Op/Ed

Op/Ed

A Binary Choice

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When Americans cast their vote for president on November 8th, they will be deciding between two and only two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  While many voters, particularly millennials, are justifiably angry and frustrated with a political system that divides Americans in a way not seen since the Civil War, there is no room for a protest vote or for staying home — not this time.

If you are not convinced that a protest vote can have severe unintended consequences, we need look no further than 2000 when Al Gore lost Florida by 537 votes, throwing the election to George W. Bush, who started the Iraq War under false pretenses, ballooned the deficit, and drove our economy over a cliff.  The protest candidate that year was Ralph Nader, whose 97,488 Florida votes were directly responsible for the Bush victory.

We face a choice between two candidates with very different visions for America.  Trump proposes mass deportation, building a wall to stop Mexican “rapists,” and banning Muslims from entering our country.  He believes that climate change is a Chinese hoax and that massive tax cuts for the rich will somehow trickle down to the middle class without ballooning our deficit.  He admires Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin and encourages Russia to conduct Internet espionage on Trump’s political opponents.  

Trump’s birther movement has falsely challenged the legitimacy of our first black president.  He promotes violence at his rallies to the point of encouraging “Second Amendment people” to take matters into their own hands should he lose the election.  He would pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and start a war with Iran when they make “gestures” at our sailors.  He would walk away from the Paris climate agreement signed by over 100 countries and appoint conservative Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe vs. Wade while limiting a woman’s health care options.  

Alternatively, Hillary Clinton would carry forward the President Obama agenda that has focused on addressing climate change, expanded healthcare coverage, largely ended two wars, cut our deficit in half, and produced a record 78 consecutive months of job growth.  Clinton would also push forward an agenda of debt-free tuition for students whose families make under $125,000/year, a $15/hour minimum wage, gun safety initiatives, and increased taxes on the wealthy to pay for a needed infrastructure jobs program.  She has more experience than any previous presidential candidate having served as first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, U.S. senator from New York, and secretary of state.

When we go to the polls on November 8th, we should heed the advice of Senator Bernie Sanders, whose extraordinary campaign brought millions of millennials into the election process.  

“I’m the longest-serving independent in the history of the United States Congress. I know more about third-party politics than anyone else in the Congress, okay? And if people want to run as third-party candidates, God bless them! Run for Congress. Run for governor. Run for state legislature. When we’re talking about president of the United States, in my own personal view, this is not time for a protest vote. This is time to elect Hillary Clinton.”

Sen. Sanders has it right.

Community Unity Educators: From “salad bowl” to “melting pot”

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On its website, Babson proudly boasts of having as many as 80 countries represented in its student population. In front of the Horn Library, international flags wave in unison as another remind of the diversity on campus. Babson even dedicates an entire residence hall, the Pride tower, towards LGBT awareness.

Yet as much as Babson strives to cater to the needs of its multicultural community, it still has a long way to go. Babson is like a salad bowl, where students of different backgrounds are tossed together, as opposed to a melting pot, where everyone contributes to the development and wellbeing of the community.

As a CUE, or Community Unity Educator, my mission is to make the melting pot a reality. I, along with four other CUES, want to start the conversation around inclusion.

One of our initiatives was a question box that asked people to explain what the phrase “BISO” means to them. Since it was anonymous, we received many frank responses. Someone wrote in that he couldn’t stand to be called a BISO, because of all the negative connotations that come with the label.

Despite the stereotype, not all international students are wealthy or exclusive. Evidentially, there is a lot of potential for a more unified community here at Babson.

To promote this vision, the CUES are hosting office hours, where students are encouraged to stop by and share your thoughts and experiences. Whether it is an offensive comment or ideas about new initiatives and events, we are here to listen. CUE can be reached on Twitter: @BabsonCUES.

Resources for students affected by DACA

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Additional reporting by Yun Liang.

  • Students who wish to speak with a counselor in the Health & Wellness Office for support during normal business hours (Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) can call 781-239-6200.
  • Outside of normal hours, students should contact Public Safety at 781-239-5555 and ask to be connected with the Student Affairs staff member on call.
  • Students are never required to disclose DACA or undocumented status when seeking out information.

