Eric Nyman likes to talk to students at the Carroll School, largely because it allows him to "reconnect with them as a mentor," the way others did for him when he studied at the School. But he also points out, "It helps me to recruit great talent for Hasbro."
Nyman is senior vice president for marketing at the multinational toy company based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Most recently, this past December he was invited to speak at a marketing class taught by associate professor Victoria Crittenden, where he presented some case studies involving Hasbro and other companies.
At the class he also invited the students to make a list of the five things they love most in life. Then, he asked them to identify about 25 companies whose products link up with their passions. The exercise produced a lively conversation and plenty of ideas about pursuing meaningful and personally rewarding work.
Nyman, who received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Wesleyan College, wasn't afraid to follow his passion as a student at Boston College. Originally, he enrolled in a four-year program leading to both a law degree and an MBA. But then he took classes with marketing professors such as Crittenden and Gerald Smith, and "I fell in love" with that whole field, he recalls. "I found a path through marketing." (His new path led him away from law school.)
Boston College, he says, helped form the essential elements of his personal philosophy as an executive. One of those elements is intellectual curiosity. The Carroll School "pushes you to learn in different ways, think in different ways," Nyman says. “It taught me to value continual learning, which doesn’t stop when you leave the classroom.” He tells Boston College students that often the best education they'll get, after completing their formal studies, is "a $25 education," explaining: "You could learn from the best leaders in the world by going to Barnes & Noble and buying a book."
Another element of his philosophy is mentorship. "I was mentored by professors and others who guided me to the kind of companies where I could succeed and be happy," says Nyman, who previously worked in marketing at Lego and Timberland.
As a leader at Hasbro, Nyman has helped build an ongoing relationship between the company and the Carroll School, involving summer internships and recruitment at the School. It's just one of the ways, he says, that he's able to stay connected to the school that guided him to the work he loves.