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March 2011 Archives

1 March 2011

Online Social Networks can increase ad revenue by stimulating content

To increase revenue, social networking sites need to give their most active users reason to post more information and make more friends, according to Harikesh Nair of the Graduate School of Business and his co-researchers.

Social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, make their money through advertising revenue generated as users click on specific pages or featured ads. So what’s the smartest strategy for network owners? Should they work to get more users and stimulate clicks?

Do users with lots of friends tend to post more content, or do users who post more content tend to attract more friends? If both are true, social networks are subject to a "network effect" arising from content generation: Adding more friends generates more content, which, in turn, generates more friends for users, and so on, leading to a self-reinforcing virtuous cycle beneficial to the network site.

Overall, the research suggests, networking sites seeking to increase their income need to stimulate the creation of user pages and other content. The solution is to give the most active users incentives to continue making friends, which keeps the entire network robust, growing, and opening pages for visitors.

Read the full article...

2 March 2011

Why Failure Drives Innovation

Silicon Valley is populated with people who fear only sitting on the bench while someone else scores with a great idea, says Professor Baba Shiv. How people approach failure is a key to success, he argues.

"Failure" is a dreaded concept for most business people. But failure can actually be a huge engine of innovation for an individual or an organization. The trick lies in approaching it with the right attitude and harnessing it as a blessing, not a curse.

I've coined two terms that describe how people view failure: the type 1 mindset, and the type 2 mindset.

The type 1 mindset is fearful of making mistakes. It characterizes most individuals, managers, and corporations today. In this mindset, to fail is shameful and painful. Because the brain becomes very risk averse under this line of thinking, innovation is generally nothing more than incremental. You don't get off-the-charts results.

The type 2 mindset is fearful of losing out on opportunities. Places like Silicon Valley and the Stanford Graduate School of Business are full of type 2s. What is shameful to these people is sitting on the sidelines while someone else runs away with a great idea. Failure is not bad; it can actually be exciting. From so-called "failures" emerge those valuable gold nuggets — the "aha!" moments of insight that guide you toward your next innovation.

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7 March 2011

Coming Up: Round 3 Application Deadline is 06 April 2011

With the round 3 application deadline just around the corner (06 April 2011), I wanted to remind you of all the great resources available to you on our website.

If you have questions about how to prepare for the essays, or choosing a recommender, check out Admission

To find out if your test scores (GMAT-GRE, or TOEFL-IELTS-PTE) are still valid, go to our handy test scores calculator

Information on Admission Criteria, Application Requirements, Deadlines and Fees can be found in the Admission section as well.

If, after reading the website, you still have questions, please contact us.

Best wishes,

10 March 2011

Don't take too much risk...or too little, advises the 2011 Porras Latino Leadership Award winner

Don't take too much risk ... or too little, advises Mike Aviles, MBA 1990, the 2011 Porras Latino Leadership Award winner. "Take what risk you're comfortable with. The ones who distinguish themselves … figured out what to pursue and took appropriate chances".

Versatile, turnaround expert, energetic, personable. Those are just a few of the adjectives used to describe Mike A. Aviles. But if you ask him, Aviles would rather use the word “lucky."

Aviles accepted the Jerry I. Porras Latino Leadership Award at a banquet hosted Feb. 26 by the Stanford GSB Hispanic Business Students Association. It was the 15th time the association has honored an alumnus who has made a significant contribution to the business and Latino communities.

Aviles, a resident of Austin, Texas, isn't the shortstop for the Kansas City Royals, as he is quick to tell you, but an executive with a track record for managing companies selling products as diverse as software and sunglasses. From 2006 to 2009 he was president and CEO of Vignette Corp., a major player in the enterprise content management industry. Currently, he heads his own consulting firm, Grow2Day LLC.

He has been active in the Young Presidents Association and with the Stanford Business School Alumni Association and mentorship programs. In Austin, he has served on the board of trustees of St. Edward's University.

If he has a passion, Aviles said in his brief remarks at the banquet, it is for education.

"I was born in Puerto Rico, raised in New York, and neither of my parents graduated from college but [they] understood the value of a college education," he said. While at Stanford, he worked with the East Palo Alto schools and with the Breakthrough Collaborative, which helps low-income students pursue careers in education.

Stanford holds "a special place in my heart," he said, and it has had a "tremendous impact on my career and life."

