Babson Students Go Back to the Future with DeLorean Next Generation 

Myles Spence, giving two thumbs up, and Kat DeLorean sit in a classroom

Kat DeLorean isn’t afraid to be bold. Perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising. 

As she stood in a classroom in Babson’s Olin Hall, DeLorean sported purple hair, a cat necklace, and a colorful Stella McCartney sweater emblazoned with the word “Smile.” “I am supposed to be tastefully in your face,” she said. 

DeLorean is the daughter of John DeLorean, the innovative automaker whose iconic car, the DMC-12, earned a spot in 1980s pop-culture history with its appearance in the movie Back to the Future.  

DeLorean is now relaunching and rebranding her father’s company as DeLorean Next Generation Motors (DNG Motors, for short), a now not-for profit venture with a new model set for release in 2025 and a new emphasis on education. “I don’t want to be my father’s brand,” DeLorean says.  

DeLorean recently came to Babson to hear from students in a brand management class. The students were tasked with helping with the rebranding, a project that would prove to be challenging and rewarding. 

The Past and Present 

The class’s assignment was to propose and develop prototypes of commemorative memorabilia to highlight the DNG Motors brand. “This was a complicated assignment,” said Anjali Bal, the associate professor of marketing who taught the brand management class. 

DeLorean prototype
Babson students used the Weismann Foundry to make prototypes of memorabilia for DeLorean Next Generation (DNG) Motors. They then presented those prototypes in class. (Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki)

Making the task complicated, for starters, is the passage of time. The original DMC-12 featured a cool, memorable design, with its stainless-steel body and gull-wing doors, and it remains famous for its role as a time machine in Back to the Future. That movie, however, is now decades in the past. 

Nowadays, DNG Motors faces competition from a rival car company also named DeLorean, one without any family connections to the original founder. It also has grand plans that go beyond cars, with a focus on STEAAMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Automotive, Mathematics, Manufacturing) education.  

In one Indiana school district, DNG Motors is putting together a STEAAMM curriculum, while in Pontiac, Michigan, it is developing an automotive restoration program for high school students. “Everything we do is about engaging the next generation of students,” DeLorean said. “Our main goal isn’t the car. It’s about the education aspect.”  

Any proposals from the brand management class, therefore, had a lot to consider from both the past and present of DNG Motors. That complexity didn’t trouble Bal. That’s just the nature of experiential learning. “The reality is that business leaders face complexity in the business environment all the time,” she said. “Do I think it made it harder for students? Absolutely. But, I think it made the experience all the richer for it.” 

Proposals for DeLorean Next Generation 

Students proposed a wide range of memorabilia for DNG Motors, including a Lego set, a coffee table book, a racing jacket, and a pair of sunglasses inspired by DNG’s design. Students made prototypes in the Weissman Foundry, and they tied their proposals to many strands of the DNG story, from its history to its work with education to its cars to come.  

The Lego set, for instance, was of a forthcoming DNG car and was suggested as a gift for high school students completing STEAAMM training.  

DeLorean was impressed. “They put together fantastic proposals,” she said. “They were on brand and open to new opportunities.” 

“This was invaluable for students because, frankly, they need to hear different perspectives. It is so important to see that leadership can be dynamic, modern, and cutting edge.”
Anjali Bal, associate professor of marketing

Also impressed was Myles Spence, the co-founder and chief brand officer at DNG Motors, who heard the students’ proposals alongside DeLorean and Weisman director Jonathan Griffiths. “We are excited to work with the students to make a number of the presented prototypes a reality,” Spence said. 

Spence has strong Babson ties. He attended the College, and both his sister (Madison Spence ’24) and mother (Arlene Cummings MBA’24) are current students. Spence took Bal’s brand management class as a student, and it left a lasting impression, particularly a case study on Porsche. “That sparked my larger curiosity in the automotive marketing field,” he said. 

Bal was grateful that Spence and DeLorean were able to come to class and interact with students firsthand. “The interaction with companies is priceless,” she said. “This was invaluable for students because, frankly, they need to hear different perspectives. It is so important to see that leadership can be dynamic, modern, and cutting edge.” 

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