To commemorate Black History Month, Harvard Business School (HBS) presented a series of cases, courses, and podcasts highlighting influential black business leaders. Within its MBA curriculum, HBS has also been working to increase the representation of compelling African-American protagonists culled from a wide range of industries in the case studies at the heart of its distinctive case study method.
Senior Lecturer Steven Rogers, who teaches the course “Black Business Leaders and Entrepreneurship,” was one of the catalysts for this initiative. Rogers uses his course as an opportunity to honor the unsung impact that many African-American business leaders have had on the way America does business. As part of the Black Business Leaders Series of podcasts, Rogers interviews living African-American leaders about the dizzying highs and devastating lows of doing business.
John Rogers Podcast
One such interview features Ariel Investments Founder, Chairman, and CEO John Rogers (no relation), whose financial management firm handles about $13.1 billion. Ariel currently has 90 employees and considers itself a miniature version of Fidelity. “John Rogers is one of America’s great entrepreneurs,” says Steven Rogers by way of introduction. “In the words of Warren Buffett, he is one of the greatest investors of our time.”
The podcast delves into John’s vocal criticism of diversity in Fortune 500 companies and how his comments got him in trouble with his board. It also discusses such topics as a severe lack of inclusion present in the financial management industry. It’s a problem that impacts the entire sector, from job creation to community health.
“When African-American–owned companies are allowed to prosper and grow, we see the creation of more jobs,” Steven Rogers explained in the podcast. “When people have jobs, they’re self-sufficient. When people are self-sufficient, they live in healthy communities. That’s exactly what happens when diversity and inclusion is actualized and people like John are given a chance to grow their companies.”
To listen to the full podcast visit the school website.
Black Business Leaders Series Highlights
Don’t miss these other great podcasts in the HBS Black Business Leaders series:
- A discussion of “Ebony” magazine, which for more than seven decades has chronicled the most important African-American issues and interests of the time.
- An interview with Senior Lecturer Henry Q. McGee on the topic of “The Black List” in Hollywood.
- An in-depth look at the legacy of Maggie Lena Walker and the Independent Order of St. Luke.
To access the complete Black Business Leaders Series, visit the HBS Newsroom.