Home » My 8 weeks at Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program » Day 3 @ AMP – Would you do business with your friends?

Day 3 @ AMP – Would you do business with your friends?

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Today’s day wrapped up the case discussion on Nike and it was fascinating to see this evolution of a company from 1972 – 2009 and its strategy going beyond. In case you did not know, Nike has USD 19B in revenue; employs 33,000 full-time employees and 800,000 contract workers.  Phil Knight, the founder (who many in the class would have fired back in the 1980s) still runs the company (was the CEO till 2005 and is now the Chairman).  He has been a founder and a major shareholder of the company since 1972.  That is a good run!

After going through the Nike case, one question comes to my mind is going into business with friends – is that a good thing or a bad thing?  I am not sure if Phil Knight is still good friends with the 3 other co-founders of Nike but the remaining 3 did leave the company between 1985 – 87.  There were certainly tensions back then and I am curious to know if the friendship held up…

I have had some breathing room today even though it has been a longer day with a 3 case theme.  Not likely to be this way starting next week; there has been a recurring mention of the fact that week 1 is an ‘easy’ week.  To be honest thus far, it has been no real trouble coping up.  However I dread some of the course work, particularly the finance and accounting related sessions.  Maybe my fears will be baseless in the end!

I really don’t know if the concept of living/learning groups is unique to Harvard but the faculty seem to stress upon the importance of this arrangement repeatedly. The idea is to learn from the faculty, the living group colleagues and the rest of the attendees. For me, this seems to be holding true thus far.  The work ethic of my group seems to be quite good and it seems unlikely that we will have a surprise slacker amongst us.

This is a going to be an experience to remember – that much is clear!

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2 Comments

  1. Samvit,
    You do raise an interesting point. Perhaps the best perspective comes from a quote attributed to John D. Rockefeller, who once said that “a friendship founded on business is a good deal better than a business founded on friendship.” That being said, Hewlett Packard is a great counter to your Nike example !
    Good job with the blog – gives us a vicarious view of the ringside action. keep it up, and good luck with the program.
    – JT

  2. Cherag Sukhia says:

    Enjoyed reading your blog; sounds like you’re in for a fun ride! Particularly loved the bit about Kashmeer and India 🙂

    Keep your blog up to date – will be looking for updates! Hope you learn a lot and are able to bring a fresher perspective back to your team when you return – but above all, enjoy the experience!

    Best regards,
    Bawa

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