Graduate Blog / Graduate Life

Babson MBAs Making Changes in Social Enterprises – Calliope Desenberg

If there’s a cause she believes in, she’ll participate with fervent dedication; If there’s a jovial moment floating around, you could be more than certain that it’s because of her. She’s charming, articulate and represents everything that a Babson student is all about. Meet Calliope Desenberg, from the Babson Two-Year MBA Class of 2018.

As the Vice President of the 1st years at the Graduate Student Council she is the eyes and ears of her cohorts. At the same time, Calliope was an integral member of the organizing team of the Babson’s inaugural Diversity Forum, where she amplified the voice of minorities at the institution. I have been fortunate enough to have worked with her over the semester in the GSC, and having learnt that both of us share the common goal of promoting social betterment through sports, I feel confident enough to run my wackiest ideas by her and yet come out feeling motivated.

Here’s her story in her own words:


Calliope sporting her Girls on the Run outfit.

What is one life event that has left an indelible impression on your personality?

Girls on the Run is an afterschool running and social emotional empowerment program for elementary school girls, and working there changed my life. I recruited and trained the 500+ volunteer coaches who led the program around the Bay Area. Two years in, I took on the challenge of figuring out how to re-engage alumni of the program. In the past, we lost touch with the girls and their parents after they finished our program. Seeing the potential of this untapped resource, I came up with the idea of the Alumnae Leadership Board (ALB). The ALB would be an alumnae-to-coach pipeline; we would train middle-school-aged alumnae to become our future coaches and most powerful advocates. After months of research, planning, and outreach, forty girls from around the Bay Area came together for our first leadership retreat. They spent the day practicing to go back to their old schools as junior coaches and help lead the program. Over the next year the ALB tripled in size as more and more girls re-engaged as junior coaches, volunteers, and fundraising spokespeople. Seeing my plans for the ALB become reality left me certain that problems
can indeed become opportunities with hard work and creativity.


How has the Babson MBA Experience shaped you in conjunction with that life event?

Making programs like “Girls on the Run” a reality requires careful planning, well-organized operations, and smart utilization of resources. I am here at Babson to learn more about each of these different pieces. Deepening my financial and operational know-how will allow me to help mission driven organizations run as efficiently and effectively as possible.


How has Babson’s collaborative environment impacted you?

From day one, I have seen Babson’s collaborative ethos within my SLE group (small student groups that work together on all group projects during the first semester).  All six of us are from different countries and have a wide variety of work backgrounds. With our diverse strengths and knowledge bases, we all have a lot to learn from each other. As of our first accounting class, my CPA groupmate offered his help before and after class to review and explain anything we found confusing. Another groupmate was always happy to use her strategic management and marketing background to break down complicated strategic theory into real world examples.
This expands beyond my group too. Over the last semester I have seen subject area expert classmates take their time on the weekends to lead extra study sessions for others who might still be struggling. Even though Babson alumni had all told me about the collaborative environment during my application process, witnessing it firsthand has been incredible.

Calliope, in Canyonlands National Park, showcasing her love for hiking

To run these changes in a social enterprise requires the initiative taker to be active and on their toes the entire time. Calliope herself, would probably be doing a headstand or a cartwheel or anything majestic that a ringmaster of a youth circus would do. In her spare time, she loves to hike, perform acro-yoga, uni-cycling and rock climbing. Being culturally inclined, she also enjoys musicals, figure drawing, and singing – something we hope comes to the fore soon because Babson Buffoonery is on the horizon.

Calliope Desenberg is a first year student at the Two Year Full Time MBA Program Class of 2018 at Babson where apart from being the Vice President of the 1st year students at the Graduate Student Council, she is also the VP of Marketing for the Babson Net Impact Club. She was previously the Alumni Engagement Manager at Girls on the Run in the Bay Area, and a National Teaching Fellow at Citizen Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. She completed her undergraduate studies at Brandeis university with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Justice and Social Policy.


Guest Writer: Prateek Chakrabarty

Hometown: New Delhi, India
Education: Amity University, New Delhi
Previous Experience: Technology Consulting – Indian Tobacco Company; Marketing and Advertising – Koenig Solutions Ltd.
Activities: VP Club Management, Graduate Student Council; Head Coach, MBA Soccer Club
Favorite Babson Entrepreneur: Courtney Wilson, Founder – Dropzone for Veterans