Meet Babson Summer Study’s New Faculty Director
By Erika Buckley, Communications and Development Associate for Youth Entrepreneurial Leadership Programs
Angela Randolph wants high school students to understand that none of us, including herself, know what we don’t know. Angela sees her role as Faculty Director of Babson Summer Study as helping students widen the lens of their current perspective. “I help students understand that who they are informs what they see, so they can uncover what they’re missing,” she explains. “People tend to solve problems within their own box, and the ability to move outside of that box influences potential solutions. This is why teaching entrepreneurship calls to me.”
Trying to decide between unknown paths is not only a familiar obstacle many young people face, but also something Angela is personally familiar with from her own non-linear entrepreneurial journey which ultimately led her to Babson. When Angela hit a career crossroads after leaving an engineering job at PepsiCo, she found herself deciding between pursuing a passion for animals and a desire to return to school for her MBA. “I wanted to be an animal trainer,” confesses Randolph, smiling, “or maybe study branding. My dream job at that point in my life might have been working for Petco doing brand strategy.”
She chose to pursue her MBA and, during this time, worked for a company that researched and acquired startups. The experience started to spark ideas as to what she might do, as every day she was surrounded by motivated people building new businesses buzzing with possibility. The allure of that energy never left her, even while working for 5+ years at Wachovia Bank and earning her PhD at Texas Tech University. When the opportunity to teach at Babson College presented itself, she packed her bags and found a home in Babson’s entrepreneurial culture.
Angela is designing her curriculum for Babson’s Summer Study Program to pique the imaginations of the entrepreneurially curious. In the classroom, students will learn business fundamentals through Babson’s Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® methodology, and put this knowledge to practice with hands-on team challenges. Site visits to local businesses, along with invited speakers from both corporate and startup ventures, give students the opportunity to hear directly from leaders who forged their own entrepreneurial path. And Angela does not see learning as one directional or one dimensional. “I’m always fascinated to hear about what they think is trending,” she says, “and with such a diverse group, you also gain global perspectives on the same issues. We can learn so much from each other and our cultural differences on how we see the world.”
Angela strives to equip her students with the confidence to face how open-ended the workforce is. With enough time, Angela believes that anyone can learn content expertise, but the ability to transfer what you learn from one field to another can be challenging. “I want students to understand, it’s not all or nothing. It’s about taking small steps and affordable losses to evaluate the market. Entrepreneurship is a step-by-step process. A lot of entrepreneurs start off as a full-time something else, and that’s ok.” By being introduced to this freeing mindset, program graduates are empowered to build their future through decisions rooted in business acumen and self-awareness.
For more about Angela and her path to Babson, read this article from the Babson Magazine, Learning to Expect the Unexpected.