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Dr Stephanie Hussels is Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurial Performance and Economics (Cranfield School of Management, UK)

1. What area of research are you currently working on?

My current research examines whether the determinants of new firms survival change radically as the firm develops. Moreover, it assesses whether firm performance should be affected by the extent to which it experienced new firm equilibrium, over and under shooting at the time of start up.

2. A case study that you think is important. Why?

I like the case study ‘Moonpig.com’ (ECCH 806-064-1 and 806-065-1) by Robert Brown. The case illustrates the challenges an internet-based company faces during the start-up and the growth stage of the entrepreneurial life cycle. Part A requires students to put themselves in the shoes of a business angel and assess whether or not to invest in the business. They thereby not only need to evaluate the financial performance, but assess the overall resource requirements. Part B questions how the founder should grow the business – should it expand overseas, adopt franchising or concentrate on what they know best. Robert Brown is currently writing Part C which will then bring the case study up to 2009. Part C will complete the entrepreneurial life cycle and deal with what should the founder do next: sell the business and if yes, how continue to expand, and what role should he take.

3. A management book you think highly of. Why?

I can strongly recommend Venture Capital and the Finance of Innovation by Andrew Metrick. The book gives a fantastic overview of the venture capital industry. Andrew Metrick manages to link finance theory and venture capital practice in a very understandable manner suitable for both graduate students and practitioners.

4. A very recent business or management title you read, and its significant lessons.

I recently read The China Entrepreneur: Voices of Experience from 40 Business Pioneers by Juan Antonio Fernandez and Laurie Underwood. The book is a great handbook for newcomers to China and with its case studies of experienced China pioneers provides a good and solid overview of things to avoid and to go for.

5. What is one of your well-liked teaching moments (case, discussion topic, …)?

As part of the MBA elective “Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation”, which I currently teach at Cranfield School of Management, students are required to write a business plan based on their own ideas. At the end of the elective they then have to pitch it to investors and entrepreneurs. The best business pitch and Q&A on the day receives a prize sponsored by the Chartered Management Institute. To see the students excel and being so passionate about their ventures gives me a buzz each time.

6. If tomorrow you could occupy an executive function in any company, what function and company? Why?

Throughout my three years at Cranfield School of Management I have had the opportunity to meet and work with a number of fast growth businesses. If I decide to move into industry, I would be particularly interested in joining a fast growth start-up company in the role of a business developer. The diversity of tasks involved in such a role and the speed with which decisions need to be made would be challenging and fascinating to me at the same time. Alternatively, I would be keen to join a social enterprise. With the increased importance in non-for-profit organizations, I would be interested to help those organizations adopt some of the management techniques traditionally used in for-profit enterprises and thereby helping them to make a wider impact.

 
 
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