Students Can Also Connect With:

  • Alana Anderson: Multicultural Programs/Glavin Office, 781-239-4565
  • Stephanie Kuchova: Academic Service/First Gen Programs, 781-239-4075
  • Katherine McMahon: Residence Education, 781-239-5295
  • Denicia Ratley: Faith & Service,  781-239-5969

Confidential Resources at Babson Include:

  • Counseling staff in the Health & Wellness Office
  • Chaplains in the Office of Faith & Service
  • Nurse practitioners in Health Services
  • Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Services
  • Health Promotion/Alcohol & Other Drug Services

Steer Away from Scams

You may receive an email and/or calls from someone claiming to be the FBI, ICE/DHS (or even the IRS with a request for money). In many cases, the emails and/or calls are threatening deportation or arrest. Sometimes the phone numbers and emails may match the official ones. If you hear anything like this, notify ISSS (International Student and Scholar Services) or Public Safety immediately. Advise that the individual receiving these messages not reply or take any steps until they speak with Public Safety.

An Open Babson Community Knows To

  1. Listen respectfully and suspend judgment. Keep personal or political opinions to yourself. This should not be a debate or discussion about a group of people or about policy; it is about that individual opening up to you and trusting you.
  2. Respect your friend’s confidentiality and boundaries. Allow them to share what they want, when they want, and how they want.
  3. Resist the “single story” thought process about “illegals.” This identity does not define the person; it is one part of their complex identity.
  4. Ask questions you may have, but understand that your friend may not have all the answers. Your friend may or may not feel comfortable answering, and you should respect those boundaries.
  5. Educate yourself about current policies and political rhetoric that are impacting undocumented persons and communities in the U.S.
  6. Do not allow your friend to become isolated. Let them know about campus resources and groups, community organizations, and more. If they wish to know other undocumented students, ISSS will reach out to other undocumented students with whom they have a relationship and who have provided their consent for this. Students who share their immigration status with ISSS are never forced to share their information with others.

The volume of words

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A rose may rise solemnly in solitude, but if it grows in unison with its brothers and sisters, it creates a beautiful scene, a backdrop, art. Words are of the same mold; when alone, their connotation is underwhelming, however, when strung together to form sentences, their essence is multiplied. An innumerable combination of phrases, arguments and statements may stem from the simple formation of words. It may be as plain as a command, or as intricate as scholarly text. Words are flavours, each with their own dynamic personality.

The words ‘interesting’ and ‘electrifying’ may be cousins in terms of similarity, but their demeanors are polar opposites. They are both incredibly valuable when trying to express a conjecture, but are used differently, at different times, and with different intent. Words also may appear ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’. For example, the word ‘plethora’ is an efficient and imposing word, but it reads and looks unappealing. The opposite is true for the words ‘embellish’, and ‘patronage’, which sound as good as they look.

This is the very lure of writing; it is vast and perhaps, endless. There are infinite ways to reshape a sentence and still retain its meaning. This is how authors make a living, how students set themselves apart from their peers, and how different forms of writing are conceived.

Words allow for us to personalize our plays, poems and essays. One can create a piece with a professional, serious impression, or, at the simple exchange of words, breath a radically different life into it. Our writing, just like the condition of our room and the clothes we wear, is representative of who we are. It adds an element of style and flair to our writing personas, or in certain cases, eliminates such sophistication.

This is due to the flexibility of languages; we can contort words to convey messages or to provide descriptions under any given context. For example, authors often push words to the extreme extent of their meanings and usage, in favor of creating literary illusion, or to cleverly annunciate a point. The word’s definition may not directly align with its usage, yet it is manipulated in such a fashion so that the reader still understands what is being expressed.

Beyond decorating our papers with layers of ingenuity and slick phrases, words come together for another purpose, for the very reason they were breed. Writing was, and still is, the industrious and immune foe of time. Used primarily as a method of ancient communication, its resilience allows it to stand alongside its contemporaries (the telephone, Facebook, Snapchat).

