Joseph B. Fuller

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

Unit: General Management

Contact:

(617) 495-6166

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Joseph Fuller is a Senior Lecturer in General Management and co-leads The Entrepreneurial Manager course in the MBA program. A 1981 graduate of the school, Joe was a founder and first employee of the global consulting firm, Monitor Group, now Monitor-Deloitte. He served as the Chief Executive Officer of its commercial consulting operations from 1994 to 2006 and remained a Senior Advisor to firm until its acquisition by Deloitte in 2012. During his three decades in consulting, Fuller served clients in a wide variety of industries, especially those with a heavy reliance on technology. He has particularly deep experience in life sciences, ICT and the defense and aerospace industries. He has also served a number of national and regional governments in developing policies for enhancing competitiveness. He has particularly rich experience in two of the world’s most dynamic regions, greater China and the Middle East.

Joe is also a member of the faculty group leading the school's ongoing project on U.S. competitiveness. His research has probed the "skills gap" and investigates the paradox that many employers have chronic difficulty filling jobs while millions of Americans remain unemployed, underemployed, or have left the workforce. He was the principal author of Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America's Middle Skills, a white paper that investigates the labor market for jobs requiring more than a high school degree and less than a four year college education. He also co-authored Managing the Talent Pipeline: A New Approach to Closing the Skills Gap in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. His current research focuses on mechanisms employers can use to address the skills gap and the impact of skills shortages on reshoring.

Joe has spoken before numerous management conferences and has written extensively. His work has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, CEO, and The Journal of Applied Corporate Finance magazines, as well as The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, China Daily, India’s Business Standard, and Brazil’s EXAMEHis white papers, Just Say No To Wall Street and What’s a Director to Do?, written in collaboration with Professor Michael Jensen are used in the curriculums of dozens of MBA programs worldwide. 

Mr. Fuller is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and a member of the Executive Committee of the Harvard College Fund. He is a director of PVH Corporation and a former member of HBS’s Board of Dean’s Advisors and of the boards of Merrimac Industries and SM&A.

Publications

Selected Publications

  1. GenapSys: Business Models for the Genome

    Richard G. Hamermesh, Joseph B. Fuller and Matthew Preble

    GenapSys, a California-based startup, was soon to release a new DNA sequencer that the company's founder, Hesaam Esfandyarpour, believed was truly revolutionary. The sequencer would be substantially less expensive—potentially costing just a few thousand dollars—and smaller than other sequencers, many of which were large devices costing tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. GenapSys' device, named GENIUS, could also quickly generate large amounts of data, as it was capable of sequencing an entire human genome in less than eight hours. At this price, GenapSys' device would be attractive to customers that had been unable to afford sequencers, such as smaller laboratories or hospitals, and even expand the market to include industries such as agriculture and biofuels.

    As GenapSys came closer to releasing its product, Esfandyarpour and his Senior Director of Operations and Strategy, Leila Rastegar (HBS '11), sat down to decide which of three business models they would choose to bring this device to market. In the first model, the company would sell sequencers at a higher price to those entities which already purchased sequencers, primarily major research labs and pharmaceutical firms, but position its machine as a faster alternative to existing technologies. In the second model, GenapSys would sell its sequencer at a lower price but charge more for the cartridges necessary to run a sample, and earn its primary revenue from these cartridges. The third model would see GenapSys sell its device at or around cost, but use the data customers generated to create a proprietary database of genetic information. Customers could pay to access the database for research, to create genetic tests, or for many other purposes. GenapSys would also build an online store with the genetic tests customers created.

    Esfandyarpour's and Rastegar's decision would determine GenapSys' customer base and financial position for the coming years, and also impact development and capital needs of the firm. Which was the right model to bring the device to market and have a meaningful impact?

