Before the summer begins, I want to bring you up-to-date on recent developments, in the context of the year.
On May 16, a picture-perfect New England spring day, 428 undergraduates and 533 graduate students were present to participate in their graduation ceremonies. At the undergraduate ceremony in the morning, past President Brian Barefoot, ’66, P’01 and Ray Kurzweil, inventor, author, and futurist, received Honorary Degrees. Former Chairman of the Board of Trustees Bill Markey M’64 and Erik Weihenmayer, author and adventurer (the only blind man in history to reach the summit of Mount Everest), received Honorary Degrees at the graduate school ceremony. Everyone was imbued with a real spirit of optimism about the future and a wonderful sense of connectedness to the College.
Of course, the day would not have been as memorable or successful without tremendous community involvement. This year we saw a strong turnout of volunteers to serve as hosts, marshals, and marchers. Members of the Class of ’59, preparing to celebrate their 50th reunion in the fall, marched with the Trustees, Overseers, faculty, and members of the administration. The Board of Overseers moved their spring meeting to Commencement weekend, so many were on hand to participate. Our Trustees were well-represented—and next year they, too, will be holding their spring meeting during Commencement. I want to again thank all of you who did your part to make this an outstanding day.
It has been a defining year in many ways.
Throughout the year, we shared new recognition milestones for the College. During the spring semester, our graduate school was ranked #1 in entrepreneurship by U.S. News & World Report for the 16th consecutive year. And, BusinessWeek ranked Babson as #23 among the best undergraduate business schools—up 5 spots from last year and 10 spots in just two years.
We were able to weather the economic storm far better than most institutions. Faculty and staff did an outstanding job in helping us achieve budgetary savings with a plan to reduce controllable non-personnel costs across the College by 7%. On the fundraising front, donations are even with last year on a cash basis and ahead on a revenue basis—a banner year, despite the difficult times.
Here on campus our students have shown again and again that they live entrepreneurship 24/7. As a case in point, students developed, organized, and drove a number of new forums this spring:
- Graduate and undergraduate students teamed up to put together a great slate of speakers for the Latin America Entrepreneurship Forum, drawing more than 200 attendees, including venture capitalists, to campus.
- Graduate students organized Babson’s first annual MBA Marketing Case Competition, Where Marketing and Entrepreneurship Meet. Competitors from 9 MBA programs (including Boston College, MIT, Yale, and Columbia) were assigned to teams, which worked together to solve a real business and marketing issue for the case sponsor, Ocean Spray.
- Undergraduate students organized a 3-day Be the Change forum on campus, in partnership with the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Students from 23 colleges and universities around the country came together to develop action plans around issues of ethics, integrity and social responsibility.
When you add the successful recurring student-run programs, like the Entrepreneurial Energy Expo—which has become one of the largest conferences in the region for green business opportunities—the campus was buzzing with activity throughout the spring.
We will maintain a busy pace this summer.
While summer signals a slowdown at some colleges . . . not at Babson!
- Eight committees led by faculty, and supported by staff as project fellows, will be working all summer to develop strategy implementation plans: 1) Entrepreneurial Thought and Action, 2) Next Generation Curriculum—Integrating People, Planet, and Profit, 3) Global Partnerships, 4) Global Entrepreneurship Educators Network, 5) College Calendar, 6) Undergraduate Expansion, 7) Fast Track Expansion (near-term), and 8) Fast Track Expansion (long-term). They will report back in the early fall.
- We are going to see our second consecutive year of a significant increase in the number of students on campus taking academic courses in our summer sessions. Two hundred and twenty-three undergraduate students are taking courses on campus this summer—a 25% increase in just two years. Also, there is a 56% increase overall in the One-Year students enrolled this summer. Summer Fast Track students have increased 60% over the past two years. And, 14 Tec de Monterrey students from Mexico will be on campus for their Babson course work to complete a Dual Degree program, receiving from Babson a Master of Science in Management with a Concentration in Technological Entrepreneurship and a Maestria en Innovacion Technologica y Empresarial from Tec de Monterrey.
- The Institute of Latin American Business is increasing its international programs this summer, with 400 students from 11 Latin American countries, up from 150 last year. Twenty-five Babson professors from 5 different divisions will teach these courses—and for the first time, five of them will participate in delivering 2 courses in Spanish. Also, two courses will be delivered especially for students who won a business plan competition through Santander Universidades in 12 countries.
- The Summer Venture Program is a new 10-week summer intensive for student entrepreneurs. Twenty-three teams of undergraduate and MBA students will work on their entrepreneurial ventures as a pilot program. Those accepted for the program (it is highly competitive) will have work space, mentors, speakers, resources, and a demo day at the end to present to professional investors.
- Starting last week, in the span of 12 days, a total of 460+ educators, entrepreneurs, and scholars have come to campus to further shape and advance entrepreneurship practice and policy: The Price-Babson Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators (SEE 25), where entrepreneurship educators and entrepreneurs learn more about the content and methods of teaching entrepreneurship; the STEP Project, which brings together business families and academics to learn from one another; the Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC), the premier conference for entrepreneurship research; and the Board meeting for the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), which documents entrepreneurial activity and intentions, covering more than 90% of the world GDP. We refer to these forums collectively as our Summer Entrepreneurship Lollapalooza—and you can easily see why. This also is the first time Babson has had this many global visitors on campus in such a short time span.
