Cap and gown season is upon us. At the May 18 Commencement exercises, graduating students will close out their Babson careers. They’ll hear Patrick Awuah, founder and president of Ghana’s Ashesi University College, speak at the morning’s undergraduate ceremony, and Kip Tindell, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of The Container Store, speak at the afternoon’s graduate ceremony. Awuah, Tindell, and Saras Sarasvathy, professor and entrepreneurship scholar at the University of Vir-ginia’s Darden School of Business, will receive honorary degrees. In the weeks leading up to Commencement, graduates recalled the professors and classes that inspired them.
CHET CLEM, MBA’13: Professor Heidi Neck’s introductory entrepreneurship course always reminded me of the Elvis lyric, “A little less conversation, a little more action please.” She pushed us to stop theorizing and just experiment. She preached about the importance of failure in the creative process, and then facilitated an environment in which it was safe to fall flat on your face. Plenty of students can tell you about a professor who helped them succeed, but it’s rare to speak so highly of a professor who helped you fail.
CHRISTINA CONSIGLI ’13: Kerry Rourke proved to be a nurturing professor in her “Practicum in Peer Consulting and Writing” class. She encouraged me to be confident in my writing skills and to challenge myself with different communication techniques. She was also an amazing adviser. She helped me grow into a strong, open-minded woman by encouraging me to invest in my interests. She was always there when I needed advice, someone to talk to, or just a good book to read.
STACEY MUKASA ’13: During my Babson career, I experienced many classes that changed my understanding of the world around me. One such class was “Culture, Society, and Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies,” which gave me the amazing opportunity to travel to Ghana to teach entrepreneurship at high schools throughout the country. Having the ability to take the skills and knowledge that I acquired at Babson and share them with individuals who are yearning to learn was the most fulfilling part of my Babson experience.
BARB SPANGLER, MBA’13: Professor Allan Cohen introduced the concept of negotiation as a lifetime constant, and helped us understand what motivates ourselves and others. He also introduced the idea of a personal bottom line and the importance of understanding our sense of commitment to whatever we try to accomplish. I took his leadership course while in the middle of a sensitive project negotiation. I asked him for guidance, and we had many conversations. He doesn’t tell you what to do; he shows you a landscape and lets you walk the path of your choice.
KEVIN WEBB ’13: The professor who influenced me the most was Laurie Krigman, who teaches finance, which is my concentration. She strengthened my understanding of how a business functions financially by making a difficult topic understandable. Laurie (she wants us to call her by her first name and won’t respond if you don’t) goes the extra mile to help students interested in finance, even creating a finance alumni network that matches students with alumni who work in the field that they’re interested in.—John Crawford