Harvard Business School has named four entrepreneurs-in-residence, as part of an annual program that asks “accomplished entrepreneurs to commit to either a semester or full academic year, depending on their schedule, of working with faculty and students.” They are: Jeff Bussgang, a partner with Flybridge Capital Partners; Jeff Walker, former chairman and CEO of CCMP Capital Partners; Susan Decker, former president of Yahoo; and Jim Sharpe, former president of Extrusion Technology (recently sold to RFE Investment Partners).
Each year, Harvard Business School invites entrepreneurs to become part of its community by serving as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. This program is sponsored by the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, which offers a range of resources and programs for students interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial career. The Entrepreneur-in-Residence program exemplifies the School’s commitment to infusing the MBA curriculum with an entrepreneurial point of view. The program asks accomplished entrepreneurs to commit to either a semester or full academic year, depending on their schedule, of working with faculty and students. This year’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence are:
- Jeffrey Bussgang (MBA 1995), general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm. Bussgang will work with students interested in entrepreneurship and venture capital, as well as with Associate Professor Noam Wasserman on his second-year elective course, “Founders’ Dilemmas: Money and Power in Entrepreneurial Ventures.”
- Susan Decker (MBA 1986), former president of Yahoo! Inc. Decker will work with students interested in their own ventures, as well as help Professor Tom Eisenmann and Senior Lecturer Michael Roberts develop and deliver the entrepreneurship-focused portions of the School’s Immersion Experience Program (IXP) – an off-campus, faculty-led program that takes place between the first and second terms.
- Jim Sharpe (MBA 1976), former president of Extrusion Technology, an aluminum extrusion fabricator, which he recently sold to RFE Investment Partners, a private equity firm. Sharpe will work with students interested in buying their own business and assist Professor Paul Marshall on his elective, “Entrepreneurial Management in a Turnaround Environment.
- Jeffrey Walker (MBA 1981), chairman of the board of Millennium Promise and former chairman and CEO of CCMP Capital, the successor to JPMorgan Partners, that bank’s private equity arm. Walker will devote his efforts to working with students and faculty in the School’s Social Enterprise Initiative.
“More than 60 years ago, Harvard Business School offered the country’s first graduate course in entrepreneurship,” said Michael Roberts, Senior Lecturer and Executive Director of the Rock Center. “Now more than 30 faculty members are dedicated to teaching, research, and course development in this field, and some 50 percent of our alumni, 10 to 15 years after they graduate from HBS, describe themselves as entrepreneurs. I am delighted to welcome this year’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, whose experience and passion for the entrepreneurial process will contribute greatly to what our students learn here, both inside and outside the classroom.”
Jeff Bussgang is a general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm with investment interests and entrepreneurial experience in consumer, Internet commerce, marketing services, software, and wireless startups. He currently represents Flybridge Capital Partners on the boards of BzzAgent, ClickSquared, DataXu, digitalArbor, i4cp, Mall Networks, SimpleTuition, and Transpera and was previously a director at Brontes Technologies (acquired by 3M), go2Media, and PanGo Networks (now merged with InnerWireless). Bussgang is also on the board of MITX (Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange) and he is a founding executive committee member of FirstGrowth Venture Network, a network of venture and angel investors supporting entrepreneurs building companies in the New York City area. Before joining Flybridge Capital Partners in January 2003, he cofounded Upromise (acquired by Sallie Mae), a loyalty marketing and financial services firm with 11 million members that currently manages $20 billion in college savings assets. Before Upromise, where he served as president, chief operating officer, and a member of the board, Bussgang was an executive at Open Market, an Internet commerce software leader that went public in 1996 and grew to nearly $100 million in revenues. During his five years there, he served as vice president of worldwide marketing and business development, vice president of worldwide professional services, and head of product management. Prior to Open Market, he was with The Boston Consulting Group. Beyond his many business interests, Bussgang serves as co-chair of the Progressive Business Leaders Network, vice chair of the board of the educational nonprofit Facing History and Ourselves, and was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to the Readiness Finance Commission to make funding recommendations for education reform. Bussgang holds an AB in Computer Science from Harvard College and graduated from Harvard Business School in 1995 with high distinction as a Baker Scholar and Ford Scholar.
