EMBA Students Explore Innovation at Zappos

Having already experienced so much in my first year of the W. P. Carey EMBA program, I was really looking forward to visiting Zappos in Las Vegas over the summer. It was a rare look behind the curtain at one of the most forward-thinking companies around. The most interesting aspect about our visit to me was that even after 17 years of operation they still have the charge of a start-up. They are constantly pushing disruption and innovation.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

Their culture is very unique and arguably their largest asset. To see the culture live and in action was interesting to say the least. The dedication, quirkiness, and passion of all the staff was very evident. Zappos is dedicated to hiring the right candidate for culture fit first and for talent second.

This site visit came about because I had a crazy idea of meeting Zappos CEO Tony Hseih after reading his book, Delivering Happiness. I wanted to create a lasting relationship between Zappos and W. P. Carey. When I pitched this idea to the staff they were immediately on board and made it happen.

Being an entrepreneur myself I found it extremely valuable to visit Zappos, because they proved to me that you must innovate, invigorate, and invent/re-invent in order not to die. My favorite part of the visit to Zappos was having an hour long Q & A with Tony and Fred Mossler. They have never given another business school this kind of insight and first-hand look at their company.

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One of our classmates works for Caesar’s in Las Vegas and commutes to Phoenix every other weekend for classes, so after the Zappos event, we were able to enjoy a very cool happy hour right on the strip. Kind of the icing on the cake…

All in all, it was a pretty eventful day — but that’s par for the course in the W. P. Carey EMBA program. Being part of a group that is so collaborative and energized is one of the hallmark features of this program. I feel challenged by my classmates and the curriculum, and that added value is definitely worth it for me. Feeling like I have the opportunity to reach out to a major company and meet with their CEO, in part because of the reputation of this school and this program, reaffirms that W. P. Carey was the right choice for me.