The Babson MSEL: Bringing Entrepreneurial Leadership Around the Globe
If you’ve had the opportunity to talk with members of the Babson community, chances are that you have heard about the wonderfully diverse community that we are. We often say that Babson is a living and learning laboratory shaping today’s educators and tomorrow’s entrepreneurial leaders around the world. Part of our mission is to ensure a global perspective both by bringing the world to Babson, and by bringing Babson to the world.
Such is the case for our Master of Science in Management in Entrepreneurial Leadership (MSEL) program. One of the most exciting features of this program is the Global Entrepreneurship Experience that takes place during part of the winter break each year. This course allows MSEL students to explore entrepreneurial ecosystems in a context different than the one in which they are familiar. This year our MSEL class was split between three locations: Chile, Tanzania, and China.
When the MSEL students returned to Babson for Spring semester, I was incredibly interested to hear more about their experiences. I also thought it would be valuable to share some exciting highlights from their trips. To do so, I spoke with three of our wonderful students: Tajana Grubisic, Dennis Huang, and Stephen Keith of the Babson MSEL Class of 2017. Tajana went with her classmates to Chile, Dennis to Tanzania, and Stephen visited Beijing and Shanghai in China.
What made you interested in going to that location?
- DH: Going to Tanzania was such an unconventional opportunity – it screamed adventure of a lifetime.
- TG: It was always my dream to visit Latin America and I’ve now had the opportunity to do that. Also, I was always attracted to Latin culture, music and food.
- SK: I had never been to Asia before and I absolutely love the food!
What was your favorite part of the trip?
- DH: During our week-long adventure in Tanzania, we spent quite a bit of time traveling in our four-wheeler Jeeps. To be able to see and interact with the life outside of the city was an eye opener.
- TG: I had a chance to see how business is done in Chile. For example, I visited a company that recycles glass bottles and makes them into beautiful glass cups.
- SK: I really enjoyed exploring cities in China by getting lost. Both Beijing and Shanghai are well organized so we didn’t completely lose ourselves, but we did find our way to a number of hidden gems and stores.
Was there anything that surprised you about the experience?
- DH: After the program in Tanzania, I stayed longer and enjoyed a 3000-meter midnight trek on one of the most unique active volcanoes on earth. We slept under the stars and watched the sun rise behind Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance. It reminded me of the importance of enjoying the moment – there is so much beauty around us.
- SK: By going to China I was surprised to see the differences in Eastern and Western cultures. I also noticed that people really go with the flow of situations there. You also get used to the sheer number of people really quickly.
What types of activities did you participate in? Both cultural and business related.
- DH: In Tanzania we worked on a consulting project for a successful local company aiming to bring everybody in the country clean water. In addition, we did a safari tour to the Ngorongoro Crater! There is nothing like watching three lions basking in the sun.
- TG: The entire trip to Chile was very fun since it was filled with activities and visits to companies and startups. Definitely my favorite outdoor activity was climbing the Andes for team building!
How do you feel this experience impacted your perspective?
- TG: In Chile it was really interesting to see how business is done differently and then compare it to the US…especially how Chileans approach entrepreneurship. For example, I visited a FabLab that helps entrepreneurs develop their ideas, make prototypes and then launch those products to the market.
- SK: This trip to China re-validated that experiencing is always better than all the research in the world. There are a number of things that people in different cultures do differently that can be beneficial to both parties. One week in China was nowhere near enough time!
I have to ask – did you have anything delicious to eat?
- DH: Red bananas, hands down! I never had them before, and they were amazing.
- TG: I definitely recommend trying Ceviche which is a typical seafood dish.
- SK: BaoBao/Dumplings – they are an absolute must have.
As you can see, the Global Entrepreneurship Experience was an incredibly eye opening opportunity for our MSEL students. If you’d like to connect with Tajana, Stephen, or Dennis and hear more about their experiences for yourselves, or if you would like to learn more about the Babson MSEL, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.