MBA News: Beyoncé Case Study at Harvard

Beyoncé certainly qualifies as a successful, global brand—so we were hardly surprised to learn that Harvard Business School (HBS) students are now studying her.

On December 13, 2013, Beyoncé changed the music world with the surprise iTunes release of a new self-titled album. Beyoncé—which contains 14 tracks and 17 videos—sold more than 600,000 copies in just the first three days. An album of this magnitude is incredibly time-consuming, requiring a large amount of planning and work, yet the singer and those close to her somehow managed to keep the huge undertaking a secret. Harvard Professor of Business Administration Anita Elberse teamed with HBS alumna Stacie Smith (MBA ’14) to develop a case study on the phenomenon.

The 27-page report explores Beyoncé’s early career, the founding of her company (Parkwood Entertainment), her role as a CEO, and the path that led her to drop a metaphorical bomb on the album release process. Elberse will use the case study as part of her Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries course. To learn more about the research, read the full Billboard article—or see the pre-study press release in the Harvard Gazette.

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