The human race, like it or not, still reads and writes,which can take the form of billboards and signs, or texts, emails and letters. We write for fun; we write songs; or we write to transmit meaning. This mutualism between writing and reading is eternally significant, for you need one to do the other. Writing possess a multitude of faces; it can be used to provide entertainment, to inform, or to teach. Writing is permeable; it disregards the bounds of languages, and passes through them all.

And writing is universal: it exists in even the most remote of civilizations, and its ubiquitous characteristics make it a necessary and very basic human right. A foundational aspect of our lives is robbed of us if the skills of writing and reading are not well, or even at all, versed.

In this regard, books are essentially the harvest of writing. Books provoke one’s desire to obtain information and intelligence. When reading, you are reading the words of another man or woman, just as you are reading this.

Significantly, this means as we read, we delve into the mind of the author’s words, their perspective on any given subject matter, and their ideas. In turn, we may borrow elements of their themes, words, and concepts. The primitive composition, or the complex amalgamation of words, is responsible for the texts we read every day.

Books, as a product of writing, are necessary in documenting our thoughts, the inner-workings of our imagination, and our intellect. It then acts as a platform to share and obtain knowledge from those around us. There is a simplicity in the book that revives and beckons the words of millenniums ago, but dually, it bears a variable element of purity that allows it to prosper yet in the modern world.

Conflicted student seeks internship solutions

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“Middle-market. Leveraged capital buyout. T­–M–T.”

My friend is wearing a pink striped tie and a blazer. He has a video interview tonight, his eleventh recently, and recites contrived phrases as he paces the room.

“Enterprise software solutions. Accretion.”

I am lounging on a bed wearing a loose-fitting kurta and sipping iced coffee. I do not have an interview tonight, nor have I had one this month or the month before.

“This isn’t for lack of trying,” I would like to write. But, except for a few consulting applications, I haven’t embarked on my Junior Year Internship Search, that all-important third-year rite. Until now, I’ve hurdled through my college years like one of those Spartan racers. Having overcome classes and clubs and jobs, I feel like a mud-streaked champion, successful if not graceful. Now, an unexpected roadblock. I can’t bring myself to upload my resume and click submit.

Suite selection process spurns seniors

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Mandell Family Hall has four-person suites.

Sunday morning, 11:30 a.m.: figures straggle into the common room one by one. “What a night, huh?” “Trim in a bit?” “I’ll give you my One Card if you get me a coffee from Dunks.”—all common phrases heard throughout a Babson suite on a Sunday morning after a long night spent studying. All participating in a scene that is as traditional as Woody at Dunks, Midnight Breakfast, or stooping.

Having the opportunity to live in a suite at Babson is a privilege. However, that privilege is currently being taken away from those who have earned it the most: seniors. After this year’s suite selection process was completed, it was clear something was awry. Instantly, large numbers of seniors took to social media to display their dismay at how quickly the suites ran out. Numbers that were previously considered locks for a suite did not even come close. One common theme was prevalent: there are currently a large number of senior students without suites.

Numbers have been thrown out, such as 65% of suites being composed of juniors. Furthermore, examples of suites being occupied by a majority of juniors are being cited left and right. Over 85 seniors without suites are currently a part of a Facebook group message. Amongst all this speculation, one thing remains clear: something went wrong.

The housing system is supposed to be designed to ensure fairness. However, there are rising juniors with better housing numbers than rising seniors. As the current housing code is written, rising juniors with enough credits to be considered rising seniors are entered into the same lottery as all rising seniors. This provision was designed considering that these rising juniors would be graduating early with rising seniors. However, there is no stipulation that these rising juniors must declare their intention to actually graduate early. This leaves a large number of rising juniors with the same opportunity to live in a suite as a rising senior.

The grievance is not with juniors living in suites. The grievance lies in the fact that certain juniors were given the same opportunity to live in a suite as seniors. It is understood that it is common practice for seniors to pull in one or two juniors to complete their suite, but the fact that there are suites composed mainly of juniors is simply not right.

Seniority is a term that has never been more applicable. Seniors who have contributed to the Babson community for three years are now being hung out to dry by the very community they helped to build. No senior wants to spend their final year living in a single in Putney while the suites are occupied by a large percentage of juniors.

