2020 Best & Brightest: John Wen, Babson College

John Wen

Babson College

“I do not strive for normality. I strive for excellence with everything I do.”

Fun fact about yourself: I love math and analytics as much as I love my Gin and Tonics.

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

High School: Stuyvesant High School

Major: Business Analytics, T.E.D (Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Design)

Minor: Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering: Engineering Certificate – Design Focus

Favorite Business Course: ASM3300 – Strategic Problem Solving

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Delta Tau Delta Fraternity – 2016-2020
    • New Member Educator (2017)
  • Babson Math Resource Consultant – 2016- 2020
  • Babson Dance Ensemble – 2016 – 2020
    • Choreographer
    • Program Manager –  2016-2017


  • Dean’s List x6
  • Quantitative Methods for Business Analytics – Academic Excellence Award

Where have you interned during your college career? 

  • Findyr – Data Intern Summer ‘17
  • Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) – Product Management – Intern Summer ‘18
  • IBM – Product Management – Intern Summer ‘19

Where will you be working after graduation? IBM – Associate Product Manager

What company do you admire most? IBM – As a student who studies data analytics, I admire a company that is pioneering the future of AI. Watson.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Babak Zafari. His methods of educating students in quantitative tools were super inspiring, teaching me how to apply cutting edge machine learning tools to the practical business world.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? The variety of hands-on projects that I was able to participate in. These included applying statistical models to predict future NBA All-Stars; designing an indoor navigation app to assist the visually impaired; starting a multi-purpose fitness bottle company; and building a neural network model to predict student absences based on alcohol consumption and giving actionable insights from our findings.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Business is a vast field. It does not just include trading stocks or starting organizations. It is a field that includes marketing, operations, among others.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field?

  • Business is an expansive major. Look at what aspects of business interest you and start narrowing your focus as soon as you can (taking specific courses, reading books) so that you can sharpen the tools that will allow you to succeed in that field.
  • Business is a holistic major. There is no one formula or one case that is applicable to the entire industry. Every situation is different and every piece of information needs to be accounted for.
  • Soft skills, such as Organizational Behavior and understanding how different people operate, are crucial in working in teams.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? During my senior year of high school, I started a dance organization called Stuy Legacy. Four years later after I have graduated, this organization is still thriving, competing, and winning and I feel that I have been able to successfully leave the school with a Legacy.

Which classmate do you most admire? Rayan Goyal – he is a humble genius, who also represents the mindset of work hard play hard.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My girlfriend, Leanne. She supports me in everything I do in life and is always there to push me to be a better version of myself every day.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Start my own company, grow it, and get acquired.
  2. Become a professor and give back to newer generations as teaching is one of my passions.

What are your hobbies?

  1. I have been performing hip-hop for 7 years now and it is one of the passions I will always hold onto. Hip Hop allows me to interpret music with my body in a unique way. It allows me to express myself creatively on stage.
  2. Teaching – Seeing the lightbulb click in students I tutor at the math resource center has given me much joy. I have been tutoring since early high school, and I one day want to become a professor to give back to the new generation.
  3. NBA – I am a Los Angeles Laker fan that follows every game they play. I hope to be able to utilize analytics to improve in new ways to help players optimize performance.

What made John such an invaluable member of the Class of 2021?

“I met John during his first few days at Babson College. He is in the top 5% of the graduating class in terms of GPA and a star among stars in a Class of 2020 that is a highly diverse and talented group of over 550 graduates. John is also a first-generation college student.

During my variety of interactions with John over our four years together at Babson College, I have grown to deeply admire his intellect, passion for learning, care for his classmates, creative talents, and commitment to social good. He is also a true renaissance person providing semester after semester of standout performances in the classroom and on stage in performances for the Babson Dance Ensemble.

My assessment of his candidacy for this honor in the Babson context as well as my prior work as an academic leader and faculty member at my two prior institutions. I have been at Babson College as its Dean of the Undergraduate School for four years. Prior to this, I had a 15-year career in higher education at Harvard University (5-years) and Columbia University (10-years). At both of these institutions, I worked closely with students and John ranks in the top 10% of students I have worked with.”

Ian Lapp, Ph.D.
Dean of the Undergraduate School Babson College


“John is passionate and highly motivated in the subjects of business analytics, machine learning, and mathematics. These have been core interests for John, all his life. He has been an MRC consultant since freshman year, dedicating his time to educate and inspire others to pursue data analytics. He has also stepped outside his comfort zone to diversify his educational experience in engineering and obtained an Olin Engineering Certificate. He will be continuing his career path as a product manager at IBM after graduation.

What impressed me the most is John’s dedication and passion for learning in his spare time, just out of plain curiosity for knowledge. He has a creative mind full of inspiring ideas and critical thinking. He is without doubt one of the brightest business majors in my class.”

Dong “Michelle” Li, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Business Analytics
Division of Mathematics and Science
Babson College


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.