In his monthly column for the Harbus, Professor Kevin W. Sharer shares his thoughts on the issues facing HBS students. A very successful CEO of a respected and large global brand shared four ideas with the top 500 executives at their annual leadership gathering. This meeting is the key leadership leverage opportunity for the CEO,… Continue reading Authentic!?

Governor Newsom Needs a Plan

In his monthly column for the Harbus, Professor Kevin W. Sharer shares his thoughts on the issues facing HBS students. California is America’s most populous state, the world’s seventh largest economy, a region of boundless diversity and riches, and the home of Hollywood and Silicon Valley—it is not called the Golden State without reason. California… Continue reading Governor Newsom Needs a Plan

The Case for Optimism

This may seem a strange time to make a case for optimism. There are so many serious issues in the United States and the wider world. It is hard to know where to start. Here is a partial list of the challenges: endless wars in the Middle East; an increasingly totalitarian China; climate change; racism;… Continue reading The Case for Optimism

The Three Graces for MBAs Today

In his monthly column for the Harbus, Professor Kevin W. Sharer shares his thoughts on the issues facing HBS students. The Three Graces is a famous marble neoclassical sculpture executed by the Italian artist Antonio Canova in the early 19th century. The graces are meant to represent the three daughters of Zeus, who personified mythological… Continue reading The Three Graces for MBAs Today

Corporate Purpose?

Fortune magazine reported that on August 19, 2019, the Business Roundtable announced a new purpose for the corporation. Why did this 300-word, not particularly specific (and certainly not binding on anyone) declaration receive such widespread attention? Why should HBS students care? What might it mean for business and society? In short, is this a big… Continue reading Corporate Purpose?

Dealing with Anxiety

Recently two former CEOs of large multinational companies (one British and one American) were talking about the most serious mental health problems that exist in the large American and British universities they each chair. Surprisingly the challenge on both sides of the Atlantic and echoed at two university chair meetings they had just attended was… Continue reading Dealing with Anxiety

More Women CEOs

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra addresses the 2017 General Motors Company Annual Meeting of Stockholders Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at GM Global Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. Joining Barra on stage are GM Executive Vice President and General Counsel Craig Glidden (l to r), GM Board Independent Lead Director Theodore Solso and GM Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Jill Sutton. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)

Mary Barra, the highly regarded CEO of General Motors pictured above, is part of a very, very small group of women CEOs.  Mary is a GM lifer who rose through the manufacturing ranks to earn the job five years ago. Despite decades of focus, effort, progress and learning women like Mary are vastly underrepresented in… Continue reading More Women CEOs

A Letter to Facebook’s CEO

Dear Mark, You founded and built Facebook into a global colossus in a remarkably short time.  You conceived of a need to allow people to connect easily, quickly everywhere and at virtually unlimited scale.  You recruited the team to help you, made adjustments along the way and in the process built a commercial juggernaut with… Continue reading A Letter to Facebook’s CEO

The Golden State

It is the season for the EC to close in on career choices and the RC to lock in internships. The realization is dawning that HBS is actually a twenty month experience that quickly is over. You must have questions. What industry? What functional area? What company? Compensation in the first few years? Experiences of… Continue reading The Golden State

Beware Social Media

Two billion people worldwide have enrolled in Facebook, and it is fair to say most of them have used the service.  Many have integrated Facebook and its services deeply into their lives.  While Facebook is the dominant social media product, there are other providers in America and around the world.  But allow me to focus… Continue reading Beware Social Media

Choosing a Life Partner

Young couple standing by lake holding hands

Most likely you have spent many hours thinking about and preparing for your professional life.  In fact, for most of you, the core reason you came to HBS is to make a career pivot, to find a new, more attractive professional track. Once on that track, in the wider world, most of your time will… Continue reading Choosing a Life Partner

A Challenge for Uber’s Board

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Uber is a remarkable company that has transformed personal transportation around the world. In the process it has created enormous value for shareholders, provided jobs for thousands including many HBS grads, and upended the status quo. The CEO has pursued an aggressive, take no prisoners approach familiar to many in Silicon Valley. He has made… Continue reading A Challenge for Uber’s Board

Moral Authority

Famous Landmark and Mountain Sculpture - Mount Rushmore, near Keystone, South Dakota. Shot taken July 2009.; Shutterstock ID 115215937; PO:; Other: claudia

