While many within the Babson College community spent their summer away navigating internships and advancing in their careers, the One-Year MBA Class of 2023 was busy kicking off its first semester. The MBA candidates have been hard at work keeping pace with rigorous coursework as well as the BETA-X challenge, while finding time to bond over the occasional tennis match on campus.
This year’s cohort comes to Babson from around the world, ranging from New Englanders who already know all the best places throughout the Boston area, to international students from across the globe. They have years of professional expertise working in labor relations, telecommunications, real estate, and much more. They are parents and friends, innovators and community builders, and all of them are entrepreneurial leaders at heart.
Take a moment to get to know a few standout One-Year MBA students:
The Next Step for a Family Business
Entrepreneurship and business analytics concentrations
After more than 12 years of work within the maritime and healthcare industries, Jennifer Calhoun MBA’23 took the leap and transformed her family-run side hustle into her full-time job. G. I. Junk Removal began in 2018 as a small-scale, junk-removal service, staffed by only her husband and teenage son with just a single truck and their own garage at their disposal. Her business now brings in roughly $100,000 per month, employs more than a dozen employees, and operates across three metro areas in both Oregon and Washington state.
Faced with rapid growth, Calhoun needed to think carefully about the next steps for both her business and her career. “I didn’t start with the decision to pursue my MBA,” Calhoun said. “I instead started researching options for hiring a business coach. It felt like we were ‘building the plane as we were flying it’ in the business, and had reached the edge of what we could accomplish on our own. While determination and a ‘we’ll figure it out!’ attitude had taken us far, we needed more sophisticated business support to get to the next level.”
Now, one-fourth of the way through her MBA, Calhoun is pursuing three primary goals: to further expand G. I. Junk Removal; to develop her personal entrepreneurial skill set; and to build a professional network stable enough to last long after her year at Babson.
“I am a problem-solver and a solution-creator at heart, and I entered this program thinking I would focus solely on my own ventures after graduation,” she said. “With that said, my eyes are already opening to alternative possibilities.”
An Intrapreneurial Innovator
Business analytics and machine learning concentrations
Abhishek Dudhankar MBA’23 comes to Babson with 12 years of experience working as an analytics professional. He was born and raised in India, but has spent his career working in Canada, where he volunteers to help recent immigrants as they find employment and acclimatize to their new environment.
Dudhankar knew that he wanted to earn his MBA to support his professional growth, but he needed to wait until he felt confident that he could balance his education with his other responsibilities before beginning. Now, with his post-MBA goals held clearly in mind, he is eager to tackle the rigor of Babson’s one-year program.
“The entrepreneurial emphasis at Babson,” he said, “will enable me to strengthen and develop an intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial mindset, equip me with tools for managing my career within an organization and running my own business, and teach me how to solve problems with limited resources more effectively.”
Looking to the future, Dudhankar said, “My immediate objective is to advance my career in media technology, a field requiring an entrepreneurial mindset to lead, develop, and manage analytics products. … In the long run, I intend to establish my own company, specializing in the development and enhancement of the marketing analytics products and solutions guided by consumer needs, privacy laws, transparency, and ethical business practices.”
Sustainability in Real Estate
Entrepreneurship and quantitative finance concentrations
After almost a decade of work throughout the Greater Boston area, William (Bill) Stacy MBA’23 has cultivated a trusted reputation within the construction industry. He has worked on high-profile projects, managed teams of up to 16 workers, and is an active member of his employer’s sustainability group. Outside of work, he is a passionate woodworker and currently preparing for the birth of his child. But, in spite of all that’s on his plate, Stacy still carved out time and space to further his professional education.
“I actually only applied to two schools because I was so excited for both,” Stacy said, “but chose the Babson MBA because I was really drawn by its entrepreneurial and sustainability mission. I also got advice from some connections in the real estate industry that favored a broader financial and managerial education.”
For Stacy, obtaining his MBA was all about finding balance. He wanted a program that allowed him to be fully immersed in all the opportunities an MBA could offer. But, he also needed an accelerated, one-year program that ensured he could keep his opportunity costs low and pursue his professional goals sooner.
Today, Stacy is optimistic about his professional future. “In the long-term goal, my aspiration is to one day start my own company, most likely in a venture that enhances and promotes sustainability within the real estate industry,” he said. “Ultimately, in whatever I do, I want to contribute in a meaningful way toward a more sustainable world with a better quality of life for all.”
A Community Builder
Stephanie Denis MBA’23 has looked forward to earning her MBA for years, but it was important to her that she build up a few years of professional experience first. Born in Haiti before moving to New England 12 years ago, Denis works passionately in support of community building, outreach, and women’s empowerment.
“I want to leave Babson better than when I came in and for Babson to complement the skills acquired in the telecommunications industry,” said Denis, who is the director of marketing and communication for the Babson Black Graduate Club and an active board leader for Boston Young Black Professionals.
But, Denis’ relationship with the Babson community did not begin this past May. She took advantage of the opportunity to take part in Babson’s second annual Black Unity Summit in April 2022, where the theme was “Closing the Wealth Gap Through Entrepreneurship.” Over the course of the event, she mingled and got to know Babson students, alumni, and other community members, including President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD.
In thinking about her journey to Babson, Denis shared her advice to anyone considering an MBA.
“The advice I could give to someone who’s debating whether to go back to school and get their MBA is to figure out their ‘why’ as in their aspirations,” she said. “Make sure getting an MBA aligns with their long-term goals and be intentional about it. I would also advise that there’s no perfect time to get started, the time just needs to feel right, and they need to be ready to embark on this life-changing journey. … Getting an MBA is challenging, but it will also be rewarding in the long run.”
Posted in Campus & Community