Senior year is supposed to be a year spent making memories and cultivating relationships that have been formed over the first three years of college. The current housing system seriously compromises that opportunity, and something must be done.

Four- and six-person housing must be redrawn. Juniors should not be placed in the same pool as seniors unless they declare their intent to graduate early. Occupancy of suites should also be reconsidered. Suites should be forced to be occupied by a majority of seniors. Therefore, two juniors could live in a Mcullough or Pietz suite, or one junior could live in Map Hill.

As a rising senior, I want to look back on my Babson experience positively. I want a fair opportunity to have that Sunday morning in a suite comprised of my closest friends. I want the same opportunity for rising juniors when they become rising seniors. I want a housing system that rewards seniority instead of deeming it insignificant.

I am not alone in these sentiments, and we urge Babson to hear our concerns. As future graduates going out into the real world, we will certainly be asked about our college experience. Will we say that we had an amazing four years fostered by a supportive administration, or will we say #ThisIsNotOurBabson?

Multi-level marketing: One student’s experience

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Multi-level marketing is a business model that often gets criticized as a get-rich-quick or pyramid scheme. Companies such as Vector Marketing, Vemma, Avon, Wake Up Now, and others utilize this structure in order to simplify training and increase the reach of their direct selling by tapping into the networks of their sales representatives. Personally, I only have experience with one company, Vector Marketing.

I began work at Vector the summer before my senior year of high school. I had been looking for a summer job and found a sales opportunity available off Craigslist that promised a base pay of at least minimum wage, and the possibility of making commission. I didn’t know anything about Vector; I just knew they were offering me an opportunity to make money, so I scheduled an interview. After being hired to join the team I began my career as a sales representative. The first step was a three-day training to educate new representatives on the product and the sales pitch used by the company. I was given a demonstration kit with a sample of the products Vector marketed, Cutco cutlery. This allowed me to perform in-home demonstrations, which are the key to the Vector sales pitch. The success of the direct sales method lies in the strength of the product itself. Cutco knives are exceptional quality and I can honestly say there was not a single home I visited which had better knives than the Cutco blades. The knives are priced to compete on the high end of the market, with some sets running into the thousands of dollars.

At first, you are tasked to visit friends and family to give a demo and refine your pitch, but an even bigger part of the marketing strategy is that after every demo you are expected to get the names of ten or more recommendations of people you can call to schedule another demo. By doing this, your list of potential customers grows exponentially. This is an effective system of selling. By getting college age students to tap into their family and friend network, Vector is breaking down the barrier to the customer right off the bat. People are far more likely to trust a friend of a friend than a salesperson at Macy’s. The potential customers do not even have to be in the market for cutlery because the sales reps will get paid whether or not they make a sale.

We have to remember that customers have a choice to buy or not to buy and that people have a choice to go into sales or not.”

Now that I have described a little more about Vector, I will talk about why they can sometimes get flack. One major factor is that some offices force new representatives to buy their demonstration kit. People feel that this is just a quick way for Vector to make a buck, without any regard for the success of the sales rep. Luckily, in many offices Vector has begun to offer you free kits for your entire tenure as a sales rep. The kit is a necessary part of the job and by making one small sale a person can offset the cost of the kit.

Another common criticism is that profits trickle up the ladder in a pyramid scheme-like flow. While it is true that office, district, and regional managers get a percentage of the sales in their area, it is all part of the motivation to strive for success across the board. Sales reps benefit from commissions when they do well, and managers benefit from a percentage when they have trained a sales force to do well. This is part of the allure of Vector—there is no limit to your potential to earn or advance. Vector is a great example of a “get what you give” arrangement. For this reason, a lot of people end up making very little money. Vector is not like a typical retail position where you are essentially guaranteed pay whether or not you excel at your tasks. Some people come into Vector expecting a big paycheck, but don’t put in the effort or the hours in order to learn the system and get in front of enough people to make a sale. Sales is a tough job, even for those who are good at it. It can be a long time between sales and nothing is guaranteed. This is not the right job for everyone.

