Shareholder Representative Services

by Ryan Barringer, MBA '13


Great brands are consistent, and when they are extended with discipline into meaningful sub-brands, their equity can be both enhanced and borrowed by their extensions, thereby forming a value-building, symbiotic relationship. Such is the relationship between Johnson and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute (EII).


At the heart of the Johnson brand is the notion that complex problems are solved more effectively by unified teams rather than by solo artists. Across all MBA programs offered at Johnson, be they in Sage Hall, Palisades, or any of the two dozen boardrooms scattered throughout North America and Latin America, the power of the team consistently reigns supreme. And the same is true at EII, where a complex project was addressed by harnessing the collective ability of seven fellows candidates and support from EII advisors and staff.


Last Spring, EII was approached by Anna Bruno, MBA ’10, marketing director for Shareholder Representative Services (SRS) based in San Francisco, with a significant task: to aggregate key data points across nearly 250 merger and acquisition deals involving venture capital-backed target companies, and to produce a summary of findings report to be shared with constituents of the VC and private equity communities via the SRS website. The team, assembled from across three of the four MBA programs and the Law School, and representing diverse geographies including New York, Oregon, California, and Rome, Italy, was provided cap tables and waterfall charts in a myriad of formats for each M&A transaction, along with a set of desired deliverables. Aside from the sheer volume of work related to the data extraction process, this was truly a complex problem that no single team member could solve alone. When we faced uncertainly during the project, we turned to each other for guidance and support. We leveraged the talent of each team member to address specific elements of the task that were best suited to their skills and experience.


What was striking throughout the project was just how naturally and quickly the team dynamic was formed. Although I did not consciously think about why that was at the time, the basis of this phenomenon is no mystery; we are, after all, Johnson students. We are trained to instinctively call upon the greater ability of a team when we are faced with complex problems. In the context of brand, EII is an appropriate and complementary extension of Johnson, as both entities uphold a consistent value system centered around the benefits of team-based learning.

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