Peter Lynch H’96, one of the most successful and well-known investors of all time, grew the famous Magellan Fund from $18 million to $14 billion in 13 years. You could say he knows a thing or two about investing.
It was only fitting then that Lynch joined Babson, where finance represents the largest undergraduate concentration and the most common field for graduates, for the grand opening of its new finance lab at the College’s Stephen D. Cutler Center for Investments and Finance.
Finance’s Role in Entrepreneurship Education
This lab, which has a 20-year history at Babson, “is representative, in so many ways, of the entrepreneurial process,” opened President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA ’92, PhD.
Entrepreneurship isn’t just about startups or growing a firm, Spinelli shared. “It is about continually renewing and creating value.”
And what immeasurable value the Cutler Center has created indeed.
At the heart of campus, the new state-of-the-art Finance Lab holds 42 workstations equipped with Bloomberg, FactSet, and other tools used by industry professionals.
It provides Babson students with “unique opportunities to learn and lead through signature learning experiences designed to prepare them for successful careers in financial services,” boasts the Cutler Center.
Through course integration and exclusive workshops, the lab will continue to change the educational experience for students interested in finance and will also allow faculty from other disciplines to collaborate and utilize the Cutler Center resources in the courses that they teach.
“I love being around the energy here,” said Spinelli. “The finance components of a [Babson] education instill [a] kind of discipline and rigor” that enables entrepreneurial problem-solving and success “in almost anything you do in business, finance, and entrepreneurship,” he added.
“Today, roughly 25 percent of Babson students pursue a degree in finance,” said Patrick Gregory, CFA, senior lecturer, and managing director of the Cutler Center. “The integration of the Cutler Center resources into our graduate and undergraduate programs dramatically improves the skill set and marketability of our students.”
Returning the Investment
Adjunct Lecturer Rick Spillane, former director of the Babson College Fund, moderated a discussion with Lynch about his many endeavors in the industry and the impact of his work.
“The part [about Peter Lynch] that might not be as visible to you, is the philanthropist,” said Spillane.
Lynch and his late wife, Carolyn, started the Lynch Foundation 30 years ago—and it has continued to use the power of smart investing to support the Greater Boston community.
Together, they “have given away $130 million so far with $120 million left for other causes,” Spillane said.
From successes to failures, ups and downs in the market, one thing remained constant for Lynch—his eager ability to learn about the companies in which he plans on investing, and to find the uniqueness that would allow them to prosper and provide appropriate returns on investment.
“If you call enough companies,” said Lynch, “you’ll find some that are doing something interesting.”
Answering audience questions, Lynch also advised that “getting rid of good companies and adding bad companies is like watering the weeds and cutting the flowers. Just because a stock goes up doesn’t mean it can’t keep going up, and just because it goes down doesn’t mean it can’t keep going down.”
Lynch shared that he sold early stock in Home Depot after it doubled. “Then it grew 100-fold . . . that would have made up for a lot of mistakes.”
In closing, Lynch turned to perspective. While most people are worried about the economy and its future, Lynch says that it’s important to know what’s happening now.
“What’s really important is airline reservations, and hotel reservations—not who is building buildings . . . When people stop booking . . . you [need to] start saying ‘something’s happening.’ You want to have a finger on the pulse now, not on the future.”
After the fireside chat, Lynch joined students Isabelle Tabak ’20, George Massey MBA’20, and Blake Greenhalgh ’20, who earned the opportunity to pitch him their stocks. “These students have honed their stock pitching skills through the Babson College Fund, a two-semester program where the students manage a portion of the College’s endowment,” said Gregory.
Cutler Center Completes Centennial Campus Transformation
The Finance Lab sits within one of the College’s newest campus buildings: Babson Commons at Horn Library. This centralized convening space also is home to three technology-enabled classrooms, group and informal study spaces, academic and extracurricular resources centers and offices, a student-named Centennial Café, and the Bala Iyer Gardens.
Babson Commons and the Cutler Center Finance Lab are part of a larger physical transformation on campus, including new buildings like Park Manor West and the Weissman Foundry, the move of both Roger’s Pub & Grille and Babson’s historic World Globe and Fountain of Flags to Kerry Murphy Healey Park, and the reinvigorated Babson Recreation and Athletics Complex.
Babson Commons has been made possible by the continued generosity of Robert (Bob) Weissman ’64, H’94, P’87 ’90 and his wife, Jan Weissman P’87 ’90, as well as Stephen Cutler MBA’61.