July 2011 Update
Last summer we held a series of departmental conversations about our progress in achieving the strategic goals of the College.
Our focus was on ways to enhance Babson’s sustainable advantage—accelerate our efforts to strengthen the core of the College, our undergraduate and graduate programs; partner with other institutions globally to leverage our capabilities both to learn and to teach; and implement a financial model enabling us not only to maintain but also to improve the high-touch, highly interactive educational experience that we provide.
A year has passed and I can sum up our progress very simply: we are in a great place today and poised to continue our strong momentum. We have had a banner year on many fronts: the undergraduate school has achieved a huge rise in both applications and reputation; the graduate school has created the “One MBA” and has expanded Babson’s presence in downtown Boston and San Francisco; Babson Executive Education (BEE) has increased its revenues with new entrepreneurial offerings both here and internationally; Babson Global has been in an aggressive start-up mode, adding new members to the Global Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education (GCEE) as well as growing other initiatives; and the College has established operational financial stability through hard work and sound financial management.
As we assess where we are in these and other areas that are so important to Babson’s future, it’s the right time to ask: How big and broad an impact do we want to have? How many new projects should we take on—on campus, around the U.S., overseas, or online—and how fast do we want to grow them? The year ahead (and beyond) will surely bring more great opportunities and we must decide as a community which ones we want to pursue and how they fit together to make Babson an even better and stronger institution. The challenge for us is how to continue to develop and deepen the core of our activities—preserving what makes Babson so special—while at the same time extending our impact by reaching many more people. All of these decisions need to be considered in the context of our three strategic goals and how we can build on what we have accomplished thus far.
Goal #1: We Want to be Known as THE Educator for Entrepreneurship of all Kinds®
The College continues to be recognized as the No. 1 school for entrepreneurship education, the undisputed leader in the field according to every major survey. We excel in teaching the mindset and skills of entrepreneurial leadership in every kind of setting—start-ups, family businesses, large companies, high impact and fast-growing businesses, and social ventures.
We have increased our differentiation in a variety of ways during the past year:
First, we are undertaking curriculum renewal on a continuous basis to create the most powerful and transformative academic experience of any college or university.
Raghu Tadepalli has led his team to create the “One MBA”—with multiple distribution channels or formats—that will be rolled out beginning this fall. The new MBA core curriculum will be consistent across the one-year, two-year, evening and blended learning (Fast Track) options. Students will take the same core courses with the same faculty and can choose from a common set of electives.
Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® (ET&A) and Social, Environmental, Economic Responsibility, and Sustainability (SEERS) will be embedded in the content and approach of the new curriculum, and signature learning experiences will reinforce and expand classroom learning through hands-on activities. Two new core courses strengthen global skills and insights: Managing at the Crossroads (so students understand the importance and impacts of governments and institutions on business decision-making), and Global Connections to Technology and Action (how to use technology to exercise leadership with collaborative work groups around the world).
With the “One MBA,” a student can start in one format and, after completing the core, can take the remainder of the program in any of the other formats. Consider the implications, for example, for those who may not be able to complete an MBA in a traditional format when raising a family, but could complete it using an alternative format.
Dennis Hanno and his team also are in the midst of a curriculum renewal process that will enhance signature learning experiences, such as FME, and focus additional attention on entrepreneurial thought and action and creating social value. New signature learning experiences will be developed—especially for the senior year—that rival FME’s ability to shape and transform our students. Another priority is to make the connections between liberal arts and business more powerful. Undergraduate curriculum revisions will be rolled out in 2012.
All of these curricular changes are designed to prepare our students not only to take advantage of opportunities, but to create their own opportunities and to learn by doing. These are exactly the skills our students need in a rapidly-changing world.
Entrepreneurial Thought & Action and the SEERS value base are featured in a new book with chapters by 20 of our faculty from diverse academic disciplines representing management and liberal arts. The New Entrepreneurial Leader: Developing Leaders Who Shape Social and Economic Value provides pedagogical approaches, practical ideas and many examples relevant to both faculty and practitioners on what it means to be an entrepreneurial leader. The book will be used by management educators, reform-minded business school administrators, and corporate practitioners interested in entrepreneurial leadership.
