Entrepreneurship Faculty Profile: Phil Kim
To anyone who has met Professor Phil Kim, it would not come as a surprise that he recently received tenure at Babson. He is a kind, intellectual man, passionate about creating positive change in the world. I recently sat down with Professor Kim to learn more about his interests and what entrepreneurship means to him.
What is your role at Babson? How long have you worked here?
I am an associate professor of entrepreneurship, and have worked at Babson since the fall of 2014. My main duties are to teach and study entrepreneurship.
What classes do you teach?
I mainly teach students in the full-time two-year, one-year, and blended learning MBA programs. My class, called “Entrepreneurship and Opportunity,” is one of the first courses MBA students take when they begin their programs. I also teach a class at the undergraduate level called “Social Entrepreneurship by Design.”
What area of research do you focus on? What interests you about that area?
In the last 10 years, I have focused on how and why people take their early stage ideas and attempt to make them come true in the form of a business. I have always been fascinated by people who can create something out of nothing, and entrepreneurship is one of the most fascinating ways in which that can occur.
I have studied different facets of that question: How hobbies can play a role in business formation, how scientists think about commercializing inventions, and how people form teams when they want to launch a new business. Most recently, I published a study looking at the role of language in narratives when asking for money through crowdfunding.
How did you go about that? Did you learn anything interesting?
I studied over 30,000 campaigns on Indiegogo. My argument is that there are both helpful ways to communicate a request for funding, and other ways that are less helpful. It is important to use language that specifies details and differentiates your offering from substitutes and alternatives that exist for your audience to fully appreciate and value the campaign. However, writing in complex sentences and providing too much subjective opinion will discourage backers from giving.
What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
The ability to enact positive change, involving both creatively finding solutions for problems that exist for a designated set of stakeholders and being able to influence that change with limited resources, sustaining itself in the long run.
What does the world need from entrepreneurs today?
The world is filled with many challenges and wicked problems that are complex and multi-faceted. They require the best thinkers to generate and create long lasting solutions, and people who can take those ideas and turn them into reality. Entrepreneurs are well suited to take up these challenges and make our world a better place to live.
Do you have any tips for entrepreneurs?
Spend time understanding the core needs or problems that potential customers and users have, issues for which they haven’t found a suitable solution. Then, find a way to solve those problems for your consumers so you can generate value for them, delight them, and have them come back to you over and over again.
What do you think makes Babson unique?
There are many ways in which you can study entrepreneurship these days, plenty of academic programs and online resources. But at Babson, you can find a supportive community consisting of like-minded students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of the college who are united by two purposes- to nurture and grow entrepreneurship, to do great things in the world. That’s what makes this place stand out compared to other schools and organizations worldwide.
What do you do for fun?
I love to spend time with my wife and three daughters, eat food, cook, buy food, talk about food, and travel. Vancouver was my favorite place to visit recently because of its beautiful mountains and ocean.
Describe yourself in three words.
Big-thinker, thoughtful, hungry.
Is there anything else people should know?
Don’t be afraid to take risks!