Feature

Feature

Virtual Reality in BabsonCODE

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Step into the shoes of a college student in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. The newest “craze” are personal computers – big, bulky machines that only displayed command prompts and weighed a ton. They honestly looked stupid.  And the people who sat hunched over those tiny screens might have looked like idiots – or worse – nerds.

Fast forward a little less than a decade and the Apple 1 comes out; soon computers start to become mainstream. A few short years later and a bright student from Harvard noticed that these computers lacked meaningful software, and launches a startup called Microsoft.

I don’t need to paint the picture any further. The point isn’t that computers started out as stupid machines and then became ubiquitous.

Faculty profile: Patricia Bossi

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Photo by Tatiana Trauslen

Babson College recently welcomed returning family member Patricia Bossi, who completed her MBA at Babson’s Olin Graduate School of Business and is now returning as a QTM professor.

Free Press: Where are you from?

Patricia Bossi: Well, I’ve lived here my whole life. I was born in Boston, and as a small child moved up to Chelmsford, Mass. I moved to Bedford, Mass nine years ago, which is about 20 minutes away from Babson without traffic.

FP: What brought you to Babson?

PB: Well, I got my MBA here and have been very involved ever since that point of time. Also my prior boss is here, so that kind of influenced me quite a bit. When he came over here, it was only a matter of time before I came over to teach a course or two with him. I adore him, so I couldn’t wait to come over.

FP: What’s the transition like from teaching at Bentley to Babson, considering that the two schools are known to be rivals?

PB: I don’t really consider them as rivals. I think Bentley is more of an accounting school and it’s much more focused on being a fear for the accounting world. I think Babson is more of an entrepreneurship school, so I don’t really see them as rivals. I think Babson is much more focused on a global education, entrepreneurship, educating all around, so it’s not so much of an accounting structure. I see much more of a rounded student coming out of Babson. I see the school as a lot more competitive with, I think, the Ivy League schools, personally. The Harvard’s and the Stanford’s and the Kellogg’s quality of their students are similar to those at Babson.

FP: What would you say are the focal differences between the two schools?

PB: Students here are much more rounded, they are go-getters, willing to take that extra step, ask questions, and are not shy. In my classroom experience at Bentley, students wouldn’t talk, they wouldn’t raise their hands. They would just sit there, take notes, and leave. It was not very interactive. At UMass Lowell, I was teaching a different type of student. I was teaching engineering students, and engineers are known to be more introverted, so I expected that over there. As far as business students go, it’s very refreshing to see outgoing, assertive and confident students in their skill base, and a lot of students here have started businesses and have done entrepreneurial things before and during their attendance. That is not something you see at other business schools in the area.

FP: Could you tell us a little bit about your work experience before coming to Babson?

PB: I started out in pure engineering, and then after getting my MBA I got much more into the business end of things. Of course, all the business was still in technical-based companies, so having both skills, a business background and a technical background, made it a very strong combination in the business world. I could understand the technology, so nobody could pull any blinders over me, and I understood the business side to things, so nobody could fudge the books on me. And I could help with the business planning and the startup process. It was great to have both; you need to have both.

FP: When you made the decision to pursue an MBA, was that because you recognized that you needed this business side?

PB: Absolutely. I would sit in meeting after meeting, and I understood math very well, but I did not necessarily understand what all the accountant and finance people were talking about when they discussed pro formas, year-to-years, and all these financial statements. I would wonder, “Am I missing something, are these real, is there a little bit of smoke being blown at me?” I knew I needed more understanding, and that’s when I went back and got my MBA.

FP: As an alumni, you know Babson’s focus on entrepreneurship. So how do you bring this focus into your own classroom?

PB: I try to get people to think on their own, to solve their own problems. I think a lot of the time by pushing back and giving in-class activities, and having people work together, you get a feel for what really happens in the business world. Not every one situation in life is someone going to be handing you a problem and solution. So you have to be able to think and solve problems on your own by doing some of the work. My students learn the skills and then they try it, solve it. I give them questions like, “What do you think about this?”—more open-ended questions versus a yes or no. I really try to get the thinking going.

FP: What is something that you’d like students to know about you or your class that they might not know about as of now? 

PB: Well, about me, I certainly never thought I was going to get into teaching based on my career, and it was one of those things that people say “when the teaching bug hits you, it hits you,” and it hit me hard. I am here because I love what I do, and I do want to give back some, hopefully all, of the knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the years. I always want students, and everyone, to know that I am approachable, I am here for them, and that there is never a dumb question. I don’t care what the question is, it will never be dumb, and it will always be answered with respect and treated with respect. I am here to help, I am never here to insult you or treat you poorly because you need or want help.

