Steven S. Rogers

MBA Class of 1957 Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

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Unit: General Management


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Steven Rogers is the MBA Class of 1957 Senior Lecturer of Business Administration. He teaches Entrepreneurial Finance and a new course titled Black Business Leaders and Entrepreneurship. He taught FIELD 3, which is the practicum on entrepreneurship where 150 teams of students create companies each year.  His teams placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th over a three year period. A 1985 graduate of the school, Professor Rogers holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College. Prior to teaching at HBS, he taught for 17 years at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, in the MBA, PhD and Executive programs in the U.S., Toronto, Germany, and Hong Kong. He received the Outstanding Professor Award for the Executive Program 26 times and the MBA Lawrence Levengood Outstanding Professor of the Year award twice. He was the first professor in the school’s history to receive the latter award more than once.

Before joining the Kellogg Faculty, he owned and operated two manufacturing firms and one retail operation. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Professor Rogers worked at Bain and Company Consulting firm, Cummins Engine Company and UNC Ventures, a venture capital firm.

In 2016 Professor Rogers was a volunteer Visiting Professor at the United States Military Academy for the Army at West Point where he taught Entrepreneurial Finance.

Professor Rogers was selected to give a speech on the topic of Entrepreneurship at the United Nations in 2013 as part of the TEDxUNPlaza Program. In 2011, he joined Chicago Mayor Emmanuel’s Supplier Diversity Task Force. In 2009, Ebony Magazine named him one of the top 150 influential people in America. In 2006, he was selected as one of the “100 Men Impacting Supplier Diversity.”  In 2005, he received the ‘Bert King Award for Service’ from the African American Student Union at Harvard Business School.  In 2000, he received the ‘Bicentennial Medal for Distinguished Achievement’ by an alum from Williams College. In 1998, he was selected as Entrepreneur of The Year (supporter category) by Ernst & Young.  In 1997 BusinessWeek named him one of the 14 “New Stars of Finance.” In 1996, BusinessWeek named him one of the top 12 entrepreneurship professors at graduate business schools in the U.S.

Professor Rogers currently serves on the Advisory Board of Private Equity Firm OCA Ventures. He also serves on the Board of Directors of SC Johnson Wax, W.S. Darley & Company and Oakmark Mutual Funds. He is a former member of the Board of Directors at SuperValu (NYSE) and JP Morgan Chase’s Capital Investment Committee. His non-profit work includes board membership for the A Better Chance Program and Urban Prep High School. He is a former Trustee of Williams College and a member of the Harvard Business School Visiting Committee.

He has often been quoted in many publications, including Black Enterprise, Crain’s Business Journal, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Fortune, Monarch and BusinessWeek, NPR, the Tom Joyner Show and Life-Changing Quotes from the World’s Best Business Schools, a 2013 Japanese publication.In 2002 Professor Rogers published his first book, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finance and Business. The second edition was published in 2008. The 3rd edition was published in 2014. Professor Rogers has also published five case studies. He has been a guest speaker at the New York University – Stern School of Business, University of Chicago – Booth School of Business, Harvard Kennedy School, University of Vienna, University of Illinois, YPO in Australia, and the Asian Institute of Management in the Philippines.

He has completed five Triathlons.

He is part owner of the Chicago Sky in the WNBA.


Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Eve Hall: The African American Investment Fund in Milwaukee

    Steven Rogers and Alterrell Mills

    The case highlights the role of minority chambers of commerce and the background of Eve Hall, a regarded multi-sector leader asked to revive Wisconsin’s African-American chamber. This case study examines the lending options that a minority chamber of commerce considers when seeking to maximum value to their constituency. Students learn the challenges minority small business owners and entrepreneurs face, the role of non-financial institutions / community-based organizations in addressing those challenges and the financial tools available to lenders and borrowers in this segment. Students learn how to analyze financing opportunities by assessing the value proposition of chambers of commerce, developing the risk-reward profile of each party involved and deliberate as members of a board to reach a final lending decision.

    Keywords: business organization; Business Plan; change management; Decision Choices and Conditions; demographics; Diversity characteristics; ethnicity characteristics; race characteristics; investment fund; cost of capital; banks and banking; Financing and Loans; Micro Finance; interest rates; Business or company management; management styles; management succession; mission and purpose; organizational culture; Leadership Style; leadership change; business and community relations; nonprofit organizations; Wealth and Poverty; Organizations; Diversity; Ethnicity; Race; Small Business; Entrepreneurship; Financing and Loans; Decision Choices and Conditions; Employment Industry; Public Administration Industry; Financial Services Industry; Service Industry; United States; Wisconsin;


    Rogers, Steven, and Alterrell Mills. "Eve Hall: The African American Investment Fund in Milwaukee." Harvard Business School Case 317-076, February 2017. View Details
  2. Earl Gordon - Eastern Circle

    Steven Rogers and Greg White

    This case follows an entrepreneur through the process of sourcing a potential acquisition, valuing a company, and securing the funding to purchase the company. This entrepreneur must decide if he should close the deal and which financing term sheet to accept.

    Keywords: acquisition; valuation; negotiations; manufacturing; LBO; Leveraged Buyout; entrepreneurship; term sheets; deal structuring; Financial Statements; Acquisition; Leveraged Buyouts; Business Model; Forecasting and Prediction; Cost vs Benefits; Cash Flow; Borrowing and Debt; Cost of Capital; Private Equity; Negotiation Deal; Negotiation Offer; Negotiation Process; Valuation; Value Creation; California;


    Rogers, Steven, and Greg White. "Earl Gordon - Eastern Circle." Harvard Business School Case 317-061, January 2017. View Details
  3. Carmichael Roberts: To Create a Private Equity Firm?

