Poets & Quants has published its third annual Best & Brightest MBAs feature, showcasing the top 100 MBA students worldwide from the Class of 2017.
Jeff Schmitt of Poets & Quants shared, “Babson College’s John Kluge and Ross Chesnick [were founding members of] the Usurpers, an ‘underground support group for social entrepreneurs, recovering nonprofit leaders, and wine appreciators.’ Their mission: Turn social value creation into the cornerstone of Babson’s mission…Now, social impact has emerged as the driving force behind both the [institution’s] pedagogy and long-term strategic planning. Even more, the school has added new courses, tracks, ‘inventureship’ scholarships, and even a graduation award honoring a student who best personifies a commitment to social impact.”
Both Kluge and Chesnick recognized Executive Director of Babson’s Lewis Institute, Cheryl Kiser, for being one of their biggest advocates and mentors—someone who showed them “how important it is for companies to lead and manage authentically,” and a leader who grounded their thoughts and guided them towards opportunity.
“I feel lucky to have studied at an institution that sees its students not as customers, but as partners who can help co-create its future,” said Kluge.
“If you’re interested in startups, entrepreneurship, and change-making, apply to Babson,” advised Chesnick.
John Kluge MBA’17
John Kluge is now Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Alight Fund—an investment platform for refugee, displaced, and host country entrepreneurs, where he will be working post-graduation with his wife and Co-Founder, Dr. Christine Mahoney.
As a student at Babson’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business, Kluge was a founding member of the Usurpers collective, was a recipient of the Lewis Institute for Social Innovation Changemaker Award, and served as a Hult Prize Campus Director.
When asked why he chose Babson, Kluge said, “I wanted to study at a business school that lived and breathed entrepreneurship…Babson was a place that truly understood that business and social impact are inextricably intertwined, that entrepreneurial leaders can take many forms, and that change-making requires systems thinking.”
Before coming to Babson, Kluge was the Co-Founder and Chief Disruption Officer for Toilet Hackers, a social enterprise using innovation, advocacy, and public-private partnerships to improve access to sanitation worldwide. He is also the co-author of Charity and Philanthropy for Dummies, and previously founded a program on Youth Protection and Digital Citizenship at the EastWest Institute, an international global security organization.
Ross Chesnick MBA’17
Ross Chesnick will be working at Aquadat as Director of Growth and Strategic Partnerships following his graduation from Babson this May.
While at Babson, Chesnick was Co-President of the Graduate Net Impact Club, served as a Hult Prize Campus Director, and a Graduate Assistant for the Lewis Institute and Food Sol—the college’s action tank for food Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®. He was also a founding member of Usurpers alongside John Kluge and other Babson students from the Class of 2017, including Tyne Thiele, Amanda Roosevelt, Joseph McHugh, Maureen O’Brien, Andrew Franks, and Evadne Cokeh. Chesnick was a recipient of the school’s Creative Design Award, the Design Sprint Challenge, and an F.W. Olin MBA Scholarship.
In response to, “Why Babson?”—Chesnick said, “After talking to Cheryl Kiser…I was finally able to formulate what I was looking for: a graduate program that focused on creating positive social change…Naturally, with its reputation for incubating and teaching entrepreneurship and its resource rich environment for social innovators, I rolled the dice and applied to one graduate program, the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College.”
Prior to joining Babson, Chesnick was the Assistant Director of Operations at uAspire—a nonprofit organization that helps students find an affordable path to and through a college degree.
About Babson College
Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®. The top-ranked college for entrepreneurship education, Babson is a dynamic living and learning laboratory where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. We prepare the entrepreneurial leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference in the world, and have an impact on organizations of all sizes and types. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.