Mildreth Campos ‘23 and her father, José Rolando Campos, have always had a close bond, so much so that they decided to leave their home in Mexico City and attend college together.
“I started thinking about business school and started looking at Babson,” Mildreth says, and her father—a longtime business executive—“was like, ‘Do it, do it, do it!’ ”
“Now, we’re roomies,” Rolando says with a smile.
Rolando was such an enthusiastic supporter, in part, because, as a mid-career professional, he had been nurturing a long-held desire to strike out on his own and start his own business. The pandemic presented a perfect opportunity.
“The trend in Mexico wasn’t good,” Mildreth says, with big retailers squeezed by the supply chain crunch. Her father had spent 22 years with the same company and had been considering taking a refresher program. “One day, he said, ‘What if I go with you?’ ”
Now, father and daughter are living together in Boston, not far from Babson’s Wellesley campus. While life in Massachusetts has been an adjustment, Mildreth says she and her father, fortunately, have been able to help each other because they have complementary skills. Mildreth occasionally helps her father with investment analysis, and she benefits from his business acumen, honed over a successful career at Liverpool, Mexico’s largest department store.
“I got a lot of knowledge from him that now I get to put to use in college,” she says.
Learning Together at Babson
Mildreth is pursuing a double concentration in business analytics and supply chain management at Babson, while Rolando is enrolled in the Certificate of Advanced Management (CAM) program. Due to the pandemic, they both started their studies virtually in fall 2020 while still in Mexico. They moved to Massachusetts last fall.
“Babson has amazing professors, and I’ve tried to absorb everything I can from them so that I can apply it to my own business,” Rolando says. He has an MBA, but the Babson experience has shown him “a totally different way to learn,” he says.
Mildreth agrees, citing Babson’s Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® (ET&A™). “I had thought of an MBA as theoretical, but Babson shows you the practical application of knowledge,” she says. “It helps you shape your intuition and course of action.”
“Babson has amazing professors, and I’ve tried to absorb everything I can from them so that I can apply it to my own business.”
José Rolando Campos, who is enrolled in the Certificate of Advanced Management program
Already, father and daughter have taken advantage of the extensive Babson network to begin, or think about, business ventures. Rolando is working as an investor and advisor to a tea company, Waku, that was started by a Babson entrepreneur. He hopes he will learn lessons that he can apply to his future business—a coffee company he started many years ago and put on hold in 1988 when he was raising a family and needed to devote his time to his (less risky) retail career. He has already settled on a name: Café Catador 2.0, a nod to the fact that the company will be a re-boot of his old coffee business.
Mildreth also wants to start her own venture, a perfume company. She and her father, a chemist, sometimes spend evenings together formulating scents in their Boston apartment. “At 2 a.m., we’ll be counting: a drop of this, a drop of that,” she says.
And she also is using concepts learned at Babson to think differently about data, and how it can be used when starting a business. “At a startup, you don’t have any numbers, so you have to figure out what free and available resources you can use,” she says. These could include Instagram and websites that sell perfume, Mildreth says. “I look at these sites as sources of data extraction now.”
A Different Kind of College Experience
Although the “college experience” for some undergraduate students is an opportunity to escape their parents and learn to test their limits, Mildreth does not feel like she is missing out.
Mildreth is involved in several extracurricular activities. She is a member of the Latin America Student Organization, the Babson Consulting Association, and TEDxBabsonCollege, where she is running a TEDx event along with her teammates.
For all her college activities and responsibilities, she’s never far from her dad.
“My dad and I have always been very close,” she says, adding that they have fallen into a routine in Boston. “In the evenings one of us cooks, the other cleans. Sometimes, we try cooking, but we can’t cook the same as my mom so we just order Mexican food and tell her we cooked it.” In a more serious tone, she adds, “If I’m being completely honest, I came here with a purpose, and that purpose is aligned with learning.”
She and her dad spend a lot of time studying together, Mildreth says, “and, after class, we’re always talking about what we’ve learned.”
“Data!” Mildreth says. “Also, blockchain, future trends, supply chain optimization …”
“Artificial intelligence,” Rolando chimes in. “Transformation and conscious capitalism, SQL.”
“Yes!” Mildreth says with a laugh. “We are both really passionate about business.”
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