USASBE Member Spotlight: Meet Lakshmi Balachandra
Meet Lakshmi Balachandra, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College. In an effort to help better connect the USASBE Nation the USASBE Medium Team recently sat down with Lakshmi to learn more about who she is as a teacher, scholar, and individual. Here’s what we found out.
Question: How did you get into entrepreneurship education? What was your path?
My way into entrepreneurship education now seems like a direct path! I arrived here by way of starting my own venture out of college and working in venture capital. I started teaching right out of my MBA and then pursuing a PhD in Management to teach as a profession and study negotiation/decision-making in entrepreneurial funding. So, entrepreneurship has been my life and therefore teaching and researching entrepreneurship was a natural fit for me as an educator when I decided I didn’t want to be an entrepreneur again…because those who can’t do, teach?
Question: What is your favorite class to teach and why?
I started my teaching career in negotiation, so it is the topic that is closest to my heart in terms of teaching. I view all entrepreneurial interactions as negotiations so teaching how to present a pitch or analyze a market for the best outcome can be easily related to negotiation frameworks, which therefore makes teaching the process of entrepreneurship fun for me too. I am planning on developing a class on entrepreneurial negotiations specifically to focus on how entrepreneurs can utilize negotiation frameworks explicitly, particularly for the critical moments of developing their ventures.
Question: What does your research focus on and how does it inform your teaching?
I focus on investor decision-making broadly — specifically in terms of the pitch and gender. It informs my teaching constantly as I consider how much of what entrepreneurs (individuals) do is based on their personal and professional environments and related hidden biases. I think it is critical for students to be aware of and understand how their decisions are not only based on their own opinion, intuition, or expertise, as much as they may believe!
Question: How has membership in USASBE benefitted you?
I recognize and am constantly reminded of how much of life is “who is know” and not “what you know”— so I view the greatest benefit of USASBE has clearly been the people I have met. It’s opened up a fantastic community for me, which has led to some amazing new collaborations and opportunities.
Question: Can you share a fun fact about yourself? Something that makes you unique?
I am former (retired) stand-up comedian. I have performed professionally in comedy clubs from Boston to Los Angeles. I now only perform nightly in an exclusive venue, to a highly limited audience, at bedtime (to 3 kids under 8).
USASBE Pro Tip: Submit your entrepreneurship education scholarship, teaching cases, and exercises to Entrepreneurship Edcuation and Pedagogy (EE&P), USASBE’s official peer-reviewed journal outlet. Lakshmi did — check out her recently published case here (all USASBE’s members get free unlimited access to EE&P content — contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info).