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Management Lessons of a Failed Company

Christopher M. Tingley

This book is a look inside the day-to-day life of a retail manager as he witnessed from the front lines a company take the country by storm. Through a model of selling low priced clothing partnered with celebrity endorsements, the company’s rise was as big as their fall. After over a decade of teaching, the author, now a marketing and strategy professor, recalls his former life in retail. In a light-hearted and funny first-person narrative, the author takes you on a ride through his time with the now defunct clothing retailer Steve and Barry’s. He shares the lessons he learned from inside the store while watching mistakes made along the way. Through stories of being robbed at gunpoint, finding a dead body in the dumpster, and working to the point of exhaustion, the reader is given a firsthand account of the best and worst practices in store management. Designed to introduce students to business, management, entrepreneurship, and retail, it allows students to answer the question "Do I really want to be a manager?"

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In July of 2006, I had just recently completed my MBA. I had graduated 2 years earlier with a bachelor’s degree in communication arts, and I wanted to add a level of business acumen to my resume. I might have been young at this time, but I felt like I was well prepared and was ready to become part of the business world. I had been employed full time since my sophomore year in high school working in kitchens, video stores, and in radio. I cut my hair short, put away my black t-shirts sporting heavy metal band logos and packed my bags. I moved south where I wouldn’t have to see snow ever again.

I had been told throughout my education that there were jobs available and all it took was a good degree, hard work and dedication to make a career for myself. My professors told me that an MBA was a direct ticket to employment. I was confident that, despite moving to a new city away from home, all I had to do was walk in and tell people I had an MBA and they would hire me. I had my elevator speech ready to go, armed with my sales pitch of a communications background and a master’s degree in business. I knew that no one would ever say no to me.←1 | 2→

In fact, I was convinced that companies would not only hire me, but they would pay me an incredible...

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