Self-proclaimed “reformed dropout” Pete Fleming shares his MBA journey and how his passion for research led him to a job at Facebook.

By the time Pete Fleming began at Babson in 2010, he’d already earned several degrees and founded Invest in Knowledge, a nonprofit working in Sub-Saharan Africa to provide data collection and research services while building local research capacity. For Fleming, a Babson degree wasn’t a step on the path to a Fortune 500 job, but rather an opportunity to step back from his nonprofit’s daily operations and learn about managing and growing the company.

“Babson has a unique identity among business schools,” says Fleming. “Going to Babson is about more than just building out a network of business professionals—the focus on redefining entrepreneurship helps us create our careers, and that’s the real value.”

Like many entrepreneurs, Fleming’s career path took an unexpected turn. Midway through his second year at Babson, he met people from Facebook’s research team, began the application process, and was offered a position before the start of the spring semester. He paused his MBA and moved cross country to work at Facebook, where he is now a user experience and market research manager.

“Babson was really great about supporting me in this next chapter,” Fleming says, and he has continued earning credits toward his degree by taking classes at the San Francisco campus. “I’ve always been impressed by the commitment of Babson faculty and staff. So many times, I’ve been surprised by how much people care about developing us as students and helping us find and create the right path.”

Despite shifting into a full-time career in the Bay Area, Fleming has remained close with his cohort. He stays connected to Babson by competing in the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon and has served as a table host at several Babson Connect events. He also has maintained personal and professional friendships with fellow alums from his class.

Throughout his time at Babson and in his professional career, Fleming has been guided by passion. His best advice for aspiring Facebook employees? “Find something you love doing, and find a company that wants to support you in doing that. People do their best work when they are working on things they’re personally invested in and genuinely love spending their time working on. They may get in the door because of their skills, but their impact comes from passion.”