Class Description

To grow and innovate, you not only need a big idea, you also need stake-holder buy in and action. However, many companies fail in this regard because stakeholders are not aligned, the  real problem that the innovation seeks to solve has not been identified, and the story has not been defined. Story can fuel stakeholder buy-in by painting a clear picture of what is and what could  be for everyone – from employees, to investors, to customers. In other words, an excellent story allows you to delegate tactical aspects effectively because it clarifies how individuals can execute specific functions against the story (e.g., digital marketing, advertising, design). Furthermore, when the stakeholder becomes part of the story, they are more likely to act, which generates momentum and create a culture of optimism. Story is equally important for leaders of companies, who often need to act as editors – shaping the stories told by employees and customers—to align everyone under a shared vision. Therefore, a second goal of the class is to demonstrate how personal stories can be used by leaders to build high performing teams and companies.

The goals of the class are to share insight on:

  • How to use stories as an asset in business
  • What makes for a good and bad story
  • How to develop, pitch and amplify stories

Class Schedule

  • Dates of Class: Tuesdays, April 5 – May 31
  • Time: Two sections: 3:00-5:50 PM and 6:00-8:50 PM
  • Location: GSB Co-Lab, McClelland 101D

Questions? Email Stephany Yong (

To Apply

  • Application for 2015-2016 is now closed.


Jennifer Aaker

Jennifer Aaker

General Atlantic Professor of Marketing, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Dr. Jennifer Aaker is a behavioral psychologist, author, and the General Atlantic Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her research focuses on how meaning and purpose shape the choices individuals make, how money and time are spent in ways that cultivate long lasting happiness, and how technology can be used to positively impact human well-being. With Naomi Bagdonas, she teaches A New Type of LeaderRethinking PurposeHumor: Serious Business, as well as Designing AI to Cultivate Human Well-Being with Dr. Fei-Fei Li with the goal to build machine learning capacities that optimize for human thriving, at the individual level and societal level. Dr. Aaker is widely published in the leading scholarly journals and her work has been featured in a variety of media including The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Atlantic, NPR and Science. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the Society for Consumer Psychology, the Stanford Distinguished Teaching Award, and the MBA Professor of the Year Award in 2019. She also cooks poorly (and is equally proud of that).

Teaching Assistants

Stephany Young, Madilyn Ontiveros, and Simar Mangat