After 11 years away, Stephen Spinelli, Jr. MBA ‘92, PhD, Babson’s 14th President, defines his return to the College as a homecoming and a capstone.
“I wanted to be Babson’s next president because I think the world needs entrepreneurship now more than ever,” he says. “There is a consistency of mission here, and that mission is about thinking deeply and acting decisively. It’s embedded throughout Babson’s culture, and that is very exciting for me.”
We spoke with him to uncover what it has been like to return, and what his plans are for the College going forward.
What was it like to come back to Babson?
I have so many memories from my time on campus – memories of the physical spaces, culture, curriculum, and students. When I returned this winter, it took some time to reconcile the memory and the reality. What I have learned – and what I find both gratifying and energizing – is that the trajectory of growth has been immense. Babson has a lineage of Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® that extends back to the groundbreaking work of leaders like Professors Timmons, Bygrave, and Stephenson. Being back on campus, it is obvious that Thought & Action has become embedded in Babson’s culture and continues to differentiate and define the College in exciting ways.
How have your interactions with students been since you’ve been back?
Babson students are incredibly sophisticated and impressive. Within seconds of sitting down with them, they are sharing business plans and explaining their approach to the marketplace. You instantly feel like you are speaking to an experienced entrepreneur.
They also demonstrate an intellectual acuity and uncommon maturity. I recently had a student who had raised $700,000 in funding say to me, “I feel the intense pressure to deliver a return.” That’s a mature statement.
My number one takeaway: Babson students are just really smart and exceptionally motivated.
What are your hopes for the College going forward?
The value of higher education and its future are in question. I know that Babson will lead the way in transforming disciplinary myopia by tearing down silos and uncovering new and thoughtful ways to collaborate. We have the skills, history, intellectual content, ingenuity, and human resources. I hope that we also have the courage to make the bold changes necessary to meet evolving market demands.
Featured photo credit: Pat Piasecki