I want people to know that there was a day when I sat in that same chair as a student, and I don’t forget those days. And I have kids, and I’ve had times when they come home and tell me bad experiences with teachers and it breaks my heart that teachers can be short or mean to students. I want everyone to know that my door is always open and I’m always here. If I can find a way to help, I will.

Talking Babson over Turkey

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A course-by-course guide to explaining Babson at Thanksgiving dinner

Being the smart and astute people that all Babsonians are, we all know that preparation for Thanksgiving is a must. However, while Thanksgiving preparation for typical college students starts and ends with making sure that you come hungry to the big feast, Babson students face an additional task: being prepared to talk about Babson (especially if you’re not from the state of Massachusetts).

Although we all know how awesome and amazing Babson is, not all of our relatives do. If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the scenario:

It’s Thanksgiving Dinner time and you’re ready to dig into all the delicious food on the table… but your journey to this year’s annual food coma is interrupted by your forgetful grandmother/distanced cousin/annoying uncle: “What’s Babson!?”

Just as with any good Thanksgiving meal, you want to make sure you start off your deluge of Babson facts lightly (the basics), then lead into the juicy (and more interesting) details, and end the presentation with a soothing touch.

Here’s a great way to appease your relatives’ hunger for Babson that won’t interfere with your relatives’ (and your) quest for the after-meal glow.

The Appetizers


As with any good round of Thanksgiving hors d’oeuvres, you want to make sure that your appetizer of Babson facts are simple but varied. Try these basics:

  • Small private business school located in Wellesley, Mass founded by Roger Babson in 1919
  • Total size of around 2,900 students (2,100 undergrads and 800 grad students)
  • Our mascot is Biz E. Beaver (did you know he’s the grandson of TIM, MIT’s mascot?)
  • Three campus locations: Wellesley, Boston (for MBA students), and San Francisco

The Main Course


We all know that the turkey is the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving meal. Just as the turkey is juicy and hearty, you want to make sure that you recite some facts here that will keep your relatives’ attention. After all, your ability to properly execute this part of the meal will play a huge role in whether or not you get asked the dreadful question again next year.

  • Every Babson student will leave being able to say that they’ve created and operated a business (through our hallmark FME Program)
  • Roger Babson is buried on our campus! Don’t think that’s crazy enough? He’s buried between his first and second wives!
  • ETA means something a little different at Babson. It’s not boring “estimated time of arrival;” it’s “Entrepreneurial Thought and Action.”
  • By the way, we’ve got some famous alumni:
    • Arthur Blank: Co-founder of Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons
    • Akio Toyoda: President and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation
    • Roger Enrico: Former Chairman & CEO of PepsiCo and former Chairman of DreamWorks Animation
    • Daniel Gerber: Founder of Gerber Baby Foods
    • Alberto Perlman: Co-founder and CEO of Zumba Fitness
    • Remember the guy that bought Google.com for a bit? Yeah, he’s a Babson grad too. (Sanmay Ved)

The Dessert


Oh dessert, the part of the meal that we all know we shouldn’t have. The part of the meal that we don’t really need… at least, that’s what you say until you see the gorgeous pumpkin pie screaming to let it be the pièce de résistance of the entire (and already superfluous) meal. Just like dessert, you don’t really need our rankings and accolades to describe the greatness of Babson. But, come on, why wouldn’t you want to boast about these?

  • U.S. News & World Report: #1 Entrepreneurship (19 consecutive years)
  • The Princeton Review: #1 Entrepreneurial Program
  • PayScale: #5 overall ROI (#1 among all business schools)
  • The Economist: #2 for Value, 2015
  • Money Magazine: #2 Best College in the U.S., 2015 (#1 in 2014)

 

How to respond to the eternal question: “What’s Babson?”

With all this great information, hopefully you’re well equipped to properly answer the all-annoying question: “What’s Babson?” If you’re not…you are (I mean, we all had to write an essay to get in). But seriously, if you don’t think you’re ready, just speak on the experiences you’ve had as a Babson student. Trust me, any Babson experience is an interesting one.

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal! As you conclude your meal, you’ll realize how thankful and blessed you are to attend an amazing institution such as Babson.

Why Babson Students Are So Not Dateable

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About two years ago, Time Magazine came out with an article stating a belief that we probably all secretly knew, but didn’t want to admit. Babson College students are the #1 most un-dateable.