Babson Professor and Chair of the Marketing Division Victoria Crittenden is on the Academic Advisory board of Vector. Her first experience with the company came when she was putting together a case on Cutco, Vectors manufacturing and product lines. She met with the startup team to review their efforts to expand internationally and toured the manufacturing facility in Olean, New York. She was able to get a grant from the Direct Selling Association to write a case on Cutco. She joined the Academic Advisory Board in 2000.

“We have to remember that customers have a choice to buy or not buy and that people have a choice to go into sales or not. Setting that aspect of selling aside, working in sales always involves a salesperson who is attempting to sell something. When the salespeople are doing their jobs well, everyone in the organization thrives. That’s not a pyramid scheme or a scam—as long as the legitimate practices are in place to make sure all are compensated legally and that customers are receiving the quality products they thought they were purchasing,” Professor Crittenden said.

While I personally believe that working in a structured environment like Vector may not allow an entrepreneur to thrive, Professor Crittenden made a good point that no matter what business you are in, you are always selling something. I can definitely support her view that Vector allows its reps and managers to hone skills that are applicable to other business situations, but also in daily life. Being a sales rep teaches you skills in sales, marketing, organization, and communication. You learn to have an interaction with a customer in order to make a sale based on their needs. Vector is a rarity in that it allows people the chance to dive into the sales and management experience.

Vector may not be a long-term fit for some, but after spending 8 months as a sales rep and assistant manager, I believe that Vector has something to offer everyone, and can be an ideal platform to thrive. Professor voiced to me what she thought were the greatest strengths of Vector, and I completely agree. She mentions that the system “enables a young person to expand his/her people skillset in a nurturing environment.” A young person can be proud of the product and the company itself. Cutco is a premium product, no question. Possibly most important is the “investment that the company makes in creating and delivering sales training for students.” Vector is not going to be perfect for everyone, but it is a system that puts the power in the hands of the sales representatives. If you commit to the training and listen to your manager, you will be able to sell. Not everyone is going to have a six-figure sales campaign, but the life skills that I learned at Vector are more valuable than the money I made.

Our Presidential Candidates: What You NEED to Know

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Our Presidential Candidates: What you NEED to know

Hillary Clinton

         Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton is the democratic party nominee who also happens to be the first major female candidate in history. Her candidacy marks an era where gender no longer bars political ambition, where one can campaign on a message of inclusion and diversity. On policy, the Secretary has been unapologetically centrist on issues, an accusation to which she pleads “guilty.” Her personal center-left politics are moderate to say the least, as she is not extreme at all. Notwithstanding the occasional tug of a primary race, or a flip flop to address a new age, her positions are roughly the same: centrist policy that hardly anyone can agree or disagree with.

What you need to know

After the primary, Hillary Clinton took a very hard, and uncharacteristic, turn to leftist ideology in order to appease Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters. She favors more government intervention, or “investment” as she refers to it, in the economy. Entitlement growth, government subsidies, and public sector expansion are all to be expected under a Clinton administration. Clinton has also explicitly expressed a potent sense of fiscal responsibility. Being quoted for claiming to pay for everything she proposes, and “not adding a penny to the national debt,” one can also expect to see high tax spikes under her term. These taxes are meant to come from the wealthiest persons and corporations in the United States.

On foreign policy, Clinton has a very hawkish attitude. In Syria, she proposes a “no fly zone” over Aleppo that would prohibit any nation from flying into the area; an action that Generals in the United States military say would cause war with the Russian Federation.

Beyond policy, Clinton has an impressive array of personal qualifications, yielding experience that undoubtedly equals what is asked of the President of the United States. She has been a successful attorney, the First Lady of Arkansas, the First Lady of the United States, a New York Senator, the Secretary of State, and now a premiere presidential candidate. Her political experience is unparalleled, unrivaled, and beyond comparison to Trump. Her experience is so overwhelming that some consider it to be a fault.

On a more personal level, Clinton has a few problems. Firstly, both President Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders have said that Hillary Clinton has poor judgment. Clinton also lied about Benghazi, her state department emails, and even in the third presidential debate, she was caught in a lie over her desire for “open borders.”

