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Friday, September 4, 2009

Stanford Offers Course in Economic Reality: Biz-School Students Train to Sell Cars

Posted By on Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 7:30 AM

The standard university cap-and-gown day ritual goes this way: MBA alums chant gloatingly to other graduating classes: "We've got the money! We've got the money!" Engineering school grads, meanwhile, chant back: "We've got the jobs!" "We've got the jobs!"

What a burn!

Stanford University, long a font of economic savvy, has taken steps to help its recession-era business school graduates respond in kind. They're teaching students to become car salesmen.

According to a new Leland Stanford Junior University press release, the school will partner with Tesla Motors, the superfluous Peninsula company that produces electric sports cars, for a week-long seminar on how to best peddle the things.

An executive education class will help students "better understand customer experiences, developer deeper customer insights, diffuse customer learning throughout their organizations, and improve overall customer satisfaction," the release said.

The Gavin Newsom-endorsed $100,000 cars should make for interesting psychological litmus tests. According to a Business Indisder analysis of a deal in which General Motors bought a 10 percent stake in Tesla, the behavior of GM -- the number one "customer" of the company's stock -- seems consistent with the irrational actions of a deranged person.

Tesla's only product "isn't selling particularly well," writes Jay Yarrow. And "Once Tesla burns through its back order of those roadsters, the demand picture isn't looking pretty."

All right now, indeed

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Matt Smith


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