Paid matchmaking service “The Dating Ring” had conducted the poll by taking 7,500 post-date feedback reports from 1,600 people located in the New York City and San Francisco area. The data collection process spanned over an 18 month period to see which college alumni “served as the most enjoyable dates.”

For a little background information on the dating platform that doomed us all in our future romantic rendezvous (“Oh Babson? Wait isn’t that the school with that Trump incident, AND the most un-dateable alumni?”) The Dating Ring describes their process as “We search through our database of successful professionals to find you the best matches.”

Of course we win the most un-dateable award from a dating service for “professionals.”

When asked their thoughts on the Time article’s outcome, most members of the Babson community were not surprised. Our campus’ hook-up culture, obsession with networking, fixed determination on meeting career goals, and even our “entrepreneurial mindset” surfaced as reasons of blame.

Tips and Tricks for First Years

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  1. Spend money! You get student discount now. From Spotify to Amazon Prime, companies across the world sympathised with us quintessentially break college students and are willing to do all they can to make our lives just a little bit easier.
    2. Do all you can to avoid the dreaded freshman fifteen. Even if it means actually doing, you know, exercise. Or worse, eating a salad.
    3. Always go to class. Even 8AM’s. On Mondays.
    4. Find study spaces that suit you! Not all of us can concentrate at Horn, and our noisy
    roommates may make studying in the room an impossibility (hint, hint), so find small
    nooks and crannies around campus where you can focus.
    5. In the generic ‘Tips and Tricks for First Years’ article, there is always at least one line
    about joining clubs. They say to join as many as possible, but since this is Babson and
    we’re filled with overachievers, I’ll say this instead: do those activities that you are truly passionate about. Don’t let yourself get pulled in multiple directions when you really only like one.
    6. Visit professors during office hours. It will be incredibly useful for class and for building relationships so you can ask them to write you letters of recommendation in the future.
    7. Make flip flops your best friend. Never enter a bathroom barefoot. Unless, of course, you want to witness firsthand how quickly foot fungus can make you lose friends.

Mighty Well, A Year Later

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Just last week Babson College announced its 2017 Babson Entrepreneurial Thought and Action (B.E.T.A) Challenge finalists, which included from the undergraduate school: Womentum (Prabha Dublish ‘18 and Derek Tu ‘18), Vinci (Eagle Wu ‘19) and DetraPel (David Zamarin ‘20, Jacob Heller ‘20, Ali Eldessouky and  Larry Ng ’20). With the recent success of these entrepreneurial finalists, we take a look back at where last year’s BETA finalists currently are, particularly “Mighty Well,” founded by Emily Levy ‘16.

Mighty Well is a growing line of medical accessories that put strength, confidence, and mobility back into the toolkit for those coping with an illness or health setback. These accessories range in products, but what the company excels most in is the PICCPerfect Line Protector, a sleek and fashionable sleeve-like cover to protect insertion sites on the arm from contaminants, and to normalize these insertion sites into everyday settings.

The story behind the founding of Mighty Well traces back to Levy’s sophomore year at Babson College when she was diagnosed with Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease, a disease in which symptoms of lyme disease continue to occur despite use of antibiotics. These symptoms include fatigue, joint/muscle aches, and cognitive dysfunction which requires a PICC line, a long and thin tube inserted into the vein to pump in antibiotics or other medications.

How to get into Boston

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Unfortunately, a direct trip to Boston is not part of Babson College’s shuttle itinerary. However, with a little creativity, there are multiple ways of overcoming this setback. Below is a chart outlining various modes of transportation to Boston (Copley Square), their respective costs, and their estimated times.


 

Uber-Logo

Out of all these options, Uber is most convenient, because its drivers can pick up students from anywhere on campus. Additionally, first-time Uber users get a free ride of up to $20. Fares for pre-existing users, however, can get costly, especially with added fees. Still, there are ways around this: invite a friend to sign up using your personal invite code and you get a free ride of up to $20. However, with more that 8 million registered Uber users, finding newbies to earn credit is becoming increasingly difficult.

Cost (one way): $25-33

Time: 30 minutes


 

lyft-miami-logo

Lyft, an alternative to Uber, claims to be less expensive, but fares often end up about the same. Launched in 2007 and introduced on the East Coast just this past summer, Lyft once offered a better benefit to first-time users, giving them $30 more free credit, but have since lowered it to match that of Uber’s. Likewise, Lyft offers the free $20 credit each time your personal code is used.