Second, we are building a set of intellectual and practical streams of research and pedagogy across the entire spectrum of Entrepreneurship of all Kinds. We are a school that values many different kinds of scholarly work and the intellectual vitality of our scholarly base is increasing. More of our faculty are engaged in interdisciplinary research and are now reaching broader audiences.
Third, our unique living and learning environment continues to evolve in exciting ways. Both the undergraduate and graduate schools encourage students to take charge of co-curricular activities, including fund-raising. The results are evident in student-organized forums that attract business professionals and other external constituencies and student success in self-funding co-curricular initiatives. Our students have done all this in the past, but are taking it to a new level.
Last summer, the undergraduate school created a Living Entrepreneurship Working Group to build a new framework for student engagement that uses all parts of the student experience to develop the competencies we believe are critical to a Babson education. The Working Group held meetings with hundreds of staff and students to gather insights and ideas on what living entrepreneurship does, can, and should mean at Babson. The Working Group’s white paper, replete with ideas that will be further developed with community participation in the coming months, maps out how we can apply the ET&A model to shape the overall student experience.
The Centers on campus are reinforcing experiential learning and student empowerment through their programs. The Blank Center’s one-of-a-kind venture accelerator serves all students looking to start or advance a venture by providing an entrepreneurial community and support at each stage of development. The Cutler Center has many opportunities for student action learning in the world of finance, including the student-run Babson College Fund which has beaten the S&P 500 over 1-, 3-, and 5-year periods. The Lewis Institute engages students, faculty, and staff through an array of initiatives including leadership roles as Ashoka Changemakers, placement on not-for-profit boards, and in the Social Innovation Lab’s new student-initiated Food Solutions Institute.
The 10-year old Center for Women’s Leadership (CWL) has had a number of successes, including its role in helping to achieve greater balance between male and female students in the undergraduate school (female % of student body increased from 40% in 2008 to 43% in 2011) and make gains in female students in the graduate school (up from 27% of students across all graduate programs in 2008 to 30% in 2011). At the same time, CWL’s role in developing and empowering women leaders needs to evolve in new ways. A task force appointed by Provost Shahid Ansari has laid out an exciting vision of CWL as a living laboratory for the progress of women as contributors to economic and social value everywhere, as well as for understanding the impact of gender dynamics on the creation of that value. The College leadership is committed to ensuring that the CWL has the resources it needs to deliver on its vision.
Babson’s leadership as an entrepreneurial educator is also reflected in the Babson/Olin/Wellesley alliance. Through a faculty initiative, the three schools will offer a sustainability certificate program this fall—with a beginning and ending 3-college course and courses in the middle on each of the campuses. We are also seeing more “ground up” student and faculty collaboration. The math faculty from the 3 colleges, for example, meet on how to teach math more effectively, and a bi-weekly student-led Ideas Discussion Series has been launched. The idea is to help build a 3-college culture to enrich student and faculty life through collaborations that evolve organically.
Revamped Career Development
Fourth, our undergraduate and graduate Centers for Career Development (CCD) offices have been revamped to give students a larger role in career development and job placement. The Graduate CCD was restructured during the year, and students were active in reshaping CCD’s direction to better prepare our students for the jobs of the future. The team now consists of industry specialists as well as an advisor who is focused on developing relationships with companies that are likely to have opportunities for our international students. The undergraduate CCD launched a new program in the spring called iChoose, which applies the ET&A model to the job search process, emphasizing student ownership of the job search and how they can manage better outcomes.
Goal #2: We Want to Extend Our Capabilities to the World
This past year has seen significant growth in our impacts globally. The College has more offshore courses (overseas electives) and more students “on the ground” in all regions of the world, participating in an expanding portfolio of hands-on projects. This summer we launched the Babson Entrepreneurial Leadership Development Academies, consisting of teams of students and alumni from both our undergraduate and graduate programs who work with top high school students in Ghana and Rwanda (one week in each country) to develop entrepreneurial mindsets and leadership potential. It’s one of the many examples of new ways in which members of our community are joining forces to achieve a far greater impact at home and abroad than each would have working alone.
