To Set Yourself Apart from Competition, Think Like an Entrepreneur

President-elect Stephen Spinelli

In a conversation with Babson student-athletes, President-elect Stephen Spinelli, Jr., MBA ‘92, PhD, shared his entrepreneurial experiences and reflected on how he separated himself and his company from the competition.

Spinelli, who played football as an undergrad at McDaniel College, discussed the definition of entrepreneurship and recalled his time at Jiffy Lube International, which he co-founded and grew into one of the country’s dominant service centers with more than 1,000 locations. About 400 members of the Babson Athletics community attended the lecture, including student-athletes, coaches, and athletics administration and staff.

“Thinking in terms of a holistic approach to solving a problem is an essential part of the maturing of an entrepreneur’s mind,” he said. “The more you aspire, the bigger you grow, and you naturally reduce risks. Too many people try to keep it small and their margin for error becomes too great.”

Spinelli, who earned his MBA from Babson while growing Jiffy Lube, identified what he described as one of his most creative career moments: setting a world record to service more than 500 cars in a 24-hour period. At the time, no company had serviced more than 100 cars in a day.

“I never see things constrained by other people’s variables,” Spinelli said.

Spinelli was introduced by men’s swimming and diving senior Adam Kershner; a two-time member of the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference team. He said Spinelli’s arrival comes at an exciting time for the college and athletic department.

“I can say for certain what an impact college athletics has on the student experience,” Kershner said. “Dr. Spinelli’s track record demonstrates his success in fostering successful innovation in any environment, including in higher education. It’s exciting to have a president who views athletics as integral to the future growth and success of the college.”

Associate Athletic Director Scott Dietz said Spinelli echoed themes of competitiveness and teamwork throughout his lecture.

“There were certainly valuable takeaways, things you can apply to the athletic arena,” he said.

The conversation was held as part of an athletics speaker series established last spring, when Babson hosted collegiate All-American and WNBA guard Michelle Brooke-Marciniak, who detailed her path from playing professional basketball to owning her own business.

In the fall, the College hosted former Boston University ice hockey player Travis Roy, who spoke of perseverance. Roy was paralyzed from the neck down after crashing into the boards seconds into his first collegiate game.

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