Connecting On and Off the Field

Connecting On and Off the Field

Friendships forged on Babson’s soccer field led these alumni and teammates to the same company.

When prospective student-athletes choose colleges to apply for, chances are they’re thinking more about academics and competitions than they are of their post-graduate career plans.

But, for several alumni of Babson’s men’s soccer team, friendships formed on the field developed into a strong network of teammates helping each other progress in their careers.

Take Kevin Israel ’14, for example. After graduating from Babson, he returned home and took a job selling tickets for a Major League Soccer team. Looking to move forward in his career, Israel took to LinkedIn. There, he saw a post from former teammate Clint Mason ’12 about an open position at Experian Data Quality, the Boston-based data quality software and service company where Mason works.

Babson Alumni

Eight Babson alumni currently work at Experian Data Quality. Top row, left to right: Tyler Keane ’11, Michael Kollaard ’15, Clint Mason ’12, Daniel Mahnks ’05, Derishai Gordon-Staton ’15; Bottom row, left to right: Robert Schmidt-Chang ’12, Kevin Israel ’14, Shirley Zhao ’14.

“I always recommend the company to anyone who asks,” says Mason. “Especially Babson grads.”

Mason was the first Babson alumni to land a role at Experian Data Quality. He started in the company’s Business Development Representative (BDR) Program, a 12-month program that trains and develops talent to become successful in future sales roles within the company. Now a senior account executive, Mason is one of eight Babson alumni in the organization, and has referred some of them—including Israel—himself.

“In our conversation, Clint shared his love for the company and its culture,” says Israel. “He encouraged me to come in for an interview.”

Mason says it’s not uncommon for Babson soccer alumni to connect and offer career guidance and assistance. “We’re keeping an eye on each other, making sure everyone is doing well professionally.”

Mason’s referral helped Israel land a role in the BDR Program in July 2015. A few months later, Israel referred another Babson soccer alumnus, Mike Kollaard ’15, to the program. In March 2016, yet another teammate, Robert Schmidt-Chang ’12, joined the ranks as a senior account executive.

“It only took one connection (with Kevin) for me to find my dream job,” says Kollaard, who says the experience reinforced the power of networking and leveraging Babson connections. “Any type of connection—your teammate or someone you ran into at the ATM—use it.”

With four other alumni working for the company—Daniel Mahnks ’05, Tyler Keane ’11, Shirley Zhao ’14, and Derishai Gordon-Staton ’15—there are plenty of connections to make at Experian Data Quality. Though they don’t all work on the same team within the company, the Babson connections make for strong camaraderie during the workday. “There’s a Babo cheer every now and then in the office,” says Israel. “I take a lot of pride in it.”