Meet Babson College’s MBA Class Of 2020

Babson College’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business


The Class of 2020 is diverse in other ways too. 30% of the two-year students are female, with another 28% being underrepresented American minorities. Overall, they bring a 618 average GMAT to Boston coupled with a 3.22 average undergraduate GPA. Academically, the largest segment of the class – 42% – earned their undergraduate degrees in Business Management. Social sciences and Law (8%), Economics (7%), Engineering and Computer sciences (7%), Humanities (4%), and Science and Mathematics (4%) also constitute larger blocs of the incoming class.

Professionally, just 6% of the class labeled themselves as entrepreneurs. The largest segment features students who previously worked in financial services. They account for 13% of the class, followed by manufacturing (11%), technology (11%), consulting (9%), consumer products (5%), and healthcare and life sciences (5%).

Overall, Olin received 604 applications for a spot in the two-year Class of 2020, ultimately accepting 70% of those who applied. In addition, Olin offers the flexibility of a one-year program, which drew 39 students with an average GMAT of 599. International students comprised 67% of this class, with women holding 36% of the one year seats.


What’s new at the Olin MBA this year? In July, the program appointed Keith Rollag as dean. A Stanford Ph.D. and Procter & Gamble veteran, Rollag has taught startup courses at the school for 17 years. As the school heads towards its centennial in 2019, Rollag plans to look at ways to “reimagine” its MBA program, he said in a 2018 interview with P&Q.

“[We want to] make it more entrepreneurial, more relevant, more adaptable for the future. As the market for graduate education is evolving, we’ll make sure that our MBA is evolving with it.”

Monica Moody Moore

That process has already begun, Rollag notes, with the school’s efforts to lengthen its reach in entrepreneurship. This includes adding new faculty in the field and expanding the Babson Institute for Family Entrepreneurship. In addition, the school has also opened its Weissman Foundry Center, which focuses on fostering innovation in graduate and undergraduate programming.


“It’s another way that design thinking, innovation, and social entrepreneurship are all coming together under one hub and umbrella. We’ll have events there, seminars, programming, and more,” writes Monica Moody Moore, dean of graduate admissions at the school.

That’s not the only area where Olin has been in expansion mode. In September 2019, the school will launch its Babson-MBA Dubai, a program for professional that will be housed in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a hub for Middle Eastern, Asian, and African commerce that covers 272 acres and boasts nearly 23,000 professionals.

“The Babson MBA-Dubai offers students the opportunity to complete their degree in 19 months with an equal ratio of face-to-face and online classes,” Moody Moore tells P&Q. The expansion into Dubai will continue to broaden Babson’s global footprint, in an effort to educate entrepreneurs of all kinds everywhere.”


For Babson, this is the latest step in a larger strategy, whose last move was opening a hub in Miami last year to cater to prospective entrepreneurs in Latin America and Mexico. “Since 2010, we’ve had a hub in San Francisco where we deliver our Blended Learning MBA,” says Kerry Healey, Babson College’s President, in a 2017 interview with P&Q. “Now, we have undergraduate student cohorts who spend a semester there, alumni events, and exec ed. Then our new Boston hub opened in 2015. That facility has brought us much closer to the Seaport financial district and the innovation district in Kendall Square and enabled us to be a part of both. We now have hundreds of events a year there plus graduate and undergraduate courses.”

While the program is expanding externally, it still keeps a close eye on what’s happening on campus. In fact, Moody Moore considers the school’s extensive network of Centers and Institutes to be the most underrated part of the Babson MBA experience.

While other school may use a “look but don’t experience” approach, Babson’s Centers provide relevant programming and ongoing enrichment activities that strengthen the student experience and deepen their network and professional understanding,” she asserts.  “Our Centers are very hands-on, offering programming on a regular basis, not periodic or once-in-a-while basis. It’s a regular part of the Babson experience. Topic areas include: social innovation, women’s entrepreneurship, finance, entrepreneurship, and family entrepreneurship.”


Student team applying Olins ET&A methodology

This year, the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship even added a new wrinkle. In December, it will partner with the Indian Angel Network (IAN) – India’s largest business angel network – to host a live-streamed competition with a $250,000 equity stake as a prize.

“For Babson, we can give early-stage Babson entrepreneurs access to an experienced source of capital and a well-connected, successful group of mentors who have seen it all,” says Debi Kleiman, executive director of Blank Center, in a 2018 interview with P&Q. That network and experience is invaluable to entrepreneurs, particularly in the early stages or if they are first time entrepreneurs.”

Such events, coupled with a robust roster of clubs, have stirred the Class of 2020’s imagination. Ashley Taylor, for example, is looking forward to the Butler Launchpad and Summer Venture Program. Similarly, Hamad Alfares plans to take advantage of Babson’s business support infrastructure, including incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces. At the same time, Manan Bhandari, whose startup was selected to be launched at Santa Clara’s DEMO Fall ’12, is eyeing two pivotal events at the school.

“As the flagship event of Babson, I’m looking forward to participating and being part of the Babson Entrepreneurship Forum and all it has to offer—speeches, startup showcase, interactions, etc.,” he says.  I’m also looking forward to the electives abroad—studying an elective or two in a different country with new educational surroundings.”


