Semester in San Francisco (Spring 2017)
Since fall 2014, Babson ugrads have had the opportunity to spend a Semester in San Francisco, a city known for its entrepreneurial activity, disruptive technology, and culture of innovation. The SF Bay Area is home to some of the most influential businesses + startups in the world and is the leading center for venture capital investment.
Most recently, our 5th group of ugrads immersed themselves in the Silicon Valley ecosystem, networked, created a student venture, consulted, did improv, explored SF neighborhoods, visited tech companies, pitched to VCs, attended conferences + meetups, tried new food, made new friends, and (some) even took on an internship at a startup.
All the students enrolled in 18 credits at Babson’s satellite campus in SF and took two entrepreneurship classes, two intermediate liberal arts classes, and one design thinking class. The curriculum was taught by Babson faculty via a combination of telepresence-video-conferencing and face-to-face sessions:
Consulting in Tech Entrepreneurship (EPS 4505)
Design and Systems Thinking (DES 3600)
Golden Cities: The West and Urban America (HSS 2007)
Revolutionary Stages and Stages of Revolution: Theatre, Politics, and Performances in the City by the Bay (LVA 2002)
Silicon Tech Ventures (EPS 4520)
Consulting in Technology Entrepreneurship (Prof. Allan Cohen)
“Working with Babson students added tremendous value to our organization. We were impressed with the level of professionalism and sharp intellect used to answer our core issues we had in our product pricing. They surpassed our expectations by delivering at the level of a professional management consultancy firm. We will be taking their recommendations forward to our 2018 strategies.” – Lewis Perkins, President, Cradle 2 Cradle Product Innovation Institute
In this course, students connected with Bay Area organizations to serve as consultants to address a current business challenge. Industries represented included: SaS, Environmental Product Design, Mobile Applications, Connected Car (transportation), Data Analytics. Here are the projects from this semester:
Cradle2Cradle Products Innovation Institute: Research all relevant costs of determining whether products deserve sustainability recognition, and recommend pricing of the audit and subsequent annual award of the C2C Certification
Waggl: Provide recommendations for how to virally spread the reputation of this company that is a platform for crowd-sourcing feedback used for actionable insight
Momentum Labs: This company acquires niche apps that can be improved with better marketing; the team was required to create a manual for how to improve the marketing of any app, using social media such as Facebook and Snapchat, that could be used by new employees to accelerate their learning
Matchpoint GPS: This company sells GPS tracking devices for autos, and wanted strategic recommendations whether to expand to 2 wheeled vehicles, alter the functionality (and therefore costs) of the current devices, or sell the company
Hippometrics: A company with a successful algorithm for selecting winners of horse races, it wanted recommendations about possible other business ideas in the horse racing business
**Read a testimonial about Waggl’s experience with the CiTE program.
Thank you to our wonderful CiTE Sponsors: Lewis Perkins (C2C Product Innovation Institute), Alex Kinnebrew + Michael Papay ’98 (Waggl), Shaun Steingold M’08 (Momentum Labs), Carey Fan M’12 (MatchpointGPS), Dustin Mahon M’17 + Felipe Juliao M’17 (Hippometrics)
Design and System Thinking (Randall Ussery)
Students explored the critical dimensions of design and systems thinking and why it matters for innovation. Each week they covered topics such as empathy, synthesis, ideation, iteration + selection, story telling, and the importance of having a human centered design ethos.
Golden Cities: The West and Urban America (Prof. Paul Schmitz)
In this class, students analyzed how San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley have revolutionized American society, serving as centers of culture, image-making, economic development, while welcoming fortune-seekers, entrepreneurs, immigrants, artists and bohemians.
Face-to-face sessions included a walking tour of Chinatown (the largest Chinese community outside of China), a visit to Golden Gate park (including the Japanese Tea Gardens), exploring Haight and Ashbury (the center of the counter-cultural movement), and touring the Castro (birth of the Gay Rights movement).
Revolutionary Stages and Stages of Revolution (Prof. Beth Wynstra)
San Francisco itself is art…every block is a short story. Every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. –William Saroyan
Students examined theatre performances focused on, inspired by, or born in the SF Bay Area and studied a wide variety of plays and discussed how and why the City by the Bay serves as the ideal setting, subject, performance locale, and sometimes character in the works.
Face-to-face sessions included learning puppetry with DLux Puppets, watching a performance of Beach Blanket Babylon, a visit to the only National Park dedicated to an American playwright, Eugene O’Neill’s Tao House, a trip to the Berkeley Repertory Theatre to watch Roe, and participating in a political theatre workshop with the San Francisco Mime Troupe.
Silicon Tech Ventures (Prof. Mary Gale)
In this venture creation class, students gained insights on starting and growing a technology business. At the end of the semester, each team pitched @ Kleiner Perkins Edge, a venture capital firm that invests in early stage founders in emerging areas of technology. Here is the list of student startups:
HeAR is an Augmented Reality device for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing that provides access to live captioning of people they are communicating with
HUGU saves stress, money and lives, through providing insurance companies a way for their users to eliminate the distraction of cellphones while individuals are driving
Phronesis provides secure and fast data management based on blockchain and data virtualization for Global 2000 companies
Toca’s Trunk helps children ages 4-7 to develop and foster creative skills by constructing physical solutions using building materials with sensors that connect virtually through a gamified app that presents the adventures of Toca the elephant and the problems he encounters
Q is a mobile application that provides users with lineup and wait time information at airports, allowing for better time management, accurate expectations and an improved service experience for passengers
Rolo is an application that enables people to store and easily organize all of their professional contacts in an easy to access place
Throughout the semester, students met with Babson alumni and visited some of the best companies in the Bay Area. These treks offered students an insider’s perspective of the organization and the opportunity to interface with founders, executives, entrepreneurs, and venture partners. Often, the treks consisted of a tour of the office space, a panel or talk, and the chance to ask questions to industry leaders. Sometimes, we ran into a Silicon Valley VIP. During Spring 2017, we visited:
A big thank you to our incredible hosts: Tanya Soman ’12 (500 Startups), Brooke Leone ’08 (Airbnb), Jim Pacella M’14 (Apple), Alexandros Mathopoulos ’17 (Delphix), Tim Pryde M’13 (Dolby), Gopi Parampalli M’14 (Electronic Arts), Gabe Diaz Barriga ’16 + Brian Hickey ’15 (Facebook), Ryan Narod ’16 + Nate Lemieux ’15 + Cassidy Morgan ’96 (Google), Carly Moore ’15 (Heap), Daniela Cruz ’15 + Fernando Pereira ’11 (YouTube), Jeremy Brown (Spigit)
Events and Excursions
Students had the opportunity to learn and network with the broader business community, participate in events at the Babson-SF campus, and explore San Francisco landmarks and sites:
Babson Connect, an alumni and friends event which featured speaker Jaime Siminoff ’99, chief inventor of Ring
Startup Grind Global Conference
A San Francisco Giants Baseball game
Alumni and Friends New Years Celebration
THRIVE Speaker Series, a conversation with founders, leaders, and changemakers
Volunteering with NFTE, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship
Apply for Spring 2018
If you are interested in studying in San Francisco, please complete an application on the Education Abroad website. The deadline to apply is Wednesday September 20th.
Eiko Tsukamoto, Senior Assistant Director, San Francisco Programs
John Crisafulli, Assistant Director, Education Abroad, Glavin Office of Multicultural and International Education
Babson San Francisco expands Entrepreneurial Thought and Action to the West Coast through innovative graduate degrees, an undergraduate semester experience, and custom executive education, while connecting Babson students, faculty, and alumni to the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Bay Area. Check out a video of our campus!