Carter Cast
Carter Cast

Clinical Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Print Overview

Carter Cast received his early training in the restaurant division of PepsiCo, Inc. (Pizza Hut International and Taco Bell) from 1986-1990 and then at Frito-Lay from 1992-1997, where he became Director of Marketing, managing the $1.5 billion tortilla chip category and launching Tostitos salsas and dips.

Carter then served as vice president of product marketing and marketing communications at Electronic Arts, launching products like SimCity 3000 and The Sims. He left to become a member of the start-up team for Blue Nile Inc., a Kleiner-Perkins and Trinity Ventures backed company, which became the leading online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry, selling in excess of $250 million after seven years in existence. Carter was Blue Nile's senior vice president of marketing, merchandizing and site when the company was named one of the forty best e-commerce sites by Forbes magazine. He developed the brand and site identity, as well as the marketing communication and product assortment strategy.

Carter left Blue Nile to be part of the launch team at, a division of Walmart Stores, Inc. He served as the vice president of marketing from 2000-2002 and the senior vice president of marketing, merchandizing, creative and site from 2002-2005. In 2005 Carter was promoted to President of and to CEO in February of 2006. He led Walmart's e-commerce division to profitability on its way to becoming the third highest volume e-tail site behind eBay and

After Walmart, Carter joined, a privately-held ecommerce company funded by Sequoia Capital and Insight Venture Partners, as President and CEO. In 2009, Netshops rebranded and redesigned its site, becoming Hayneedle. Internet Retailer named it as one of America's Hot 100 Retail sites in December of 2009.

In 2011, Carter joined the faculty of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, where he is a professor teaching entrepreneurship and marketing. Carter has received the Impact Award from his students in 2012, 2014 and 2016 and has been a keynote speaker for CIM week, Day at Kellogg and the year-end Nota Bene.

In addition to teaching at Kellogg, Carter joined Pritzker Group Venture Capital in 2012, where he is a venture partner. Carter graduated from Stanford University in 1985 and the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management in 1992. He sits on the board of SMS Assist, Inc. and the Family Action Network.

Print Vita
M.B.A., 1992, Strategy, Marketing, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
B.A., 1985, Political Science, Stanford University

Academic Positions
Professor of Business Management, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2011-present

Other Professional Experience
Venture Partner, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, 2012-present
CEO, Hayneedle, Inc., 2007-2011
President and Chief Executive Officer, WAL-MART STORES, INC., 2005-2007
Senior Vice President, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, WAL-MART STORES, INC., 2000-2005
Senior Vice President, BLUE NILE, INC., 2000-2000
Vice President, BLUE NILE, INC., 2000-1999

Honors and Awards
Kellogg Nota Bene Speaker for Full-Time Program
Kellogg Nota Bene Speaker for Full-Time Program
Kellogg Nota Bene Speaker for Part-Time Program
One of five Professors nominated for the L.G. Lavengood Outstanding Professor of the Year Award (2013)
Certificate of Teaching Impact Award (Dec. 2012, June, 2014; Dec. 2014, March 2016), 2012, 2014, 2016

Print Research
Cast, Carter. "Preventing Career Derailment: Managing Pst the Major Stallers and Stoppers (White Paper).".

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Evening & Weekend MBA
New Venture Discovery (KIEI-462-0)

New Venture Discovery is designed to help students navigate the earliest stages of starting a new venture beginning with the identification of a problem in the market that is worth solving. The class teaches students tools and techniques to translate these problems into viable business concepts, with an emphasis on enabling an aspiring entrepreneur to get as far as possible, with as little as possible, as FAST as possible.

Student teams begin the quarter with nothing more than a series of hypotheses about a new venture, then design and execute a series of in-market experiments that either validate these assumptions, or force them to iterate aspects of their business model in real time. The objective of the course to guide students toward the achievement of "product-market fit" as a crucial first step in in the creation of a startup. From here, students can evolve their businesses by enrolling in the "Develop" and "Launch" courses that serve as the continuation of the new ventures curriculum.

New Venture Discovery course material ranges from customer discovery and design thinking, to rapid prototyping (of both offers and business models), bootstrapping methods and communicating/selling the vision for a new venture. The course format is a blend of lecture, fieldwork, cross-team collaboration and ideation sessions, outside speakers and expert mentoring.

**This course may not be dropped after the second week of the quarter**

Launching and Leading Startups (KIEI-967-0)

Launching and Leading Startups is a new survey course that examines some of the biggest and most challenging topics that entrepreneurs grapple with and must get right for their startups to succeed. The course has been designed to appeal not just to entrepreneurs who want to start or buy their own business, but also to entrepreneurially-minded students who seek to work within an early stage startup or work as an “intrepreneur” inside a larger firm. It is a case-driven course that examines solutions to the following five areas that trip up early stage startups: 1) Determining and Mitigating Risks: What assumptions, if you’re wrong, could kill your new venture? 2) Product-Market Fit: Startup ventures often fail because they build a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, or they fail to build a solution that actually solves a real problem. 3) Go-to-Market Considerations: One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is getting their product/service in the end user’s hands in an economical and scalable way. 4) Startup Funding: How do various investors, including seed and venture capitalists value startups and how can you effectively pitch to them? Second, what are different ways you can structure the financing of your startup? 5) Being the CEO: We will examine the key traits and behaviors that successful entrepreneurial CEOs share. Second, we will examine people and culture, because, as an entrepreneurial leader, you are the Chief People and Culture Officers of your startup.

Launching and Leading Startups contains both individual and team-based exercises and field work. After each case, startup entrepreneurs and domain area experts will also come into the class, offering their real-world perspectives on the topic of focus. Grading will be based on the performance on three case write-ups, a simulation and overall class participation (which is critical given that this is a case-driven class).

Executive Education
Advanced Management Program

For high-potential executives with enterprise-level responsibilities, this condensed, immersive experience — enhanced throughout with executive coaching — focuses on developing senior executive leadership agility, driving innovation, identifying growth opportunities and equipping your organization for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st-century.

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Advanced Management Program: The Global Experience

Designed for the the high-potential executive, Kellogg’s Advanced Management Program: The Global Experience provides an immersive journey into leadership agility, driving innovation and identifying growth opportunities. This modular format provides a weeklong, unparalleled intensive week in a global market.

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Chief Diversity Officer Summit

Discuss the latest academic research, practitioner insights and best practices in the area of diversity and inclusion with a select group of cross-sector peers.

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Chief Marketing Officer Program

Master the insights needed to navigate significant challenges faced by CMOs today, by engaging in meaningful discussions with Kellogg's top faculty and industry executives. This program is specifically designed to increase the odds of success for enterprise marketing leaders.

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Kellogg Corporate Governance Conference

Exclusive, by-invitation-only annual conference that brings together more than 200 corporate directors and CEOs to discuss critical issues in corporate governance.

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Kellogg on Branding

Learn from the people who wrote the book on branding how to build and strengthen the power of your brand. Kellogg’s latest thinking combined with hands-on experience will equip you to boost customer loyalty, heighten competitive advantage and increase profitability.

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