Harvard Business School Case Study

This week, to celebrate five years of being a Harvard Business School student model, I spoke on the Harvard Cold Call podcast with Brian Kenny and Professor Shai Bernstein. You can listen to our interview here.

For the past five years, Harvard Business School (HBS) has taught Rubicon's business model as a Case Study.

Here is how it works: The professors at HBS prepare a case study on a given business or government institution. The case study is usually a 10-20 page document detailing the specifics of an organization’s finances, market positions, or prior decisions in extreme detail. The document contains background information a student needs to understand the organization and posits a question that the organization is attempting to answer. Students then analyze this information, and they strive to decide on the question being asked.  

HBS turned this critical lens on Rubicon in 2015. As an entrepreneur, I am impressed with the amount of detail and critical thinking level involved. The Rubicon case study characterized Rubicon as a number of digital businesses disrupting vertically-integrated industries in the technology space, focusing on the waste and recycling industry (which is typically vertically integrated), and positioned us against our major competitors in the space.

The case study picked up our story as the company’s cofounders and I were beginning the process of raising another round of funding. It detailed the company’s market position, the general state of the waste industry, and how the company had come to be founded. The study also looked extensively at our unique value proposition, allowing customers to gain more visibility into how their waste is handled and creating opportunities to divert more waste from landfills. 

The study included deep looks at our relationship with two of our biggest customers, our leaders and investors, our waste diversion rates, and our Certified B Corporation status, as well as detailed financials. It was a remarkable amount of data.

In the Cold Call podcast, we talked about the case study, how I founded Rubicon, and what Rubicon means to the state of Kentucky.

I hope you will take the time to give the podcast a listen and join in us our mission to end waste and the escalating global threat it poses.

You are able to listen to the podcast in its entirety here: https://hbr.org/podcast/2021/04/disrupting-the-waste-management-industry-with-technology.


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