What Business School Professors Are Saying About Elon Musk

Tesla founder Elon Musk doesn’t really like his MBA

On October 28, Elon Musk completed a deal to buy Twitter. In the days that followed, he installed himself as CEO, fired top executives and cut roughly half the company’s workforce. Since then, hundreds of Twitter’s remaining employees have quit, rejecting Musk’s takeover and his attempts to destroy the existing culture and replace it with what he calls “Twitter 2.0.”


One of Musk’s requirements for his remaining employees at Twitter is to return to the office full-time at least 40 hours a week — a requirement that some experts say isn’t the most strategic.

Ayelet Fishbach, Professor of Behavioral Sciences at the Chicago Booth School of Business, says, “It’s wrong to eliminate flexibility by effectively using a stick rather than a stick to motivate employees.” Business Leader. “Punishment instead of rewards will not foster a productive mindset and can negatively affect the relationship between leaders and employees, leading to communication breakdowns and resistance to teamwork.”

Fischbach says Musk’s leadership style and his insistence on returning to office ultimately undermines employee motivation and happiness.

“There are many alternative ways to recognize efforts that will make employees feel motivated and engaged and encourage them to come back to the office,” says Fishbach. “Recognizing those returning to the office, explaining how being in the office relates to teamwork and ultimately opportunities for advancement, and making the office a more rewarding experience are just a few ways to pull the carrot instead of the stick. Ultimately, success is about making employees feel recognized and valued, rather than pushed out and eventually forced to return against their will.”


While most experts agree that Musk has created a tough, competitive business environment, some say Twitter is overdue for new leadership. Andy Wu, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, is one expert who isn’t counting Musk out just yet.

“Musk is certainly a hard-charging, impulsive and risk-averse leader, and he’s willing to make changes at Twitter that I don’t think any CEO or entrepreneur would ever imagine,” Wu said in an interview. Atlantic. “I think there is a logic to the madness.”

Wu isn’t outright saying that Musk is a “good” CEO, but he isn’t necessarily saying that Musk is a “bad” one either.

“Musk is a unique CEO,” Wu explains. “On the upside, what Musk has accomplished so far at Tesla and SpaceX is truly incredible, impressive, and truly special in terms of the scale and resources his generation of business leaders need for mass production. building electric cars and commercial spaceships. It’s unbelievable and he really got there.”

Wu believes Musk’s leadership is needed to change Twitter’s future, or whatever future it leaves behind.

“The bottom line here is that Twitter was actually in very bad shape and had no future anyway,” Wu said. “In terms of really hard problems, that’s probably the kind of CEO you should try. Twitter is actually a very, very difficult business problem that no one has solved. So at this point we should, for example, spin the car and see what happens.

Sources: Business Leader, The Atlantic

Next page: Profiles of Stanford MBA Students Awarded Siebel Scholarships

MBA students out of class. Photo Credit: Elena Zhukova

Five Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) students have been awarded Siebel Scholarships for exceptional leadership and academic contribution, Stanford Daily reports.

Siebel Scholars receive $35,000 for their second year of study and join a network of more than 1,600 scholars from the world’s top schools, including Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University, and Tsinghua University. Each year, Siebel Scholars gather at conferences to explore global issues with a network of scientists, policymakers, and experts seeking solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

“To date, Siebel Scholars have innovated in more than a dozen industries, developed more than 1,100 products, authored more than 370 patents, published nearly 40 books and more than 2,650 articles or book chapters, and 2.7 managed more than a trillion dollars in assets. ” according to the Siebel Scholars Program. “Siebel Scholars represent the brightest minds from around the world, bringing together diverse perspectives from business, science and engineering to influence the technologies, policies, and economic and social decisions that shape the future.”

Stanford Daily We sat down with four of the 2023 GSB Siebel Fellows and explored each of their accomplishments.

Josh Rowley


Josh Rowley has a background in private equity investment and is passionate about workforce development and employee empowerment.

“One of the values ​​that was instilled in me growing up was intellectual curiosity,” says Rowley. Stanford Daily. “I liked learning about how the world works, and I realized that investing was a really great way to do that. I’ve also always been passionate about aviation and space and I’ve had the chance to invest in this sector that I’m really passionate about. Finding the intersection of passions, skills and something to offer was a real turning point.”

