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2016 Best MBAs: Bryanne Leeming, Babson

Bryanne Leeming Babson

Bryanne Leeming

Babson College     

“By working closely with people who I had just met from all corners of the globe, I was pushed on my opinions and assumptions and challenged to think differently and to become an assertive decision maker. These experiences allowed me to appreciate and embrace the importance of conflict in a group and to realize how it can be dangerous to have a group that agrees on everything.”

Age: 26

Hometown: Hanover, NH

Education: McGill University, Bachelor of Arts and Science (Major: Cognitive Science, Minor: Art History)

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Harry Winston (Timepiece Marketing Assistant), adMarketplace (Project Specialist, Account Manager)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? This summer I completed an internship at Cloud Technology Partners in Boston, MA while also launching my own company, JumpSmart Inc. at Babson’s Summer Venture Program.

Where will you be working after graduation? After graduation, I will be continuing run my company, JumpSmart as Founder & CEO.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • The sole recipient of the class of 2016’s Ralph Z. and Charlotte R. Sorenson Scholarship Award for Meritorious Achievement
  • Graduate Assistantship Scholarship for research in Future Global Trends
  • F.W. Olin MBA Scholarship
  • Lab Manager and Teaching Assistant with Amon Millner at the EASE Lab at Olin College of Engineering
  • Published academic paper at Constructionism 2016 on JumpSmart’s early prototypes
  • Co-Chair of the 2015 Babson Entrepreneurship Forum
  • Captain of the Babson MBA Ice Hockey Team
  • Volunteer at 826 Valencia
  • Accepted into the Babson WIN Lab Accelerator
  • Accepted into the Babson Summer Venture Program

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of my time as Co-Chair of the Babson Entrepreneurship Forum. I chose to apply for the position after attending the event the year before and noticing several key areas for improvement. I gave myself a high bar to hit including selling more than 500 tickets after previous years of less than 300 attendees. I also wanted to make this year’s BEF a more collaborative effort, so I connected with Olin College of Engineering to host a panel as well as 10 separate Babson clubs at the undergraduate and graduate level. I was in charge of bringing in speakers, and I led a team of 15 students to bring in more than 50 entrepreneurial speakers and from around the world, sold out the conference with over 530 attendees, and had excellent feedback from attendees after the event. I was able to plan and execute this event while also hitting key milestones for JumpSmart like getting funding and adding key team members. In fact, running the BEF was the best preparation I could have had for starting my own company.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of starting my own venture, JumpSmart. JumpSmart creates interactive products that introduce kids ages 8-12 to coding in a physically active and socially engaging way. I have always been grateful for early experiences I had learning to code when I was just 8 years old. That skill eventually helped me in my career. I wanted to create a similar experience for others, and to design products that invite children into coding—especially those who don’t learn well in a traditional sedentary, solitary way on a computer screen. I have been able to challenge myself with JumpSmart and have been very proud of my accomplishments to date.

This entrepreneurial venture has allowed me to grow as a person as well, and I am now comfortable presenting to crowds of over 300 people, talking over the details of our hardware products with engineers and software developers, and negotiating deals with investors. Early on, I wanted to know how the product worked so I personally built our first electronic prototype. I raised seed funding from Rough Draft Ventures at General Catalyst Partners, and have tested our first five prototypes with over 700 children in Boston at the Boston Museum of Science, Boston Children’s Museum, TEDx, the Google Offices, YMCA, Girl Scouts, and FIRST Lego League. I have been able to connect with experts from Microsoft who are following our progress and planning future collaborations. I have been flown to Thailand and LA to present JumpSmart at various events. We just published an academic paper on our product in Constructionism 2016 as well and were written about in BostInno, Boston Magazine, and Network World. These all came about as a result of me taking action and following through on my goals.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Les Charm because he taught me how to see through smoke and mirrors and look to the heart of any situation.

Favorite MBA Courses? Entrepreneurial Finance, Babson Consulting Alliance Program, Management Consulting Field Experience (MCFE), Measuring & Managing Strategic Performance, Marketing High-Tech Products

