Babson's Response to COVID-19

Community Updates

From the very beginning of the strategic planning process, we have been committed to transparent communication and an inclusive process designed to engage the entire Babson community and external partners in generating the best ideas and insights from the most diverse perspectives possible. Through dozens of forums and meetings, regular updates to our strategic planning webpage, and the following community messages, the strategic planning team worked to both engage and inform the Babson community.

Babson College Faculty and Staff Forum - October 2020 »

On October 7, 2020, President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD and Babson College leaders gathered virtually to discuss the College’s strategic plan with faculty and staff.

Strategic Planning Update from President Spinelli »

President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD outlines the next steps in Babson’s strategic planning efforts, and highlights how the College will reemerge from the coronavirus crisis and chart a bold course forward.

Dear Babson Community:

One year ago, we launched a strategic planning process with a clear goal: engage the Babson community to rapidly develop a strategic plan for Babson to thrive in a changing environment. At the time, today’s global health circumstances and related economic impact would have seemed unimaginable. Yet the COVID-19 experience has proven to be a real-time market test of our strategy.

Our purpose—which emerged in the strategic planning process—is to empower learners anywhere to create lasting economic and social value for themselves, their communities and the world. We do this through a market-driven, community-developed strategy, “One Babson: Entrepreneurial Leadership Impacting Communities Everywhere.”

I believe COVID-19 has validated the areas of strength identified through strategic planning, and accelerated our strategic initiatives around radically re-creating our organization, owning entrepreneurial leadership, and delivering education where and when learners demand it:

  • Working as One Babson – a community of faculty and staff operating as a high performance, adaptive, inclusive and collaborative organization. Delivering an entrepreneurially-inspired business learning experience for undergraduate, graduate, corporate and academic learners through our core values, offerings, experiential programs and deep expertise.
  • Expanding our focus to own Entrepreneurial Leadership – a transdisciplinary and collaborative approach for learners globally to embrace accelerated change, solve problems and act on opportunities to impact businesses and communities.
  • Reaching learners everywhere – where, when, and how they need it - personally, professionally, geographically and financially - through personalized and technology amplified pathways that lead to a variety of credentials and competencies.
  • Scaling our impact through networks and communities built and grown through a “partner first” mentality and learning agility.
  • Exploring new models for learning through disciplined experimentation designed to generate rapid innovation to maximize learner success.

I have narrated a presentation that outlines the next steps in our strategic planning efforts, and highlights how we will chart a bold course forward for continued leadership at the forefront of entrepreneurship education. Agility and adaptability are key elements of our strategy. Those tenets are more important than ever as we navigate uncertainty, and we will continue to accelerate and evolve our strategy as opportunities arise. 

The extraordinary engagement of the Babson community around the world has informed and strengthened the strategic planning process. Your collective input is invaluable and demonstrates the strength of our Babson network. Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to Babson. I look forward to sharing the final articulation of our strategy, with more concrete plans and details, later this summer.

My best,

Dear Babson Community:

The core values of a community are tested when “normal” life is disrupted. We have been steadfast in our focus on safety and academic continuity, and our entire community has undertaken heroic efforts to support those goals and transition to learning, teaching, and working virtually. We are continuously adapting to new conditions, connecting and collaborating in new ways, and supporting one another while we are physically apart. The uncertainty that remains as COVID-19 continues to disrupt lives and economies requires agility, problem solving, and collaboration across our organization. This is the essence of entrepreneurial leadership.

We have also learned a great deal about the power of the strategic initiatives our community is developing. In fact, the last three weeks have proven to be a real-time market test of the strategy. The current global health crisis validates what we have identified as our strengths - specifically our initiatives around delivering education where and when learners demand it, radically recreating our organization, and owning entrepreneurial leadership. Now is the time to accelerate implementation for the greatest impact on Babson’s future.

  • We will deliver education to learners where and when they need it. It is essential at this moment and, if we are to thrive in the future, we must continue to innovate our educational models to reach learners – anywhere – and empower them to lead in a robust community.
  • We will build on great strength as we seek to become a more nimble, collaborative, and inclusive organization. Across our community, individuals and teams have come together in new and intensive ways during this crisis to problem-solve, innovate, and address the immediate and evolving needs of our students and community.
  • We are witnessing the global community’s need for and recognition of the power of thinking and acting entrepreneurially to produce scalable solutions that can benefit individuals, communities, and the world. Babson is expanding our view of entrepreneurship to focus on the human condition, and building leaders with empathy, morality, compassion, and drive. Our unique ability to define, own, and propagate the core competencies of problem solving, values-based leadership, and collaboration will be more relevant and necessary than ever before as individuals and organizations around the globe look to emerge stronger and more resilient.

