Babson’s MBA Program Plants a Flag in San Francisco’s SoMa

12/20/10Follow @wroush

Cementing the expansion of its entrepreneurship-focused Fast Track MBA program to the Bay Area, Babson College announced today that it has signed a seven-year lease on 7,000 square feet of space at 135 Main Street in San Francisco’s startup-saturated South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood.

As we wrote in a September profile, the Massachusetts-based school is challenging Bay Area b-schools such as the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley by offering a 27-month program aimed at experienced professionals who want or need to keep working while they earn an MBA. The program admitted its first class of students last spring, and has been using rented classroom space at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus. The second class of 80 Babson students (up from 34 in the first cohort) will gather at the new Main Street location starting in March 2011.

135 Main Street, San Francisco

135 Main Street, San Francisco

“This announcement is a strong signal of our commitment to the Bay Area and clearly identifies San Francisco as the hub of our Fast Track operations to serve the western United States,” Raghu Tadepalli, dean of the Babson’s Olin Graduate School of Business, said in a statement. Babson also runs a Fast Track MBA program in Portland, OR, but plans to wind down that operation and shift the resources to the San Francisco program.

The college said that the new facility is equipped with telepresence capabilities that will make it easier for Babson to stay in touch with its students. Fast Track MBA students spend most of their time on Internet-mediated distance-learning activities, gathering once every six weeks for two days of face-to-face classroom work with full Babson faculty.

Tadepalli said the new space will also give Babson the ability to host academic, professional, and networking events for the local business community, and to offer “access to content generated by faculty and students who are deeply committed to advancing Babson’s unique approach to entrepreneurial management education.”

With its choice of location, Babson isn’t shying away from the competition: the new Main Street location is just a block away from the San Francisco campus of the University of Pennsylvania’s famous Wharton School of Business.

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

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