June 4, 2010
Dear Members of the Babson Community:
As a college president, I often speak with pride about the marvelous opportunities that Babson offers its students. Unquestionably, we provide a first-rate educational experience inside and outside the classroom, yet all of us who work at Babson are as powerfully shaped by our students as they are by us. We have an extraordinary population of undergraduate and graduate students whom we have the privilege of interacting with on a day-to-day basis. As alumni, they go on to pursue a broad array of interests and passions. Whatever they do, they do it in an incredibly different way from those who were educated at more traditional institutions.
It’s All about Our Students
May 15, 428 undergraduate students and 508 graduate students participated in their graduation ceremonies. At the undergraduate ceremony in the morning John J. Fernandes ’75, President and CEO of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, received an Honorary Degree and William E. Strickland, Jr., President and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, received an Honorary Degree at the graduate school ceremony.
Members of the Class of ’60, preparing to celebrate their 50th reunion in the fall, marched with students, Honorary Degree recipients, Trustees, Overseers, faculty and members of the administration. Both the Board of Trustees and Board of Overseers scheduled their final meetings of the academic year for Commencement weekend so they could participate at Commencement.
During the Commencement exercises, I pointed out that our graduates will do big things, and that many already have. As undergraduate and graduate students, they have started businesses and ventures of all kinds, launched new student clubs and organizations, created first-ever forums and residential halls, initiated new service opportunities, and much more. In these and other ways, our students have strengthened the Babson community and created a more enriching experience on campus for those who will come after them, including our newest One-Year Graduate Class who started in May and our incoming Undergraduate Class of 2014.
The One-Year MBA Class consists of 78 students from 16 countries. 33% are women, and 39% are from other countries. They represent a diverse group of career interests and industry experience, with high GMAT scores and very strong work experience.
Our Undergraduate Class of 2014 will be among the largest ever, as we anticipate at least 480 students for the start of the fall semester. While final numbers will not be available until then, as of this week, the students we have enrolled are 41% women, 28% multicultural, 31% international, and 69% from outside New England. We have also enrolled 30 additional students who will join the Class of 2014 in January 2011.
The Rankings Tell the Story
Although Babson would be as distinctive and unique regardless of the rankings, the improvement in our standing (recent rankings are summarized below) strengthens our academic reputation and increases the value of a Babson degree—especially in parts of the U.S. and the world where the College is less well-known. As you read these rankings, keep in mind that they represent the views of stakeholders who know Babson well. These results reflect what our students, alumni, and faculty and deans of business schools around the country say about Babson in national and international surveys. Although you already have seen some of these rankings in emails I sent during the past few months, considered together they provide a striking picture of where Babson is today.
- Bloomberg BusinessWeek, in its Best Undergraduate Business Schools of 2010 ranked Babson #17—up 6 spots from #23 in 2009 and up 16 spots in just 3 years. To identify the best business programs, Bloomberg BusinessWeek included survey responses from more than 27,000 graduating seniors at top schools and a poll of 236 undergraduate recruiters. In the student survey, we rose to 6th place in overall student satisfaction and received an A+ in teaching quality and an A in job placement.
- Bloomberg BusinessWeek announced 12 undergraduate specialty program rankings and Babson ranked among the Top 10 in 6 categories: #1 in Sustainability, #1 in Microeconomics, #2 in Financial Management, #2 in Strategy, #3 in Marketing Management, and #9 in Operations Management. The scores were determined by a survey of seniors at participating undergraduate business programs.
- For the first time in Babson’s history, Babson was ranked #1 in entrepreneurship in a news cycle by all three major publications: U.S. News & World Report, The Financial Times, and The Princeton Review. Each survey has a somewhat different methodology but, regardless of whether based on responses from students, deans, or recruiters, the results are the same—Babson is the unquestioned leader in undergraduate and MBA entrepreneurship education.
- U.S. News & World Report ranked our Evening MBA program as #20, an increase of 4 places over last year and tied with Boston College as the highest ranked part-time program in the Boston area. We have by a wide margin the largest part-time enrollment in the market.
- The Financial Times named Babson’s Fast Track MBA to its global online MBA 2010 listing. Only 13 U.S. programs were listed and ours is the third largest accredited online MBA program in the U.S. among those listed. The best recognition, of course, is the marketplace, where 32 students enrolled in our first Fast Track offering in San Francisco in March, against an enrollment target of 30.
- The Financial Times ranked Babson Executive Education (BEE) #5 in the U.S. and #12 in the world among custom programs. In addition, our faculty was ranked #5 and our programs ranked #8 for “value for money”—an important consideration in the current economic environment.
Extending Our Reach through Global Partnerships
Babson’s partnerships around the world will continue to grow our reputation and offer great opportunities for our students and faculty.
