Category Archives: Harvard Business School

BOOK REVIEW: “Confidence : How winning streaks and losing streaks begin and end” by Rosabeth M. Kanter (2004)

Confidence How winning streaks and losing streaks begin and endRosebeth Kanter holds the Earnest Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School and specializes in strategy innovation and leadership for change. One of her areas of research is why organizations and people gain confidence and why they lose it. This book outlines some of the main reasons that she has discovered as the result of 300 interviews and two surveys with over 2700 responses.

Key words

Confidence, organization, people, sports teams, corporations, Gillette, Continental Airlines, BBC, Harvard Business School

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Business schools: the unloved child of prestigious universities?

Business schools: the illegitimate child of prestigious universities?

A good friend of mine who had set up a very lucrative business school in a traditional university once complained to me: “The university like what I do and they like the money I bring, but they don’t like me.“ Traditional, prestigious universities often have a very strange relationship with their business schools treating them like the illegitimate child who has had a very successful career. Continue reading

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“Big successes come from dealing with the little things.” claims Reuben Mark, former CEO of Colgate-Palmolive.

Reuben Mark

“If you have good numbers, show them up front!” begins Reuben Mark. The numbers for Colgate-Palmolive are indeed impressive. Speaking as a guest at the Harvard Business School, the former CEO of Colgate-Palmolive can show a total return of some 4200% during his 23-year tenure. This is more than 40% higher than peer companies. But Mr. Mark claims that this success is due to the company’s ability deal with the small, everyday issues. This may not make for dramatic headlines, but they are universal things that have kept the company in business since its creation in 1806.  Continue reading

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Do I really need a university degree? Gates, Jobs, and Zuckerberg didn’t finish university. Perhaps, but…

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg

Next week will be the final week before the end of term in a host of universities across the different parts of the world. For many students this brings the dreaded exam week and often a huge amount of self doubt with it. Many have thoughts of giving up the whole process at this time. After all, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are all college dropouts and they seem to have done alright for themselves. If they could succeed with a degree, is it really necessary to spend all that time and effort? It might seem like a nice idea but unfortunately, these few examples don’t tell the entire story.

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Jean Jacques Lebel speaking on the Universalization of L’Oréal.

L'Oreal and Universalization

L’Oreal and Universalization

Speaking as a guest of Professor Rajiv Lal at the Harvard Business School, Monsieur Jean Jacques Lebel, outlined the logic behind the universalization strategy that L’Oréal has been implementing throughout the French cosmetics firm. This policy aims to leverage the advantages of having a global brand and adapt them to emerging markets in order to give new consumers a product that they feel in relevant and adapted to their needs.  Continue reading

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Paul O’ Neill, former Secretary of the US Treasury and CEO of Alcoa, gives his views on effective leadership

Former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O' Neill

At a conference at Harvard Business School, Paul O’ Neill led an open and very candid discussion about his time as Secretary of the Treasury under the Bush administration and CEO of Alcoa. Before joining the government, Mr O’ Neill had made his reputation by being tough on safety during his time at the world’s third largest aluminum producer.

During the hour long session chaired by Professor Ananth Raman, Mr. O’ Neill began by asking the group of senior managers and executives present “How many of you know the daily loss rate in your company?”  A few hands went up. Continue reading

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Harvard Business School and a short history of the Case Study Method

Harvard Business School and the Case Study Method

“Love and marriage,” says old blue eyes himself, Mr. Frank Sinatra, “Go together like a horse and carriage.”   This idealised pairing might be said to be relevant for Harvard Business School and the Case Study Method.

HBS was created in 1908 and established its case study method in the 1920s. Today, this teaching method is as close to business school orthodoxy as you can possible get. There are approximately 14 000 business schools in the world and you would be hard pressed to find one that did not uses cases to teach business. But why did HBS start teaching this way and how many cases does it sell each year? 

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