The Fullbridge Program was founded in July 2010 by husband and wife team, Peter Olson (former Chairman and CEO of Random House) and Candice Carpenter Olson (former founder and CEO of iVilliage). The company is based in Harvard Square (Cambridge, MA), which allows Peter to continue teaching at the Harvard Business School.
After raising seven children, Peter and Candice realized there was a step missing in the transition between higher education and the professional world. Despite the excellent liberal arts education that their children had received, they were lacking the necessary skills to be workplace-ready. The Olsons began researching options for the “liberal arts-to-career gap,” and in July 2010, Fullbridge, Inc. was founded.
The early Fullbridge team included Peter, Candice, several Harvard MBAs, and contributions from guest instructors, such as Randy Komisar and Jose Santos. The Fullbridge Program’s first target vertical was corporate law firms, offering training for new first-year associates. Early successes with firms such as Skadden Arps led to the company’s first international engagement in Korea with LG Display.
In January 2012, the company launched a pilot program aimed at college students and recent graduates, and subsequently focused on larger programs that summer in June and July. In February 2012, Fullbridge Professional was established as the suite of vertical business-to-business programs for law firms, consulting firms, financial firms, service organizations, universities, and corporations. The Fullbridge Program, then, became the program targeting undergraduates and recent graduates and currently offers three sessions per year: The January session spans 16 days and includes two Saturdays; while the June and July sessions are approximately three weeks, Monday-Friday, 9am to 6pm.
Both programs take a unique approach to professional education by mixing e-learning with on-site coaching. Coaches support participants individually through the course; while the content and program delivery method provide the learning. Programs are structured to teach by “non-linear” learning that encourages participants to take a proactive role in their own education. The Fullbridge philosophy is “learning by doing,” as opposed to learning in a static and academic setting focusing only on reading, watching, and theoretical discussion. Fullbridge programs measure participant performance along three categories: competencies (knowledge), skills (examples: presentation skills, Excel, PowerPoint) and behaviors (examples: working in teams, workplace awareness).