Cost (one way): $27

Time: 30 minutes


 

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Students with a license have the ability to rent a Zipcar. Depending on the length of your stay in Boston, this option can be the cheapest alternative, compared to Uber and Lyft. The Zipcar fee also covers gas and insurance. Unfortunately, usage is contingent upon the availability of the cars themselves. There are currently four Zipcars on the Babson campus.

Cost (per hour): $8.50-9.50

Time: 30 minutes


 

bicycle-clipart-bike-clipart4

Biking is another option. However, this is contingent upon the ownership of a bike and other uncontrollable factors, such as weather. Students must note that this alternative is a massive time-consuming, and not to mention strenuous, effort. But for broke college students, biking is an excellent option.

Cost (one way): FREE

Time: 2 hours


 

T-Logo

Public transportation via the MBTA is a cheap, but fairly inconvenient, option for Babson students. On Thursdays through Saturdays, Babson shuttles transport students to the Woodland station. From there, students can take the Green Line. Babson is also fairly close to the Wellesley Hills station, which offers a slightly shorter commute on the Worcester Line and a slightly larger fare of $7. Regardless, it is time consuming. Also, students must be cautious of shuttle pick up and drop off times and the fact that the T closes around midnight. Despite these unfortunate downfalls, the price is as cheap as it gets.

Cost (one way): $2.65

Time: 45 minutes

2016 Presidential Candidates “Cheat Sheet”

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*Issue rankings are based on the OnTheIssues.org rating system; -10 is most liberal, 10 is most conservative.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY

Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Hillary Clinton

Experience: Former Secretary of State (President Barack Obama)

Home Residence: Chappaqua, New York

Total Money Raised: $67,820,095

Net Worth: $21,500,000

Issues*: 

  • Individual Rights: -9
  • Domestic Issues: -8
  • Economic Issues: -8
  • Defense and International Issues: 0

Fast Facts:

  • Clinton graduated from Wellesley College in 1969.
  • Clinton would become the first female president if elected.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Bernie Sanders

Experience: U.S. Senator (Vermont)

Home Residence: Burlington, Vermont

Total Money Raised: $15,263,601

Net Worth: $330,507

Issues*:

  • Individual Rights: -10
  • Domestic Issues: -8
  • Economic Issues: -8
  • Defense and International Issues: -8

Fast Facts:

  • Among all of the major presidential candidates, Sanders has the lowest net worth.
  • Sanders was the third Socialist ever elected to Congress.

 


REPUBLICAN PARTY

Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump

Experience: President, Trump Organization

Home Residence: Manhattan, New York

Total Money Raised: $1,902,410

Net Worth: $4,000,000,000

Issues*:

  • Individual Rights: 6
  • Domestic Issues: 6
  • Economic Issues: 4
  • Defense and International Issues: 2

Fun Facts:

  • Trump rose to social prominence as host of NBC reality show The Apprentice.
  • Trump is a real estate mogul, with investments in casinos, residential towers, hotels, golf courses, and more.

 

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ben Carson

Experience: Former Neurosurgeon

Home Residence: Baltimore, Maryland

Total Money Raised: $10,702,881

Net Worth: $10,000,000

Issues*:

  • Individual Rights: 4
  • Domestic Issues: 2
  • Economic Issues: 6
  • Defense and International Issues: 0

Fast Facts:

  • Carson became the youngest to head a major division at Johns Hopkins Hospital when he became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at age 33.
  • Carson was the first person to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head.

 

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Carly Fiorina

Experience: Former CEO of Hewlett Packard

Home Residence: Los Altos Hills, California

Total Money Raised: $5,163,373

Net Worth: $59,000,000

Issues*:

  • Individual Rights: 0
  • Domestic Issues: 6
  • Economic Issues: 6
  • Defense and International Issues: 2

Fast Facts:

  • Fiorina has degrees in Medieval History and Philosophy.
  • Fiorina was the first woman to head a Fortune 50 company.

 

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Marco Rubio

Experience: U.S. Senator (Florida)

Home Residence: West Miami, Florida

Total Money Raised: $42,910,595

Net Worth: $443,508

Issues*:

  • Individual Rights: 6
  • Domestic Issues: 8
  • Economic Issues: 5
  • Defense and International Issues: 8

Fast Facts:

  • Rubio attended Tarkio College for one year on a football scholarship.
  • Rubio was elected to the Senate in 2010, after serving as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

How to start a club

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Academics are the main focus of any college, but with a strong co-curricular environment, Babson stands firm with 137 organizations, according to the Life@Babson online hub. Year after year, students leave their mark by finding new clubs. Here is the process one must go through to start a club:

Come up with an idea for an organization that would benefit the Babson community.

Find at least five people that share the same interest and will make a commitment to help start the club.