Earlier today, Provost Rice and Dean Matsuno announced an important step in support of our initiative to own entrepreneurial leadership: the launch of a national search for the Arthur M. Blank Endowed Chair for Values-Based Leadership. This role is critical to achieving the vision of the Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership, and while we work to alleviate the financial impacts of COVID-19 through hiring freezes and other measures, we are grateful to have received dedicated funding from the Blank Foundation to recruit for this position.

Accelerating the implementation of our strategy as we continue to plan and pivot is key to surviving these historic circumstances and positioning Babson to thrive. We will need to continue to work in a dynamic fashion; simultaneously implementing and further developing our strategic initiatives over the coming weeks and months.

As we do this important work, we are mindful of three converging forces informing our decision making: the acute need to mitigate significant FY20 financial losses; our responsibility to prepare for greater impact in FY21 given what remains unknown regarding student enrollment and financial aid needs; and the mandate of the strategic planning process to radically evolve the organization, including addressing redundancies and inefficiencies.

Our community has shown great agility, resiliency, and creativity – hallmarks of entrepreneurial leadership and the Babson way – throughout this unprecedented situation. I am confident that, if we continue to work together and align around our shared vision, we can address our financial needs and advance our strategic intents. In the process, we will make Babson stronger and more impactful than ever.

My best,

Dear Babson Community:

Our strategic planning process is steaming ahead as we develop a comprehensive plan to present to the Board of Trustees in February. As we approach the midpoint of the academic year, I hope we all will take a moment to reflect on how our community has come together in support of Babson and the compelling vision for the future we are creating together.

Babson stakeholders have worked to develop four strategic principles that will position us to revolutionize entrepreneurship education, change business education and impact higher education overall. The vision is resonating with investors, like Arthur Blank, who believe in Babson’s unique ability to make a transformative impact. Most importantly, the development of these strategic principles is the result of the entire Babson family—students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, governance, partners and friends—putting students first, thinking institutionally and working collaboratively to strengthen and elevate the College. I hope you share the immense pride and excitement I feel about what we have achieved thus far and the collaborative way we are moving forward together.

There is still more for us to do. Before we break for the holidays, please consider taking three actions to support the next phase of the plan development process:

  1. Review the four strategic principles outlined in Strategic Principles – Key Themes (pdf) and on our website. These principles, unanimously endorsed by the Board in October, are driving the creation of executable initiatives currently in development.
  2. Share these principles with two friends. Help us ensure that every member of the Babson community is informed and can begin to see their role and opportunities in the context of the College’s overall strategy.
  3. Answer two questions to provide additional input regarding our organization by December 20, 2019. An important consideration in the strategic planning process is assessing our organization and positioning our community to advance our strategy once finalized. As we kick off our formal organizational assessment, we are offering another opportunity for you to share thoughts and ideas about ways to both preserve and change elements of Babson’s culture, structure, systems and competencies. A two-question form is available on our website until December 20. This provides another opportunity to reinforce the valuable insights you have already shared through the thousands of data points in the strategic planning process. Through these vehicles you have identified the need for our highly engaged community to build a culture of trust and collaboration, ensure the right people are in the right roles, live our values, expand diversity, equity and inclusion as a core value, and continually measure and report on our performance as we strive for excellence.

Together, we are charting a bold course forward for the College. Thank you for being part of this extraordinary Babson family and contributing so much to our community and the world. I wish you and yours all the best this holiday season! 

Your colleague,

Dear Babson Community:

At our Community Forum last week, we came together for a robust sharing and discussion of our strategic planning progress. This meeting provided an opportunity to share strategic principles that have emerged through the process and to report on the findings of the brand study conducted in partnership with FutureBrand.

Informed by a constellation of recommendations suggested by the strategic planning task forces and more than 4,400 total community inputs, the Synthesis Team presented four strategic principles to guide and inform our plan development. Included are three transformational principles designed to ensure Babson continues to lead and thrive in profoundly disruptive conditions. The fourth principle is focused on how we, as a community, operate and collaborate to strengthen the institution and position the College to achieve its bold ambitions.

