September 4, 2012
Dear Members of the Babson Community:
We had a great summer on campus—and now the 2012-13 Academic Year is in full swing. I want to welcome to campus the Undergraduate Class of 2016, our transfer students, the Graduate Class of 2014, and our new Evening and Fast Track MBA students.
Two recent articles in Forbes aptly capture how Babson is perceived today throughout the world: “Tiny Babson College Is An Entrepreneurial Powerhouse” and “10 Colleges That Are Great Brands.” The first article describes why Babson is so successful in educating students for all kinds of entrepreneurial pursuits, and the second confirms how successfully Babson has differentiated itself in the higher education market. The Forbes stories are another illustration of how Babson’s reputation continues to grow locally, nationally, and globally.
Undergraduate Class of 2016 Sets New Records
Clearly, our growing reputation and increased stature are attracting more applicants to our undergraduate program than ever before. For the second consecutive year, Babson’s undergraduate program received a record number of applications. 5,511 students sought admission to Babson’s Class of 2016—a two-year increase of 36%. With an acceptance rate of just 29.9%, this was the most selective admission year in Babson’s history.
The Class of 2016 will consist of 470 students, with an additional 40 students joining them in January. Here are some class highlights:
- 70% of the students come from outside New England, representing 29 U.S. states and territories and 45 countries (25% of the class is international);
- 49% of the class is comprised of women and 33% of the class is multicultural—both new records at Babson;
- 54% of incoming students rank within the top 10% of their high school class—another record;
- The SAT average for enrolled students is the highest in the College’s history and more than 10 points higher than last year’s average.
Graduate School: Roll-out of the New Curriculum is Complete
This fall our new MBA curriculum is being introduced in our Evening Program. Now all four programs—Two-Year, One-Year, Fast Track and Evening—share a curriculum based on Babson’s proven combination of deep functional business knowledge and our Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® (ET&A) methodology.
In May, we enrolled 80 students in our One-Year Program and in August, we enrolled 169 in our Two-Year MBA Program. Both full-time programs have attracted a large number of global students—56% for the Two-Year and 66% for the One-Year. These are the highest percentages of international students recorded for the Babson MBA and reflect not only the changing global economy but also the strong interest among international candidates in the Babson MBA degree. This month, we also are enrolling 75 in the Fast Track Wellesley cohort and a cohort of 25 in San Francisco. In addition, we have just enrolled 60 students in our Evening Program.
Our incoming students are increasingly connected by social media—LinkedIn in particular—to a network of their peers. The Graduate School set up LinkedIn groups for all deposited students within their respective programs. As a result, Evening Students, who don’t go through the program as a cohort, are still reaping the benefits of getting connected, seeing each other’s backgrounds, and sharing their larger networks and how they might collaborate both inside and outside of the classroom. We will be facilitating more ways of building close connections, within and across our MBA programs.
Launching a Redesigned FME
With the start of the academic year, we have begun rolling out a new undergraduate curriculum that more fully integrates liberal arts with management, and that has an increased focus on creativity and ET&A, as well as Social, Environmental, Economic Responsibility and Sustainability (SEERS). Even a signature and award-winning program can be improved—and the FME business project process has been completely redesigned in order to integrate cutting edge and creative concepts, such as design thinking, as well as to allow additional time for a deep dive into ET&A.
Greater emphasis is being placed on learning from experimentation, action, and reflection as integral to the process of opportunity identification. We are introducing new themes that will help students better understand themselves, their place in society, and their shared values. We will also place greater emphasis on the corporate social responsibility theme that we introduced in a pilot last year. For the first time in FME’s history, we are seeing the emergence of service organizations and we expect this trend to continue. Finally, we expect that these themes will be integrated into other courses in the foundation liberal arts and management curriculum.
These FME changes are the leading edge of the comprehensive undergraduate curriculum renewal that is now underway. While Babson is known for constantly updating and revising its curriculum, the last time there was an across-the-board overhaul of this scope was in the mid-90s. Our goal for the Undergraduate School is to have this renewed curriculum in its entirety ready for the incoming class in the fall of 2014.
