Success in business is out of reach to those who aren’t already blessed with plentiful advantage, so goes the conventional wisdom. A similar stereotype in sports is that you either have talent or you don’t. But the story of a once-maligned pitcher’s World Series victory upends both of these stereotypes, and has great lessons for entrepreneurs.
A year ago, the Boston Red Sox would have gladly traded John “Popeye’s Chicken and Beer” Lackey for a bucket of dirty baseballs. Certainly, the fans would have. The pitcher delivered a horrific 6.41 earned run average in 2011, missed the entire 2012 season due to injury, and his clubhouse antics suggested a lack of discipline and focus that would hamper him even when he was healthy. Read More »
For many “born-on-the-Internet” companies, slow growth isn’t an option. These are companies that started on the Web with a global marketplace in mind, and many are finding that it’s either scale or be irrelevant. They work hard to achieve market leadership, to realize economies of scale and economies of scope, and to be recognized as the brand leader. A few examples of these ventures include Dropbox, Evernote, Fab, Etsy,GrouponGRPN +4.15%, LinkedInLNKD +0.84%, Pinterest, Stripe and Square.
These types of businesses often start fast and never let up, which stresses a startup financially and can leave its owners emotionally drained. To maintain advantage, they need to have the proper building blocks in place in order to go full speed ahead with the best chances for success.
While many graduating MBA students are still heading to traditional sectors like finance, consulting and technology, one of the biggest trends among top business schools is an increase in the diversity of students’ career interests. Perhaps it’s related to fallout from the financial crisis or even a generational trend, but more and more students are pursuing positions in a broader array of areas.
At MIT Sloan, about 60% of our MBA graduates in the past few years have gone to those traditional areas. Among our other MBA students, we are indeed seeing this trend toward diverse interests. Strong areas of focus for that group include: entrepreneurship; sustainability; energy; social enterprise; health care; operations and supply chain management; and entertainment, media and sports.
A lot of discussion in the media recently has focused on whether or not entrepreneurs should spend valuable time and money pursuing an MBA degree versus gaining experience on the front lines of a startup. Some commentators such as Vivek Wadhwa even insist that an MBA subtracts from a candidate’s value. Read More »
Are entrepreneurs wired differently than managers? Are they better equipped to make decisions about risk and innovation?
I recently participated in an interdisciplinary collaboration between neuroscientists and management faculty in which we tackled these questions and found that entrepreneurs actually do use their brains in a different and more complete way when it comes to certain types of decisions. This was the first attempt to apply techniques from neuroscience to understand the differences in the ways actual managers and entrepreneurs use their brains to make decisions. Read More »