The Manager's Handbook: A Review by a Former MGE Student

The Manager's Handbook: A Review by a Former MGE Student

Earlier this year, I enrolled in Managing Growing Enterprises with Professor Dave Dodson at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, a course that alone made my business school investment worthwhile. My peers and I recognized Professor Dodson’s exceptional teaching by awarding him the MSx teaching award.

Our MSx '23 class photo at the end of MGE

Professor Dodson, a McKinsey alumnus, Stanford’s inaugural case writer, and a successful pioneer in search funds, is a distinguished member of this top-tier business school faculty.

Reflecting on the experience almost a year later, I’m filled with nostalgia. The 8:00 am rush to class with a cup of coffee from Coupa Cafe in hand, I was always primed for an illuminating session. Dodson’s lectures evoked the kind of awe one might have felt learning from legends like Ben Graham or Richard Feynman, often starting with stories about monumental figures like Muhammad Ali to set the stage for discussions on not just success, but greatness.

A memorable quote from the class by Tom Stoppard stuck with me:

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”

Professor Dodson embodied the essence of a great boss or mentor, demonstrating an effortless success and sharing his wisdom freely. His teachings were grounded, practical, and actionable—reminding us that success often comes down to executing the basics exceptionally well.

I consider myself particularly fortunate, as towards the end of the course, Professor Dodson revealed plans to distill the essence of MGE into a book, covering five key managerial skills: 1) building a team, 2) managing time, 3) seeking and taking advice, 4) setting priorities, and 5) maintaining a commitment to quality.

This book encapsulates principles that have withstood the test of time, validated by a wealth of practical experience and generations of business students. Its creation, driven by Dodson’s passion and generosity, is set to be an invaluable resource for leaders.

Leadership and management skills, often mistakenly assumed to be innate, are critical competencies that can be developed. This book serves as a guiding light, standing out like "The Intelligent Investor" in American business literature.

"The Manager’s Handbook" is the book you can hand down to your son or daughter for practical wisdom. It's the kind of book you can envision a small kid from Wyoming finding at the public library and then using its timeless wisdom to become the local billionaire.