Entrepreneurs of All Kinds
This past Friday, I had the opportunity to meet and hear from some amazing Babson alumni during Babson’s admitted student day, LaunchBabson. As I listened to the panel which consisted of three alumni: David Heath, Matthew Williams, and Brittany Lo, I realized that their stories really exemplify the various qualities found in a Babson student.
David Heath, graduated in 2005, and is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bombas. Prior to the launch of Bombas in 2013, David dedicated two years to rigorous product testing and refinement to create the best performing and most stylish athletic-leisure sock available, while staying true to their mission of helping those in need.
Matthew Williams graduated in 2012 and is currently a product manager at Spotify, a digital music streaming platform used by over 100 million people worldwide. Matt’s passion for media, marketing, and technology were cultivated through his experiences as an undergrad and in the work he’s done since graduating
Brittany Lo, a 2013 graduate, is the founder and CEO of Beautini. Brittany fused her business and beauty expertise to develop the unique concept of making makeovers fun. Today, Beautini does just that by providing women with beauty services and bubbly so they can sip and enjoy themselves, making for the ultimate beauty experience. Beautini was developed in 2015 and has since received numerous awards including The Knot’s Best of Weddings Vendor, New York Magazine’s Top Beauty Vendor in NYC, the Weddi Award for “Most Effective Branding” and named one of The Knot’s Top 100 Most Inspiring People in 2017.
One of the first questions that these alumni were asked on the panel was, “how did you find Babson and what were your major interests before Babson”? Sitting in the audience, I could relate to each of their answers. Every Babson student comes from a diverse background and a variety of different interests. David spoke about how he was very entrepreneurial before coming to Babson. He was grateful that Babson saw the entrepreneurial drive within him, and gave him the opportunity to grow in the Babson community. Matthew, dissimilar to David, did not have a strong entrepreneurial background before coming to Babson, his interests lied mainly within the media and technology sectors. Matthew still saw the value of attending Babson, and was able to utilize his Babson education to pursue his interest in the media industry in an innovative way.
Brittany was the last panelist to answer this question, and told the audience her story from second grade, when her Dad asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, and she told him “I want to work with makeup, but I am going to work by myself”. Brittany wasn’t sold with coming to Babson right away. Her parents were really pushing the idea, so naturally she rejected it. After a couple visits and interacting with various individuals on Babson’s campus, Brittany realized that Babson was the right choice for her, and she has since made her second grade self-proud with her successful beauty company.
The audience, filled with admitted students and families, had a lot of great questions for the panel, but the question that stuck with me the most was “What did you learn during your time at Babson that has influenced your lives after graduation most significantly?” David, spoke about his freshman year experience through FME where he was the “sales guy.” He spoke more deeply about his other foundation courses he took as a Babson student, such as accounting which, “pushed him out of this comfort zone.” David spoke about how much more powerful he is as a CEO because of these various foundation courses that provided him with at least a basic proficiency in each area of business. He is able to walk into any department within his company and understand what is going on, enough to have a meaningful conversation, and make meaningful decisions. Matthew also touched on how valuable the diversity of classes are at Babson, while emphasizing the development of soft skills at Babson. Matthew explained to the audience how Babson provided him the resources and classes to become an expert in areas such as networking, communicating, and presenting. These are such vital areas of development that are sometimes underappreciated, but so commonly practiced at Babson. As even a first-year at Babson, within a few months presenting and group work becomes second nature; I remember seeing such an improvement in my own interpersonal skills after just one year, proving to be a huge advantage to me moving forward.
Brittany, when answering this question spoke on how “Babson tells you, you can do it.” Now this statement could mean so many different things, but in context, Brittany alluded to how Babson allows its students to not only understand that going corporate is not the only option, but encourages them to find their own path. Babson is known for a lot of things, but their constant support and ability to provide resources to their students in order for them to pursue their passions, is only fully known by the students themselves.
As a current Babson student, it was amazing to hear from alumni who have each found their own individual way after Babson, and yet are united by this special entrepreneurial education.