Early in the morning on Jan. 22, it was 14 degrees Fahrenheit. But inside Shad Hall’s basketball court it was steamy, a DJ was blasting remixes, and three brothers were leading a huge group fitness class. These weren’t just any brothers, and this was not a standard Shad bootcamp class. This was Rob, Gordie, and Chris Gronkowski, and the workout included HBS students as well as business founders such as Christina Tosi (Milkbar), Matt Van Horn (June oven), and Michael Lastoria (&pizza).
The workout kicked off day two of Moving Beyond DTC, one of nine Short Intensive Programs (SIPs) that ran this year from Jan. 21-24. Now in its third year, SIPs are no-credit, no-fee elective courses, offering MBA students an opportunity to engage deeply in a single subject for four days with professors, practitioners, and experts in the field. We decided to take a closer look at the classes and spent time in four: Moving Beyond DTC, Africa Rising, Agile at Scale, and the Life and Role of the CEO.
Moving Beyond DTC, led by Professor Len Schlesinger and Matt Higgins of RSE Ventures, featured a lineup of 29 principals in the Direct-to-Consumer market, Lori Greiner of QVC, Jordana Kier and Alexandra Friedman of Lola, Christina Tosi of Milkbar, and those Gronkowskis (Rob is an investor and brand ambassador for CBD Medic, Chris is the founder of the Ice Shaker, and Gordie is a partner in Gronk Fitness Products).
In 60-80 minute class sessions, students offered their opinions on where the business should go next and answered questions from Schlesinger and Higgins. Then, each founder presented their own story—their inspiration, dilemmas, questions, and decision (if determined) on where the business was heading next.