Strategic Principles from Nov. 8 Email

In October, the Babson Board of Trustees recognized the enthusiastic and thoughtful engagement of the extended Babson community in the strategic planning process, and unanimously endorsed these strategic principles as a framework for developing a comprehensive strategic plan by February 2020. This strategic direction is also resonating with alumni and donors who are eager to invest in and collaborate with Babson.  

In the coming months, the Synthesis Team will be leading the effort to develop specific initiatives from all of the inputs developed to advance these principles and develop a final plan.

The Community Forum was also an opportunity to hear from FutureBrand about the comprehensive data collection and analysis conducted on Babson’s brand and positioning. FutureBrand’s process generated an important look at Babson’s place in the entrepreneurship and business education ecosystem, as well as cultural insights and sentiments among the Babson community. The firm’s findings and recommendations offer compelling insights to strengthen and enhance the Babson brand.  

I ask you to view the presentation of the strategic principles and brand study if you were unable to participate in the Community Forum. Both the content and the commentary are important to understanding the strategic planning process and the direction of our forthcoming plan.

Thank you for your continued engagement and time as we co-develop the plan for Babson’s future. A special thank you to our Task Force members and Synthesis Team for their hard work in advancing this effort. I am energized by the progress we are making together.

My best,

Dear Babson Community:

As we build Babson’s strategic plan for the future, we are seeking your input on the Babson College brand through our second community survey.

Entrepreneurship has been, and will continue to be, an integral part of Babson’s brand and market position. To keep pace with a rapidly changing world and workplace, we must continue to examine our definition of entrepreneurship and our understanding of the critical competencies our students need to make an impact.

We are looking for your help in this endeavor.

Next week, we will be sending a survey on this topic and would appreciate your thoughts and input. The survey results will inform the strategic planning process and help define the path forward for continued infusion of entrepreneurial thinking at Babson.

The survey will be sent to you by our partner, Ipsos, from the email address Ipsos is a leading market research company and will be managing the survey deployment and analysis, but will not retain any personal information. Any email communications from them will only be in reference to this study. Your responses will be anonymous and all results will be viewed in aggregate to help inform our strategic planning efforts.

To date, engagement in our strategic planning initiative has been tremendous. Thousands of you have attended events, shared feedback and contributed ideas. I look forward to seeing you at our open community session on September 17 to continue our discussions.

Remember to visit our website for strategic planning updates and to share your input. Thank you in advance for your help in building the future of the Babson College brand.

My best,


Dear Babson Community: 

I want to share an update on the strategic planning process launched last May.

The 150+ members of our six strategic planning task forces have been working diligently and creatively to gather and analyze data and generate bold ideas aligned with the strategic guideposts. Forty-two meetings have been held and task force members have produced a list of more than 25 potential strategic principles and 35 ideas for strategic initiatives. Their work has benefited greatly from the Babson community’s suggestions and ideas. To date, you have provided more than 2,600 inputs into the strategic plan, including emails and online feedback, survey responses, and event participation.

Your perspective continues to be critically important to this process and I ask for your participation in two additional input opportunities planned next month:

  • Survey on the Babson Brand. We have engaged a world class market research firm, Future Brand, to conduct a brand architecture survey. Please watch for an email the week of September 9 inviting you to participate in our second community survey focused on the Babson brand.
  • Strategic Planning Open Session. Save the date and join me for a read-out and input session with the strategic planning team and task force co-chairs on Tuesday, September 17 from 10-11:30 a.m. EDT in the Winn Auditorium. You can also participate via livestream.

Lastly, we have established a Synthesis Team to integrate the task force recommendations and community inputs. The Synthesis Team will be comprised of the twelve task force co-chairs as well as members of my senior leadership team. This team will come together early this fall to begin the synthesis process and help inform the strategic framework we deliver to the Board of Trustees in October.

As always, details on the strategic planning process can be found on and I monitor additional input and comments sent to

I look forward to seeing you on September 17 if not sooner. Thank you for your ongoing engagement with and commitment to this essential effort for Babson’s future.

My best,


Dear Babson Community:

Thank you for answering the call to help Babson develop a bold strategy for the future. Since we launched this process in late May, you have provided more than 2,600 inputs to help guide and shape our strategic plan.