For Rowley, Stanford GSB has been instrumental in supporting his intellectual curiosity and fostering an environment of innovation.

“Many of my peers are focused on building companies, looking at problems and thinking of interesting ways to solve them,” says Rowley. “In the academic part of the institution, the faculty is also unique. It’s a world-class business education. You meet the world’s leading researchers, scientists and business practitioners. I don’t think the ecosystem that has been created, centered around the classroom, can be matched anywhere.

Kate Gauthier


Kate Gautier doesn’t come from a stereotypical business background. He started in mathematics and eventually started a company with his professor from Banard College. His interests lie at the intersection of data, design and technology and building solutions to problems across a wide range of disciplines. What makes the Siebel Scholars Program special is the diverse community, says Gautier.

“We connect not only with our current class of Scholars, but also with alumni who have come before us,” Gautier said. “Personally, I’m very grateful that it’s an interdisciplinary organization because there’s a lot of interesting work and interesting thinking happening at the intersection of many disciplines. So to have this scholarship that’s not just about business, I think it’s really great.”

Olivier Babin


Oliver Babin has experience in investment banking and venture capital. Babin says he ultimately chose Stanford GSB because of the human element the business school provides.

“Stanford has an amazing school reputation and will always be one of my top choices. I think what reinforced that was the entrepreneurial angle of the school and the human aspect that really came out in the application process,” Babin said. “There was a human element that stood out at Stanford. Whether it was the admissions team, the professors, or the people involved in the clubs, everyone “The care and expectation that he represents himself and the organization well comes across in every interaction. The people are really nice and want to do what’s best for the school and the students, which is great.”

Elizabeth Rosenblatt


JD/MBA dual degree candidate Elizabeth Rosenblatt is interested in bringing innovation to the media and telecommunications markets. Rosenblatt says Stanford GSB’s strong curriculum gave him the skills he needed to succeed in business, but ultimately it was the GSB community that got him to where he is today.

“I owe a lot of where I am today to mentors who were willing to give me the opportunity to try things outside my comfort zone and provide constructive guidance to help me succeed,” says Rosenblatt. “I would encourage students interested in business to seek out mentors and constructive feedback, and to remember that your career is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Sources: The Stanford Daily, Siebel Scholars

Next page: Tips for military vets

Military service members typically make up 5-10% of any cohort within a top 25 MBA program.

But what exactly does it take to get into a top B-school? What should veteran applicants look for when researching MBA programs? Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently offered some advice for veterans considering the transition from active duty to B-school.


When it comes to MBA, eligibility is perhaps one of the most important considerations for applicants. But, Blackman says, eligibility is even more important for veteran applicants.

“Their backgrounds are quite different from most candidates, and the transition from active duty to the classroom can be difficult,” Blackman said. “Having strong support from the school makes a world of difference.”

Blackman suggests veteran applicants research what kinds of support groups or programs are available at B-schools.

“Start by finding out how many military veteran students are in the MBA program,” Blackman said. “Having too few servicemen and women can make students want closer peers. Then find out what types of special programs are available for veterans. Does the business school have student clubs or organizations specifically for veterans? Also, find out if it offers personalized academic and career support to help veterans translate their military skills into civilian life.”


B-schools will usually have admissions events specifically for military applicants—a good sign that the MBA program is military-friendly.

“If the school doesn’t host an admissions event specifically for military applicants, your job is a little more difficult,” Blackman said. “However, you can still determine how willing a program is to hire veterans by looking at whether support services are provided starting at the application stage, not after they enter the program.”


Veterans have access to a number of financial incentives, including waived application fees and special veterans’ scholarship funds. One program Blackman recommends looking into is the Yellow Ribbon Program.

“Under this program, the federal government matches, dollar for dollar, any financial aid that participating schools make, essentially providing eligible student veterans with free or reduced tuition,” Blackman said. “It is designed to make out-of-state public colleges, private institutions and graduate programs more affordable for veterans. Schools offer different levels of support under the Yellow Ribbon Programme. For example, the NYU Stern School of Business will offer up to $30,000 per year in Yellow Ribbon scholarship support, and the VA will provide up to $30,000 in additional funding. Meanwhile, Stanford GSB will match full tuition and mandatory fees (minus Stanford health insurance) for Yellow Ribbon-eligible MBA students and will prioritize receiving these benefits.

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, P&Q

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