Business in the Big Apple: Alternative Spring Break

 Photo by Brandon Jacoby

Photo by Brandon Jacoby

My second year in college, I opted out of the typical spring break beach trip with friends and challenged the norm by studying businesses in the Big Apple with Birmingham-Southern College.

During the 11 day trip, we explored the fashion, entertainment, finance, and sports industries. We were given the opportunity to explore what goes on behind the scenes of NYC firms by touring several prominent companies like Spotify - all thanks to BSC alumni. 

After a lengthy flight delay, we finally boarded for La Guardia. Upon arrival in NYC, we piled into a shuttle bus and headed to our hotel, the driver navigating the streets as if he were at the wheel of the Knight Bus. 

As far as travel goes, this was my first experience exploring past the Mason-Dixon line. Saying NYC was a culture shock at first was an understatement.

On days two and three, we were given the chance to attempt to blend in with the native New Yorkers and get the lay of the land. We toured Grand Central Station, ventured across the Brooklyn Bridge, and got lost on the subway. Shout out Judy and Dianne though, two Manhattan natives who helped us find our way back to the hotel. After walking 24 miles in two days, I was no longer worried about getting my steps in for the rest of the week...or month. 

By day four, I didn't feel out of my comfort zone. NYC had grown on me. 

We were able to visit many NYC firms and connect with executives. We got tips from the award-winning fashion design team at Billy Reid, took notes on architecture at Ennead Architects, discussed e-commerce at Swimsuits for All, held a roundtable conversation with executives on the trading floor at Wall Street, toured the United Nations, and, finally, witnessed the contemporary business culture of Spotify.  

There was also some fun mixed in on the trip. After all, it was our spring break. We were able to catch Sleep No More, the Broadway show Beautiful – a musical chronicling the life and legacy of Carole King. Madison Square Garden was also on our agenda, where we watched the Rangers take on the Bruins. We also had the chance to watch the Nets vs. Cavs game.

The 9.11 Museum was a powerful and moving experience. It was a favorite from the trip. 

The tour gave our group a great sense of pride and patriotism for this country and the Americans who call it home.

On a lighter note, the Empire State Building was awe-inspiring. The view was breathtaking, in every sense of the word.

Other highlights from the trip included waking up at 4:00a to make an appearance on the Today Show, and visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Statue of Liberty, and Easter services at Christ Church  

This experience was not only educational, but it was also filled with adventure and fun. Without a doubt, it was better than the basic beach trip. 

The trip was funded in part by BSC alumnus Mr. Kevin Stump. His generosity allowed eleven students this endeavor. We are all beyond grateful for his endowment. 

Sam Campbell