Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

Curious about Connections: Professor Lily Crosina

In the fall of 2001, Lily Crosina joined her first year peers in Babson’s iconic Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship class.

This past fall, she was back in the FME classroom – but, this time, as professor.

What happened in between is a fascinating journey from Babson student to professor of entrepreneurship, from investment banking and a Babson MBA to a Ph.D. and immersion into entrepreneurship research and academia.

Motivated and excited by the experience of working on research with a Babson professor during her MBA studies, Professor Crosina decided to pursue her Ph.D. in Organization Studies from Boston College. At BC, she began her dive into the topic of work identity, studying the contexts and structures surrounding and impacting the formation of identity in and around entrepreneurial contexts.

There too, she developed her intensive, qualitative approach to research. In her current research study, she has amassed thousands of pages of notes from interviews and more than a thousand hours of observations. She demonstrates both art and science in her approach and, through this method, deepens her understanding of the individuals she is studying in the hopes of telling their stories faithfully, “with rigor and voice.”

Professor Crosina’s research centers on the development and process of becoming an entrepreneur. Throughout her research, which includes a study of former Lehman Brothers’ bankers after the collapse of the firm and a longitudinal study of a family business, community and relationships emerge as a common theme. Relationships affect individuals in countless ways. They shape how individuals process change and find career continuity following organizational loss, in the case of the Lehman bankers. They affect how individuals work together and organize, in the case of the family business. And, ultimately, they shape the evolution of identity as individuals ask themselves, “Who am I? Who am I in relation to this collective?”

In the classroom, Professor Crosina sees connectivity at work. The success of the student teams hinges on it, as she explains: “The beautiful thing about FME is that student learn firsthand that there is a relationship between team dynamics and business outcomes. Performing teams figure out effective ways to work together.” These connections are often lasting, including an almost twenty-year-old friendship in Professor Crosina’s case.

Professor Crosina’s own connections to Babson are deep and multifaceted – she is not only a double Beaver and married to a fellow alum, but she has also experienced the College as a student, staff member, and now as a faculty member. It was Babson’s “openness and excitement for the type of research I’m doing,” its community, and the opportunity for experiential teaching that ultimately brought her back to campus.

As scholar and as teacher, Professor Crosina is passionate about uncovering and sharing insights and experiences: “I feel like a student every day.” She adds, “I hope I can be a student for the rest of my life.”  With her curiosity and commitment and her perspective on every interaction as “an opportunity to learn,” there is no doubt that she will continue to explore and to facilitate exploration among her students in turn.