The University Record, October 22, 2001

Martha Stewart gives students taste of living as a CEO

By Claudia Capos
School of Business Administration

Martha Stewart briefs business students on Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. Sharon Patrick, president and chief operations officer, is at left. (Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)
Martha Stewart, who has become a household name in American homes, met with a team of second-year MBA students at the U-M Business School Oct. 17 to discuss the leadership she has exhibited during critical times at her international information-based company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. Stewart, who is chairman and chief executive officer, and Sharon Patrick, president and chief operations officer, discussed key issues and challenges, including the impact of current economic conditions on retailing, technology and advertising, changing corporate growth rates, company branding strategies and international expansion, particularly into the Japanese market.

Afterwards, Stewart and Patrick attended Business Professor Gerald Meyers’ two-hour class, “Leadership in Changing Times,” where the student team they had briefed earlier used interactive role-playing to present an advocate’s view of Stewart’s company to their classmates. The case was discussed in detail by the class with comments from Stewart and Patrick.

“This class gives students a feel of what critical times in business feel like, and how to think and act on their feet in adverse circumstances,” says Prof. Meyers. Other notable CEOs who have participated in past years include John Smith of General Motors, Sanford Weill of Citigroup, Robert Shapiro of Monsanto and Harvey Golub of American Express.