So This Is How Beyoncé Does Business

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  • The Harvard Business School analyses Beyoncé, the CEO

    It’s hard to even imagine the most successful female performer on the planet stuck in a boardroom, but yes, just like us, Beyoncé has meetings too.

    Queen Bey’s famously epic work ethic has been analysed by the Harvard Business School in a 27-page report, simply titled ‘Beyoncé’, which will be taught to Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries students from the end of this month.

    The study will analyse three key arms of Beyonce’s business empire– the founding of her own company, Parkwood Entertainment, her day-to-day activities in the role of CEO there and the product planning and project coordination that she executed before dropping that super-secret eponymous album at the end of last year.

    ‘Beyoncé doesn’t often sit in her office,’ Lee Anne Callahan-Longo, Parkwood’s general manager, tells the study of Bey’s werk-mode. ‘She usually walks from one office to the other, speaking with the staff. She’ll come to my office and talk to me, or she will sit in the back and give notes on projects we are working on… She has got a really good sense of the business side, but she doesn’t like to live there always.’

    ‘We often laugh about how an hour into a business meeting she will get up and will start walking around. I can see it then – that I’ve lost her, and that I have satiated the amount of business that she wants to discuss that day. I’ll usually say something like ‘Let’s stop. You are going to say “Yes,” but you are not listening to me anymore.’ She knows herself, will laugh, and say ‘You are absolutely right, I am done.’ Because at the end of the day she is an artist, and her passion for art drives her.’

    Explaining the product development efforts behind Beyoncé’s 2013 visual album, Lee Anne said that the singer built a creative HQ in the Hamptons for herself and producers Sia, Hit-Boy and The-Dream. ‘We rented a house for a month. Everyone would have dinner together every night and break off into different rooms and work on music. She had five or six rooms going, each set up as a studio, and would go from room to room and say things like ‘I think that song needs that person’s input.’ Normally you would not see songs have two or more producers, but it was really collaborative.’

    ‘She’s clearly among the most powerful people in the music industry at the moment,’ Anita Elberse, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, said of the university’s interest in the star. ‘To understand the operation behind such a powerful figure is always very interesting.’ We couldn’t agree more.

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