Finding His Happy Work

Michael Daboll graduated from Babson with an operations management concentration

During his 2019 Centennial Commencement speech, Akio Toyoda MBA’82, P’14 encouraged the graduating class to “figure out what speaks to your heart the most … find your happy work.”

During his time at Babson, Michael Daboll ’19 did just that.

“I’ve always enjoyed finding a problem—no matter how small it seemed—and then trying to turn it into a business. As an entrepreneur, I can help people, do what I love for a living, and adapt quickly to address new problems all at the same time.”

Many may consider the definition of entrepreneurship to only mean starting a business. But, at Babson, entrepreneurship is a mindset—a way of thinking that can be applied to any career path.

“I found operations management at Babson and loved it so much that it became my concentration. I also found that I love to work with multiple companies, and operations consulting is a great way to do that.”

With a clear career path in sight, Daboll spoke to us about life post-graduation, his favorite moments at Babson, and his advice for future students.

Why Babson?

Every business I have been involved in is connected to my love of entrepreneurship, whether it was landscaping, fixing bikes, or being a music producer. When I first came to Babson through its Summer Study for high school students and saw how everything we learned was connected to entrepreneurship, I realized Babson was for me. 

What are your plans after graduating from Babson?

I am finishing my second-semester senior year and will be graduating this fall. After school, I will be working for [bu:st] (pronounced “boost”). It is a project management and operations consulting firm in South Carolina that works closely with BMW. Babson has helped tremendously in choosing my career path and also has given me some valuable contacts to hold on to.

What’s Your Most Memorable Lesson Learned?

The most valuable thing I have learned at Babson was from my FME teacher Professor (Yasuhiro) Yamakawa, who taught me that failure is actually a good thing. I began to meet with Professor Yamakawa outside of FME to discuss entrepreneurship and get guidance on the business I was running last year. He always says, “You failed? Oh, how lucky you are!” And, when my own business failed, I realized that the lessons I learned completely outweighed the failure. I am very grateful to have Professor Yamakawa as a mentor—with his help I learned that the most successful entrepreneurs reflect on their mistakes and apply what they learn from their failures to future ventures.

What Advice Do You Have for Future Babson Students?

Really get to know your professors! Going to office hours is a great way to connect with them, especially once you get into your concentration classes. Not only can the professors help you with any class work, but they are generally very interested in what you are doing. This is a huge benefit of going to a small school. I have connected with several of my operations management professors and they are great contacts for the future. They are always doing cool things outside of class, so my advice is don’t be afraid to ask them about what they’re working on. These connections can help you get jobs, letters of recommendation, or introductions to people you wouldn’t otherwise get to meet. I am so glad that I could actually make meaningful connections with professors, thanks to the small school environment.

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