Susan Decker was president of Yahoo! Inc., from June 2007 to April 2009. In this role, she was a key participant in determining Yahoo!’s business strategy and vision and was responsible for all its global business operations, including product, sales, product marketing, and distribution across the three major customer groups of audience, advertisers and, publishers. From December 2006 to June 2007, she served as head of one of Yahoo!’s two major business units, the Advertiser and Publisher Group. Before that, she was executive vice president and chief financial officer from June 2000 to June 2007, managing all aspects of the company’s financial and administrative direction within key functional areas, including finance, facilities, investor relations (as well as human resources and legal through December 2006). Prior to joining Yahoo!, Decker was with the investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette for 14 years. Her last assignment at the firm was as global director of equity research, a $300 million operation. Before she assumed these duties, Decker spent 12 years as an equity research analyst, providing coverage to institutional investors on more than 30 media, publishing, and advertising stocks. In this capacity, she was recognized by Institutional Investor magazine as a top-rated analyst for 10 consecutive years. She served on the board of Pixar Animation Studios from June 2004 to May 2006, until its sale to Disney, and on the board of The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research from March 2005 to May 2007. She serves on the boards of Berkshire Hathaway, Intel Corporation, and Costco Wholesale. Decker holds a BS degree from Tufts University, with a double major in computer science and economics, and an MBA from Harvard Business School (MBA 1986). She became a Chartered Financial Analyst in 1989 and served on the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council from 2000 to 2004.
Jim Sharpe sold Extrusion Technology, an aluminum extrusion fabricator, in December 2008 to RFE Investment Partners, a private equity firm. His interests are in the areas of search funds, manufacturing, niche marketing, pricing, basic technology, leadership, family balance, large/small company differences, ethics, exit strategies, and employee empowerment. Extrusion Technology, which Sharpe purchased in 1987, grew revenues from $4 million to $32 million in 20 years by developing niche products in the datacomm/telecom electronics markets, with factories in both the United States and China. A focus on quality led to qualification for the ISO-9000 quality management system in 1992 and emphasis on lead time reduction and lean manufacturing techniques resulted in a bronze Shingo prize for operational excellence in 2008. Sharpe has a BSBA degree from Babson College. After earning his MBA from HBS in 1976, he joined the staff of Jack Welch, then a Group Executive at General Electric, and moved on to product manager positions within the GE materials businesses. After five years, he left GE to run three turn-around situations, an experience that prepared him to follow his entrepreneurial interests in 1987. For the past 5 years, Sharpe has been the protagonist in a case study used in The Entrepreneurial Manager course for all first-year HBS MBA students.
Jeffrey Walker is the former chairman and CEO of CCMP Capital, the $12 billion successor to JPMorgan Partners, JPMorgan Chase & Co’s global private equity group, with operations in North America, Europe, and Asia. He focused primarily on retail, consumer, media/entertainment, and financial services deals. He was previously also vice chairman of JP Morgan Chase & Co. and chairman of the JPMorgan Foundation. Before co-founding JPMorgan Partners in 1984, Walker worked in the investment banking and finance divisions of Chemical Bank and the audit and consulting divisions of Arthur Young & Co. He is a director of 1-800-Flowers and Harbor Point Reinsurance. He was previously vice chairman of the National Association of Small Business Investment Corporations and has served on a number of other corporate boards, including House of Blues, Parker Pen, Domain, Gymboree, Guitar Center, Tenax Corporation, Harris Chemicals, Six Flags Amusement Parks, Doane Pet Care, Axis Insurance, Backe Communications, and Somerset Pharmaceuticals. Walker received the 1998 Award for Excellence in Growth Capital Investing from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and JPMorgan Partners was named to the Private Equity Hall of Fame by the publication Private Equity Analyst. He is involved in various nonprofit activities, such as founding NPower, a charity that provides technology training and job placement services to inner city teenagers, while offering back-office technology help to over 500 non-profit organizations. Walker is also vice president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (responsible for maintaining Monticello)and chairman of Millennium Promise, a charity that acts as an incubator for nonprofit NGOs established to support the achievement of the Millennium Development goals set by the United Nations. He graduated with a BS from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the Harvard Business School (MBA 1981). Walker is a certified public accountant and a certified management accountant.
About the Arthur Rock Center
The Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship was established in 2003, with a $25 million gift from Arthur Rock, a member of the MBA Class of 1951 and a pioneering venture capitalist who helped form numerous startups that went on to become twentieth-century success stories, including Intel Corp., Teledyne, Scientific Data Systems, and Apple Computer. In addition to supporting entrepreneurial focused research, teaching, and course development at HBS, the Rock Center supports a variety of faculty projects, fellowships for MBA and doctoral students, symposia, and conferences.
About Harvard Business School
Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 200 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 140 open enrollment and custom Executive Education programs. For a century, HBS faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching to educate leaders who have shaped the practice of business around the globe.