Sam Parker

MBA 2020
  • Hometown: Menlo Park, CA
  • Pre-MBA: Hardware Engineer for Audio Products at Apple

Sam Parker

Post Graduation Goals:

Build a business around the next transformative hardware tech product

Highlight of my Week:

Hosting the GSB Sports Innovation Conference, with chances to hear from speakers like Shawn Johnson, Condoleezza Rice and Lance Armstrong.


Favorite Class:

Lean Launchpad. Together with two engineering students, a law student, and another MBA1, I’m building a startup to help people easily access sports and recreation equipment, where and when they need it.

I don’t have class today until 10:30am, so I used this time to clear out my email inbox, align my to-do list for the week, and also call a ski shop in Tahoe to buy a new pair of skis.
In our Data & Decision Making class today, my friend Nnamdi gave a quick student presentation on his independent work analyzing software developer compensation.
I’m a member of the Senate of the Student Association, representing the Athletics Committee. We meet Mondays at lunch to discuss how to improve the student experience at the GSB.
Today in my Smart Pricing and Marketplaces class, we learned about the best strategies to maximize revenue in auctions. This is technically a microeconomics class, but with a really interesting and applied focus that dives deeper than I expected.
My Mondays this quarter are highlighted by my Accelerated Finance class, where I’m learning core concepts that I never learned as a mechanical engineer. It’s a pilot for the “flipped classroom” model, where we spend most of the class on our laptops, practicing the skills we learned from videos before class.
I was invited to join a student dinner with Manhattan Institute fellow, Oren Cass, to discuss the future of the American labor market and how it drives social welfare - another on a long list of incredible speakers who I’ve had the chance to meet since coming to Stanford.
For our Big Data class, I’m working with Bechir and Danny on a loan acceptance prediction model for an in-class competition. It’s a very tangible way to apply what we’ve learned about multivariate logistic regressions and processing huge data sets with new software tools. But mostly I like the chance to be competitive about something kind of nerdy.
Today in Sports Business Management we discussed crisis management in sports, including a role play exercise built around athletes being kidnapped during a trip abroad.
I snuck back to my room for an hour to do some prep work for my Thursday seminar, which today meant researching intergovernmental organizations like the UN and WTO.
Dentist appointment in downtown Palo Alto. Not exciting, which is the best you can hope for.
At our weekly Admit Weekend Committee meeting we discussed how to improve the housing tours for admitted students and their SO’s. Admit Weekend was a hugely positive experience for me as a prospective student, and I want to be sure that everyone has a similar feeling (and decides to come back as a student)!
My friend Jack and I scooted out of the Admit Weekend meeting to get in a game of squash at the Arrillaga gym next to the GSB. With all the fields, courts and gyms around campus, it’s hard to imagine a place that makes it easier to play sports with friends.
Took a trip to the Stanford bookstore to pick up supplies for the guest speakers at our conference tomorrow (more on that to come…)
Met with my Lean Launchpad team for office hours with the legendary Steve Blank, who invented the entire lean startup methodology. Having him as a faculty member for the class is pretty surreal - no one has more experience and stories of how to (and not to) build a startup.
It’s Week 8 of the quarter, and today we’re presenting in Lean Launchpad on the partner relationships we’ll need to develop to succeed. Successful entrepreneur George Jean presented at the beginning
I decided to get off campus for dinner with some friends in downtown Redwood City. As far as I’m concerned, ramen is always a good decision.
BAND FOAM!!! Once a quarter, our weekly bar night features musical performances from my incredibly talented classmates, and it’s one of my absolute favorite things at the GSB!
Today is the GSB Sports Innovation Conference, which I’ve been helping to plan and organize for 3 months. To say I’m excited would be an understatement!
As a member of the communications team, today my primary responsibilities are running the official Twitter (@GSBSportsConf) and Instagram (@GSBSportsConference) accounts for the conference.
It’s all hands on deck with the last minute prep, so I spent a half hour stuffing gift bags for all of our generous speakers. The Stanford footballs were my idea.
I’m roaming around, taking photos and recording quotes, as our Co-Chair Konrad delivers his welcome remarks to the conference’s 500+ attendees.
While the first keynote is underway, Dan and I check out the Neuro Trainer VR system that’s part of the Innovation Showcase for sports-focused startups. This and one other company in attendance have cofounders in the GSB Class of 2020, and it’s awesome to experience the product they’ve poured so much time into.
Before they went onstage, I got to spend some time in the green room with Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson East and Stanford softball player-turned-ESPN broadcaster Jessica Mendoza. As a huge fan of both the Olympics and Stanford athletics, this was a really special treat.
Sat in the front row for a conversation between Joe Tsai, Derek Chang, and Dr. Condoleezza Rice that touched on the amateur athletics model, sports as a tool of diplomacy, and areas for competitive tech advantages in the NBA. Somehow Condi is an expert on all of these, and more.
Backstage with Lance Armstrong and his moderator, VC Michael Spirito, before his closing keynote.
Lance Armstrong’s keynote was as candid as anticipated. There was some controversy surrounding our decision to bring a confessed doper to the conference, but I’m glad we had an opportunity to hear his thoughts on becoming and investor, and how his past has followed him into this stage of his career, for better and worse.
A celebratory wrap-up photo at the end of a successful conference!
Dinner at Arrillaga dining hall to refuel after a long day (and it’s only 6pm!)
Met up with my friend Lowell to knock out this week’s team homework assignment for our finance class.
One of the most special GSB traditions is TALK, where classmates have the floor to share their life stories, often getting into remarkably intimate detail. Tonight we heard from my friends Vince and Christina, who each overcame real adversity to get themselves to this point in their lives.
Post-TALK celebration! It takes an amazing amount of courage to get in front of 250 classmates and speak really honestly about personal struggles and moments of weakness, and the conversations these talks spur are consistently meaningful and memorable.