She is also on the record for having “a public and private” political position on issues, suggesting that her real intentions are not as transparent as previously thought. She has repeatedly refused to release her transcripts from speeches made to big banking donors behind closed doors.

Additionally, Clinton has been accused of operating a “pay to play” system at the State Department during her tenure as Secretary of State. The accusation includes giving her donors special favors after a monetary exchange, or donation, to the Clinton Foundation. Her charity foundation took in millions of dollars from foreign governments- the same she dealt with in the State Department. Clinton represents the status quo. She is an establishment candidate who has been in politics for 40+ years. Her policies would largely represent an extension of the laws and processes that Obama has been pushing forward for the last 8 years.

Donald Trump

          Donald John Trump is a billionaire business mogul who is the Republican presidential nominee. Rather than pursuing politics, he has spent his life crafting a personal brand of opulence and success that is self evident from any of his real estate ventures. Donald Trump’s landmark candidacy is particularly surprising because of his ability to, well, win. As a total and complete political outsider, he beat a well-qualified group of 16 candidates in a primary that he was never, ever supposed to win. He is unapologetically brash and uncensored, preferring to speak his mind than use a politician’s filter.

Using plain and imprecise language, Trump has often landed himself in controversy, perhaps purposefully. Through a clever use of the media cycle, and a belief that bad publicity is better than none, Mr. Trump prefers the media to do his advertising for him through name recognition, as he is now known to be “the Loudest Man on the Planet”.

What you need to know

                    Donald Trump’s political background is murky to say the least. By “playing off both sides” Trump has built up a very convoluted political past. He has supported and critiqued both democratic and republican presidents, showing his unconventional political stances. Beyond his support for varying policies, Trump is very outspoken.

He does not care whether his comments are misunderstood, offensive, misleading, or purposefully unclear. Since Trump so clearly represents a populist surge in American politics, he has faced hurdles at every step of his campaign. No party establishment wants an outsider- someone who will completely break apart their status quo, and yet he managed to pull off a landslide victory.

Trump answers to an extraordinarily angry and distraught electorate, the kind of people who lost their jobs as they watched their communities fall apart. These people feel betrayed by the political class, by everyone who has had the power to help them out, so it’s not surprising that they are so willing to overlook Trump’s comments and faults.

Trump’s policies are not what one would expect from the typical Republican playbook. He is not for free trade as others, but would rather have “fair” trade. He wants a system that allows workers in America to pursue good jobs. Trump’s greatest appeal lies in his proposition to help fix the broken trade deals that America is currently engaged in.

             Another position is his hardline stance on immigration. Just as the Republican party was about to concede the immigration debate, Trump exploded the conversation. He wants to fully overhaul the immigration process, as he says “there is none; they’re pouring over our border!” Building a wall, deportations, and strict adherence to immigration laws would be expected from a Trump administration.

Trump would also like to lessen the tax burden on American families, individuals, and companies. The Trump tax cuts would slash the federal budget, and in the short run blow up the yearly deficit. At the same time, however, Trump believes the plan to spur the economy into robust growth (of about 3-4% GDP as opposed to 1-2%) and massive reinvestment due to the low corporate tax rate.

Trump has also expressed concern over our National Debt, however, he considers fixing the economy a primary concern. On foreign policy Trump is less hawkish than Mrs. Clinton. He proposes working together with Russia, and pulling out of the Middle east; an action that would avoid large conflicts with other countries in the area.

Experiences of a Babson MBA

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Editor’s note: Sun and Nicole are MBA students at Babson’s Olin Graduate School of Business.

At an average age of 28, the typical Babson MBA student arrives here with a lot of experience. But we are also filled with anticipation and excitement; we are eager to evolve, to grow and to continue to pursue our goals and aspirations, and we think we know it all.

We are all college graduates. Some of us have already completed other graduate programs. Some of us have lists of accomplishments that can barely be contained to a one-page resume. And others have lists of dreams that can barely be contained in a three-slide rocket pitch—but this is why we’re here.

We are from all over the world and right down the street, and although it’s seems like we’ve got it all figured out, we have so much in common.

