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Michael Daboll ‘19

Michael Daboll ’19

Undergraduate Student

“Failure is actually a good thing.”
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Arriving at Babson, Michael Daboll knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. But, like many, he saw failure as something to avoid at all costs.

Luckily for Daboll, his FME teacher was Associate Professor (Yasuhiro) Yamakawa, also known as “Dr. Failure.” They forged a connection that continued outside of the classroom, and helped Daboll recognize that it isn’t about whether a venture fails; it’s about what you learn from the experience of failing, and how you use that to push yourself and your future ideas forward.

We spoke with Daboll about how Babson, and Yamakawa, have given him new insight into how his failures can inform future successes.

Why I Chose Babson

I’ve always enjoyed finding a problem—no matter how small it seemed—and then trying to turn it into a business. Every business I have been involved in is connected to my love of entrepreneurship, whether it was landscaping, fixing bikes, being a music producer, or in my current role running my auto detailing company. As an entrepreneur, I can help people, do what I love for a living, and adapt quickly to address new problems all at the same time. When I first came to Babson through its Summer Study for high school students and saw how everything we learned was connected to entrepreneurship, I realized Babson was for me.

My Most Memorable Lesson

The most valuable thing I have learned at Babson was from Professor Yamakawa, who taught me that failure is actually a good thing. I began to meet with him outside of FME to discuss entrepreneurship and get guidance on the business I was running last year. He always says, “You failed? Oh, how lucky you are!” And, when my own business failed, I realized that the lessons I learned completely outweighed the failure. I am very grateful to have Professor Yamakawa as a mentor—with his help I learned that the most successful entrepreneurs reflect on their mistakes and apply what they learn from their failures to future ventures.

What Others Need to Know About Babson

Even though I have always thought of business ideas to solve problems, Babson has definitely helped me better understand the difference between a feasible idea and an idea that should just be a hobby. Being at Babson means that, when I have an idea for a possible venture, I can always ask people from different places with different backgrounds for their thoughts. It’s like having a global network I can rely on for unique perspectives.

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