Kate Began ’15
Sales and Marketing Manager, Polycase
From her youngest days, Kate Began has harbored a passion for entrepreneurship. When someone asked her in second grade what she wanted to be when she grew up, Began promptly responded, “I want to be an entrepreneur and own parking lots worldwide.” Her childhood dream came true (kind of)—she developed her entrepreneurial mindset at Babson and uses it every day at Polycase, her family's manufacturing business that makes proprietary plastic and metal enclosures to house electronic devices.
When people asked me what I wanted to be in second grade, I promptly responded, “I want to be an entrepreneur and own parking lots worldwide.” There was never a doubt in my mind that I wanted to run a business, so, for me, Babson was an obvious choice. Not only is it the No. 1 school in the country for entrepreneurial studies, but it takes a very hands-on approach to education and learning. Students don’t just learn from textbooks, they have opportunities to start their own business through FME, analyze real companies, and learn in a practical and beneficial way.
How has being a member of the Babson community impacted your career?
Being a member of the Babson community continues to impact my career because it’s an incredible network of talented, hardworking, and supportive individuals. I was involved in a number of organizations during my time at Babson and I know that I can call on any number of them if I ever need anything.
What role does entrepreneurship play in your career?
About a year after graduating college, I made the decision to leave my job in investment banking and move home to start working for our family business, Polycase. While I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur and start my own company, I quickly realized that I didn’t need to start a business to be happy. Having responsibility, finding new challenges, and solving problems fuels me every day
Entrepreneurship has many definitions. To me, an entrepreneur is someone who sees opportunity where other people might not. An entrepreneur is someone who embraces challenges and is fueled by solving problems. As an entrepreneur, I try to view everything in life as an opportunity and never as an obligation. It’s a simple switch in mindset, but it’s the difference between an entrepreneur and everyone else. When you view things as an opportunity, you make the most of every situation and occasion. This is critical in my career because I am constantly trying to keep our company ahead of the curve. I need to find opportunities where other people, and our competitors, don’t.
What do others need to know about Babson?
Babson is an incredible place because it encourages students to chase their dreams. Babson constantly reminds their students to never assume something can’t be done, because most of the time it’s not that it can’t be done, it’s that it HASN’T been done [yet]. So, when others say you “can’t,” Babson likes to ask, “How can you?” Students are constantly encouraged to do what hasn’t been done, to think outside the box, and Babson provides the resources, connections, and support for them to do it.
My favorite part of the Babson experience is definitely the relationships that I’ve built with my peers and professors. The openness and diversity of people in the graduate program is amazing. I’m constantly being pushed outside of my comfort zone and gaining new perspectives with every conversation that I have.
Advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
So much of life is the mindset you have and how you look at a situation. One of my favorite quotes is “life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.” You can’t always control what happens, but you can control your attitude and how you handle the situation after it happens. In business, unexpected and uncontrollable things will happen, failure will happen, mistakes will happen, but only you can decide where to go from there and what you learn from it.