babson mba class of 2020

12 Things We Learned About Babson’s MBA Class of 2020

Why do MBA students choose Babson?

The team at Poets & Quants recently found out. It spoke with 12 Babson MBA candidates to learn more about what led them to business school, how they chose Babson, and what the first few months of classes have been like.

Through these profiles, the diversity of Babson’s graduate students—who they are, where they come from, what they aspire to—shines. But don’t just take it from us. Let the students’ stories speak for themselves. Check out highlights from their profiles below, or visit Poets & Quants for the full feature.

Hamad Alfares MBA’20 won’t let a fear of heights stop him from taking the plunge. The thrill of his first bungee jumping experience in Queensland, Australia, got him hooked, and he’s currently planning to sky dive in San Diego. That self-motivation will serve him well; after earning his Babson MBA, Alfares aspires to return to the Middle East “to accelerate the improvement of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the area.”

Alex Green MBA’19 has a passion for analytics. He recently discovered marketing analytics and aspires to use his Babson MBA to build a career in that field. That’s why he chose Babson. “I looked for an MBA to learn skills as opposed to just classroom theory, so I wanted to go somewhere that encouraged action in addition to thought and learning.”

Elena Cavalca Knack MBA’20 hopes to return to her family business. And when she does, she’ll use the entrepreneurial mindset she develops in Babson’s MBA program. That mindset was critical in her decision to attend Babson, she said. “That’s not about just creating your own business, but about doing things creatively. It is not about just thinking outside the box—it’s about thinking as if there is no box.”

Benjamín Mujica Dittborn MBA’20 values his global mindset. Originally from Chile, Dittborn studied for six months in Bath, United Kingdom, as a college student. It was an eye-opening experience. “It was the moment I truly realized the world that was outside of Chile and how I should be more receptive towards new cultures and realities,” he said. And the strength of Babson’s international student population helped him make the decision to enroll in the MBA program. “Diversity is incredible at Babson. . . . If you want a global mindset, this is the right place.”

Manan Bhandari MBA’20 has an impressive T-shirt collection. Among the many reasons Bhandari chose Babson, he said, was the globally diverse student population and the small class sizes. “I wanted to go to a program where I could know my entire class personally,” he told Poets & Quants. When Bhandari and his fellow students aren’t talking business or class work, perhaps they’re chatting about Bhandari’s T-shirts, which share a lot about his interests and personality. “I do not wear plain T-shirts. All my T-shirts have a quote or reference to my favorite books, movies, TV shows, or fictional characters.”

Tricia DiGirolomo MBA’20 has her eye on the Summer Venture Program. “After several years working at a venture-backed technology company, I decided that my long-term goal was to start a venture capital fund focused on fashion, beauty, and lifestyle innovation,” she told Poets & Quants. She’s at Babson to begin pursuing that goal and hopes to work with the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship to achieve it. “I really hope I’m lucky enough to participate in the Summer Venture Program this year. It is an intensive experience where you use the summer to focus on growing your entrepreneurial venture.”

Masayuki Kameo MBA’20 knows the automobile industry needs entrepreneurs. Prior to coming to Babson, Kameo worked for Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan as a strategy planner for the chief communications officer. “In the changing automobile industry, we have to identify the right opportunities and continue to create new values for the society, such as autonomous, connected, and electric vehicles,” he said. After earning his Babson MBA, he’ll return to Toyota with an entrepreneurial mindset to “contribute to the company’s challenge of new business.”

Ashley Taylor MBA’20 is inspired by her Babson peers. “I fell in love with my classmates on day one. Above all, I would call them generous. They are friendly, accepting, and supportive to a really remarkable degree,” said Taylor, who came to Babson with the hopes of launching a social enterprise after graduation. “You get the sense that everyone wants to help you succeed, and that creates a cycle of generosity in the school—I hope it spills into the world!”

Will Gray MBA’20 only applied to Babson. Gray, who worked at a tech-focused boutique investment bank and had real estate investments on the side, said he felt a “gravitational pull” to Babson’s entrepreneurial focus, especially after speaking with other students. “Based on their feedback and with Babson’s valuable scholarship contributions, I believed I was ready to make this commitment to myself.”

Claudia Monteverde MBA’20 is an entrepreneurial dentist. After obtaining a dental degree in her native Venezuela, she founded her own practice, which grew into a dental center. She came to Babson to further develop her business skillset and develop a new venture in the healthcare and life sciences sector. “I believe that being an entrepreneur is a way of living, and I apply it in a professional and a personal level,” she told Poets & Quants. “Finding a program that perfectly aligns with my way to see life was a key factor to make my decision.”

Dancan Onyango MBA’20 is microlending with sewing machines. He founded Jiwo Paro, a development microfinance organization in Kenya, which provides training and tools (including sewing machines) to low-income women to enable them to start apparel microenterprises. “Little as my contribution may be, I believe that it has been instrumental in molding these women into successful entrepreneurs in the textile industry and [to] become successful leaders in their community.”

Fupeng Pei MBA’20 is looking for a career change. Previously a sales manager for a pharmaceutical company, Pei hopes to use his Babson MBA to launch a career in marketing and strategy. Long term, he’s aiming to start a business. He advises future students to consider their career paths when determining which program is best. “You have to think about whether the MBA can help you achieve your specific goals.”

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