A Butler Venture Accelerator Extension for San Francisco
The Blank Center, working closely with the Graduate School, is expanding Babson’s signature John E. and Alice L. Butler Venture Accelerator Program to San Francisco this fall. This represents another way to enhance the experience of Fast Track students on our West Coast campus. While the program will not have space for businesses at the outset, Babson has classroom space and conference rooms, enabling our students who are creating ventures to meet with peers who are going through the same process. At our Blank Center location we have found that even if students are working on different kinds of ventures, the mentoring and networking are invaluable as they move forward.
Students will follow the same application process used for the Butler Venture Accelerator on our Wellesley campus to determine whether they will be operating at “the explore, pursue, launch, or grow” level. The resources available to them will depend on which of these levels is appropriate for their ventures. The San Francisco program clearly shows how the ET&A approach works in practice: we will adjust as we grow.
Tom Alexander—a serial entrepreneur with decades of experience in founding, growing and exiting high technology enterprises—is heading up this initiative and will lead our programming and advising. Tom spent two weeks at our Wellesley campus Venture Accelerator last month meeting with MBA students and our Butler Venture Accelerator team. He will be joined on our West Coast campus by Janet Strimaitis, Managing Director of the Blank Center; Michael Cummings, Fast Track Faculty Director; and others for a kick-off event on Thursday, September 6.
Expanding Access to Babson’s Entrepreneurship Programs: A New Initiative of Babson Executive and Enterprise Education (BEEE)
For the first time, Babson is offering non-degree entrepreneurship programs on a truly open enrollment basis. Babson Executive Education has offered open enrollment executive programs for many years and, through its Enterprise Education business unit, Babson’s entrepreneurship programs have been offered through partnering institutions around the world to select groups of MBA and undergraduate students, as well as to entrepreneurs. What’s different now is that so many more entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs from around the world will have access to Babson’s entrepreneurship programs in a variety of different formats on an open enrollment basis.
The “Babson Entrepreneurship Toolkit” is a series of one-day Saturday programs on focused aspects of entrepreneurship such as Buying a Small Business and Entrepreneurship 101. The Entrepreneur’s Bootcamp: A Deep Dive for New Ventures is an intensive and high impact five-day learning experience that provides entrepreneurs with the tools and strategies they need to create new business opportunities. These entrepreneurship programs will take place throughout the fall and winter at the Babson Executive Conference Center.
The Latest Work of the Entrepreneur Experience Lab (EEL): Entrepreneurs Inside
EEL is one more way we are demonstrating to broader audiences the relevance of Entrepreneurship of All Kinds™. A real-world research lab, EEL serves as a design studio for invention and innovation in entrepreneurship education. It is a partnership between Babson and the Business Innovation Factory (BIF), led by Heidi Neck, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship.
In the first phase of EEL’s work, 250 start-up entrepreneurs of all kinds from around the U.S. shared their stories—providing new insights into what entrepreneurs experience on a day-to-day basis. While this phase centered on entrepreneurs creating and growing their own enterprises, the second phase, known as “Entrepreneurs Inside,” is focused on 40 entrepreneurs operating inside enterprises of all types—corporations, non-profits, religious organizations, cooperatives, and government entities. The EEL team identified entrepreneurs in these organizations who were creating something substantial—a new business or initiative.
An early look at the findings reveals that while the entrepreneurial method is basically the same for both inside and outside situations, it is manifested differently for each. A case in point is the association of risk with entrepreneurship. For “entrepreneurs outside” risk is financial—losing one’s savings and investment; for those inside, it’s about social capital risk—loss of reputation, networks, and perceived legitimacy inside an organization.
A second finding is around learning: entrepreneurs on the inside of large enterprises can feel isolated. They are unlikely to have people around them with the experience and information on how to get a brand new initiative underway. As a result, their learning tends to happen on an ad hoc basis (as it does outside) with the difference being that there are communities and networks already set up to assist “outside entrepreneurs” with their ventures. A third finding is around how entrepreneurs inside manage two identities at the same time—their official role in the organization chart and their unofficial entrepreneurial role.
These examples only begin to suggest the value of the EEL project. What makes the impact of this work so potentially far-reaching are the opportunities for new curriculum, new products, and new services around how entrepreneurs can lead in large enterprises. No other college or university is investing in new product development in the same way. Stay tuned for a more complete look at the research outcomes and opportunities when the EEL report is released later this fall.
