Three winners in the San Francisco “Rocket Pitch” competition receive $25,000 Entrepreneurial Leadership Scholarship Awards after their 3 minute pitch along with seven other finalists.

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Three Babson College San Francisco Fast Track MBA Program students have received Entrepreneurial Leadership Awards - $25,000 merit scholarships awarded to those students in the Fast Track San Francisco class with the greatest potential for leadership in contributing to Babson’s entrepreneurial climate, culture, and community.

They are winners of the “Rocket Pitch” competition held at the SOMA facility on March 1st.

They were among the 10 participant who had “3 slides and 3 minutes” to present their answer to Application Question #2: Babson defines entrepreneurship as “thinking or acting in a manner that is opportunity obsessed, holistic in approach, and leadership balanced.” Please describe how, in your own experience, you have met some or all of that definition. The scholarship committee reviewed each of the presentations and awarded the scholarships based on the merits of each individual “rocket pitch”.


  • Tara Kurland: San Francisco, CA
  • Current Employer: Air Traffic Control Education Fund (ATC), Project Manager
  • Pitch Description: “A social entrepreneur uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change.” Tara described her experience working with worldwide thought leaders to launch the Table of Free Voices in Berlin, Germany on 9/9/06.
  • Rajan Venkitachalam: Sammamish, WA
  • Current Employer: Microsoft, Principal Group Program Manager
  • Pitch Description: “The making of an Entrepreneur”. Rajan described the evolution of his career path from accounting to IT, highlighting what key entrepreneurial insights he has taken away from his many successes and failures.
  • Delali Attiogbe: Oakland, CA
  • Current Employer: Genentech, Site Manager
  • Pitch Description: “Diversity contributes to the bottom line.” Delali described her experience creating Diversity Employee Resource Groups at Genentech, launching the African Americans in Biotechnology group, which has grown 76% in membership.

A scholarship selection committee selected the 10 competition finalists based on admission application materials. Criteria included demonstrated leadership and academic achievement. 

10 Finalists

  • Jonathan Matias
  • Kevin Sullivan
  • Jacklyn Tran-Nguyen
  • Selvin (Sal) Rodas
  • Rajan Venkitachalam
  • Delali Attiogbe
  • Tara Kurland
  • Vivek Asija
  • Chris Guirlinger
  • Cristiane Namuiuti

Competition Judges

  • Mike Fetters, Walter Carpenter Distinguished Professor, Professor of Accounting
  • George Beardsley, M’73, Founder, Quality Earnings
  • Barbara Selmo, Director, Graduate Admissions
  • Farshad Rafii, Associate Professor of Technology and Operations Management
  • Huzaifa (Huz) Dalal, M’07, CEO & Director, Sales and Business Development, Sunny Ocean Studios Pte Ltd

Babson’s San Francisco Fast Track MBA is an accelerated, part-time 24-month program designed for experienced professionals who want to advance their careers while earning their degree. For information, visit


Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., is recognized internationally as a leader in entrepreneurial management education. Babson grants BS degrees through its innovative undergraduate program, and grants MBA and custom MS and MBA degrees through the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. Babson Executive Education offers executive development programs to experienced managers worldwide. For information, visit

By Nancy Sullivan,, 781-239-4623 | 03/08/2011 06:00