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Business School World Reacts to Death Of Steve Jobs

We asked the business school community what they thought of the brilliant innovator and businessman

By  Harriet Murdoch

Thu Oct 6 2011

The death of Steve Jobs will be collectively mourned throughout the world today as people come to terms with the loss of one of the most pivotal businessmen of the last century.

People will be trying to replicate Steve Jobs inimitable leadership style for years to come. His famous product launches saw Jobs seemingly conjure up new magical products that would change the way we interact with each other or with multimedia. Who can forget him pulling the first iPhone out of his pocket. 

From the inception of Macintosh and Apple, Steve saw the human potential in the complex software that he designed. His designs were always meant to be able to be used instinctively, and now there are very few people who wouldn’t automatically know how to use an iPod, iPhone or Mac computer. Children are even learning how to read and write on iPads.

Steve Jobs built a company that managed to exceed Microsoft and on occasion Exxon Mobil to become the world’s most valuable company with a market value of more than $50 billion. Jobs has certainly earned his place as one of the greatest industrialists of all time with Edison, Ford and (though it would irk Jobs) Gates.

We wanted to get a reaction to the news of Steve Jobs’ death from the business school community.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter is a professor at Harvard Business School, she wrote in the Harvard Business Review today that “If there were a Nobel prize for business, surely he would have won it. He did what he set out to do and more. He saw the potential for computing power for the masses, useful and accessible to everyone. In a phrase that drove the early Apple, he created bicycles for the mind."

Kirti Dhingra, MBA alumni of the Australian Graduate School of Management and Kellogg Graduate School of Management, described Jobs as "one of the all time great innovators, visionary thinkers and product marketers of all time." 

Milo Yiannopoulos, a business writer based in London and San Francisco told BusinessBecause that Steve Jobs was “the Conservative icon of our time” and has written an article saying that what Steve Jobs meant by changing the world was actually aiming for all-encompassing global market domination.

IE MBA alumni, Pablo Esteves, said that Steve Jobs was "an example of how to drive a business with a noticeable human kindness. The sad passing of Steve gets you thinking about what really matters in life. His legendary quote reflects that passion for what you do: "Stay hungry. stay foolish." It's about building a legacy, being imaginative and passionate. Few people in the history of the world inspire to greatness in business the way Steve did; he was always looking for more, how to improve things, always delivering. Zero mediocrity. He encouraged people to always make a positive impact. Making a difference."

Georgia Tech's Strategy Professor, Frank T. Rothaermel, told BusinessBecause: "Some say SJ was a great CEO, I say he was much more than that. He was a true visionary, comparable to Einstein. He gave a new paradigm."

Professor John Jordan from Penn State Smeal College said: “The passing of Steve Jobs is a cultural milestone; his greatness is unquestioned. He was responsible for five seismic changes in the computing landscape…for all the justified talk of Jobs being a visionary, however, his name is on 313 different Apple patents, demonstrating an attention to detail rare in a chief executive.”

Professor Donna Ladkin from Cranfield University School of Management is an expert on leadership, she told Channel 4 that “the Apple co-founder was able to balance his company's contradiction between market-leader and cult status by creating a brand that was more like a club. People wanted to be part of the Apple club. He touched something in the zeitgeist about wanting to be slightly different - even if it was a lot of people. It was about being on the edge and slightly radical."