Stanford Business Magazine

Explore the Spring 2024 issue of Stanford Business — and see how people from all corners of the Stanford GSB community are coming together to change lives, organizations, and the world.

Campus Illustration by Manshen Lo

On April 4, Jerry Yang, the chair of the Stanford University Board of Trustees, announced that GSB Dean Jonathan Levin had been named the university’s next president.

“It has been an extraordinary experience and a joy to lead the GSB as your dean,” Levin wrote in a message to the GSB community. “The GSB is an unparalleled institution, combining the highest level of academic excellence with the energy and talent of future leaders who aspire to change the world.”

“I’m exceptionally proud of what the school has accomplished during my tenure,” wrote Levin, who joined the Stanford faculty in 2000 and became dean of the GSB in 2016. “I also know that the GSB is an inherently forward-looking place — as our cornerstone says, we are ‘dedicated to the things that haven’t happened yet’ — so I am even more excited about the school’s future.” His tenure as university president begins on August 1.

Congratulations, Jon — and thanks for everything!

Maker: Mark Michaels, MBA ’87

CEO and Chairman of United Record Pressing

United Record Pressing is the largest vinyl record pressing plant in North America. “I wanted to build a small, niche business,” says CEO Mark Michaels, MBA ’87. “I didn’t think vinyl was going to go away, but I didn’t think it was going to have the explosive growth that it has had over the past decade.”

All Else Equal

In their podcast, Stanford GSB Professor Jonathan Berk and Wharton Professor Jules van Binsbergen talk about making better decisions and avoiding common business mistakes.

Curious Conversations

If/Then is a new podcast that captures the breadth and depth of GSB professors’ research and its connections to our lives, our work, and our future. Here are some soundbites from the first 13 episodes.

Editor’s Note

Preconceptions are hard to shake. They can hold people back — and sometimes businesses. Consider cannabis — a product and industry that are not always associated with productivity or industriousness. Yet the market for legal marijuana in the United States is currently in a phase of intense competition, relentless innovation, and explosive growth. In “Room to Grow”, I speak with several GSB alums who are leading the evolution of this industry. You might be surprised by their sense of purpose. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Kim Rael Sanchez, MBA ’91, told me. “But it’s the most fun thing I’ve ever done because it’s so hard.”

If you’re looking for a fun challenge, here’s a listening recommendation: If/Then, a newly launched GSB podcast that digs into the amazing array of research produced here. This issue features a sampling of ideas from the show’s first season, including Mohammad Akbarpour discussing the economics of Taylor Swift tickets and Bill Barnett explaining the fine line between genius and foolishness.

Research is also the focus of our cover story. For nearly a century, the A/B test has been the go-to for everything from middle-school science projects to vaccine development. The digital era revealed that these tests needed an upgrade. That’s where the GSB comes in: It’s become a hub for professors who are pioneering new kinds of experiments — a synergy that’s anything but incidental. “It’s not an accident that we’re all here,” says Professor Susan Athey.

— Dave Gilson

Voices of Stanford GSB


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Cover art by Fien Jorissen and Franz Lang.