Frank V. Cespedes

MBA Class of 1973 Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

Frank Cespedes is Senior Lecturer in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit. He received his B.A. from the City College of New York, M.S. from M.I.T. and Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Cespedes was a professor at Harvard Business School for 15 years, specializing in strategy implementation, marketing, and organizational design. At Harvard, he has developed and taught a variety of MBA and executive courses, led the Strategic Marketing Management program for senior executives, and was co-lead of the Sustainable Market Leadership program for CEOs and their leadership teams. He currently teaches the TEM course in the MBA program as well as modules in the Owner President Management (OPM) executive program and heads the executive program on "Aligning Strategy and Sales."

Before joining the faculty, he was a Research Associate at Harvard and worked at Bain & Company, an international strategy consulting firm. From 1995 to 2007, he was Managing Partner at the Center for Executive Development (CED), a firm that won awards in the United States and Europe for its work with companies worldwide.  He has consulted to companies in many industries, is affiliated with private-equity investors, and has been a Board member of Evenflo, HALO Industries, start-up firms, and the Education for Employment Foundation (EEF), which provides career training in skills linked directly to job placement with companies in the Middle East and North Africa. 

He is the author or co-author of six books, including Concurrent Marketing: Integrating Product, Sales and Service (Harvard Business School Press) and Going to Market: Distribution Systems for Industrial Products (Harvard Business School Press); as well as articles in Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Strategy and Business, Business Horizons, California Management Review, International Encyclopedia of Business and Management, Journal of Managerial Issues, Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, Marketing Encyclopedia, Organization ScienceSloan Management Review, and Strategy & Business. He has also written more than 40 case studies about companies and numerous technical notes on various business topics.

  1. Strategy Implementation: Role and Management of the Sales Force

    My research concerns the role and management of the sales force as agents of a firm's business strategy and not only as individual or team contributors to profitable growth. This work takes the form of course development, teaching and workshops in HBS executive programs, and research publications.
  2. Performance Pricing and Business Strategy

    This research focuses on companies that have sustained high willingness-to-pay over diverse market conditions, including economic slumps. It examines how firms identify, articulate, and communicate value to selected customer groups and the organizational implications, especially the implications for sales and business development.
  3. Entrepreneurial Management: Customer Discovery and Business Development

    This research focuses on: (a) market research methods and tactics suitable to startups seeking their initial customers and validation of their initial business model; (b) guidelines for conducting visits with potential customers as part of the startup ptrocess; and (c) the issues involved in scaling a venture's sales process after validation of the firm's initial business model and acquisition of initial customers.