Roadside MBA

Back Road Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business Owners


By Michael Mazzeo

By Paul Oyer

By Scott Schaefer

Formats and Prices




$22.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around June 10, 2014. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

In this "refreshingly different" high-toned business book, three leading business school professors take to America's back roads in search of offbeat small businesses—enterprises that hold valuable lessons for executives and entrepreneurs everywhere (Bloomberg Businessweek).

While playing hooky from a conference in Boston a few years back, three former colleagues from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management hopped in a car and embarked on a life-changing road trip. They pulled into a shoe store in Maine and noticed that the sales help was unusually pushy. After a few questions, they discovered the store had a "secret shopper" program, in which employees would be marked down if they were not sufficiently aggressive with customers. A lightbulb went off.

Instead of teaching the tried-and-true case studies involving GE and Microsoft, these three men decided to pull their heads out of their ivory towers and search for insights about product differentiation, pricing, brand management, building a team, and a host of other topics. Why take your cues on employee compensation from Wall Street when you can learn from a Main Street company like Couer D'Alene's best crime-scene cleaner? Want to learn about scaling a business? Come meet Dr. Burris, the flying orthodontist, who operates multiple, profitable practices in rural Arkansas.

Spiced with vehicular mishaps and unexpected finds, this is one business book you won't want to miss. 


  • "Roadside MBA succeeds admirably in providing fresh examples to illustrate the basic tenets of MBA theory."
    The Economist
  • "For those who don't have the time or money to go to business school, but teem with ambition, or for burgeoning small business owners looking for creative ideas, Roadside MBA is an excellent primer. Pick and choose the businesses that illustrate what you want to learn, grab your favorite snacks, and then hit the road, because with Mazzeo, Oyer, and Schaefer at the wheel, you're in good hands."
  • "A reminder of everything that makes business vital, fascinating--even fun."
    Inc. Magazine
  • "An excellent primer on dealing with problems that keep managers...awake at night."
    Financial Times
  • "A great new book that combines two quintessentially American things: the road trip and small businesses."
    Jack Covert selects
  • "Refreshingly different from your typical high-toned business books....Timeless lessons for every executive, entrepreneur, and business student."
    Bloomberg BusinessWeek
  • "Roadside MBA combines humor with business theory and practice in a fresh, amusing way. You'll be entertained and educated, ending up with a newfound admiration for the ingenuity of small-town businesses."

On Sale
Jun 10, 2014
Page Count
304 pages
Business Plus

Michael Mazzeo

About the Author

Michael Mazzeo is an Associate Professor of Management & Strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where he teaches the school’s core MBA class in Business Strategy. Mike has a PhD in Economics from Stanford University, and lives in Chicago with his eight-year-old son and many, many Legos.

Paul Oyer is the Fred H. Merrill Professor of Economics at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Paul has a PhD in Economics from Princeton University, and lives in Stanford, California with his two children.

Scott Schaefer holds the Kendall D. Garff Chair in Business Administration and is Professor of Finance at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business. He has a PhD in business economics from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and lives in Salt Lake City with his two children.

Learn more about this author