Entrepreneurship is undoubtedly Babson’s biggest draw. Aside from a wealth of resources, partnerships, and expertise, the program is held together by a patented and repeatable – ET&A, otherwise known as Entrepreneurial Thought and Action. In a nutshell, ET&A is a deeply data-driven and profoundly reflective approach that harnesses an entrepreneur’s creative energies to help them to quickly identify their commitment, possibilities and limitations.

It starts with prospective entrepreneurs taking a deep dive into the what and the why. The reason? Entrepreneurship is rarely about simply making money. Instead, it comes with a purpose and a desired impact – one that will determine a venture’s scope and strategy. From there, entrepreneurs conduct an inventory, evaluating resources such as expertise, network and capital. Such research will ultimate determine a founder’s risk tolerance – or what they’ll be willing to sacrifice to turn their dream into a functioning operation. After conducting the market research, ET&A practitioners are encouraged to take a small and calculated action, the Olin equivalent to Silicon Valley’s “fail fast” mantra. Afterwards, they assess their performance. In the process, they bring others into the process for guidance before deciding whether to move on, continue experimenting, or make tweaks before starting a business.

This methodology is what separates Olin from all the rest, says Benjamín Mujica Dittborn. “Many MBAs have entrepreneurship as one of their strengths but, in my opinion, Babson has two big differences from the rest. First, entrepreneurship at Babson is the base and foundation of everything, not just one subject in the curriculum. Second, the focus is on adding real value to society, making a true impact.”


ET&A also has heavy application to established enterprises, whose success and failure are equally dependent on reflection, research, action, and evaluation. “The majority of students aren’t creating their own businesses,” writes Ross Chesnik, a 2017 Olin grad and Best & Brightest MBA. “The appeal of Babson’s entrepreneurship intrigue and status is that it attracts students who want to learn the principles of entrepreneurship to help them be better business leaders. Whether it’s a Fortune 500 company, or a two-person venture, Babson’s methodology allows its students to navigate uncertainty in any business setting. This skill set is still a scarcity in the business world, and Babson MBA alumni take these assets to heart, and are better leaders because of them.”

Student discussion after class.

This advantage is only amplified in a small program like Olin, where students can get to know everyone personally. The faculty have also earned high marks from Olin students past and present. “Professors here consistently teach you how to use the course material outside of the classroom,” says Alex Green.

“The faculty at Babson not only have given me helpful advice, but also have been forthcoming in connecting me to their network,” adds Ravish Majithia, another Best & Brightest MBA from the Class of 2018. “I owe a lot to the faculty members at Babson!”


Add to that, the MBA program benefits from its location in Boston. A biotech Mecca, Boston was ranked as the top metropolitan area for startups by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation for the second year running in 2018, thanks to a highly educated and skilled talent pool along with strong partnerships between government and business.

“Boston is known as the up-and-coming startup hub that presents numerous area-specific offerings like high-caliber accelerators and incubators that allow me the chance to get hands-on experience in a cutting-edge startup environment,” writes Hamad Alfares. “This will enable me to be several steps closer to reaching my career goals and aspirations.”

What’s next for the Class of 2020? Many plan to return to the home countries to grow their businesses and spread the word about entrepreneurship. “I have a deep desire for building a centre in my hometown that promotes entrepreneurship and creates more opportunities for people with ideas,” writes Manan Bhandari. “I believe in the talent pool available there, with the right skill set, I will be able to be a part of building the infrastructure that will create a great innovation ecosystem.”

“My plan is to come back to Chile and work in my family business,” adds Benjamín Mujica Dittborn. “I feel that post-graduation, with an MBA and five years in a big company as LATAM Airlines, is the right time to support my family and make my contribution to the companies we have. There are huge challenges in these companies but I’m looking forward to this!”

What led these professionals to enter business schools? Which programs did they also consider? What strategies did they use to choose their MBA program? What was the major event that defined them? Find the answers to these questions and many more in the in-depth profiles of these incoming MBA candidates.

Student Hometown Alma Mater Employer
Hamad Alfares Qortuba, Kuwait University of Missouri-Kansas City The Ministry of State for Youth Affairs-Kuwait
Manan Bhandari Indore, India University of Pune India Pvt. Ltd.
Elena Cavalca Knack Sao Miguel do iguaçu, Brazil Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina NA
Tricia DiGirolomo Annapolis, MD Salisbury University Videology
Will Gray Boston, MA Trinity College Black Duck Software
Alex Green Nashua, NH Boston University Millennium Partners
Masayuki Kameo Tokyo, Japan University of Tokyo Toyota Motor Corporation
Claudia Monteverde Valencia, Venezuela Universidad de Carabobo Centro Odontologico Monteverde
Benjamín Mujica Dittborn Santiago, Chile Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile LATAM Airlines Group
Dancan Onyango Kisumu, Kenya University of Nairobi Rural Finance Expansion Programme, Zambia
Fupeng Pei Beijing, China Beijing University of Chinese Medicine Eli Lilly
Ashley Taylor Provo, UT Brigham Young University Taylor Custom Rings

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