Our six strategic planning task forces include 170 Babson students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and governance members. These community members are working diligently, and on an accelerated basis, to gather and analyze data and define the principles that will inform their recommendations. Earlier this week, I was inspired to see more than 300 Babson faculty and staff members convene for a Town Meeting focused on the strategic planning process. This session featured a roundtable discussion with several task force co-chairs.  I invite you to watch this 10-minute clip of the task force co-chairs providing insights into their work to date and an update on their progress and plans.

This week, we are engaging nearly 50 external advisors to infuse additional outside, industry and community perspective into the process and ensure the ideas we are exploring are bold, market-centric and aligned with our mission and strategic intents. I am grateful for the time and energy our task force members, external advisors and the broader community are committing to this effort and am excited to see the recommendations this collaborative process generates.

Recently, we surveyed the Babson community on the College’s mission, vision and values. We received more than 2,000 responses, which is almost double the rate of last year’s community-wide survey to inform the presidential search process. Your responses demonstrate continued enthusiasm for our mission and vision, and overwhelming support for our shared values of integrity, diversity, innovation, collaboration, and excellence. In addition to quantitative data, you provided thousands of suggestions that we are continuing to analyze and share with the task forces.

Your ideas included the need to focus on Babson’s key differentiators and measurable impact; highlighting the unique mindset and way of thinking Babson teaches; clarifying our mission and vision to ensure these statements clearly articulate what we mean by creating value “everywhere” and the role of entrepreneurship and business education; the importance of living and measuring the performance of our values; and the opportunity to evolve our expression of diversity as a value and further incorporate equity and inclusion.

Now, we seek your feedback on the Babson brand. A second survey, which will inform how we strengthen and build our brand globally, will be sent to you in mid-August. Please watch for an email from the Strategic Planning team inviting you to participate. And please be certain to share your perspective and ideas.

I am energized by the enthusiasm of the Babson community and grateful for your ongoing engagement. Please continue to provide feedback and input, and visit our website for updates.

My best,

Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD 
President, Babson College

Dear Babson Community,

Babson’s strategic planning effort is underway and already benefiting greatly from your input and involvement. Today, I ask for your feedback and ideas on the College’s mission, vision, and values. Please complete this confidential 5-10 minute survey by July 15.

I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and helping to inform the College’s strategic plan. Together, we will chart a bold course forward for Babson!

My best,


Dear Babson Community:

Today is my first official day as president of Babson College and I am so excited to be back at this incredible institution. Over the past three decades I have held many Babson titles: student, alum, faculty member, and leader. I am honored and energized to add president to that list.

My goal is to engage with all of you in ways that are meaningful to you, valuable to the College, and impactful for our students.

I’m starting now! I am currently live on Babson’s Facebook (midnight EDT), and at noon, I will be answering questions on Babson’s Instagram. Today, and every day, I invite you to connect with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Over the past 175 days, I have met thousands of members of the Babson community at hundreds of events and meetings on campus and around the world. Hearing from this smart and passionate community has been an inspiring and valuable learning experience leading into my presidency

These interactions have laid the groundwork for our strategic planning effort. Higher education is experiencing profound disruption as colleges and universities contend with demographic and market headwinds. Disruption and change create new opportunities to advance our differentiator—Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®—and by engaging the entire Babson community in a collaborative planning process, we will prepare the College to thrive in today’s evolving environment.

Several themes have emerged from our early conversations: the necessity of collaboration; the critical need to create a new business model; the special opportunity for Babson to serve as a lifelong educational resource; and the imperative for entrepreneurship. I am eager to partner with Provost Rice and my leadership team to “double up” on entrepreneurship.

I encourage you to share your input and ideas as we plan for Babson’s future. Next week, we will launch a community survey focused on our Babson mission, vision, and values. Please visit our website often to provide feedback, get updates, and learn about upcoming opportunities to participate and engage in our strategic planning process both in-person and virtually.

As we celebrate our Centennial and envision our future, I look forward to connecting with each of you. The collaboration and passion of the global Babson community will empower our continued innovation and success, and enhance our legacy and leadership in entrepreneurship education. It is great to be back at Babson.

My best,


P.S. I just got news that we had a record giving year—nearly 12,000 donors and we surpassed our alumni participation goal of 32%. That’s incredible! Thank you for your support and belief in Babson’s mission.

Dear Babson Community:

Our strategic planning effort is underway and the global Babson community is responding with great enthusiasm to help the College chart a bold course for the future.