This spring Babson launched the Global Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education (GCEE), formerly known as GEEN, a worldwide network of academic institutions that are focused on the creation and delivery of the next generation of entrepreneurship education curricula and programs. The UAE Academy of Management in Abu Dhabi and the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in Pakistan are the first members—and we will announce more partner institutions in the months ahead. Heidi Neck, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, is GCEE’s faculty director.
Babson signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi last month to develop with them a college of management focused explicitly on entrepreneurship—the only one of its kind in the Middle East. Our role with the Abu Dhabi School of Management will be to develop a curriculum and train faculty and staff to deliver the curriculum, act as an adviser in developing support services and infrastructure for the school, and provide managerial support for the school and its operations for the first 10 years.
Babson’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystems project advises countries, states, and communities on how they can build the infrastructure that helps create and nurture new business ventures. This project is a logical extension of our leadership in entrepreneurial education because, to have a positive impact, education needs to be reinforced by other elements in the business environment. Babson Professor and Project Lead Dan Isenberg’s June 2010 Harvard Business Review article, “The Big Idea: How to Start an Entrepreneurial Revolution,” describes how countries can create entrepreneurial economies. Projects are underway in Puerto Rico and in Manizales, Colombia.
One of our most exciting partnerships is right here in the U.S.—Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. As I wrote you in November, Babson is one of the initial partners in this $500 million, five-year initiative to provide small businesses in distressed communities across the U.S. with greater access to business education, mentors, networks, and financial capital. Babson’s role is to advise on the development of the content, delivery, and roll-out of the national curriculum—and work is now well underway to build the national curriculum, under the leadership of Patti Greene, Professor of Entrepreneurship.
The Fast Pace Continues this Summer
- Throughout the summer, faculty task forces will be working on the renewal of the undergraduate and MBA curriculum. This is the first systematic effort in the past ten years to examine our undergraduate and graduate programs in order to develop the best possible and affordable curriculum. The redesign effort is focused on essential management principles for success in today’s marketplace.
- The Summer Venture Program is a 10-week intensive for student entrepreneurs. Twenty MBA and undergraduate students, selected through a highly competitive process, will be housed in the Blank Center, working on 15 different early-stage ventures in a wide range of industries. Business development is interspersed with mentoring sessions and advice from prominent entrepreneurs and executives. The program concludes with Demo Day on July 29, when each venture will present its business and progress to more than one hundred investors and guests. The Summer Venture Program is supported through the generosity of a ’95 alum whose career has been almost exclusively in the finance and investment world, but who believes that the world of finance—as much as any other industry—needs entrepreneurial leaders.
- Our Global Entrepreneurship Program (the three-partner MS program delivered with EMLYON in France and Zhejiang University in China—and the only one of its kind) came to Babson in May for its final semester. The program kicked off last fall at EMLYON and began its second semester in Hangzhou, China. 65 students from 17 countries are in the program.
- 250 undergraduate students will be on campus taking academic courses in our summer sessions. Undergraduate offerings over the summer have been expanded to include intermediate management courses, prompting increased enrollments not only for these courses but for others as well. At the same time, our One-Year, Fast Track, and Evening students continue their course work on a regular basis during the summer. That explains why so many of our parking lots are filled day and night throughout the summer months!
- Babson is holding the Price-Babson Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators (SEE) program on campus from May 31–June 4. Twelve countries have sent a total of 66 academics and entrepreneurs to learn about entrepreneurship content and teaching methods during this intensive program, which was first held in 1984.
- The Undergraduate School is hosting its Summer Family Day on July 10. About 200 incoming first-year students and their families are expected on campus to experience life at Babson. Students participate in an off-campus service project, while families take part in simulations of some signature campus courses. Parents and families meet professors and staff, and students will have their first chance to meet fellow classmates.
- The General Assembly of the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI) will meet on campus from June 26–29. Founded by the European Foundation for Management Development and the United Nations Global Compact, GRLI brings together leaders from the top international business colleges and universities (Babson is one of 70 institutions worldwide) to collaborate on projects that will help develop globally responsible leaders for the next generation. Babson undergraduate and MBA students will be involved in the program and have a chance to network with those attending.
As We Look ahead, Again, It’s All about Our Students
I began this message by “calling out” our extraordinary student body, and I will end with the voices of 7 of them—undergraduate and MBA students.
The video Babson students and entrepreneurship on the World Stage, captures their presentations at our World Stage event in April—an expansion of our annual Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs celebration to reflect growing global interest in Entrepreneurial Thought and Action (ET&A). Each and every one of these students is extraordinary in his or her way and they collectively reflect why our student body is so special. If you take the time to view this video, and listen to our students describing their passions and experience at Babson, you will understand why this institution is having a much bigger impact on the world than we ever imagined possible.
Have a great summer—and please remember to email me at any time with your questions, ideas, and suggestions.