B-School Bulletin: Spanx Founder: Start Small, Think Big, Scale Fast

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News from Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Almost every entrepreneur in the U.S. knows the story of how Spanx started: Sara Blakely, then 27, was prepping for a party when she realized she didn’t have the right undergarment to wear under white pants. To solve the issue, she pulled out a pair of scissors and cut the feet off her pantyhose. Thus, Spanx was born.

“Spanx’s unique shapewear undergarments, plus dozens of other products like pants and leggings, are now available in more than 50 countries. Blakely was named among TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012, and the world’s youngest self-made billionaire by Forbes the same year.”

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Student Sues UC Regents For ‘Life-Altering Injuries’ After Chou Hall Accident

News from UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business

“Raja Riahi, a student at the UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business, filed a lawsuit against the UC Board of Regents, Peninsulators Inc. and Vance Brown Builders Inc., on the grounds of ‘dangerous condition of public property’ and ‘negligence.’

“Riahi was struck in the head by a large metal beam on Feb. 4 while adjusting blinds attached to a window covering in Room 314 of Connie and Kevin Chou Hall. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday at the Alameda County Superior Courthouse.

“'(Riahi) wasn’t doing anything wrong. … It’s profound how much his life has changed,’ said Katie McIver, Riahi’s attorney.”

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Jilted Bridesmaid To JetBlue: Help, I Don’t Want To Fly To This Wedding Anymore!

News from Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business 

“A jilted bridesmaid’s Twitter appeal to JetBlue Airways is going viral.

“Courtney Duffy, whose Twitter bio lists her as an MBA student at Dartmouth College, an Ivy League school in New Hampshire, sought help from the airline Friday morning. She said booked a cross-country flight for a wedding but no longer wants to attend because the bride disinvited her from the bridesmaid crew.

“‘I am laughing & crying & must avoid this wedding at all costs. Pls help?’ she tweeted.”

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Why Venture Capitalists Should Invest Like Poker Players

News from INSEAD

“The private equity (PE) model is well established. PE investors analyze hundreds of companies and opportunities in detail before buying a minority or majority stake in a good company, which they manage over a few years with the goal of achieving a profitable exit. Rarely do PE funds deal with write-offs, and PE-owned companies in distress are known to do better than their publicly listed peers.

“The venture capital (VC) model follows the same approach. Partners in venture funds review over 100 different opportunities to pick one winner and build, over a five-year investment period, a portfolio of 15-20 start-ups. They screen against multiple criteria, yet the industry as a whole has a pretty weak track record. Statistically, according to Correlation Ventures, over 60 percent of all companies that VCs invest in return less than the invested capital. We asked: Can this model be improved?”

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When You’re Hot, You’re Hot: Career Successes Come in Clusters

News from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management 

“In 1905, Albert Einstein was on a roll. Between March and June of that year — which scientists refer to as his annus mirabilis, or ‘miracle year’ — the legendary physicist finished three different papers that would radically change how we think about space and time, and pave the way for quantum physics.

“’And that’s not even getting into the summer,’ marvels Dashun Wang, an associate professor of management and organizations at Kellogg.

“To Wang, Einstein’s big year posed a puzzle. In a previous study looking at the careers of more than 10,000 scientists, Wang had found that the timing of a researcher’s most influential paper was completely random — it was equally likely to come at any given year in their career, be it the beginning, middle, or end. But the concept of a ‘miracle year’ seemed to challenge that conclusion.”

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