Last month I attended the IECA Conference in Boston and toured seven college campuses in and around the city. This visit I concentrated on schools with specific academic specialties.
My first stop was Babson College: a small business school located in the affluent Boston suburb of Wellesley, MA. As I drove into Wellesley, I was enchanted by the stonewalls lining the streets and the picture perfect New England town. There is a T-stop in the center of town, allowing easy access to downtown Boston. The campus of Babson is pristine and compact. A mix of brick and glass buildings line the central road. I visited during final exams so most of the 2,100 undergraduate students were in study mode and understandably the campus was very quiet.
All Babson students graduate with a BS degree in business. Admissions told me that it is their entrepreneurial focus that sets Babson apart from other New England business schools. Students begin their Babson experience by taking FME (Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship). Each class is limited to 30 students with two professors. One instructor focuses on the hard skills of business and the other professor instructs the soft skills. The purpose of this full year course is for students to implement the theory they learn in class by beginning a small start-up company. During the first semester students identify a need or problem. They then find a solution to the problem by designing a product and ultimately market it to the class. During the second semester, students focus on selling their products in the Wellesley and Boston area. All profits from sales are donated to charities.
Although all Babson students earn a business degree, students have the opportunity to choose one or more concentrations. Nearly half of students choose a liberal arts’ concentration, while others choose one or more business concentrations. Most business concentrations are what you would expect (accounting, finance, etc.). However, there are some specialty concentrations as well. Forensic accounting is a new, specialty concentration.
It is not surprising that a 21-century business school would encourage global opportunities and support students who want a study abroad experience. Global experiences help students understand different cultures first hand. A large percentage of Babson students, nearly 70-percent, study abroad. The BRIC (Babson Russia India China) Program is a unique, select study abroad program led by a Babson professor that travels to Russia, India and China. Each year 20-25 students are accepted into this program.
The Center for Career Development is opened to students beginning their freshman year. Career Services offers networking workshops, mock interviews and resume writing assistance. Babson offers three internship/career fairs a year. Most students graduate with two or more internship experiences. Many students attend class Monday-Thursday and intern in the Greater Boston Area on Fridays. It is not surprising that Babson students are highly marketable and in high demand post graduation. Six months after graduation, 96-percent of students are employed.
Athletes compete in division III sports. Babson does not have football. Hockey draws a big spectator crowd. Greek life has a small presence. There are three sororities and three fraternities. There is a variety of performing and visual arts opportunities on campus. Admittedly, I was surprised by the beautiful, on-campus Performing and Visual Arts Center. Dance ensemble is a very popular club on campus. I spoke to a few groups of athletes who told me that they usually stay on campus during the weekends, especially during their athletic season. On the flip side, I spoke to a few international students who told me that they usually go into downtown Boston on the weekends. Students can have cars on campus all four years and zip cars are available.
Students can cross register at Olin, Wellesley, and Brandeis.
Admissions and Financial Aid
Admissions told us that they are looking for students who are strong leaders and accept challenges. Babson accepts the ACT/SAT but does not review the writing section on either test. When reviewing applications, Babson pays particular attention to students’ math selections during high school. Students are advised to take calculus and/or statistics their senior year. Interviews are highly encouraged. Babson is need-blind. All students are considered for merit aid.
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