Taking It To the Streets: Kellogg Prof. To Detail Business Road Trip in Book

The following was originally sourced from the article “The Roadside MBA” published on Kellogg’s News & Events page.

While case studies are an invaluable way to get business experience, real-world knowledge and insight can only be gained via in-person on-site conversation. With this in mind, Kellogg School of Management Associate Professor of Management and Strategy Mike Mazzeo and co-authors Paul Oyer (Stanford Graduate School of Business) and Scott Schaefer (University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business) took to the streets to put in some face time with local entrepreneurs in Memphis, Missoula, New Orleans, Atlanta and more. Their finding are detailed on their website and in their upcoming book.

Here are some excepts from an interview with Mazzeo where he gives some insight to the project and how it relates to Kellogg’s Competitive Strategy Executive Education program.

What is the Roadside MBA project?

“Roadside MBA began as an effort to learn more about the strategic challenges faced by small and medium-sized businesses. The reading lists at top business schools and the shelves of the business sections in bookstores are filled with case studies of Fortune 500 companies. But researchers and authors have paid much less attention to smaller businesses. We figured the best way to learn about them, and to get some great case studies, would be to go out on the road and meet entrepreneurs in person all across the country.

My coauthors on the project are Paul Oyer and Scott Schaefer; the three of us started our careers together in the late 1990s as junior faculty here at Kellogg. Over the last three years, we met with over 100 businesses in 24 states and have put together our findings in a book called Roadside MBA: Backroad Wisdom for Executives, Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners. The book is being published by Grand Central Publishing and will come out on June 10th — during our upcoming Competitive Strategy program!”

Does this relate to what you teach in the Competitive Strategy program?

“Absolutely. At Kellogg, we believe that applying frameworks from economics is the key to formulating successful strategies. The case studies from Roadside MBA provide some additional useful (and fun!) illustrations of these frameworks. The Competitive Strategy program can help executives from companies of all sizes refocus their strategic thinking on these critical fundamentals with insights they can immediately incorporate back in the office.”


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