Larry Ellison - The Source of Oracle's Wisdom

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN019
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 1976-2001
Pub Date : 2002
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Oracle Corporation
Industry : Computers and information Technology Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note

Ellison, born in Manhattan on August 17, 1944, was separated from his family at birth. Ellison was brought up by Jewish immigrants from Europe. He was named Ellison after 'Ellis' Island.7 During his childhood, Ellison used to be regularly late in schools and tampered with his college records. Though, his favorite subjects included Maths and Science, Ellison was a mediocre student. Ellison graduated from the South Shore High School situated near Chicago in mid-1962 and then joined the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign (UIUC) in September 1962. Ellison was unable to receive a degree from the University as he was expelled in June 1964 for not maintaining a 'C' average and missing two final semester examination papers.8

After leaving UIUC, Ellison joined the University of Chicago in late 1964. But in 1966, Ellison again discontinued his studies.  

Though Ellison did not receive a university degree, he possessed good technical knowledge of computers and was brilliant at programming.

After leaving the University of Chicago, Ellison went to California to work as a programmer. Till the early 1970s, Ellison wrote computer programs on a contract basis in California. In 1973, Ellison joined Amdahl Corporation, a high-tech start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, as a trainer. His responsibilities included teaching Amdahl's engineers about the operation of the company's new machine, the 470 V/6. Since Ellison had prior knowledge of IBM mainframes, he found the job easy. 

When Amdahl went bankrupt due to failure to meet deadlines and non-payment of bills by customers, it retrenched a few employees including Ellison.In the mid-1970s, Ellison joined Ampex, an audio-visual equipment company based in Sunnyvale, California, as a programmer...

Excerpts >>

7]  Ellis Island is the gateway through which more than 12 million immigrants passed between 1892 and 1954 in their quest for freedom of speech and religion and economic opportunity in the US. Ellis Island was declared a part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965.

8]  According to BusinessWeek dated May 15, 1995. However, in an interview with Mike Wilson (author of The difference between God and Larry Ellison), Ellison claimed that he had to quit the university because his mother was not well and was suffering from kidney cancer at that time.


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