Arthur M. Blank ’63, H’98 walks into the Grand Salon of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation office in Atlanta, and almost immediately wants to hear directly from the Babson College students seated before him.
He is excited about all the future leaders learning at the #1 School for Entrepreneurship and how they have set their sights on creating change, improving their communities and putting people first, much like Blank has done throughout his illustrious entrepreneurial career as co-founder of Home Depot and current owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’ Atlanta United FC, among many other entities. He has such faith in Babson students that in 2019 he made a historic $50 million gift to the institution to help establish its Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
As part of Good Company, Good Game: Law, Ethics & Leadership in Sports Business, a unique new week-long course taught by Assistant Professor of Practice Leslie Garbarino in which students studied Blank’s family of businesses in his Atlanta home, a group of undergraduates had the unique opportunity to choose Blank’s mastermind and hear some of his most powerful advice from his years as a business leader.
“If you follow your passion, you’ll be happier and more successful,” Blank told the band. “The sense of purpose is really important. I don’t really feel when I’m going to work, that I’m going to work. As soon as you can, find the things that inspire you.
“I am extremely grateful to Mr. Blank for his generosity with his time and the access he gave us to study the Blank family of companies,” Garbarino said after the talk. “Talking with Mr. Blank helped the students understand the importance of defining their own core values and sticking to them, even when it can be difficult. He changed so many lives by living his own core values, and now that list includes me and my students. We will all carry this experience and what we learned from it with us for the rest of our lives.
These are the top leadership tips that our students took away from the discussion.
“Keep core values aligned with the companies you lead. You really see through him talking about how he takes it in his own personal life. His core values are shown and represented through everything he does.
“Infuse philanthropy and giving back into all your business practices. You just need to do the right thing, and all success will follow.
Jennifer Lam ’24
“Take your time to find out what you are passionate about because it will help you in your career. Arthur clarifies that finances will follow when you do what you love.
Eric Lindholm ’23
“Instilling a philosophy where work and life intertwine. This makes trading decisions much easier.
“It’s important to surround yourself with people who understand and live by your core values and philosophy.”
Oak Kornsri ’24
“Finding your passion and being yourself, and doing what you love, will lead to success. Make sure you understand and know yourself, it will prepare you for a happier life.
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