Graduate Blog / Career Development

A Lesson From Babson’s First TEDx Event

On Saturday, April 22 a group of enterprising Babson students hosted the first ever Babson TEDx event. Conceived and organized by a group of MSEL students, the event was a huge success, attended by an audience of 70-100 people who arrived early and stayed until the finish. Titled “Disruption 360,” the event included a fascinating collection of 15-minute talks on a variety of subjects related to the dynamic change that is occurring today in the world of business. We heard from experts on information technology, education, software, pharmaceuticals, furniture, energy, and the personal (career) implications of disruption.

“Disruption” refers to the process by which an industry is completely revolutionized. Think of what Uber is doing to the taxi business. Or what online streaming has done to the music industry. In this type of environment, firms have to completely re-evaluate how they do business. In fact, in a disrupted industry, it’s rare that an existing firm becomes the leader of the next wave of competition. The old rules no longer apply, and the new rules have yet to be completely written. It takes a special kind of leadership, and courage, to compete effectively in these circumstances. Many aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset we teach at Babson College can provide leaders with the building blocks they need to survive and thrive. Disruption is scary, but it also provides a wealth of new opportunities for the people who spot them.

One lesson in particular—from two different talks—really stood out for me. One of our speakers emphasized the idea that if you face disruption and feel “scared and alone,” it means that you are on the right path. Another speaker emphasized the importance of relationships and a deep human connection when facing change on this scale. Put these two ideas together…when you feel scared and alone in the face of change, look around you and connect with the people who can help you cope. Strong relationships, and a deep understanding of each other’s capabilities, are key to keeping your footing when you are in the midst of dramatic change.

For me, this was the prime lesson I took away from a very enjoyable day at Babson’s first ever TEDx event. Thank you to all the students and staff who helped make this day possible.