Babson MBA Program Boldly Expands to San Francisco, Where Entrepreneurship Goes “90 Miles Per Hour”

9/30/10Follow @wroush

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trying it out in your office. Because we have this connected environment, the learning takes place continuously, and you don’t have to wait for the next week to test things out. I think the students feel like it’s a great way to learn.”

One student I spoke with, Alok Dube, provides custom software and IT services to life sciences companies through his Fremont, CA, startup, BrainyPro. “I’d worked as a manager at Roche, but when I started my own company, I knew that something was missing, and the only thing I could think of to fill it was business school,” Dube says. “But I can’t afford to leave my family and go to a place like Stanford full-time. That was the point at which I really considered joining Babson.”

Other famous schools such as University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business have San Francisco-based MBA programs, but Dube says he chose the new Babson program because the Massachusetts school is known for its hands-on, entrepreneurial bent. “I was trying to collect all the different skills entrepreneurs need, like marketing, accounting, and finance, and I found that Babson was doing it in that way,” Dube says. “Very few people I know from Wharton started their own companies or run their own businesses.”

Rolling admissions are underway for Babson’s second cohort in San Francisco, which will be more than twice as large as the first. The inexperienced need not apply: Fast Track doesn’t admit students with less than eight years of experience in the business world, and the average among the first cohort is more like 14 years, Tadapelli says.

Which could be proof that the image of the typical San Francisco or Silicon Valley startup founder as a 21-year-old computer science dropout from Harvard or Berkeley is a myth. Or it could just be a sign that the dropouts don’t think they need MBAs.

“I don’t think an MBA is for everyone,” Tadepalli comments. “And a Babson MBA is not for everyone either. If you just want to be a CFO, or if you don’t have an entrepreneurial bent, you ought not to come to Babson. On the other hand, if you have the technical background and you have the experience and you’ve started your own company and you realize there are certain gaps in your knowledge base that you need filled, and you want to interact with a group of people who can share your experiences, that is when you should come to Babson.”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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