- Our summer camps and external programs have grown significantly—adding revenue and exposing a great variety of stakeholders to Babson.
- Sixteen day camps run by the Babson College Summer Programs office offer over 30 sessions, ranging in size from 40 to 200 campers.
- External overnight programs include Study Tours (an English as a foreign language program for international students). Two sessions will bring between 150 and 250 high school students, largely from Europe and Asia.
- The National Youth Leadership Forum will return to campus for their twelfth year, bringing 450 high school students from around the country.
- Other overnight sports camps include PrimeTime Lacrosse, New England Cheerleaders, Adidas Tennis Camp, and Champions Edge Field Hockey.
- Summer Family Day for the entering freshman class and their families was such a success last year that we are holding it again this year on Saturday, June 27. This one-day event provides a sense of the Babson classroom experience with faculty sessions, as well as a chance to get to know students, faculty, and staff. Families from the Class of 2013 will have an opportunity to engage in a community service project. With so many students coming from New York, we will host a similar session on Sunday, June 28, at the headquarters of our partner, the Posse Foundation, in New York City.
A great place to learn is also a great place to work . . .
Everything described in this message thus far builds on our strengths and enhances our academic reputation as a great college. A great college to learn at also must be a great college to work for. That is why it was so gratifying to see the results of a survey taken during the spring semester for the Great Colleges to Work For Program sponsored by The Chronicle for Higher Education. Ninety percent of our faculty and staff said they were “proud to be part of this institution” and 86% said “all things considered, this is a great place to work.” Of course, we also identified issues we need to work on and are creating action plans in those areas.
. . . And a great place to learn and work has great people.
For the past two years, Allan Cohen—with a distinguished history of leadership at Babson—has served as Dean of the Graduate School. During that time, graduate enrollments increased as records were set for the Fast Track and One-Year MBA programs. We also developed, and are launching this fall, a new Master’s in Global Entrepreneurship in partnership with EM Lyon in France and Zhejiang University in China. Allan is returning to the faculty as Edward A. Madden Distinguished Professor of Global Leadership. We all owe him our special thanks.
On June 1, we welcome to campus Raghu Tadepalli, the new Dean of the Graduate School. Raghu has been an admired teacher and administrator for years, most recently serving as Dean of the Graduate School of Business and Associate Dean of the Williams College of Business at Xavier University in Cincinnati. As Shahid Ansari, Dean of Faculty and Provost wrote in his announcement of Raghu’s appointment in February, “He is the rare combination of a gifted academic and effective administrator, with a wealth of experience in interacting with diverse populations.”
Speaking of great people, I am pleased to announce three faculty promotions. Anne Roggeveen has become an Associate Professor in the Marketing Division and Marjorie Feld is now an Associate Professor of History. Lidija Polutnik was promoted to full professor in the Economics Division. In my September message, I will provide you with the background on our new faculty.
The Undergraduate Class of 2013 and our newest One-Year Graduate Class confirm our ability to attract top-quality students.
- Our Undergraduate Class of 2013 will be among the largest ever, as we anticipate at least 460 students. While final statistics will not be available until September, as of this week, the students we have enrolled are 42% women, 28% multicultural, and 28% international. Just 33% of the students come from New England.
- The One-Year MBA Class that started in May is the largest ever (88 students), with 34% women and 43% international students from 19 countries.
It is too soon to provide demographic data on our incoming Two-Year, Evening, and Fast Track classes that will start in the fall.
It has been a year of champions.
On the athletics front, six Babson teams went on to national championship competitions—a record for Babson’s athletic program. The teams were men’s soccer, men’s hockey, men’s baseball, men’s skiing, women’s basketball, and women’s lacrosse.
Student academic teams also have left their mark. In March, a team of MBA students won the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Cup, a regional Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) case competition. The Babson team competed against Boston College, Boston University, and MIT MBA teams. In February, a team of Babson undergraduate students won the Rotman International Trading Competition (RITC) at the University of Toronto. The Babson team placed ahead of teams representing 38 top colleges and universities from around the world. And, a Babson sophomore, John Xie, took first place at the Atlantic regional competition as Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year. John, founder of Cirtex Corporation which provides web hosting services, will be competing in the fall for the global title.
A few closing thoughts . . .
On a personal note, I want to thank all of you for making this an extraordinary year. The community has gone “above and beyond” to welcome Phyllis and me and to work closely with me to tackle a number of issues—some where we could make gains quickly, and others where the progress is slower but in the right direction. It is this willingness of so many of you to be actively engaged in advancing Babson that may well be what was most encouraging and gratifying about the past year. Finally, if any single message sums up what Babson is all about, I encourage you to watch a video created by Babson alumni, Siamak Taghaddos ’03 and David Hauser ’04, co-founders of Grasshopper.com (formerly GotVMail), about how entrepreneurs can change the world.
Have a terrific summer—and always feel free to e-mail me at any time with your questions, comments, ideas and suggestions.