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Extrusion Technology, Inc. - Jim Sharpe Case Study

Autor:   •  February 16, 2016  •  Case Study  •  14,952 Words (60 Pages)  •  1,713 Views

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R E V :   F E B R U A R Y  2 7 ,   2 0 15

H .  K E N T  B O W E N

B A R B A R A  F E I N B E R G

Jim Sharpe:  Extrusion Technology, Inc. (Abridged)

It was November 20, 1987, and  Jim Sharpe  was staring out at a sea of faces—the  employees of the company he  had  just  purchased,  Extrusion Technology, Inc.   Sharpe   was  a  38-year  old  Harvard MBA (‘76) who,  after  10 years  of working for  others,  had  finally  become  his  own  boss,  and  100% owner of  the  $3.3 million   (revenues) manufacturer  of  aluminum  extrusions.   (See  Exhibit  1  for Sharpe’s  resume.)

Sharpe  related the set of experiences that had brought him to this juncture:

Initial Yearnings to Manage

From  an early  age, I had  always wanted to work  in business, but  owning my  own business was  never  a plan  until  later  in my  career.   As a youth I had  many  jobs:   at a hardware store,  at  a  camp,   at  a  restaurant, on  a  newspaper  route.     By  the  time  I graduated from  high  school,  I already had  some  good  business skills.    I enrolled in Babson  College  and  got a job with  a startup in Wellesley  (Information Services)  doing computer work  (40–60 hours   a  week)  to  pay  for  my  schooling. When  I left  Babson, influenced by the company’s owner, I applied to the Harvard Business  School, and  was rejected  pretty much  out of hand. I was about  20 years old, and although I thought I had a  terrific   work   experience  (as  did   my  boss,  an  HBS  graduate), the  school  thought otherwise. Three years  later, after continuing to work  for the software firm, I decided to apply again  to business schools—this time having a broad list of schools  to ensure that I got in somewhere—and HBS accepted me.

Between  my first and  second  years at HBS, I worked for the Heinz  Food Company in an intern  program.  Being in a manufacturing environment was a good  experience since I had  wanted to get away  from  the data  processing field.   After  graduating (in 1976), I looked  at a number of career  opportunities—some in manufacturing, including Owens- Illinois  and  General Electric;  some  in  sales,  including IBM and   Xerox;  and  some  in implementation consulting, including Arthur Andersen.  I finally  chose  GE.  For a year I did  strategic planning in one of GE’s operating units,  and  found the assignment very interesting.[pic 6]


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