Go to life.babson.edu  > Campus Links > Create a New Undergraduate Organization

a. Fill out a form for a general idea of what your club is about.

b. Find a faculty advisor.

c. Select a President and VP of Finance (or Treasurer).

Wait for an email that says when you will give a presentation to the SGA E-board.

a. This meeting is casual, and generally takes place on Monday at 8:00 pm in the SGA office in Reynolds.

b. Pitch your idea to the E-Board as a presentation.

c. Field questions in the follow-up Q&A.

Wait for their approval.

Islam at Babson: Culture and religion

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Members of Babson’s Muslim Student Association. Left to right: Mintis Hankerson, Samina Baig, Gyda Sumadi, Shazeem Siddiqi, Anas Ahmed, Tareef Rahman, Mahd Sharif, and Irfaan Kazi. Photo courtesy of Lyda Sumadi.

Editor’s note: In the wake of the tragedies in Paris and Beirut, perpetrated in the name of Islam, let the beloved community members featured in this article serve as proof that Islam is a religion of peace.

As Fatoumata Sow (‘18) says, “Islam is a religion of peace, and like any other religion people pick and choose what they want to follow. The people who made the attacks in Paris were not just Muslims—they were terriorists.”


Babson College has always taken pride in its diversity, with enrollment statistics for the class of 2019 consisting of 39% domestic minority students, 25% international, and 45 represented nations from around the world. However, despite these impressive numbers, some would argue that diversity is still quite lacking at Babson, especially in religion.

“We [at Babson] are ethnically diverse, but I don’t think we are in social, religious, and even economic terms,” Noora Al-Mana, a recent Babson grad who identifies as Muslim, said. “I think I’ve only come across around ten Muslims throughout my four years at Babson, and they were all international except for one person.”

Most would agree that the Muslim population on campus is not as present as it is on perhaps other colleges across the country, which is mainly believed due to the almost nonexistence of hijab (headscarf) wearing women at Babson. This is true except for a few students—one in particular, Gyda Sumadi, has covered her hair since age 13 and continues to do so in college.

When asked about the lack of hijab-wearing women on campus and the Muslim student representation overall, Sumadi traced it back to the differences between culture and religion, and how that affects the way students express their faith.

“I wouldn’t say that the Muslim student body isn’t active, but when it comes to religion…a lot of people who come from a more secular and cultural background may connect culturally with Islam, but don’t really practice. I think people sometimes believe that culture and religion are the same thing, when in reality it isn’t quite so,” she said.

Mintis Hankerson, another Muslim student, further explained, “When you grow up in a Muslim country, it pretty much affects how you live, in my opinion. Because everything is Islam, including the politics, so it makes your whole life culturally Islam. Whereas when you live in America you have to put in that extra effort to practice Islam.”

This highlights America’s, and even Babson’s, slightly ignorant belief that the only true way of proving a person’s faith is through their dress, diet, and prayer. In actuality, one can be Muslim through their lifestyle—a lifestyle that may be obvious in Islamic countries that value modesty, but becomes less obvious in the US, a country that often demands a very Western “in-your-face” attitude in order to prove one’s identity.

Not to mention, it can be challenging to even want to prove one’s religious faith in the explicit Western way, considering that “Muslims have already faced so much scrutiny in the U.S. due to negative stereotypes created from terrorist attacks,” according to Shaz Siddiqi, another member of Babson’s Muslim Student Association.

However, there are some deeper reasons why certain Muslim students are more culturally, rather than religiously, connected to Islam, and these reasons stem back to the socioeconomic status of Babson students.

“To be blunt about it, within these Islamic countries abroad, the more affluent people sort of… not lose their religious identity, but they Westernize themselves through lavish lifestyles and all kinds of stuff. And most of the international population on campus is rather ‘up there,’ so they really bring with them that Western aspect of their country in order to perhaps assimilate,” Irfaan Kazi said. “However, it’s not a loss of religion, it’s a tweak in culture.”

But regardless of these areas of ambiguity for understanding Islam in Babson, people are overall accepting and welcoming of the various religions represented in the undergraduate class.

“Babson is great. The main thing about having an international population is that nothing is seen as odd because everyone is accustomed to everything. Even though there aren’t as many women on campus here that cover their hair, no one is unfamiliar with it, especially the international population,” Sumadi said. “Even the domestic population—everyone knows what it is.”

Al-Mana agrees: “In my experience, the people I met and surrounded myself with at Babson are generally very prideful of their faith and background and express it as they always have without being rude or disrespectful to differing beliefs.”