Posts Tagged ‘Harvard Business School’

Interview with Jeff Sandefer

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Jeff Sandefer is a founder of the Acton School of Business, an innovative MBA program in Austin, Texas focusing on entrepreneurship. Sandefer received his MBA degree from Harvard University before launching five successful companies in several industries, most notably in energy. He translated that business experience into becoming an award-winning professor at the University of Texas, where he was named by BusinessWeek as one of the top entrepreneurship professors in the United States.

Kaizen: In 1996, you were teaching at the University of Texas and honored by BusinessWeek, yet soon you would be leaving to start a new business school with a very different approach. Why was BusinessWeek impressed with your teaching?

Sandefer: The BusinessWeek award was based on a survey of students, which I think is the best measure of a teacher, especially if there is a strong learning contract in place. After all, who other than students knows if a class has delivered on its promises? I believe that this is the same reason Acton wins so many honors from Princeton Review because unlike most business school polls it asks students: “Did you get what you were promised?” Of course, the BusinessWeek and Princeton Review awards really belong to all the Acton teachers, each a successful CEO who is committed to his or her students and the Socratic Method.

Our secret is that we set high expectations and hold students accountable to their promises. It helps that teachers are rewarded based on student satisfaction, after the students have been evaluated based on a forced grading curve. In other words, we have an incentive system that rewards performance, just like in the real world. No grade inflation, with rewards tied to results. It’s a system I wish more people in academia would adopt.

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The Best Definition of Entrepreneurship

Monday, January 30th, 2012

An article in Inc. unpacks the following pithy definition from Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson: “Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”

Read the rest here.

Interview with John Chisholm

Monday, May 10th, 2010

John Chisholm is the founder, former CEO and chairman of Decisive Technology, a pioneer in online survey software (now part of Google), and of CustomerSat, a leading provider of enterprise feedback management systems (now part of MarketTools). A 30-year veteran executive of Silicon Valley, he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He chairs the MIT Club of Northern California, serves as trustee of the Santa Fe Institute, as member of the MIT Corporation Development Committee, and as mentor with the MIT Venture Mentoring Service. Previously, he has served as Chairman of the Board of the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society, one of Stanford’s twelve independent laboratories; as a member of the visiting committee of the MIT Department of Mathematics; and as vice president of the worldwide MIT Alumni Association. He is author or co-author of two patents in online polling. We met with Mr. Chisholm in the San Francisco bay area to explore his thoughts on the benefits and challenges of entrepreneurship.

Kaizen: You have founded two high-tech companies, Decisive Technology and CustomerSat. Were you technically oriented as a youth?

Chisholm: I think you would say so. I liked to take clocks apart and try to figure out how the gears and springs worked together. I grew up in Jupiter, Florida, a small town about 20 miles north of West Palm Beach. In junior high school, my best friend Al Pion and I each memorized pi to over 100 decimal places—we would recite it alternating the digits, like tossing a ball back and forth. Talk about geeky!

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