Finance has long been a quiet strength at Babson. In fact, approximately one-quarter of students pursue careers in the financial industry. Recognizing this, the College is renovating the Stephen D. Cutler Center for Investments and Finance. Slated to open in May 2019 as part of the new Babson Commons at Horn Library, the expanded center will be a high-tech community hub, equipped with resources used by financial professionals. “Situated at the heart of campus, the center will raise the visibility of finance at Babson,” says Patrick Gregory, senior lecturer and managing director of the Cutler Center.
The Cutler Center has three aims: furthering Babson’s innovative and practical approach to finance education, supporting faculty research, and engaging the alumni community. The larger space will include an investments lab, which will be outfitted with 42 workstations (up from 16) that offer cutting-edge tools, such as Bloomberg, FactSet, CapIQ, Thomson Reuters, Rotman Interactive Trader, and Wall Street Prep.
Receiving access to such tools gives students a professional edge when they graduate, says Jim Spencer ’73, a member of the Cutler Center advisory board. He has been an executive in residence for the center since 2003, sharing his experience as chief investment officer of Cambridge Trust Co. Over the years, Spencer has hired six Babson graduates and has been impressed by their industriousness. “They’re grounded, and they work hard,” he says. “The Cutler Center is a critical component of their education in finance and investments, giving students the tools to hit the ground running when they enter the workforce.”
The center also will continue to be a hub for Babson’s experiential learning programs, such as the Babson College Fund. Through this program, select finance students manage a portion of the College’s endowment and are mentored by executives in residence, including Spencer. Now, they will be able to use the same tools as their professional counterparts to select stocks and analyze data.
Such hands-on experience can’t be underestimated, says board member John Bailer ’92, a senior portfolio manager at The Boston Co. He was intrigued by the plans for the center and asked to be involved. Now he serves as a sounding board, reporting on the latest industry trends and talking to students about their needs. “Giving students access to tools such as Bloomberg, which is incredible in terms of the information it can provide, is powerful,” he says. “It sets our students apart.”
The Cutler Center will continue to offer thought-leadership events as well, including presentations, panel discussions, and conferences. Recent events sponsored by Babson include a Future of FinTech Conference at Boston’s Federal Reserve Plaza and a co-sponsored speaker series, which included a talk with Ron Shaich, founder and former CEO of Panera Bread.
Cutler board chair Annabelle Reid, MBA’86, founder of Fox- Moor Capital, longed to transform the center into a symbolic campus centerpiece. She remembers arriving at Babson from the Dominican Republic, eager to pursue a career in finance at a place that strongly emphasized hands-on learning. “I sought a transformational experience, a place where I could experience deeper learning in all aspects of business and finance,” she says. “Babson didn’t teach in silos and connected all the disciplines to real-world decision making.”
She hopes a larger, revamped Cutler Center will have the same effect on current students. “We’re building a center at the forefront of a new technological revolution,” she says. “It’s electrifying and reinvigorating.”
Kara Baskin is a writer in Arlington, Massachusetts.