Rocket Pitch Day At Babson
Last Friday – we held our signature event at Babson – Rocket Pitch Day. This was the 10th consecutive year for this event- and, this is absolutely the BEST of what Babson has to offer – and it symbolizes all that we are. We had 75 student teams make their “pitches” for business ideas. Each pitch was 3 minutes – and hence, we refer to it as the “rocket Pitch”. At Babson, Rocket Pitch is truly a symbol of our culture. Culture is defined as a pattern of norms, attitudes, and norms across a social unit (Schein, 1983). Here at Babson, entrepreneurship is a learning objective for every student, it is embedded in our strategy and it is how we think about solving problems. And, different from every other school in the US – Entrepreneurship is a REQUIRED class! (I’m proud to say, this is probably one reason why we continue to be # 1 in the rankings both in the MBA and Undergraduate programs for 14 consecutive years!!!)
The Rocket Pitch event is about ACTION!!! Participants presented their ideas, and put themselves and their ideas up for review by an audience. I was amazed at the sheer variety of ideas- from custom shirts (blanklabel), to software to help manage eldercare retirement home needs (retirelife), to an internet aggregator that allows you to purchase from multiple retailers on line at once (bongobing). Vedavoo was pitched backpacks, while Yisland presented Caribbean entertainment and events. Some of the businesses were products, some were services and several had social and environmental benefits.
I looked around the audience- who was tasked with the job of giving feedback- everyone took this task seriously and gave the presenters comments and suggestions. While Rocket Pitch is about the pitch- it is also about taking action and learning from that action. It is very pleasing to see the individual level experiences of our students reflect the high level strategy of the college- Entrepreneurial Thought and Action. This is who we are and what we stand for!!
But more than this- we have made our STRATEGY about entrepreneurial thought and action—this means we identify, assess and shape opportunities in a variety of contexts, we navigate and excel in uncertain environments and we actually take action. Research shows that it is not personality traits that define entrepreneurs (risk taking, achievement, persistence) but it is doing something taking action- getting customers, developing a prototype, building technology, hiring people. This is what differentiates entrepreneurial ventures that survive and grow from those that do not—entrepreneurial thought and action!
Dr. Candida G. Brush, Professor of Entrepreneurship
Paul T. Babson Chair in Entrepreneurship
Chair, Entrepreneurship Division