Case Rip Cord:

Barilla, SpA: Given his experience growing up in Italy, Sisto Merolla (OJ) was asked to open this case and explain the significance of the Barilla pasta brand in his homeland. After a thorough explanation, Sisto concluded, “And one final thing. Barilla is known for being hard to overcook, so it’s always al dente. Which for those of you who don’t know what that means, well, it’s the exact opposite of what you get in Spangler.”

Harlequin: Some interesting facts came up while learning about the romance novel industry. “60% of the 91 million US households did not buy a single book in 1991.” Wow, that’s sad. Harlequin sells twelve series of romance novels in the US, which vary in title from Romance to Intrigue and Regency to Historical. Each series had a different “length, level of sensuality, degree of realism, and setting.” Later, the case says, “The heroines…offer positive role models to our readers.” Would these role models be found in the highly sensual Temptation or Intimate Moments lines? The case is actually about launching Harlequin in Poland, so regarding translating the books, “Four editors and eight proofreaders checked translations for language and style. Kowalewska…stated, `You may not like the genre, but, within the market, we are the best. Our books contain no mistakes; they are perfect.'” Who’d have thought we at the Harbus would be looking to Harlequin for editorial expertise? Let it be known that the Harbus is looking for proofreaders, and due to the recent downturn of Harlequin business in Poland, we’re particularly targeting their castoffs. The Harbus pays in US dollars.

Ninth House: eLearning Software: Another case written deftly by Harbus Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Corey Hajim (’01B). Take this great line, “[Ninth House] had shaped a vision of a management training tool that would far exceed the traditional seminar scenario of flip charts and stale donuts.”

Speaking of sugary breakfast treats, we got a quarter-inch thick packet of analyst reports and articles in Investment Management to decide whether or not to buy this stock called “Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.” I don’t remember which way the valuation came out, but I ended up with a stomach ache.

Procter & Gamble: Always Russia: “Hey Beavis, this case is about feminine protection disposable pads. Huh, huh. Huh, huh.” Professor David Arnold says he’s still not sure how he ended up writing this case, but he was even more amazed when the protagonist took him into Russian women’s homes to find out about their product use, and the women opened up to him after he was introduced as “Doctor Arnold.” Getting back to the facts, P&G had problems distributing Always samples throughout Russia, where “entrepreneurs” were known to follow delivery trucks so they could “re-distribute” samples of the Always pad from residential mailboxes for resale on the open market. Stealing feminine protection products-now that’s a true manifestation of the entrepreneurial spirit.

A Tale of Two Electronic Components Distributors: Industry observer Lew Young states, “The ideal salesperson [at an electronics distributor] would have `a bachelor’s degree in engineering, have graduated in the bottom third of his or her class, and would be president of his or her fraternity.'” Young has described your author to a tee. Combine this characterization with the fact that one of the two case protagonists shares my background as a Northeast Ohioan who served in the Air Force, and who needs the Career Center? I’ve found my calling!