09 Sep 2016
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Marla Malcolm Beck’s Path to CEO

How the Blue Mercury founder’s startup experience influenced her approach to leadership
Re: Gary Pinkus (MBA 1992)

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Photo by Earl Wilson/The New York Times

In a New York Times piece that asks “How to Become a C.E.O.?”, Marla Malcolm Beck (MBA 1998) is highlighted as an example of the entrepreneurial path one can take to the chief executive position.

Malcolm Beck, the founder and CEO of beauty retailer Blue Mercury—which she sold to Macy’s for $210 million last year—discusses how she employed strategies from her years as a consultant to her startup work.

“What I really learned from those experiences was how to break down even the most complicated processes into their most minuscule components,” she said. “It’s an approach that you can use to tackle any process in any organization.”

The article frames Malcolm Beck’s professional journey not as an accumulation of diverse skills, but as a focus on a few unique ones.

…[S]he didn’t become chief executive by getting loads of experience across functions. Rather, she took some core analytical skills and used them to learn to develop experience in those functions as she went.

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Class of MBA 1998, Section A
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