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Collis, David

For the past twenty-five years David J. Collis has been a professor at the Harvard Business School, where he is the Thomas Henry Carroll Ford Foundation Adjunct Professor of Business Administration within the Strategy Unit — only the second fulltime Adjunct Professor appointed at HBS. Previously, he was the MBA Class of 1958 Senior Lecturer in the Strategy group at the Harvard Business School, having previously completed five years as the Frederick Frank adjunct Professor of International Business Administration at the Yale School of Management and two years as a professor at Columbia Business School. The winner of the 50th Anniversary McKinsey Award for the best article in the Harvard Business Review in 2008, and a Harvard Business Review best-selling author, he is an expert on corporate strategy and global competition, and is the author of the recent books Corporate Strategy (with Cynthia Montgomery) and Corporate Headquarters (with Michael Goold and David Young).  (

Professor Collis is on the faculty for several HBS Executive Education programs, including Global Strategic Management, Strategy: Building and Sustaining Competitive Advantage, and chairs Corporate Level Strategy.  As the author of over 25 articles and book chapters, his work has been frequently published in the Harvard Business Review, Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, and in many books including Managing the Multibusiness Company, International Competitiveness, and Beyond Free Trade. The more than fifty cases he has authored have sold over 1 million copies worldwide and his articles over a quarter of a million copies.

David Collis received an M.A. (1976) with a Double First from Cambridge University where he was the Wrenbury Scholar of the University. He graduated as a Baker Scholar from Harvard Business School, MBA (1978), and received a Ph.D. (1986) in Business Economics at Harvard University where he was a Dean’s Doctoral Fellow. From 1978 to 1982 he worked for the Boston Consulting Group in London. He is currently a consultant to several major U.S. corporations, and on the Board of Trustees of the Hult International Business School, and the Advisory Boards of Vivaldi Partners, Folderwave and formerly of PICIS, Ocean Spray, and WebCT. He is also the cofounder of the elearning company E-Edge, and the advisory firm Ludlow Partners.

David Collis’ research is primarily concerned with how companies create value across markets, whether those markets are different businesses (corporate strategy), or different countries (international strategy). Additionally, he is interested in how strategies are developed and new initiatives and companies launched, whether within large corporations or as entrepreneurial ventures.

Academic Awards

  • 2010: Harvard Business Review “Best Selling Author” (over one quarter of a million reprints sold)
  • 2009: 50th Anniversary McKinsey Award winner for best article in Harvard Business Review
  • 2002; 2005 and 2008: “Outstanding Reviewer,” Business Policy and Strategy (BPS) Division, Academy of Management
  • 1996: Rated top teacher among all Strategy faculty by both MBAs and executives.
  • 1986: Dean’s Doctoral Fellow, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University
  • 1978: Baker Scholar, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University
  • 1976:
    • Wrenbury Scholar, University of Cambridge (top academic economist of the class)
    • Scholar, Downing College, University of Cambridge
    • Platt Prize for “Outstanding Academic Achievement”
  • 1974 – 1976: College Prize Winner for academic work (three times).

Other academic activities

  • Judge for McKinsey Award (2010)
  • Editorial Board member, Journal of International Business Studies (2003-2007)
  • Elected to ”Linking Research & Practice Committee, ”Business Policy and Strategy (BPS) division, Academy of Management (2001-2003).
  • Second highest rated teacher among all Faculty, School of Management, Yale University (1998)
  • Igor Ansoff Award committee member, Coopers and Lybrand (1997)
  • “Teaching Committee” Business Policy and Strategy (BPS) division, Academy of Management (1995-1997)
  • Advisory Board member, “Strategy Management: Annual Editions ” McGraw Hill
  • Frequent presenter, discussant and session chair at Academy of Management and Strategic Management Society meetings and at Higher Education conferences

Referee for: Strategic Management Journal; California Management Review; Long Range Planning; Academy of Management Review; Academy of Management Journal; Organization Science; Sloan

Management Review; Administrative Science Quarterly; Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization; Journal of Management Studies; Journal of Economics and Management Strategy; Journal of International Business Studies; Business and The Contemporary World; Columbia Journal of World Business; Journal of Marketing Research; Oxford University Press; Harvard Business School Press.

Outside activities

  • Keynote speaker at higher education conference NACUBO, UCEA, UNICON, Eduventures, and the Forum for the Future of Higher Education.
  • Consultant to Cabot, Inc., Monitor Co., United Healthcare, Triple S., Jose Cuervo, MetLife, Cargotec, Ernst and Young, Pyramis Global Advisors, Thomson, Indus, First Marblehead Corporation, Rite Aid, Sabre Holdings, Alliance Data Systems, EF, Alfa, Brinks Inc., Merck & Co., Edward Jones, Fortune Brands, Union Pacific, Deutsche Bank, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Fidelity Investments, Assurant Inc., Ocean Spray, Proeza, Timken, PICIS, SCT, SEDCO, University of North Carolina, Mercy College, Northwestern University, Weber State.
  • Executive teaching at Citigroup, Enel, A.P. Moller Maersk, HSBC, Eon, IBM, Philip Morris, Merck & Co., GE, Unilever, Pricewaterhouse Coopers Saudi Leadership Development Consortium BrookingsInstitute, Litton Industries, Edward Jones, Enterprise Rent a Car, UCEA.
  • Member, board of trustees of Hult International Business School and Brittin College.
  • Member, advisory board of Nuventive, Muzzy Lane, FolderWave, Vivaldi Partners, and formerly of Ocean Spray and WebCT.
  • Former board director (audit and governance committee member) of PICIS.
  • Founding partner of e-learning company E-Edge and advisory firm Ludlow Partners.