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15 March 2011

MercadoLibre Grows Latin America’s Online Marketplace

With nearly 32 million visitors last year and its first quarterly dividend in the bank, Latin America's MercadoLibre e-commerce site is on its way, founder Marcos Galperin, MBA '99, told a Stanford Graduate School of Business audience during a recent visit.

In its early days, the founders of MercadoLibre wanted to ensure that their online company, considered the eBay of Latin America, just survived.

The e-commerce enterprise, founded in 1999 by several Stanford Graduate School of Business alumni, has not only survived but thrived, and is now taking strategic steps to beef up its services as more users throughout the region flock to the internet.

The Latin American online e-commerce site recently announced its first quarterly dividend on the heels of a $6 million profit and $200 million in revenue last year. "It’s a great thing to be able to give back to our shareholders some of the money they have invested," said CEO Marcos Galperin, MBA '99, who founded MercadoLibre — Spanish for "free market" — right after graduating from the GSB.

Galperin addressed more than 100 students at the GSB on March 3 as part of the Global Speaker Series, an event cosponsored by the Latin America Student Association and the Entrepreneurship Club. He detailed moves the company is making to capitalize on the trends that have boosted internet penetration in the region from 3% in 1999 to 36% today.

MercadoLibre is the dominant e-commerce platform in Latin America, with 31.8 million unique visitors last year and an average of 1.7 billion pages viewed monthly. Launched in Argentina, the company now operates in 12 countries, including Brazil, its largest single market. U.S.-based auction giant eBay took a 20% stake in 2001 and is MercadoLibre’s biggest minority shareholder.

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22 March 2011

MS/MBA Joint Degree Students Address World Environment and Sustainability Issues

Nuclear power plants don't have to be as expensive and large as they currently are if they utilize Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, which could be the future of atomic power generation. Glorified golf carts could be an important mode of transportation for the 93% of trips that take Americans less than five miles from their home, but will require a change in consumer behavior to take hold. And charging motorists to follow certain traffic patterns could go a long way to relieving congestion.

These were some of the conclusions reached by Megan Guy, Graeme Waitzkin, and Eli Gregory--all MS/MBA Class of 2011--who, in addition to pursuing their MBA degress, are working towards their Master of Science degrees from the Stanford Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources.

Read the article...

25 March 2011

African nations representing remarkable opportunities for local, regional, and international businesses

By 2040 Africa will have a larger workforce than China or India, speakers told a Stanford Africa Forum 2011 conference, exploring opportunities for business development in the 50-plus nations of that continent whose business opportunities are often overlooked.

Africa has an unfortunate PR problem. While new coverage of the area is often focused on political unrest, conflicts, poverty, drought — Africa is in fact doing just as well as, if not better than, other developing regions of the world.

This was the message from more than a dozen entrepreneurs, executives, and venture capitalists speaking at the Stanford Africa Forum 2011 conference, held at the Graduate School of Business in January 2011.

These natives and ex-patriots alike agreed that the 50-plus nations comprising Africa represent remarkable opportunities for local, regional, and international business enterprises to do well while doing good.

The key, said Babajide Sodipo, former advisor to Rwanda's Ministry of Trade and Industry, is to focus one’s business sights on efforts that truly meet the people's needs. "African governments don't want investment for its own sake," he said. "They want those that will create prosperity and improve people’s lives."

Africa is, in fact, ranked as "easier to do business" in than either China or India, according to Thomas Barry, founder of Zephyr Management investment firm, who delivered the opening keynote address. And it supersedes the other two countries in another factor critical for business success: renewable internal freshwater resources. Moreover, by 2040, the continent will have a larger workforce than China or India, totaling more than 1.1 billion people.

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30 March 2011

Alumnus Herb Allison Named 2011 Graduation Speaker

We are pleased to announce that Herb Allison, MBA 1971, will speak at this year's graduation ceremony at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

"Herb was among a select list of leaders students wanted to hear from this year," said Garth Saloner, Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. "At this time of tremendous uncertainty and instability in the world, Herb's recognized contributions to both the corporate world and the community serve as inspiration for the kind of principled leader our students want to become. On graduation day, Herb's personal journey and character stand as an example of the GSB's call to change lives, change organizations, change the world."

In recent years Allison's career has been devoted to solving some of the most difficult problems affecting finance and the U.S. economy. As the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability and Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury, Allison supervised the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) until stepping down last September. The former chairman, president, and CEO of pension fund TIAA-CREF, Allison also served for 28 years as a leader at multiple levels of management at Merrill Lynch, rising to President, COO, and board director.

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