Spring 2023

From the President: A Collaborative, Cross-Disciplinary Classroom

Portrait of Stephen Spinelli Jr. on campus

Problems rarely are confined—not by time or space, not by geography or demographics. Some are simple, some are complex, and many haven’t yet been identified. They can appear anywhere and extend everywhere. The worst of them can persist for decades or longer.

Solving the world’s problems requires driven teams considering every perspective. It requires people from diverse backgrounds and experiences working together, collaborating with new ways of thinking and new approaches. It requires the understanding of risk and return. It requires entrepreneurial leadership.

Fortunately, entrepreneurial leadership also spans all boundaries. It applies to every field, spans every aspect of business and society, and is necessary in every company, organization, and institution. So, the training needed to develop the entrepreneurial leaders of the future also can’t be constrained, especially by subject or discipline.

A collaborative, cross-disciplinary approach is not new for Babson. As the world’s best school for entrepreneurship, Babson has excelled at creating a holistic approach to problem solving. As Sebastian Fixson—our Marla M. Capozzi MBA’96 Term Chair in Design Thinking, Innovation and Entrepreneurship—says, it “is part of our DNA.”

In this issue of Babson Magazine, we examine how our world-renowned faculty collaborate across academic divisions to shape the entrepreneurial leaders of the future—both in the undergraduate and graduate schools. In particular, we explore how learning in a transdisciplinary classroom shapes problem solving at the intersections of disciplines with a focus on the Socio-Ecological Systems course, which is now a requirement for undergraduates. We also take a look at BETA-X, an MBA program that makes connections among eight classes across disciplines, as well as how our world-class centers and institutes support classroom learning with additional resources and expertise.

Also, in this issue, we spotlight another example of teamwork, particularly the unique bonds that have formed with the arrival of Jake Thibeault ’26, whose inspirational journey has had a profound impact on the men’s ice hockey team.

As our classroom approach illustrates and Jake’s story underscores, Babson is a special place where people build immensely rewarding relationships—both personally and professionally—and ultimately are equipped to lead and solve problems big and small.

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