As the associate dean of graduate programs and innovation at Babson College, Sebastian Fixson focuses on continually improving and expanding the entrepreneurial education and experiences at the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business—in the curriculum and beyond.
Among other things, for example, Fixson—also the Marla M. Capozzi MBA’96 Term Chair in Design Thinking, Innovation and Entrepreneurship—currently is leading a task force to better incorporate and enhance tech entrepreneurship in the graduate school. The task force is examining new course offerings, of course, but it also is asking bigger questions about the role of technology and leadership.
“How much tech skills does a leader need to have competent conversations with specialists?” Fixson said. “Can you develop a vision of how to use technology? Can you then assemble the resources and convince others to join you on that journey? Those are questions we’re addressing to remain at the forefront with the right educational models to help our graduates be successful.”
It’s the type of innovation that Babson has been doing for more than a generation as the longtime leader in entrepreneurship education. And, it’s one of many reasons Babson’s graduate school once again has been validated as the Best MBA for Entrepreneurship, earning the No. 1 ranking from U.S. News & World Report for the 29th consecutive year.
“This recognition emphasizes our continued leadership and innovation, and honors the achievements of the Babson community,” President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD said in a message Tuesday to the College. “Rankings are a point of pride for the Babson community and provide an opportunity to celebrate our shared progress and successes.”
While the ranking is for its full-time MBA program, Fixson said, “it enhances the reputation of the entire school. There’s a big halo effect across a variety of programs in the graduate school, and that is why this is very important and impactful.”
Beth Bristol MBA’06, the associate dean of graduate administration, said the impact of the enduring No. 1 ranking extends far and wide.
“The graduate school community has tremendous pride in our shared experience of being part of the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business,” Bristol said. “It radiates from faculty and students in the halls of Olin to our alumni excelling around the world.”
“This recognition emphasizes our continued leadership and innovation, and honors the achievements of the Babson community.”
President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD
Especially in a time of uncertainty and disruption caused by the pandemic, Babson’s graduate school has a lot to be proud of beyond the latest No. 1 MBA ranking:
“The latest ranking continues to highlight the graduate school’s longstanding commitment to our entrepreneurship roots,” Bristol said. “The way that our faculty, students, and community continue to evolve from this foundation is inspiring to be part of day in and day out.”
The best entrepreneurs continually innovate and improve. The same is true for the best entrepreneurship MBA. Bristol said the latest recognition is a testament to the Olin School’s entrepreneurial spirit and mindset, especially among the faculty.
“One of the most special parts of my role,” Bristol said, “is to see and support the ways in which our faculty continually innovate their curriculum to ensure its alignment with the needs of our current and future students.”
The Babson MBA curriculum was reimagined in 2018, condensing the core courses to allow for more credits for electives. “It made the program more flexible for the students,” Fixson said. “Other schools now are going in the same direction, so that tells me we are on the right track and the market is responding to that.”
“One of the most special parts of my role is to see and support the ways in which our faculty continually innovate their curriculum to ensure its alignment with the needs of our current and future students.”
Beth Bristol MBA’06, associate dean of graduate administration
Fixson says there’s more work ahead to keep Babson and its graduate school at the forefront of entrepreneurship education.
“In addition to maintaining and continually renewing our existing programs, I think we have to experiment with partnerships, alternative models, and new technologies,” Fixson said. “We are actively working on multiple levels to expand the range of experiential learning opportunities.”
For nearly 30 years, Babson has maintained its position as the Best MBA for Entrepreneurship. That recognition, though, comes with responsibility and opportunity.
“Our number one ranking is a mandate to lead,” Spinelli said, “and to continue to broaden the definition of entrepreneurship to include—and to focus on—entrepreneurial leadership.”