Benjamin C. Esty

Roy and Elizabeth Simmons Professor of Business Administration

Benjamin Esty is the Roy and Elizabeth Simmons Professor of Business Administration.  He served as Head of the Finance Unit (department) at Harvard Business School from 2009-2014.  Before that, he was the founding faculty chairman of the General Management Program (GMP), a comprehensive leadership program designed to create outstanding business leaders. Professor Esty currently teaches the introductory finance course in the first year of the MBA program, but has taught a variety of elective courses including advanced corporate finance and project finance. The project finance course, called Large-Scale Investment (LSI), analyzed how firms structure, value, finance and negotiate large capital investments. He also teaches in a variety of executive education programs and served as the faculty chairman for the Summer Venture in Management Program for 14 years (SVMP is a management training program for college students designed to promote educational diversity and opportunity--see the article describing the program). Professor Esty has received the Student Association Award for teaching excellence multiple times, the Charles M. Williams Award for contributions to student learning, the Apgar Award for teaching innovations, and the Greenhill Award for outstanding service to the school (twice).

His current research focuses on corporate finance, project and infrastructure finance, and financial strategy. His articles have been published in a variety of academic and practitioner-oriented journals. In addition, he has written 115 case studies, technical notes, and teaching notes on project finance, financial strategy, mergers and acquisitions, leadership, and valuation issues. Collectively, HBS Publishing has sold almost 1.2 million copies of his cases, and nine of them are currently or have been classified as HBS "bestsellers" (most popular designation). The case studies and notes on project finance are contained in a book entitled Modern Project Finance: A Casebook (Wiley).  Formerly, he was an associate editor of the Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), Journal of Money, Credit & Banking (JMCB), Emerging Markets Review (EMR), Financial Management (FM), Journal of Financial Services Research (JFSR), and Journal of Project Finance (JPF).  He was also an editor of the on-line journal called Financial Educator: Courses, Cases, & Teaching Abstracts (part of the SSRN) which publicizes the newest ideas in teaching materials, approaches, and methods.

In addition to his academic research, Professor Esty has served as a consultant to and led training programs for investment banks, consulting firms, government agencies, and multi-national corporations on a broad range of investment, financing, valuation, and leadership issues. These activities have ocurred around the globe including work with firms or organizations on six different continents. In addition, he serves as an expert witness and consultant for litigation involving project finance, corporate finance, and complex valuation issues; was an independent trustee for the Eaton Vance family of mutual funds; and was a director of the Harvard University Employees Credit Union (HUECU).  He currently serves as a director and member of the Audit & Risk Committee for Raymond James Financial, Inc. (NYSE: RJF), a diversified financial services holding company.

Professor Esty received his Ph.D. in Business Economics with a concentration in finance from Harvard University; his MBA with high distinction (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School; and his BA degree in Economics with honors and distinction from Stanford University.

  1. Robert F. Greenhill Award: Won the 2013–2014 Greenhill Award for Outstanding Faculty Service.

  2. HBS Student Association Faculty Teaching Award : Received the 2012 HBS Student Association Faculty Teaching Award for exceptional contributions to the graduating class's HBS experience.

  3. Charles M. Williams Award for Teaching Excellence: Received the 2012 Charles M. Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching.

  4. Trailblazer Award: Won the 2012 Trailblazer Award from the HBS African American Student Union and the African American Alumni Association for contributions to the Harvard community and the summer venture in management program (SVMP).

  5. Robert F. Greenhill Award: Won the 2007–2008 Greenhill Award for Outstanding Faculty Service in recognition of the work done to create the General Management Program (GMP) as well as teaching and scholarship.

  6. Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching: Won the 2006–2007 Harvard Business School Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching in recognition of curriculum in the newly created General Management Program (GMP).

  7. Best Paper Award at the Conference on International Corporate Governance: Winner of the 2002 Best Paper Award at the Conference on International Corporate Governance for “Creditor Rights, Enforcement, and Debt Ownership Structure: Evidence from the Global Syndicated Loan Market” with William L. Megginson, sponsored by the Tuck Business School and the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis.

  8. HBS Student Association Faculty Teaching Award : Received the 2001 HBS Student Association Faculty Teaching Award for exceptional contributions to the graduating class's HBS experience.

  9. HBS Student Association Faculty Teaching Award : Received the 1999 HBS Student Association Faculty Teaching Award for exceptional contributions to the graduating class's HBS experience.

  10. HBS Student Association Faculty Teaching Award : Received the 1997 HBS Student Association Faculty Teaching Award for exceptional contributions to the graduating class's HBS experience.

  11. Outstanding Paper on Financial Institutions: Awarded Outstanding Paper on Financial Institutions at the 1996 Southern Finance Association Annual Meeting for “The Impact of Contingent Liability on Commercial Bank Risk Taking.”