Travelogue 2: Babson College

Ingrid and Martine are two students from the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship. In a series of travelogues, they will introduce us to the world of entrepreneurship in Boston as they are finishing their master thesis at the Babson College.

Hello there and happy easter!

Hopefully you have just gotten home from a nice skiing trip, and you are now ready to get cuddled up in front of a fireplace and enjoy our latest blog post. Today we will share some of our experiences from Babson College with you.

As part of our master program at the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship (NSE), we have received the opportunity to collect data and get guidance at this highly recognised college. And when we say highly recognised, we want to emphasize the word highly. Babson College was actually just awarded the top-ranked college within entrepreneurship in the U.S. for the 25th consecutive year!

So how did Babson College gain this position? The college is famous for its research projects, where some of the most important ones are the Diana Project and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). In addition to the excellent research, the college is also focusing on giving their students a top notch education. The 3000 students learn through experiences both from the school material and from the community. The curriculum is highly diverse, with courses ranging from business development to liberal arts, ethics and even environmental science. The classes are interactive, which means that the teachers are encouraging discussions and critical thinking. In other words, a quite uncomfortable teaching style for Norwegian students who prefer to keep a low profile.

The faculty believes that  the only way to understand what it takes to run a business, is to actually run a business. Babson therefore offers a one-year course, where the students get to invent, develop, launch and manage a business. The startups partner up with local service agencies, and they have to donate 80 hours of community service and give all their profits to their agency partner. As a result, more than $470,000 has been given to local charities since 1999. That is incredible, right?!

The variety of classes offered at Babson is quite impressive. For an eager entrepreneurship student it seems like the process of choosing courses is like walking into an overfilled candy shop. At undergraduate level, Babson College offers bachelor’s degrees in 25 areas of study in business administration, as well as six different bachelors of science degrees and 60 different entrepreneurship-related courses. At graduate level they offer master’s degrees in business administration, finance and accounting, as well as a Master of Science in management and entrepreneurial leadership.

Living up to the American core values, this school truly allows the individual to shape their own future by offering the freedom of choice. Not only do the students get to choose their educational direction, but they also get to choose the location of where they want to study. Babson has their main campus out in Wellesley, but they also teach at their campus in Downtown Boston, Miami and San Francisco. Even though we haven’t had the chance to work on our tan while studying at the more sunny campuses, we are happy to have the chance of using both the Downtown office space, and to have a private office at the Wellesley campus.

The Downton Campus in the Financial District, where we do most of our work.

The resources available to us through Babson are amazing, and the faculty and fellow students here are very helpful. Not only do we get guidance and introductions, but we have also had the opportunity of listening to a real pitching session for a business angel group. Here we got to observe pitches and to listen to the closed investor discussions after the entrepreneurs left the room.

Speaking of available resources available at Babson, we have to mention that the regular students here have access to two entrepreneurial centers. The Center of Women Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) is dedicated to advancing the entrepreneurial leadership of women through research and programs. By helping women become leaders, this center is truly promoting more girl power! In addition to the CWEL, Babson also has the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship, which accelerates entrepreneurship by giving students access to events, workshops, mentoring and competitions.

When talking about competitions, a fun fact is that Babson College was the first academic institution to hold a business plan competition for students. So to all the inspired Venture Cup students, take a look at Babson – this is where it started! Today, the college hosts an annual event called the “Rocket pitch”, where students pitch their business ideas to an audience of students, faculty, entrepreneurs, investors and service providers. An even bigger competition is the Babson Entrepreneurial Thought and Action (BETA) Challenge, where students compete for $75,000.  In addition to the mentioned resources, Babson College offers a summer venture program and an incubator called the Hatchery.

To sum it up, Babson College offers a vibrant atmosphere where ideas and information is shared among students, faculty and visiting entrepreneurs. Or, to say it like their official slogan:

“Babson College educates entrepreneurial leaders who create great economic and social value — everywhere”.

Martine taking a stroll at the beautiful campus in Wellesley.

– Ingrid Skrede and Martine Gripp Bay

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