Thank you for embracing this process: more than 600 of you have visited our strategic planning website; 57 faculty and staff members participated in our first idea-generating charrette and “Framing the Future of Undergraduate Learning” retreats; 250 thoughtful nominations and/or ideas were submitted for our strategic task forces; and 41,000 members of our global community have been invited to share ideas and input and are doing so daily. Your willingness to engage is energizing and your early involvement is making a difference.

Given the overwhelming response to engage with the task forces, we have created an additional opportunity for community involvement. Each of the six task forces has been expanded to include a group of Advisory Members who will provide input and feedback regularly over the next 12-14 weeks.

The task forces are taking shape and information about membership, scope, and more will be available on our website in the next few days. I encourage you to check the site regularly for the most up-to-date information. I am incredibly grateful to the community members who will be supporting the task forces for their willingness to serve and their commitment to Babson.

Stay tuned for additional ways to get involved and share your thoughts and ideas. I look forward to your continued engagement as together we plan for Babson’s future.

My Best,

Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD
President-elect, Babson College

Dear Babson Community:

Over the past several months, I have had the privilege and extraordinary opportunity to reengage with the Babson community. The transformative experience and return on investment Babson delivers to the world's brightest entrepreneurial students, and the impact of our programs and research, is impressive. I am inspired by the skills and passion our faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents and friends have for Babson.

Through your hard work and intelligence, Babson continues to be the No. 1 school for entrepreneurship. Teaching entrepreneurship and being entrepreneurial may be the antidote for higher education’s malaise. Therefore, I have come to believe that Babson is one of the most important colleges in the world. Every day, I grow more excited about the College’s future.

To ensure our continued success, we must diligently and creatively plan for the future. Profound disruption is occurring across higher education. Colleges and universities are contending with serious headwinds, including—among other challenges—unfavorable demographic trends and declining enrollment, especially in MBA programs. In the last three years, more than 100 colleges and universities have closed, and some experts predict that nearly half will disappear or merge in the next 10 years.

Babson is not immune from these market forces. It is essential that we capitalize on our strengths and set in place the conditions that will allow us to remain the global leader in entrepreneurship education. Change is fertile ground for Entrepreneurial Thought & Action.®

With the full support and encouragement of the Board of Trustees, today we are launching a strategic planning effort with a clear goal: to engage the entire Babson community to rapidly develop a shared strategic plan for Babson to thrive in a changing environment.

This exercise will inform several pressing decisions, key to maintaining our position of strength. We must work together to accomplish this goal on an accelerated timeline. I have committed to delivering a strategic framework to the Board of Trustees by October and a final Strategic Plan by early February.

In formulating a vision and plan for the future, our strategy will address several crucial questions, among them:

  1. How will Babson play a role in shaping the future of entrepreneurship and business education globally?
  2. What new skills, competencies, resources and structures will be required of our organization to ensure Babson is a disruptor and delivers a high value, transformational experience to an increasingly diverse student population?
  3. What educational needs will our students have in the future in order to continue to create economic and social value—everywhere?
  4. Given disruption in higher education, how do we develop the delivery systems, faculty of the future, and administrative skills to ensure Babson continues to lead and thrive in rapidly changing conditions?
  5. What does it mean for Babson to be a truly "global" college?
  6. How will we ensure Babson continues to make an outsized impact on business and society?

Guiding and shaping the strategic planning effort will be a group of task forces. These task forces will include stakeholders representing the full spectrum of the Babson community, and will focus on the following areas:

  • Student Experience
  • Global Leadership in Entrepreneurship and Business Education
  • Ecosystem Engagement
  • Sustainable/Thriving Business Model
  • Building a Global Brand
  • Faculty and Staff of the Future

Broad engagement by the Babson community is critical to achieving our goal. We have designed a multimodal communications and engagement program to ensure that the strategic planning process is inclusive, collaborative and transparent. As you will see, there will be many ways and opportunities to participate, and this program will continue to expand and evolve throughout the process.

I implore you to share your ideas, feedback, and concerns. Your contributions will be part of a considerable effort to collect and analyze data and insights that refine our mission, purpose, and vision, and chart a bold course forward. Your first opportunity to help shape this effort is to identify community members interested in volunteering and getting involved with the six task forces. Please share your thoughts via by Friday, May 31.

Babson's pioneering history and ongoing innovation will pave the way for our continued leadership. The success of this initiative is inextricably linked to the broad participation of our Babson community here on campus and around the world. I ask all of you to join me. Please help ensure that Babson continues to blaze new trails, create value, and have a positive impact on the world.


Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD
President-elect, Babson College