We are all here for similar reasons, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to smooth sailing. Navigating the pressures of the program impacts everyone differently. Making friends seems to come easier to some than others. And, despite our best efforts, culture differences create barriers that feel impossible to break through —no matter how old you are.

Regardless of age or experience, change is hard. We all struggle in our own ways to navigate the transitions in life as smoothly as possible. But nothing worth doing is easy, and sometimes you question whether it is worth doing at all.

One day, in the office of a professor, I was told that holding back my feelings, my worries, and my questions helps no one.

No matter how silly you think what you are feeling may be, there is someone else who is feeling the same way. So I am here to say: I am stubborn. I am not a quitter. I am sad. I am excited. I am struggling. I am imperfect. I am an MBA student at Babson.

America Is Not A Democracy, And Why That’s Good

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If I say “democracy,” you will probably say “America.” When founded, the United States was one of the first modern nations to give power to the people and, consequently, the two words have become forever married.  However, even at its inception, the United States was never intended to be a democracy. The Founding Fathers knew this, and you should too.

Technically, the United States is considered a Constitutional Republic. This entails several aspects that differ from a democracy. To understand how they differ, let us first look at what a democracy is. In its truest form, a direct democracy means that citizens convene together to create and set policy based on majority rule (>50% must approve). There are no elected officials and each person gets one, equally weighted vote.

Off the bat, you can easily see that America is different, and that’s where the “Constitutional Republic” part comes in. Those two words outline where power is derived from and how the government is governed.

The Constitution, as I briefly touched upon in my last article “Protecting Rights vs. People,” is a document in which the government must adhere to. It is the Supreme Law of the Land that dictates in which way people are protected from the government and in which way the government is ruled by the people.

The Constitution specifically outlines that a Congress shall be set up and “shall be composed of Members chosen… by the People of the several States.” This essentially says that (1) there are a few people in governing positions and (2) those few people are voted in by people who share similar beliefs. A Representative.

Let’s tackle point one first. Having just a few people in government is monumentally more efficient than having each citizen vote and decided on every single issue. Simply in terms of allocation of time and resources, this makes far more sense, especially when you consider that having 330 million individuals vote on each piece of legislation would be virtually impossible.

Next is the actual representation part. Some believe that the Representative should be a “delegate” of the people and accurately reflect their desires, while others believe that they should be a “trustee” and vote in their best judgement while also considering their constituents’ needs. Again, the “delegate” role is somewhat unrealistic, so many elected officials assume the “trustee” role.

Now let me describe why this is good. The individual is (usually) ignorant, uncompromising, and uninformed. The trustee in theory is more informed and also has to work with opposing views to pass legislation. He is therefore more willing to compromise and consider the viewpoints of others as well as his constituents. He also considers the theory of Tyranny of the Majority, in which he understands that the majority cannot completely disregard the minority for eventually he will become the minority.

Let’s put this into Layman’s terms:  Congress is majority Republican right now, however they cannot completely disregard the Democratic party’s wants. The Republicans understand that their majority privilege will not last forever, and eventually they will become the minority again (such as when the Democrats where majority in 111th Congress and are now the minority). The power shifts force neither party to over-utilize their power in fear that they’ll be trampled when they are the minority.

A lot of people do complain, however, the the Representatives do not listen to them enough. This is reflected in the fact that Congress has had an approval rating that hovers between 10-20% in recent years. I blame not Congress (fully), though, but rather the electorate. If you don’t like the people in power, vote.

More specifically, don’t vote for the incumbent. Too many people are not civically engaged and do not utilize their rights fully. Not only that, but people also need to vote on more positions. Most people only vote for Presidents and Congress, which is such a shame.

Your vote compared to millions of other of people does not hold much weight (which is why people feel as their vote doesn’t matter), but if you vote locally your vote will go further. If I vote for my local Board of Education, my vote is being considered against, say, 500 other electorates in my county. When I voted for President this year, however, my vote is being considered against potentially 6.8 million voters in North Carolina. Coming back from that small tangent; there is power in the people, just not too much to be disruptive to the process.