2017

Stories related to "My Course Correction".

perspectives

The Glittering Allure of Entrepreneurship

Of course I was well aware that most start-ups fail, and of course I was giving up the resources and access to talent that come with working for multinationals. But I had the bug to be an entrepreneur and a creator. What exactly to do with that? I always was interested in the luxury segment of consumer goods as a business. I studied to be a mechanical engineer and learned to cut and polish diamonds as part of my training. When I moved back to India in 2011, I studied the female Indian consumer and how she made female choices. The jewelry retail side here in Mumbai and across the world remained traditional. Stores continued to invest in inventory, assuming that people would come and buy whatever was in stock. I learned that even jewelers who had been in the industry for decades weren’t working off the most profitable business model. They couldn’t react to fast-moving trends because they were carrying inventory that didn’t always sell. The consumer, on the other hand, wanted to see new designs more often. I began to wonder, can technology shake up what is happening in this market?

perspectives

Coffee Futures

Back when he worked in finance, Paulo Siqueira, ’04, used to wake up in the middle of the night worried that some market event would spoil his investments. But in 2010, Siqueira and his wife, Juliana Armelin, ’04, left corporate jobs to take the plunge into coffee, starting a farm some 400 miles north of their hometown of São Paulo. “Now, we wake up at night afraid there is going to be a frost in the morning,” Siqueira said.<br/>Despite the occasional weather-related insomnia, the couple has thrived in the coffee business. Two years ago, their farm, Fazenda Terra Alta, won the highest prize for espresso coffee in Brazil. Last year, it won again. Of course, that doesn’t mean the couple’s transition from business to beans has been easy. In growing their farm, they’ve faced a steep learning curve in a business just as volatile as stocks and hedge funds. “If we had known all the risks beforehand,” said Siqueira, “I don’t know if we would have had the guts to start.”