New Faculty Members: Bringing Their Breadth of Experience and Expertise to Babson
This year we welcomed 10 new members to the ranks of full-time faculty. They are a very talented group of teachers and scholars, as you can see from a summary of their academic credentials:
Lakshmi Balachandra, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, is a leading expert in improvisation, negotiation and entrepreneurial pitching. She received her BA in Environmental Studies and Economics at the University of Chicago, an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a Ph.D. in Management from Boston College. She has taught courses and international programs to students and executives on entrepreneurship, negotiation, improvisation, and leadership. She is also a Fellow in the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where she examines the impact of gender on entrepreneurial success in acquiring early-stage funding. Earlier she founded the Women’s Venture Capital Network, the first network of its kind in the country where she organized, created, and managed numerous networking events and educational panels for women professionals in the industry.
Timothy J. Bell, Visiting Lecturer of Accounting, recently completed his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut, where he also taught introductory Managerial Accounting. His research interests include valuation of accounting information, in particular, tax information, the creation and transfer of tax benefits and general corporate finance. After completing an undergraduate degree in Physics at UC Berkeley, he worked in the high-tech industry developing pulsed power lasers for eye surgery and semiconductor processing in Boston and Silicon Valley. He subsequently received an MBA, focused on finance, at Babson, where he was a Fellow in Entrepreneurial Studies. He then worked in the structured finance industry, designing multiparty financial transactions to efficiently comply with tax, accounting, and credit requirements of all parties.
Amy Blitz, Lecturer in Economics and Professor of Management Practice at Babson Global, teaches economics and strategy. She has over twenty years of research and business experience, with expertise in strategy, innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development. She has led major research initiatives for diverse organizations, including a UN-affiliated NGO in the Philippines, where she helped launch a successful credit cooperative in a poor rural community; Ernst & Young, where she co-authored a study on IPOs; Harvard Business School, where she developed a series of studies on entrepreneurial strategy; McKinsey & Co., where she helped establish the strategic plans for a social networking start-up focused on management innovation; and IBM, where she was the Global Lead for Strategy Research at the IBM Institute for Business Value and directed a series of studies on innovation. Her work has been published as books and articles, and featured in the Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, and other leading media outlets. She earned her Ph.D. from MIT.
Gonzalo Chavez, Lecturer in Finance, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Houston. He has a Mechanical Engineering degree from the Escuela Superior Politécnica and an MBA from the Instituto de Postgrado en Administración de Empresas, both in Ecuador. He has served as professor and academic director at the Instituto de Empresa (Spain), Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (Mexico), Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (Chile), and Bentley College (U.S.). His research interests relate to financial markets and corporate governance and his work has been published in various international journals. His current research is concentrated in measuring trading costs and analyzing corporate governance issues in emerging and developed markets.
Fatemeh Emdad, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics, has a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics with a concentration in Computational and Applied Mathematics at Colorado State University. She completed her postdoctoral degree with the University of Texas Medical Branch and Shriners Hospital for Children Burn Unit and taught at the University of Connecticut, as Assistant Professor in Residence. She is the recipient of the top ranked student academic award from the president of Shiraz University in Iran. She is the author of the book High Dimensional Data Analysis, and more than 20 journal and conference articles.
Ira C. Farber, Lecturer of Science, was a member of Polaroid’s Vision Research Laboratory and conducted studies in adaptive signal processing. Subsequently, he joined Ortho Diagnostic Systems, Inc. as a Senior Scientist working in the area of flow cytometry and its application to medical instrumentation. He then turned his attention to the field of optical computing and served as vice president of Optron Systems, Inc. managing R&D contracts funded by the Department of Defense, NASA, DARPA, NSF and NIH. Returning to academia, he was Associate Director of the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Research Center at Brandeis University. He has published in the fields of electro-optics, biophysics and neuroscience and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Harvard, Brandeis, and WPI.
Paulo J. Gomes, Visiting Lecturer in Operations Management, teaches Technology and Operations Management courses in the undergraduate, Evening MBA, and Fast Track MBA programs. Prior to joining the faculty at Babson, he worked at Nova School of Business and Economics in Lisbon. His research focuses on the integration and coordination of activities across complex systems. His recent research looks at how to drive systems change towards sustainable production. He has significant consulting experience in healthcare, having worked with the Portuguese Health Ministry on the redesign of the NHS Primary Care services. The results from his research have been published in academic books and journals.
