Zoya Alim MBA’19
Graduate Student, Two-Year MBA
What is your pre-Babson experience?
At the tender age of 15, I got involved with a local NGO called Cheshire Home. It started as a way to fulfill my desire to do some community service; however, I did not realize what a deep impact this move would have, and how it would bring a major shift in my thinking and my personality.
Cheshire is home to many beautiful people young and old. All the inmates are either physically or mentally challenged, and the organization—besides looking after their needs—tries to integrate them into society and help them reach their optimal level of independence. Initially, I was only involved in assisting them in the workshops and helping sell their creations. As time passed, I started getting emotionally involved with the inmates. I was awed at finding them so happy despite having so little—this started shaking my own fundamentals.
This desire to use my education to make a positive impact in society has always encouraged me to look at the bigger picture. After coming back to India, I worked at International Land Developers, a real estate firm in New Delhi. As assistant manager, I established a program to train people belonging to the economically weaker sections designed to make them employable.
Why did you choose Babson for your graduate education?
After gaining experience in the real world, I wanted to attend a school that encourages students to think out of the box and be the leaders of tomorrow. I also wanted to have a global perspective; I did not want my ambitions to be limited to my country's boundaries. Since I come from a business family, entrepreneurship is in my genes; and since Babson is the No. 1 school in entrepreneurship, it was my dream destination.
In India, we all grow up watching cricket. While watching matches, I found myself relating the game to corporate culture and performance. I ask: what's more important in the game. Is it who hits the winning run? Should that person get the acclaim? Or, should it be the opening pair, who gave the team the stable start? Slowly, I realized that it did not matter who hit the winning run—the fact was the team won because it was a team effort. A story of shared success. But, yes, the captain of the team was the one who strategized, motivated, and implemented to make sure that success was achieved. I chose Babson to learn and become "the captain" of the team.
As a Babson student, what do you do when not in class?
The MBA itself is extremely rigorous. However, I actively attend events organized by the Blank Center for Entrepreneurship and also the Lewis Institute for Social Innovation. The Community Table held every Tuesday invites local food entrepreneurs to visit campus, share their journey with students, and encourages students to interact and ask questions. I will also be participating in the annual Rocket Pitch competition this year. This gives students a chance not only to open up their minds to the real world but also accept and learn different perspectives. I attended a screening of the documentary Heroines of Health, which was followed by a short workshop led by the Emmy award-winning Lisa Russell. This has inspired me to take up a small project of recording small insightful videos of my fellow peers at Babson.
What was your favorite part of the Babson student experience?
All of us at Babson are budding entrepreneurs—that's why we chose this school. Before attending, I read about Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®, but now I see it happening all of the time. That's the best (and my favorite) part of the Babson experience—the emphasis on its core values of entrepreneurial thinking. Being a member of this community is a wonderful experience, and can only truly be felt once you are a part of it.
Our faculty have put a lot of effort into designing a curriculum that encourages thought, creativity, and experimentation. One of my favorite classes is Entrepreneurship and Opportunity, as taught by Associate Professor Matt Allen, where all students have to go out, ask questions about their product, and design experiments around it!