William A. Sahlman

William Sahlman is the Dimitri V. D'Arbeloff – Class of 1955 Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. The d'Arbeloff Chair was established in 1986 to support teaching and research on the entrepreneurial process.

Mr. Sahlman received an A.B. degree in Economics from Princeton University, an M.B.A. from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Business Economics, also from Harvard.

His research focuses on the investment and financing decisions made in entrepreneurial ventures at all stages in their development. Mr. Sahlman has written numerous articles on topics including entrepreneurial management, venture capital and private equity, deal structuring, and the role of entrepreneurship in the global economy.

In 1985, Mr. Sahlman introduced a new second-year elective course called Entrepreneurial Finance. That course has been taken by over 8,000 students since it was first offered. Mr. Sahlman and an HBS co-author, Paul Gompers, published a casebook in 2002 entitled Entrepreneurial Finance (Wiley). In 2000, he helped introduce and teach a new course in the first year called The Entrepreneurial Manager. In 2006, he and HBS co-authors, Michael J. Roberts, Howard H. Stevenson, Paul Marshall, and Richard G. Hamermesh, published a casebook entitled New Business Ventures and the Entrepreneur (McGraw Hill - Irwin). Mr. Sahlman has developed over 170 cases and notes for classroom use.

Mr. Sahlman is Associate Dean for External Relations. From 2006 to 2009, he was Senior Associate Dean for External Relations. He was co-chair of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit from 1999 to 2002. From 1991 to 1999, he was Senior Associate Dean, Director of Publishing Activities, and chairman of the board for Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation. From 1990 to 1991, he was chairman of the Harvard University Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility. He is a member of the board of directors or board of advisors of several private companies and not-for-profit organizations.

    Recent posts

  • How the NY Times Got the JOBS Act Wrong

    One of the great dilemmas in the modern economy is balancing risk and reward, cost and benefit. That is true for investors, corporate managers, citizens, and elected officials. The financial crisis... Read more »

  • Downgrading America?

    I don’t know how most Americans feel these days, but I haven’t felt like this since just before Richard Nixon left office in 1974. Our political leaders (think “jumbo shrimp” or... Read more »

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