Carter Cast
Carter Cast

Clinical Associate Professor of Management

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 3000and 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. 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.

Print Vita
Other Professional Experience
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

Print Research

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Part-Time MBA
New Venture Discovery (KIEI-462-0)

This course counts toward the following majors: Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Management & Strategy

Formerly ENTR-462-0

The goal of New Venture Discovery is to help you better understand how high-growth ventures are conceived, tested and validated—and to give you frameworks, tools and practical advice to help you build your own business ideas. This course focuses on the “discovery process”, ground zero in the business formation stage, where the goal is to achieve product/market fit. Is there any inherent interest in your idea? Where is your idea strong and where is it vulnerable? The course is designed to help you test and answer these fundamental questions around business viability, with the added constraint of having limited resources available. The goal is to get you as far as you can, with as little as you can, as fast as you can!
The class is taught a lot like a lab course might be taught in the sciences. Students form into teams and begin the class with nothing more than an idea or a problem that they think is worth solving, and from it they create: a) a number of assumptions and hypotheses around their idea; b) an iterative series of in-market experiments to confirm or deny their hypotheses. The “lab” in which the teams conduct their experiments is the market – seeking the input of actual consumers, customers, partners and others in the value chain of your business. Note: if you’re not prepared to get out of the Jacobs Center (and often Evanston) to conduct the necessary fieldwork, you should not take this class.
Lastly, if you’re conversant in design thinking methodology and/or have a fundamental working knowledge of the Business Model Canvas, you may not want to take this class, as three of the ten sessions have a design thinking component and the BMC is a framework used throughout the class. (If you fit in this category, you can likely waive the class for your entrepreneurship concentration.) Note: This course may not be dropped after the second week of the quarter.