Virtual Impressions: Babson College (MA)
Babson College was the third school that I had planned to visit next month. Ranked in the top 100 undergrad business programs by Poets and Quants, Babson College has fewer than 2,400 students seeking bachelors degrees. I found Pinterest photos for you, but there were not many around. However, the admissions office has done a great job of showing the school online. They offered me a virtual chat to help.
Here’s a few virtual impressions of Babson College:
- The campus architecture is a blend of 19th century facades and 21st century tech modern interiors. They make me think of Disney. Everything feels clean and safe. It’s a great sell to parents as well as the students. The setting also helps at a school that appears to bond around the academics more than non-academic campus traditions or sports.
- Babson has hosted two of the Sharks from Shark Tank on campus to a packed hall: Daymond John and Mark Cuban. John, who did not attend college, has been an Entrepreneur in Residence at Babson. Babson was also the first college in the US to establish an Alumni Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs. I would have hope to see that when I visited. Unlike Tufts, I got the feeling of “this can be you” during a virtual visit. I also felt that when I saw the sign in the Admissions office: ‘What Will You Create?’
- It’s not easy to get into Babson. Less that a quarter of the students who applied to join last year’s freshman class got in. The average SAT was over 1300. Thirty percent of Babson applicants took advantage of an opportunity to interview. This is a good idea. Sales ability is important to becoming an entrepreneur—and this school offers a fair chance to sell yourself. Babson also requires a supplemental essay: Why Babson? If you have good first impressions about Babson, do some research, and write well. It might get you in, provided the academics and your interests in business are strong.
- The Babson education has evolved, but stays around a theme: Entrepreneurial Thought in Action. The college turned 100 last year, though it did not grant its first bachelors degrees until 1947. Founded to help the sons of entrepreneurs to take over their father’s businesses, Babson first issued a certificate. From 1947 to 1969 Babson offered only a three-year Bachelors in Business. After that, the degree bumped to four years. But you can still graduate early, if you’re ready.
- Today, Babson offers 27 concentrations, all but two in business disciplines. Unlike many business schools, Babson allows its students to choose two concentrations, the college’s term for majors. A third of Babson students do this. Babson students can also cross register at Olin College of Engineering and Wellesley College near campus as well as Brandeis, Regis and Pine Manor. You can also earn a certificate in Sustainability in partnership with Wellesley College or an engineering certificate in partnership with Olin.
- Unlike many small colleges in the US, Babson has strong appeal to international students. They represent 30 percent of the undergraduate population and come from 80 countries.. Diversity means that students should be open-minded, willing to put themselves out there to make friends. You’re less like to find a dominant group of classmates who are “already like you.”
- Babson attracts around 500 employers to campus to recruit students for internships and full-time jobs. Interestingly, given the school’s career focus, Babson does not require students to have an internship in order to graduate, but it funds them for qualified students.
- I can imagine that many Babson College grads will start a business or refine a business plan during their education. During the virtual chat I learned that five percent of Babson grads start their own business within six months of graduation. That grows to around 25-30% as they get further away from graduation as they gain connections and capital.
- Also unlike many business schools, Babson offers a credit-bearing, funded opportunity to start a venture in partnership with a local social services agency. This is a required course for freshmen. Working in teams of ten, given seed capital of $3,000 from the college, Babson students create a product or service for their client. Coaching sessions, where students work through business cases, are required in the freshman and junior years. There’s also an intensive student consulting experience available later in your education. Babson gives you a laptop, which saves you some money. But Mac users are out of luck; the freebie is a Lenovo PC.
- There’s a couple of other programs that you’re not likely to see at many business schools. One is a San Francisco Semester, where you live, study and work in the city.. Specialized career services will also make a business student quite competitive against their peers at BU or Northeastern. A third of the Babson alumni who are registered in LinkedIn.com, over 12,000 strong, are based in/around Boston. There’s nearly 3,600 in/around New York City and over 800 in the San Francisco area. Elsewhere in the US the geography of the alumni base is pretty thin.
- Wellesley appears to be a nice suburb of Boston. You can take the bus or train into the Hub City, after you get a ride to Wellesley Station. But you’ll need about an hour to get into the city It’s not practical to intern with a commute like that. There’s a shuttle to get to Olin or Wellesley for classes and socializing. But you must have access to a car to get to schools like Boston College, Brandeis or Tufts.
- Babson is a very residential campus. This school mixed the Greek housing with the rest of the residence halls, including two-person studio apartments. Only freshmen are required to live on campus, but everyone probably should. Eighty percent of the Babson undergrads do, as does everyone at nearby Olin and Wellesley. Check out the prices of rentals in Wellesley on zillow.com or apartments.com. Then plan on living on campus for four years. The model room I found online is really nice.
- The Babson experience is quite expensive, with an estimated total cost of attendance of around $75,000. There’s a long list of merit awards. If you won high school honors in DECA or Junior Achievement, and you’ve got excellent grades, Babson has special awards to aim for. The college reports that it meets 100 percent of need. But it does not disclose student debt information.
Babson College has a graduation rate (89%) similar to the most selective liberal arts colleges and research universities. That’s a very positive reflection on the students as well as the admissions office’s ability to select a freshman class. If you’re serious about becoming an entrepreneur, or becoming an executive or consultant who can think like one, Babson might be your school. If you’re totally undecided between business and a liberal arts major, you might want to look elsewhere.
Need help in taking your virtual and real-life journey to college? Have an idea for a school that I could take a virtual visit? Contact me at email@example.com or call me at 609-406-0062.
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