, global supply chain management program, taught him about the operations side of a business and how an efficient, effective supply chain can improve profitability and viability. Although patent issues and inadequate funding derailed the business launch, Lavitt said, “Professor McCarthy has been a great mentor to me." In fact, he said, she's the reason he majored in supply chain management.

"Bryant does a great job of hiring [professors] who have been in the business world"

Now a business development representative for NetSuite, a leading unified cloud business software suite company, Lavitt attributes his success to Bryant and Bryant CEO (Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization), where he served on the executive board. Through CEO, “I met so many incredible people at different conferences; I did a startup with one person, and another person mentored me,” he said. “I got an interview with NetSuite when I [attended] an entrepreneurship conference in Orlando, FL.”

Lavitt identified other highly supportive faculty members, including Professor Keith Murray, who warmly welcomed him as a visitor to the campus and stayed in touch with him throughout his first year, and Madan Annavarjula, now dean of the College of Business, who led Lavitt’s SIE trip to Costa Rica and Panama. Dr. Annavarjula "explained how successful companies have great leaders, and he helped me develop my leadership skills,” he said. Although he never had a class with Professor Kenneth Sousa, Lavitt calls him one of the smartest people he’s ever met. “He taught me to not just work hard, but to work smart; time management is key. He also helped me with making the next decision [about] my career.”

CEO and its networking opportunities and Lavitt’s experiences as a serial entrepreneur taught him a life-changing lesson, one that some individuals never fully grasp. “You have to fail in order to succeed,” he said. “Having a few failed startups and hitting some roadblocks are all learning experiences.”

What makes Bryant stand out? “Bryant does a great job of hiring [professors] who have been in the business world,” he said. “They know that the students they are teaching and mentoring …will be making a difference in the community.”