Thomas Friedman got me thinking the other day when, in a surprisingly agitated commentary (he’s usually pretty calm and measured) he talked about the difference between formal authority and moral authority.   If you’re not familiar with Friedman, you should be.  He is a widely acclaimed author and columnist, winner of three Pulitzers and now serves as… Continue reading Moral Authority

Thank You Mr President

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

This Thanksgiving, like many of you, I spent a few minutes contemplating my many blessings.  One blessing in particular provoked a surprising flood of gratitude in my heart:  I am deeply and profoundly thankful to Barack Obama for his service to our country over the past eight years.   No, this is not a back… Continue reading Thank You Mr President

Deciding on a Job: Don’t Overthink It

Last year the column entitled Primary Colors provided a framework for how to think about career choices. The main thesis of the piece was that there were three broad pathways to choose between, and the fundamental choice was deciding which one appealed to you. These pathways were described as operator with CEO being the ultimate… Continue reading Deciding on a Job: Don’t Overthink It

Protecting the American Innovation Ecosystem

Idea concept with row of light bulbs and glowing bulb

As he was driving to meet a schoolmate acquaintance with an intense and deep experience base in politico-military affairs, he wondered what to talk about. They had met a few times, had friends in common, but no deep shared experiences or obvious common interests. Maybe the meeting was about fundraising given the new person’s position.… Continue reading Protecting the American Innovation Ecosystem

It’s Legal but is it Right?

Google the phrase “do the right thing” to see the many ways in which this mantra is intrinsic to American and other healthy cultures.   At HBS this message is paramount. It goes without saying that we all want to be successful in life and business, always in ways that are rewarding, legal, honest, and honorable.… Continue reading It’s Legal but is it Right?

On Leadership In Health Care And Giving Back: An Interview with Professor Sharer, Former Amgen CEO

At HBS, we are lucky enough to be taught by some of the most experienced leaders. Professor Kevin Sharer is the former CEO of Amgen and sits on the boards of Chevron and Northrop Grumman. He currently teaches two sessions of General Management — Processes and Action. During his 20+ years of leadership, Amgen grew… Continue reading On Leadership In Health Care And Giving Back: An Interview with Professor Sharer, Former Amgen CEO

Your Moment to Shine: The Presentation to the C-Suite

Roger Sterling (John Slattery), Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm), Don Draper (Jon Hamm), representatives from Hershey and Jim Cutler (Harry Hamlin) - Mad Men _ Season 6, Episode 13 _ 'In Care of' - Photo Credit: Courtesy of AMC

Dylan is scheduled to make his first presentation to the sector executive with responsibility for his boss’ business.  He’s excited and a bit worried. Though he spent a few years in consulting and did well at HBS, he realizes that as an operating manager he is now in a new environment where the stakes are… Continue reading Your Moment to Shine: The Presentation to the C-Suite

Aim High?

By Harvard Business School Professor Kevin Sharer, Former Amgen Chairman & CEO  Bill floated on air as he headed out of his office, toward the bar down the street.  His annual review had exceeded his highest hopes.  He knew he was good, but this confirmed to him that others knew it too. “Your achievements this… Continue reading Aim High?

Kevin Sharer: Beware the Press

HBS Professor Kevin Sharer, former CEO of Amgen, shares his insights on how to approach and handle the press. Sometime in your career and perhaps much earlier than you now imagine, you will find yourself working with the press or being a subject of press interest. This possibility may conjure pleasant thoughts of personal or… Continue reading Kevin Sharer: Beware the Press

A Memo to VW’s CEO, Dr. Müller

Professor Kevin Sharer, former CEO of Amgen, has some advice for leaders who find themselves charged with investigating and cleaning up a catastrophe. It has happened again. For the at least fifth time in fifteen years another enormous, preventable, and egregious transgression has been purposefully or carelessly committed by a previously respected company. It will… Continue reading A Memo to VW’s CEO, Dr. Müller

Professor Kevin Sharer: What is Your HBS Strategy?

Professor Kevin Sharer, former CEO of Amgen, makes the case for developing an explicit strategy for your time in school. Steve Hind, editor of The Harbus, wrote in the last edition to suggest that you think purposefully about the choices you make at HBS with an eye towards social choices in general and some EC… Continue reading Professor Kevin Sharer: What is Your HBS Strategy?