Babson Magazine

Winter 2019

Beyond the Bottom Line

Professor inspires students to combine entrepreneurship with social responsibility.


Photo: Michael Quiet

Senior Lecturer Ed Marram
Photo: Michael Quiet

Ed Marram isn’t just interested in helping students become successful entrepreneurs. He wants them to make a difference in the world.

After a successful scientific career that led him to found and grow his own business, Marram, a senior lecturer in entrepreneurship, made time to study under Professors Neal Churchill and Bill Bygrave at Babson until he felt ready to teach. He has been a faculty member in the Entrepreneurial program for more than 30 years, starting as an adjunct lecturer, then joining the full-time faculty after he sold his business in 2005.

Marram teaches Managing Growing Businesses, a graduate-level course designed to provide insight into the challenges and opportunities of growing an entrepreneurial company, and a number of executive education courses. He has taught students from all around the world, both at Babson and in their home countries. Some of those relationships have become long-term commitments. For example, Ulster University in Northern Ireland, started coming to Babson about 12 years ago to learn about entrepreneurship. Last year, Ulster awarded Marram with an honorary doctorate.

“I’m surprised by how much knowledge and interest my students have,” Marram says. “All of them want to be entrepreneurs—and all want to know how to better run a business.” But his students’ focus isn’t just on the bottom line, he notes. Many are creating socially responsible businesses. “It’s not just about making money,” he says. “It’s about doing good for people and the environment.”

For example, one of Marram’s students provides microloans to poor women in Mexico. “A small loan doesn’t change their socioeconomic status, but it does make a huge difference in their individual lives,” Marram says.

Marram brings a wealth of entrepreneurial knowledge to Babson. He owned Geo-Centers Inc., a high-technology, professional services firm, for more than 35 years, growing the business to a staff of 1,400 people and $200 million in revenue. The firm was recognized twice by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest-growing, privately held companies in the United States. That background, he notes, brings “broad, real-life experience—and real-life problems—to the classroom.”

Beyond his work at Babson, Marram has served on the boards of several privately held companies and at institutions of higher education. He is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, and he previously served on the Health and Educational Financial Authority of Massachusetts.

Marram speaks with pride about the learning experience at Babson. “The unique thing about (the College) is that it has practitioners like me teaching entrepreneurship,” he says. “What better enrichment can you have than people who have actually experienced and survived the issues companies face?” – Amy Davis