Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Richard Branson and Virgin, Inc.(Instructor's Note)

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Richard Branson and Virgin, Inc.(Instructor's Note)

Article excerpt

CASE DESCRIPTION

This case focuses primarily on entrepreneurship and the problems facing entrepreneurs in today's volatile economic environment. The case is appropriate for courses in entrepreneurship, small business management, and strategic management. The case examines the life of Richard Branson and Virgin, Inc. and has a difficulty level two. It is appropriate for freshmen and sophomores. It can be taught in a 75 minute course period and the case preparation time is approximately two hours.

CASE SYNOPSIS

Virgin, Inc. was one of the most innovative companies in the world. The company's success can be traced to founder, Richard Branson. The case traces the roots of Branson's family and the major influences on his life that contributed to the success and growth of Virgin. The case follows the various stages of Branson's entrepreneurial ventures (e.g., magazine, record company, record studio and label, airline and various other ventures) through 2009. Branson's keys to success are also examined. The case ends with the current problems that face Virgin in 2009.

INSTRUCTOR'S NOTES

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TEACHING APPROACHES

Students will find the case very interesting because most of them will have heard of Virgin, Inc. Students will combine the facts presented in the case with their own perceptions and experiences of Virgin. The case makes valuable contributions related to the historical background of one of the most successful companies in the world. Furthermore, the case examines Richard Branson and takes students through the process of starting an enterprise. The following questions are recommended for discussion.

Questions

1) Discuss the background and personality of Richard Branson.

2) What did Branson do to make Virgin so successful? What grade would you give Branson as an entrepreneur?

3) Perform a SWOT analysis on Virgin

4) Discuss the history of Virgin from startup until today. What strategies did Branson and Virgin employ to grow their business?

5) What were the major problems and/or opportunities facing Virgin, Inc. in 2009?

6) What recommendations would you make to Richard Branson? Why?

Questions and Answers

1) Discuss the background and personality of Richard Branson.

Born in England in 1950, Richard Branson's mother was a stewardess, father a lawyer, and grandfather was a judge. Branson had two sisters and recalls that his childhood was happy. His parents emphasized independence. Due to Branson's dyslexia and his near-sightedness, he was a poor student.

Branson dropped out of boarding school at 16. When he was asked about this, he responded, "I was so happy to get out of school. So was the headmaster. He told me as I was leaving; Richard you will end up in prison or a millionaire."

Branson's lessons and personal traits, which were developed during his childhood, contributed enormously to his success.

Branson's mother, Eve, was focused on challenging her children to them with their confidence, growth, and development. Branson stated, "I remember that my parents continually set challenges for us. My mother was determined to make us independent." Eve had been raised in a family that encouraged women to strive to live more than just a domestic existence. She had drive and determination and wanted to instill this in her children. By the age of 27, when she married Ted Branson, Richard's father, Eve had already trained as a dancer and performed in London theaters. When Eve met Ted she was employed as a stewardess for an airline that made trips to and from South America.

Branson attributes a lot of his creativity and initiative to his parents' upbringing. When he was four years old, his mother dropped him off in the country a couple of miles away from his home and expected him to find his way back. Branson also recalled his mother telling him to bike to a town 50 miles away. …

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