    Keywords: DNA Sequencing; life sciences; business model; innovation & entrepreneurship; Health Care and Treatment; Genetics; Business Strategy; Biotechnology Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry; Technology Industry; Health Industry; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Hamermesh, Richard G., Joseph B. Fuller, and Matthew Preble. "GenapSys: Business Models for the Genome." Harvard Business School Case 814-050, January 2014. (Revised December 2014.) View Details
  2. Loki Capital Management

    Joseph B. Fuller, Shikhar Ghosh and Matthew Preble

    In December 2013, Michael Kane was preparing to launch his start-up's first hedge fund. While pleased with the development of the business, he wanted to address a few lingering issues before going any further. He debated whether or not to fire the company's chief operating officer (COO), Peter Jansen, who was becoming increasingly difficult to work with. While Jansen brought valuable skills and experience to the company, Kane wondered if the two could continue working together. If Jansen was fired, how should he be compensated for the work he had already done? Was he entitled to a share of the company's equity? Kane also had to decide how to raise the necessary working capital for his company. He had an offer from one hedge fund seeding firm which would both take care of his working capital needs and provide money for the fund, but he wondered whether the company's terms—including taking half of the fund's profits—were too onerous. Alternatively he could raise the working capital from family, friends and an interested investor, but he would have to court a large number of limited partners in order to build the fund's assets. Lastly, Kane debated how to split his company's equity between the members of the founding team.

    Keywords: hedge fund; hedge funds; equity split; fundraising; investor clientele; Team building; human resource management; Human Capital; Human Resources; Equity; Financial Services Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Fuller, Joseph B., Shikhar Ghosh, and Matthew Preble. "Loki Capital Management." Harvard Business School Case 814-049, March 2014. (Revised February 2015.) View Details
  3. MuMaté Tool: Evaluating Financing Alternatives

    Joseph B. Fuller

    "MuMaté Tool: Evaluating Financing Alternatives" walks students through the considerations in allocating equity amongst the members of a startup's founding team. This exercise is designed to be used in conjunction with: Shikhar Ghosh, Joseph B. Fuller, Thomas E. Eisenmann, Alex Godden, and Andrew Sandoe "MuMaté: Funding Growth," HBS No. 814-063.

    Keywords: Partners and Partnerships; Business Startups; Equity;

    Citation:

    Fuller, Joseph B. "MuMaté Tool: Evaluating Financing Alternatives." Harvard Business School Spreadsheet Supplement 315-701, February 2015. View Details
  4. Hövding: The Airbag for Cyclists

    Joseph B. Fuller and Emilie Billaud

    In 2012, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, co­founders of the Hövding company, reflect on the evolution of their venture and the way forward. Since 2005, Haupt and Alstin had been working on a new type of bicycle helmet—an "airbag for cyclists". What had begun as a thesis had grown into a seven-year journey of research and development, including raising over $5 million of venture capital. The product had been granted Europe's CE certification in 2011 and had been launched simultaneously in Sweden and Norway. Yet, a year later, the company had still not reached the break­even point. To help them establish a commercialization strategy, the Hövding board had prevailed upon the founders to hire a professional CEO. But surrendering management control was an emotional process for Haupt and Alstin, while the CEO struggled to assert his leadership and build the company's commercial capabilities. Should Haupt and Alstin collaborate with their CEO despite their misgivings or should they step away from the company they had dedicated seven years to building?

    Keywords: Business Startups; Entrepreneurship; Transition; Leadership; Conflict Management; Bicycle Industry; Sweden; Europe;

    Citation:

    Fuller, Joseph B., and Emilie Billaud. "Hövding: The Airbag for Cyclists." Harvard Business School Case 315-056, February 2015. View Details
  5. Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America's Middle Skills

    Joseph B. Fuller

    The market for middle-skills jobs—those that require more education and training than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree—is consistently failing to clear. That failure is inflicting a grievous cost on the competitiveness of American firms and on the standard of living of American workers. How can business lead the charge to close the gap?

    Keywords: Business or Company Management; Human Capital; Education; Competency and Skills; Macroeconomics; United States;

    Citation:

    Fuller, Joseph B. "Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America's Middle Skills." Report, 2014. View Details