On other fronts, while a very substantial portion of Babson Executive Education’s business always has been with global companies and delivered abroad, it has grown with BEE’s major strategic shift towards entrepreneurial programs. An example that breaks new ground is the program that helps entrepreneurs whose companies are listed on the Brazilian Stock Exchange bring their businesses to the next stage of growth.
Of course, our longstanding global entrepreneurship research projects continue to be the authoritative sources in the field—the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the DIANA Project (a study of female business owners and their business growth activities), the Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC), the Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) Project, and the Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators (SEE).
Babson Global—with its focus on global projects and activities that center on consulting, research, curriculum innovation, sponsorship, and policy guidance—has completed its start-up phase and has become a major conduit for diffusing Entrepreneurial Thought and Action and the Babson brand around the world. The revenues resulting from its work in each of its four major projects, highlighted below, are generated to directly support the work of the College.
Global Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education (GCEE)
The GCEE is a network of academic institutions around the world, led by Babson Global, that are committed to innovating and spreading entrepreneurship education. GCEE has signed on four partners: Abu Dhabi School of Management, Bangkok University (Thailand), Universidad del Desarrollo (Chile), and the Institute of Business in Pakistan—and Babson Global is in conversations with other potential member schools likely to be announced in the coming weeks.
GCEE partner schools are most interested in faculty development in Babson’s entrepreneurship teaching method; the entrepreneurship curriculum, which includes a Master of Science and Entrepreneurship degree that is being developed and will be offered to each partner school; building an entrepreneurship center along the lines of our Blank Center; and local variants of our Entrepreneurial Experience Lab, which documents the experiences of entrepreneurs.
Build, Operate, Transfer and Sustain (BOTS)
Our first “new school” consulting project, BOTS is underway for the Abu Dhabi School of Management, which will grant its own MBA and undergraduate degrees in business with a focus on entrepreneurship. The school is on track to start in January of 2012. Babson is providing technical assistance in the creation and operation of all aspects of the school, with opportunities for Babson staff to participate in many areas, such as technology systems, human resources, and facilities. In exploring the most appropriate systems for Abu Dhabi, our staff who are involved also learn about developments that may improve our own processes. Babson Global is in discussions about BOTS projects in several other countries.
Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
The Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem is an action research project to develop the entrepreneurial capacity in diverse communities by bringing together the policies, structures, programs, and climate that foster entrepreneurship. Dan Isenberg, Babson Global’s Professor of Management Practice and project director, has completed projects in Puerto Rico and Manizales, Colombia; was invited to speak at the World Economic Forum on this topic; and has been discussing future projects with the World Bank. He is transforming the central ideas underlying these projects into a set of steps which can be taken to any country that is intent on creating a pro-entrepreneurial environment.
10,000 Small Businesses
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million investment by Goldman Sachs to help create jobs and economic opportunity through greater access to business education, mentors and networks, and financial capital. Patti Greene, Professor of Entrepreneurship, has been leading a team of Babson faculty that has prepared a national curriculum, adapted it for 6 communities, and trained or is in the process of training community college teachers in each of the cities who then train small business owners who get capital from Goldman Sachs to expand their businesses.
A dozen of our faculty have played a role in some aspect of this program. Those who are teaching faculty at community colleges report that they have gained many practical insights from the experience that they can bring to their Babson classes. And, we are now providing alumni mentors to 10,000 Small Businesses program graduates in a pilot effort that demonstrates the strength and expertise within our alumni network.
In all these ways, the Goldman Sachs project has been a solid reputation builder for Babson. The success of the model and the desire of communities in the U.S. and overseas to replicate it speaks volumes about the program’s value. Learn more about the program by watching a video in which Patti Greene and Finance Professor Richard Bliss appear, with small business participants talking about the program’s impacts.
Babson Global and BEE partner in lead generation and BEE delivers some Babson Global programs, including a new development program for faculty from leading Chinese business schools that will be held on our campus next spring. This program is an outgrowth of the Babson Global Forum held in Shanghai in April, an event organized by the Babson Alumni & Friends Network office, working closely with our Global Advisory Board and Babson Global. It’s another great example of the success that occurs when all parts of the College work together to achieve shared goals.
