Back at Babson

Eliana Crosina ’05, MBA’11 (center) mentors students at the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

Standing at the head of the classroom, Eliana Crosina ’05, MBA’11 has a realization. “I’m teaching FME where I used to be taking FME.”

She’s talking, of course, about Babson’s signature undergraduate course, Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship, or FME for short. It’s a course she knows well. Not just because she’s teaching it, but because she has taken it, too.

The FME classroom represents how Crosina’s Babson journey has come full circle—from a first-year student, to graduate student, to a member of the faculty teaching one of the first courses she took as an undergraduate.

It’s a journey, she says, that helps her connect with students. “It adds a little bit of perspective. I know what they’re going through when they’re fighting with each other, when the supplier doesn’t come through. The connections you form with your students are incredible.”

Finding Babson

“We shadowed a class, and there was something powerful about seeing how faculty related to the students,” she said.

Before enrolling at Babson, Crosina had seldom been exposed to a diverse team environment. Classes like FME gave her experience collaborating with classmates from different cultures, regions, and upbringings.

“Some of the challenges, struggles, excitement from being able to come together, and frustration when that doesn’t happen, learning to bend your style a little bit … that’s certainly served me well,” she said. “The world is much bigger than the one you know.”

After obtaining her undergraduate degree, Crosina joined Lehman Brothers as an investment banker. During the Great Recession, she found herself questioning if finance was still the career she wanted to pursue.

Her answer? Returning to Babson to acquire an MBA.

“I rediscovered my passion for learning and being in the classroom,” Crosina said.

While earning her first of several graduate degrees, Crosina worked as staff, managing the College’s international alumni program. She also taught as an adjunct professor.

“I’ve had just about any role one could at Babson,” Crosina said.

A Passion for Learning

Walking the halls of The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship, Crosina recalls frequenting the office of William Bygrave for consultation while she penned her honors thesis in pursuit of her MBA, and collaborating with her classmates in the same space as she had as an undergraduate student.

“Babson has been a big part of my life,” Crosina said. “I know the place; I know the people on campus, but (now) I occupy the space in a very different way.”

Her passion? Lifelong learning, and instilling that desire in others.

The coronavirus outbreak has forced managers to revaluate what work used to be and what it is now. Eliana Crosina provides a series of ideas for leaders to consider in the MIT Sloan Management Review.

“How can you help someone become a lifelong learner if you’re not doing it yourself?” she said. “How do we keep that curiosity alive that helps us push our boundaries, explore new possibilities, be curious and excited about things? You can only be a producer of knowledge if you consume it.”

In her vision, the future of entrepreneurship is understanding the practices, actions, and routines of founders, and how those evolve over time. She hopes to explore just that through her research and teachings.

“There’s no real manual for this,” she said. “Trial and error, you do what we teach at Babson.”

Back Where She Started

When Crosina’s not teaching, she’s researching. On January 31, she spent the entire day on site with a family business startup—a film company—sitting in on readings, conducting interviews, and presenting data she has analyzed.

“There’s something energizing about sitting in front of somebody, and have them open up about what it is that they’re doing, why they’re doing it,” Crosina said. “The luxury I have to dive deep into entrepreneurs’ stories and lives is a gift of this job.”

Her research is brought back to the classroom and her students in the form of guest speakers, case studies, and real-world takeaways.

For Crosina’s career, it’s striking a constant balance of learning through teaching and exploring.

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