Why did you choose this business school? I came close to coming to Babson for my undergraduate degree because I have always wanted to start my own business and I loved my visit there, but instead I chose to get a completely different experience studying science at McGill University and building up a background that I could apply to my future business. For graduate school, the choice was simple because I knew exactly what I could create with my background in cognitive science, product development, and technology, so I could come in sprinting. I pitched JumpSmart for the first time within the first two months of school and have not stopped since. I was inspired by stories of past Babson Entrepreneurs because of the conscious companies and social enterprises that have emerged from the graduate school as well.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I am passionate about many things, both artistic and scientific. Business school was an incredible amalgamation of all of the things I love. I loved meeting people from around the world and being able to learn about myself through learning about them. I loved the challenge of the classes and the experiential leadership courses that made me a better leader, such as the MCFE class I took leading a team of undergraduate students in a consulting project with Clarkson Consulting.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? The biggest lesson I gained at Babson came from all the group projects we were put into in first year. By working closely with people who I had just met from all corners of the globe, I was pushed on my opinions and assumptions and challenged to think differently and to become an assertive decision maker. These experiences allowed me to appreciate and embrace the importance of conflict in a group and to realize how it can be dangerous to have a group that agrees on everything. These experience helped me with build a successful team with JumpSmart.

What was the hardest part of business school? For me, the challenge at business school was in choosing which opportunities to take advantage of, both at Babson and in Boston. There are so many excellent speakers, programs, and classes to take. When my business became a priority last year and started to gain traction, I was able to hyper-focus on it and was very grateful to my classmates and professors for their support in my endeavor.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? If you’re going to come to Babson, make sure that entrepreneurship is “in your bones” in the words of one of my favorite entrepreneurs, Ayah Bdeir, founder of LittleBits. Starting a company, especially in the early stages, is challenging and requires a lot of humility and willingness to commit to put in long hours to make it happen. If it is not “in your bones” then you will not be able to fully take advantage of the resources Babson has to offer.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…Harry Winston was acquired by the Swatch Group while I was working there. All the organizational changes aftermath of the acquisition brought up many questions for me about how great businesses evolve.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be a pediatric eye doctor. I have had very poor eyesight (-10 prescription) since I was seven years old and in my neuroscience classes I was always fascinated by how the eye works and how it connects with the brain.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? My parents have run a successful restaurant in Hanover, NH for over 25 years (Murphy’s on the Green if you’re ever in town). I admire my dad’s ability to attract and retain talent, hiring employees that average 10-20 years working at the restaurant. He has built a positive culture that many people call home. My mom is the detail-oriented half of the partnership, and she keeps the wheels turning on the entire operation. Both of them taught me how to work hard, and I have been inspired by what they have built: a vibrant place where ideas are exchanged that has brought joy to millions of people in its lifetime.

What are your long-term professional goals? I want to run JumpSmart and become the leader in robotics education for children. My goal with JumpSmart is to open up STEM education for children with learning styles who typically shy away from coding. We will not all need to be programmers in the future, but we will need to know the basics of coding in order to participate in a future filled with even more technology. Eventually I would also like to work in venture capital investing in companies that have an economic and social impact. I believe business is the fastest way to spread an idea, and I want to be part of spreading great ideas quickly that benefit the world.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I most want to thank my sports coaches through the years. I played ice hockey, field hockey, and lacrosse in high school and played lacrosse at McGill. The coaches I’ve had showed me how to overcome adversity and work hard through pain to reach my goals. They showed me how to push my own limits and especially what it means to play for a team.

Fun fact about yourself: I was a competitive gymnast for ten years growing up, and can still do a back flip every now and then.

Favorite book: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Harry Potter Series

Favorite movie: Little Miss Sunshine

Favorite musical performer: The Roots

Favorite television show: Lost

Favorite vacation spot: New Zealand

Hobbies? Running, snowboarding, painting

What made Bryanne such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Bryanne was one of the leaders for the biggest student run event at Babson, the Babson Entrepreneurship Forum. This event brings hundreds of people to our campus to see some of the most influential names in entrepreneurship. In addition to the extraordinary and arduous work Bryanne did on the Forum, she had to juggle at least one difficult situation that could have put her integrity in conflict with the goals of other’s at the college. She sought out advice when she needed to, but she took the responsibility to act in this situation without hesitation. Not every student so willingly stands up for what they believe to be the right thing even when they have to be the “bad guy”. As a result, Bryanne is one of those people it is easy to see as a colleague as well as a student.

In terms of impact, I have been so pleased and impressed with the focus of Bryanne’s business venture and the way she has pursued it in the last two years. Her goal of inspiring children to engage in coding and to learn what is possible when you take control of technology is not only laudable, it is crucial. I am so excited to see where Jumpsmart goes, and look forward to my own son learning about coding and computer science with it.” — Kate Buckman, Director of Graduate Student Affairs, Babson College

DON’T MISS: CLASS OF 2016: THE BEST & BRIGHTEST GRADUATING MBAS