Meghan Graham MacLean, Assistant Professor of Science, specializes in how new methods of remote sensing and land use change/fragmentation research can help identify the susceptibility of natural forest communities to invasive species. She received a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Physics from Clarkson University, and both an M.S. in Natural Resources and the Environment and Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science from the University of New Hampshire. Her recent work has included the creation a new fragmentation program, PolyFrag, that computes different fragmentation metrics on land cover maps. She has also taught at many different levels, and continues to be interested in making environmental science courses intriguing and applicable for business students.
Amit S. Mukherjee, Visiting Lecturer in Operations, has been an Executive in Residence since January 2011. An academic, a line executive and a consultant, he co-founded in 2004 a boutique executive education and consulting company, Ishan Advisors. He has advised the top executives of several well-known global firms, worked with line workers in manufacturing, and led engineers and scientists developing next generation products. His book, The Spider’s Strategy, focuses on the emergence of networks as a key basis of competition. He is currently doing research for his next book on the leadership of networked companies.
Joe M. Pons, Visiting Associate Professor of Marketing, holds a degree in Law from the University of Barcelona, an MBA from University College Dublin and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from IESE, Barcelona, where he was a member of the marketing faculty for 15 years (1982-1997) and Chairperson of the Full-time MBA Program. He currently runs AXIOMA CONSULTANTS, a management consulting firm he founded 12 years ago. He is involved both in graduate and executive education as well as consulting projects, with an emphasis on aligning marketing management policies with current business strategies. Recently he was a Visiting Professor at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia; has taught executive Programs at INSEAD/CEDEP (Fontainebleau) and is a part-time faculty member at ESADE Business School (Barcelona), Instituto Internacional San Telmo (Sevilla), European School of Management and Technology (Berlin) and IEDC Bled School of Management (Slovenia).
Save the Dates!
Back to Babson (B2B) Weekend, September 28-29, is right around the corner
This year B2B will feature the Alumni Leadership Awards dinner ceremony under the tent on the upper athletic field, reunion class parties, a student homecoming competition, alumni games, a family friendly BBQ under the big top with lots of children’s activities, athletic events, and more. All of you are invited to join in what promises to be a great weekend. For more details on the B2B homecoming and reunion activities—and to register:
- Alumni: Visit the Back to Babson page.
- Students: Watch for an email from your dean in early September.
- Faculty and staff: Click on the Back to Babson link in Smart Tools on the Babson Portal.
Family and Friends Weekend will be held October 19-21
There will be a great array of events for students and their families, including the Undergraduate Awards Ceremony, Casino Night, a production by The Babson Players and more. Members of our Boards of Trustees and Overseers, as well as the Global Advisory Board, will be with us and we will host the Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner. For more details, visit the Family and Friends Weekend page and watch for more information on this opportunity to experience the best of what Babson has to offer.
Babson Food Days—October 23-24: Dedicated to Entrepreneurial Activity in Food
Food Sol, an “action tank” within the Lewis Institute and Social Innovation Lab, will be holding its second annual celebration of food entrepreneurship of all kinds. Activities include a cooking lesson with renowned chef Andrew Zimmern—a Babson entrepreneur-in-residence—a fireside chat with Andrew and other food experts, a panel on the food system dilemmas, an “idea jam” with Babson faculty and The Uncommon Table™, and a lunch/marketplace featuring demos, presentations and more than 50 vendors and entrepreneurs with samples. Visit the Food Day 2012 page where more details will be added in the coming weeks.
During this Academic Year, our community will begin to focus on the multifaceted dimensions of Babson’s Centennial in 2019. The Centennial gives us an opportunity to dream, and to raise the bar much higher than we might ever have imagined.
As we look ahead to 2019, the College is in an incredibly good place strategically, financially, and organizationally. While the landscape affecting higher education continues to rapidly change in significant ways, we are focused on a portfolio of opportunities for Babson that has never been as robust or as exciting. So, as gratifying as my nearly four and a half years as President have been, I believe that the best is yet to come.
All the best,
Leonard A. Schlesinger