Babson Global’s impacts on the College extend well beyond the new revenue streams it creates and the myriad ways it enhances Babson’s reputation. Research is a case in point. While we use predominantly North American cases in our courses on campus, our faculty now is part of a larger international network of scholars—gaining access to cases and materials focused on businesses in the countries of our partner schools, such as family businesses and entrepreneurs in emerging economies. So, we are now better able to expand our intellectual research and materials in ways that are both global and practical.
Goal #3: We Want to Ensure a Fully Sustainable Financial Model for the College
We have had a solid financial performance this year. Our operating income for the 2010-2011 fiscal year was in excess of $4 million and our 5-year financial plan projects continued operating surpluses. This was accomplished while we completed faculty compensation and workload initiatives, provided employee salary increases for each of the past three years, and took steps to better manage health care costs.
We are benefiting from new and growing revenue streams from GCEE, BEE, tuition growth, and better utilization of the campus, especially during the summer months. The Development Office has created an externally-facing sales culture and realigned staff during the past year, and is on track to successfully complete The Babson Rising campaign by year’s end,as well as prepare a plan for the Centennial Campaign, looking to the College’s 100 year anniversary in 2019. And, our Alumni & Friends Network’s increased focus on global outreach, digital connections, and new activities brings greater engagement around the world and positions us for sustained alumni and friends connections to the College over the long-term.
I have often said that as other institutions are playing defense in an unpredictable economy, Babson must play offense. To meet our needs and aspirations in the years ahead, we must undertake major new investments in the following three areas:
Campus Master Plan
During the spring semester we launched a master planning process to support the strategic goals of the College and to assess the current condition of our facilities as well as our future needs. Classrooms, residential space, and recreational facilities are major priorities.
Leading the effort is the Advisory Committee on Campus Priorities. Its master plan subcommittee includes faculty and staff, as well as representation from our trustees, with Sasaki Associates as our consultant and master planning architect. The subcommittee started reaching out to the community in the spring and will continue to do so in the fall and winter for suggestions and input as concept alternatives are developed. We expect to have a plan ready for implementation by the spring of 2012, which will establish a clear direction for the College and support fundraising efforts for future capital projects. For details, visit the Master Plan website.
Technology will be embedded in all aspects of a Babson education, on and off campus, as all learning increasingly becomes technology-enabled. We will expand our blended learning programs nationally and internationally through improved technology; make material available on mobile platforms so students can access it from anywhere in the world; and use the latest telepresence technology for distance learning to replicate the face-to-face experience as much as possible. Technology-enhanced learning will enable us to expand the Babson footprint—and impact—in ways that have not been possible.
Developing the Faculty of the Future
More than anything else, Babson is distinguished by its people—our talented and dedicated faculty and staff as well as our outstanding students. One of our greatest human resources challenges is how to develop the “faculty of the future.” Because of the rapidly-changing global marketplace, our faculty will need different skill sets and will be engaged in different kinds of scholarship and technology-enhanced research and teaching. In addition, we need a strategy around creating, sustaining, and renewing our faculty as older faculty members retire.
Also central to Babson’s human resources strategy is our vision for an inclusive community that is diverse and multi-cultural. We always have had strong global diversity on campus, and are making strides with greater domestic diversity through programs such as Posse in the undergraduate school and Management Leaders of Tomorrow (MLT) in the graduate school. We will continue these as we look for new partnerships and pursue other ways to create an even more intentionally diverse campus—for example, by achieving greater social and economic diversity among our international students. As for diversity among our faculty, during the past 3 years 15 of our 26 new full-time faculty were either from international or domestically underrepresented groups. We will keep focusing on creating a faculty and staff environment that mirrors and supports the diversity among our students.
We Are in a Great Place
To sum up, we are in a great place today because we have laid the foundation for the future by the steps taken to implement our strategic vision for the College. We have reaffirmed and deepened our commitment to the kind of education we deliver by reinvigorating our programs, activities, and work—all within the framework of our three overall strategic goals. How do we map out new and innovative ways to broaden Babson’s impact? How and at what pace do we move forward in our individual departments and divisions and as an institution? These are a few of the questions before us as we begin our discussions in August.
If we stay true to our spirit of community, our passion for living and learning entrepreneurially, and our willingness to continually reinvent ourselves, we will succeed in broadening the reach and impacts of the College in ways that match our aspirations for this extraordinary institution.