Meet the Babson Olin MBA Class of 2018

Babson College's Olin Hall - Ethan Baron photo

Babson College’s Olin Hall
– Ethan Baron photo


Accomplished is another apt label for this class. During her nine year tenure at the Swim Across America nonprofit, Chanowski tripled their revenue. At Carolina Wine Brands, Chile’s Martin Barros launched a new wine that generated a million dollars in sales in just the first six months. Looking for a natural-born salesman? Alexander Barza is definitely your man. “When the winter of 2014 ceased all bike sales in the east-coast,” he explains, “I packed my backpack with samples of my company’s anti-theft bike lights and sold them “door-to-door” along the west coast. When I returned a month later, we had more than doubled our number of retail partners.” (Top that, Zig Ziglar!)

That’s just the start. Kohnstamm was chosen, at just 23 years old, to lead the overhaul of his company’s flagship product. Mariana Gonzalez, a travel lover from Mexico, graduated at the top of her class in General Electric’s two-year Financial Management Program. Kvaratskhelia even got an early start on business school by helping to produce “Harvard Business School-like” cases on businesses in her native Georgia.

Students outside Babson College’s Olin Hall - Ethan Baron photo

Students outside Babson College’s Olin Hall – Ethan Baron photo

In the 2015-2016 cycle, Babson received 577 applications and ultimately enrolled 128 students for its 2018 Class. The class rolls into Wellesley with 632 average GMATs, with 34% of the class consisting of women and another 24% being American minorities. Looking for a true international cohort in the states? Babson is probably your best option, as 74% of the class hails from overseas. That has been a big benefit for Michael Perlis, a Deloitte vet who loves to “laugh, golf, and talk about data viz.” I’ve been able to hear perspectives from all over the world,” he says.

Overall, nearly two-thirds of the class majored in either business (33%) or engineering (30%) as undergrads. In addition, computer sciences, humanities, social sciences, economics, and science and mathematics majors comprise roughly 5% of the class each. Looking at their professional backgrounds, the largest percentage of the 2018 class — 14% — comes out of technology. Consumer products, manufacturing, financial services, and consulting also constitute other large blocs of the class.


Obviously, Babson’s entrepreneurial prowess was the marquee attraction for the incoming class. However, the program offers several other benefits. Ramírez de Arellano trumpets the program’s “culture of collaboration,” while Sthuthi Jebaraj lauds the small class sizes and the more personalized approach to teaching. “At Babson, the professor knows your name and you can’t really hide,” she observes. Barza also points to the faculty as a differentiator. “The professors encourage us enthusiastically to engage with them outside of class because they love teaching,” he says.

The program also boasts vast resources that belie its small school stature. That includes an endowment of nearly $350 million dollars, which has enabled the program to finance an array of ventures. “They have the Design Zone which can be used for design thinking workshops or creative brainstorming sessions with your teams,” Perlis notes. “They also have the Blank Center for Entrepreneurship, which offers a Venture Accelerator program, and the Lewis Institute for Social Innovation. All of these are great resources to have at your disposal.”

Even more, the program devotes significant time and resources to experiential learning. Notably, every student takes the core “Managing Talent: Your Own and Others” (MTYOO) course, where students work together to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and develop long-term growth plans. They also complete consulting projects, partnering with 4-6 peers over two months to complete field work for firms ranging from AT&T to LaunchRockit. In addition, the curriculum includes Signature Learning Experiences (SLE), where students practice entrepreneurial decision-making in a real world venture. “We have been creating and collaborating since day one, which is a true testament to Entrepreneurial Thought and Action,” says Perlis. “Our Entrepreneurship class challenged us to make a profit with only $5 of “seed” money while focusing on making our product or service socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable.”

Babson College - Ethan Baron photo

Babson College – Ethan Baron photo


The Class of 2018 may be rebels with causes, but not necessarily paths to make them real. That’s true for Chanowski, who knows the outcome she wants. She just needs the right idea to make it happen. “I came to Babson with the value proposition that I want my business to provide, but without the actual business idea, which seems strange to say,” she admits. “My dream is to provide instantaneous joy at an affordable price. I want to share a product or service that causes an immediate and apparent change in mood.”

Perhaps she could join forces with Kvaratskhelia, who plans to launch several startups to do just that. “My business profile will focus mostly in the fashion industry and I will strive to empower other female entrepreneurs to start their own businesses,” she says. “As a working mother, I know how difficult it is to balance motherhood with career ambition. I aspire to build a support network for creative, capable and well-prepared moms who are applying to MBA programs or struggling to start their own businesses.”

True to Babson’s social mission, Jebaraj discovered her dream — operating a cost-cutting for-profit in the health care space — during her medical school internship. “I moved to a small town in rural India to work as a resident medical doctor. Often I was the only doctor on call. While this was very challenging, it taught me a great deal about myself and the world around me. I learnt how difficult it was for the majority of Indians to access quality healthcare and it set me on the path to getting a public health degree.”

When it comes to how they want to look back at their two years at Babson, Gonzalez probably sums it up best: “Mariana came to Babson with an ambitious idea and left with an exciting project.”


To read profiles of incoming Babson students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.

Martin Barros / Santiago, Chile 

Alexander Barza / Newton, MA

Blake Chanowski / Newton, MA

Manuel L. Corcuera Ramírez de Arellano / Mexico City, Mexico

Ali Eldessouky / Rochester Hills, MI

Mariana Gonzalez / Aguascalientes, Mexico

Sthuthi Jebaraj / Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Simon Kohnstamm / Saint Paul, MN

Tamara Kvaratskhelia / Tbilisi, Georgia

Ashutosh Pandit / Mumbai, India

Michael Perlis / Framingham, MA

Reed Snyderman / Boston, MA

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