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Naveen explains why Babson MBA is not just for Entrepreneurs!

Babson MBA EntrepreneurF1GMAT: Babson MBA is known for its entrepreneurship. Do you really think you need an MBA to be an entrepreneur? Can an entrepreneur learn entrepreneurship on the job rather than spending 2 years in a program like Babson MBA?

Naveen: My short answer to the question is: No, you don't need an MBA to become an entrepreneur. And if you have a burning desire to start something along with the money to do it, do it now. The money you save by not attending Babson can be immediately invested into your business.

My longer answer would be to consider the Babson MBA and compare it with going to engineering school to become an engineer or to film school to learn filmmaking. Can you learn the without attending these courses? Of course, you can. A great engineer will be a great engineer no matter what his education; so with a filmmaker. But engineering school or film school definitely hone your talent and help you grasp a variety of technical skills in a short course. These skills that you learn will help you a lot in later life and career.

Similar to this model, consider the Babson MBA and its teachings.

Academics

The first year at Babson is divided in to four modules, each lasting between 6 to 10 weeks.

Mod 1 covers creative management in organizations with emphasis on understanding the process of creativity and team work through group activities and exercises within and outside the classroom.

Mod 2 sets the groundwork for assessment of business opportunities by teaching you the regular business frameworks and cross-linking them so that you learn to look at a business case from all angles. For example, you will have a joint marketing and finance class to analyze the potential market and cost for a medical production business or a transport operations business.

Mod 3 is about designing and managing the delivery system to implement the ideas that you developed in Mod 1 and filtered through Mod 2. This period allows you to think effectively about the organizational structure of your proposed business, the technology and operational strategy that you will consider adopting and how you will finance your venture.

Mod 4 (shortest mod at 4 weeks) is about learning to grow the business through a changing global market. Here, you learn to take the business concept you developed through Mods 1 through 3 and factor in conditions from across markets.


Second Year Electives are focused on understanding critical issues related to the setup, growth and scaling of small businesses. They also cover the buying of other businesses and marketing for startups. There are further specialized courses that deal with family businesses, setting up sales teams etc. Basically, all aspects of concern for a businessman are addressed.

Outside class

There are competitions including the Rocket Pitch, business plan competitions, programs including Venture Accelerator and Summer Venture Program that run at Babson and encourage students to pitch ideas, provide office space, mentoring and a very small amount of seed money.

Network

Plenty of students come from business families, some have started their own independent businesses and there are students who come in from the industry as well. Babson has a strong international class (41% international this year) and you are building an understanding of business opportunities and challenges (business structure, regulatory, funding, labor) from around the world. Whether you want to share your next big idea or seek sources of funding or  you feel down due to a failed deal, your classmates are of such nature and backgrounds that they constantly coax you to stay positive and guide you to seek the next step. Unlike many other schools, wanting to work for a startup or starting a business isn't considered crazy. It is actively encouraged and helped.

As I mentioned, being in the vicinity of global powerhouses like MIT also provides you an opportunity to network with their engineering students and see what cutting edge technology ideas are being commercialized in transportation, life sciences, logistics and just about any other sphere; perhaps even partner with them on commercializing those ideas.

As you see, Babson provides a student with a combination of academic and professional activities during their time in school. You could easily bypass all these experiences and jump straight in, but the education and experience helps you in many valuable ways. You learn to qualify your decisions with data, explore alternative opportunities or markets you might not have considered and equips you with a strong network of entrepreneurs, investors and mentors for life.

Worth it? You decide :)


F1GMAT: Do you want to break any myth about Babson MBA programs?

Naveen: Yes. I want to break the myth that Babson is a school meant ONLY for entrepreneurs. I would like to do that by pointing out some internship placement scenarios to clear the air and give a real-time perspective:

1. I am an Indian citizen and as of January, I have received an unpaid internship in a career changing industry (transport consulting) with a firm based out of Vienna, Austria. I got it through my own networking efforts (not first or second level, but further out). I will be performing transport research and working to develop partnerships with government agencies to secure funding for the business. The project will go on through the duration of my first year, summer and second year. I am doing this to build industry experience.

I also have had an interview for a major US consortium (EDF Climate Corps - What Fellows Say - EDF Climate Corps - Environmental Defense Fund) which places graduates with firms to determine the value of energy efficiency projects in roles that combine financial analysis and consulting. I received this opportunity through the school (the Babson Energy club brought in this organization; our club President interned with them last year). The career services helped me prepare for the mock interview, helped me craft my message and identified key areas of improvement leading up to the interview.

2. Amazon.com came in for the first time this year. They were brought in by a second year student who interned with them in a very senior role (Sr. Financial Analyst) and received a full-time placement offer at the end of the internship. They were so impressed by the quality of the student (he was part of a team that prepared the results for an earning call that Jeff Bezos himself took) that they have approached Babson students with opportunities for internships in Operations, Finance, General Management.

3. Hasbro interviewed between 12 - 15 students last week. That is 10% of our class! Three have received second round interviews that were completed this week. This was arranged by the school.

4. Endeavor (High-Impact Entrepreneurship | Endeavor Global) interviewed 15 applicants from Babson for international positions. Endeavor connects students with international entrepreneurs and you get to work closely on small scale businesses; skills that you will find helpful if you have entrepreneurial ambitions. Students who interviewed were not only Americans, but also from Chile, Pakistan, India, New Zealand etc.

5. Last week, several (~25) Babson students visited a MIT European career fair and I know some of my friends who interviewed with companies in France, Spain et al.

6. There are second year students who have interned with the Boston Harbor Angels, with venture capital firms and investment banks. Every position depends on what key skills you bring to the table and how well you prepare.

I can add companies including Staples, Ocean Spray, Johnson & Johnson, Fidelity, Athena Health, Liberty Mutual and several others that have interviewed my classmates this year. You will find the school's resources helpful if you do your homework.

As you see, there are enough people (Two year MBA, One year MBA, Evening MBA and Fast Track MBA) who are industry job seekers and Babson provides active support to these people IN ADDITION TO the already existing world-class entrepreneurial environment.

So, if you are thinking "I am not a startup person or I don't have entrepreneurial dreams and I want an industry job", you still have many solid reasons to consider Babson.

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