    Steven Rogers and Kenneth J. Cooper

    Carmichael Roberts, a rare African-American venture capitalist, considered leaving his general partnership in a private equity firm near Boston and setting up his own in 2015. He weighed whether the timing is right, with the economy still not fully recovered from the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Where to base such a firm was another factor in his decision-making. A member of the board of the National Venture Capital Association, Roberts knew the industry was gravitating to the San Francisco Bay area, to invest in the social media and software startups centered there. His specialty and passion was bringing to market new products made from advanced materials that help people solve problems in their daily lives. That investment focus on manufacturing would go against the private equity trend, another factor he considered. But he knew few, if any, general partners at major private equity firms were focused singularly on the kinds of businesses he wanted to invest in. Roberts also took into account the possible impact on his mutually respectful relations with his fellow partners. From a housing project in Brooklyn, New York, Roberts became a scientist who did advanced study at Duke and Harvard, capped off with an MBA from MIT. He had experience as a developer of technical products for Fortune 500 companies, an executive of cutting-edge startups, and a venture capitalist for eight years. This case study also reviews how private equity investment works, the private equity spectrum, the history of venture capital, stages of venture capital funds, and their location.

    Keywords: Capital; venture capital; equity; private equity; Innovation and Invention; technological innovation; investment; investment return; ownership; going public; ownership stake; Science; science bassed business; markets; Market timing; marketplace matching; relationships; Partners and Partnerships; Capital; Private Equity; Technological Innovation; Investment Return; Going Public; Ownership Stake; Science-Based Business; Market Timing; Marketplace Matching; Partners and Partnerships; Financial Services Industry; Technology Industry; Manufacturing Industry; United States; Massachusetts; Boston; California; San Francisco; New York (city, NY);


    Rogers, Steven, and Kenneth J. Cooper. "Carmichael Roberts: To Create a Private Equity Firm?" Harvard Business School Case 317-079, January 2017. View Details
  4. Ebony Magazine

    Steven Rogers and Derrick Jackson

    For nearly 75 years, the Johnson Publishing Company has been the most successful African American magazine publisher. Its flagship Ebony magazine was an iconic coffee table fixture for decades in black households of all classes, making founder John H. Johnson the first African American to make the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans. But the privately-held company was now in the hands of his daughter and faced the bracing, debilitating winds besetting the entire magazine and newspaper industry. Linda Johnson Rice now had to decide what to do with the publications and brands of the company.

    Keywords: Business restructuring; Decisions; media; race characteristics; corporate entrepreneurship; business history; social history; contemporary history; Innovation and Management; fairness; brands and branding; crisis management; culture; adaptation; consolidation; Fairness; Race; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Adaptation; Consolidation; Culture; Brands and Branding; Journals and Magazines; Decisions; Business History; Restructuring; Innovation and Management; Crisis Management; Media and Broadcasting Industry; Journalism and News Industry; Publishing Industry; Chicago;


    Rogers, Steven, and Derrick Jackson. "Ebony Magazine." Harvard Business School Case 317-043, December 2016. View Details
  5. United Housing — Otis Gates

    Steven Rogers and Mercer Cook

    Otis Gates has built a successful affordable housing firm. Along the way, he and his partners have engaged in large amounts of community service in the neighborhoods wherein they own properties. Now 80 and ready to retire, Gates is creating a request for proposal for his firm. In doing so, he has to evaluate his firm’s total value and decide whether their social-good mission is helping or harming their bottom line.

    Keywords: affordable housing; real estate; community engagement; social-good; request for proposal; diversity; entrepreneurship; Social Entrepreneurship; Moral Sensibility; Fairness; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Housing; Real Estate Industry;


    Rogers, Steven, and Mercer Cook. "United Housing — Otis Gates." Harvard Business School Case 317-059, January 2017. View Details
  6. A Brief History of African American Leaders in Unions and the Labor Movement

    Steven Rogers and Mercer Cook

    This historically focused background note highlights the role of African American Labor Leaders in both the Labor Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. In doing so, it attempts to both highlight these noteworthy individuals and demonstrate the innate connection between the labor and civil rights movements.

    Keywords: Labor unions; Wages; Working Conditions; political history; social history; Economic History; business history; fairness; moral sensibility; rights; leading change; labor and management relations; Civil Society or Community; social issues; culture; equality and inequality; Rights; Leading Change; Race; Civil Society or Community; Labor Unions;


    Rogers, Steven, and Mercer Cook. "A Brief History of African American Leaders in Unions and the Labor Movement." Harvard Business School Background Note 317-004, September 2016. View Details
  7. Gilbert Lumber Company

    Steven Rogers and Kenneth Cooper

    The Gilbert Lumber Co. is faced with a need for increased bank financing due to its rapid sales growth and low profitability. Students must determine the reasons for the rising bank borrowing, estimate the amount of borrowing needed, and assess the attractiveness of the loan to the bank. A rewritten version of an earlier case. Allows students to practice ratio analysis, financial forecasting, and evaluating financing alternatives.

    Keywords: Commercial Banking; Financial Crisis; Borrowing and Debt; Financial Strategy; Financing and Loans; Capital Structure; Forecasting and Prediction;


    Rogers, Steven, and Kenneth Cooper. "Gilbert Lumber Company." Harvard Business School Case 315-137, June 2015. (Revised July 2016.) View Details