Maharishi School senior Zhou, Huijun (Queena) attended this summer a five-week Entrepreneurial Development Experience course at Babson College at its Wellesley campus in Babson Park, Massachusetts, outside of Boston. Her course-long team project, “Foundation Education,” designed a non-profit tutoring organization and won first place among the course’s 69 students that composed 19 groups.
Queena’s experience in Destination Imagination at Maharishi School prepared her for being successful in her Babson experience. “On the second day of the course, one of the students told me, ‘Queena, you really think outside the box.’ I told her about DI and how last year we got 8th place in World Competition. I think being able to think out of the box enabled me to come up with fresh and unique ideas to redesign and improve whatever I'm working on.”
The projects were judged by two professors and one venture capitalist. Queena’s first-place team presented their project on the last-day showcase ceremony, attended by faculty, students, alumni, and the business community. During the course, students had classes in the morning and activities in the afternoon. Team meetings were held at night. Businesses that the students met with included IBM, Levi Strauss, and Innercity Weightlifting.
Much of the course was designed to teach students how to work in groups. For Queena’s course-long project, she was assigned teammates. At first she didn’t like this. “I didn’t understand why we couldn’t choose our own teammates,” she said. Because of the assigned team selection, though, she “learned how to cooperate and learn from people and how they see things.”
One group experience lesson occurred during a practice project that was scheduled at the beginning of the course. “I took it all on and did eighty percent of everything.” Queena learned that “in real business, though, doing everything doesn’t work.” She learned how to divide responsibilities up, “the way it works in business.”
Queena liked the “ice-breaker” activities at the beginning of the course. She felt they helped her break through stereotypes about people, “to de-label and to get out of my comfort zone, to learn how to work and cooperate with people you don’t know.”
Babson’s Summer Study program for high school juniors and seniors is structured to provides a living/learning laboratory for students to focus on applying and advancing their knowledge in business and entrepreneurship. The course challenge was “to create innovative, real-world solutions to social, economic and environmental issues,” working as a team with other students “on new venture ideas,” according to the college’s online course description.
The program chooses students by considering elements within three categories: academic performance, leadership experience, and “passion.” The program looks for students who have challenged themselves academically and demonstrated high achievement, who have demonstrated leadership skills and have been engaged in cocurricular activities with your school or community, and who have demonstrated a “passion” or high self-motivation for hands-on learning.
Babson College is a business-focused institution in Massachusetts which was recently named by Money magazine the No. 1 college to attend. The magazine used the criteria of quality, affordability and income earned after graduation, according to a New York Times article. In researching for a summer college program to attend, Queena discovered that Babson is well known for its entrepreneurial programs, having been ranked the top in U.S. News for 15 consecutive years.