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Top 40 Bestselling Case Authors 2019/20

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No. 11 Bestselling Case Author 2019/20
Benjamin Esty

Benjamin Esty
Roy and Elizabeth Simmons Professor of Business Administration
Harvard Business School


Benjamin's top bestselling cases

CasesThe a2 Milk Company
The a2 Milk Company (a2MC) became the most valuable company listed on the New Zealand stock exchange in 2018 by capitalizing on a biochemical discovery related to the protein composition of cows milk. Because many people find the A1 protein difficult to digest, and that protein may be related to other health problems (eg, diabetes), a2MC sells dairy products containing the A2 protein only primarily in Australia and China.

Dividend Policy at FPL Group, Inc (A)
A Wall Street analyst has just learned that FPL (the holding company for Florida's largest electric utility) may cut its dividend in several days despite a 47-year streak of consecutive dividend increases. In response to the deregulation of the electric utility industry, FPL has substantially revised its competitive strategy over the past several years. The analyst must decide whether a change in dividend policy will be a part of FPL's financial strategy in this deregulated environment.

Iridium LLC
This case is set in August 1999, just after Iridium, a global communications firm, declared bankruptcy. It describes Iridium's creation, development, commercial launch and financial performance. Using analyst forecasts, students can value the firm prior to its bankruptcy and will see how difficult it is to value technology start-ups given the uncertainty in demand.

Meet Ben

BiographyBen Esty is the Roy and Elizabeth Simmons Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, where he teaches a course called Strategies for Value Creation, an integrative course that unites financial, strategic and leadership issues, and uses value as an important but by no means the only criteria for making important strategic decisions. Over the years, he has taught a variety of courses including advanced corporate finance, strategy, leadership, and project finance. He has also taught a variety of executive education courses and served as the Head of the Finance Unit (department) from 2009-2014. He has received the Student Association Award for teaching excellence multiple times, the Apgar Award for teaching innovations, and the Greenhill Award for outstanding service to Harvard Business School.

Ben’s research lies at the intersection of corporate finance and corporate strategy, and focuses on the financial implications of major strategic decisions. He has written more than 160 case studies, technical notes, and teaching notes. In addition to Ben’s academic research, he has led training programmes for companies around the world on a broad range of investment, financing, strategic, and leadership issues.

Key quote

“I was thrilled to learn that my cases are being used at schools around the world. Really good cases provide lessons that transcend temporal, industry, and geographic boundaries. I intentionally look for situations where the issues are enduring and the insights are practical. I provide enough information to make the situations feel ‘real’ – but not too much information that could overwhelm the reader. I try to strike a balance so that the key managerial decision remains complex and ambiguous, as it would be in real life, but that students can quickly identify the critical issues and actively debate them. In my opinion, it is this combination of a difficult managerial decision and an important underlying concept, principle, or framework that makes the most successful cases.

But this approach is not enough. In today’s environment with an increasingly diverse set of MBA students and business leaders, I am trying to highlight a more diverse set of protagonists in my cases. For example, a2 Milk Company (technology strategy—product vs. process), Eaton Corp. (cost of capital, portfolio transformation), Snap’s Valuation During the Quiet Period (IPO process and valuation mechanics), and IBM’s Roadmap (payout policy, long-term earnings guidance, and strategic transformation) all have diverse protagonists facing difficult managerial decisions."

~ Benjamin Esty


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