William J. Poorvu

MBA Class of 1961 Adjunct Professor in Entrepreneurship, Emeritus

William Poorvu is the Class of 1961 Adjunct Professor in Entrepreneurship, Emeritus at Harvard Business School. He taught and was responsible for the real estate courses there for 35 years. He was the school's first adjunct professor, its first adjunct professor with a named chair and the first non-tenured professor at Harvard University to be given Emeritus status. He also was on the faculty of the Graduate School of Design for many years. He is the author of several books on real estate, the two most recent being Creating and Growing Real Estate Wealth: The 4 Stages to a Lifetime of Success, 2008 and The Real Estate Game - The Intelligent Guide to Decision-Making and Investment, 1999.

As a practitioner he has been the managing partner in a number of private real estate companies. From 1963-1982 he was the co-founder, Vice Chair and Treasurer of Boston Broadcasters, Inc., and in 1982 a co-founder and Chair of The Baupost Group L.L.C., an investment firm where he currently is Co-Chair of its Board of Advisors. For 22 years he was also an independent Trustee of the MFS Group of Mutual Funds. He has also served on the board of a number of public Real Estate Investment Trusts over the years.

Among his community activities, he is a Life Trustee and former Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a Trustee and Treasurer of the Gardner Museum and Vice Chair of the National Public Radio Foundation. He has chaired or co-chaired all three of their investment committees. He is a member of the Carnegie Corporation Investment Committee and a former member of the Yale University Investment Committee and of the Yale University Council. He has served on various government commissions including the State Department's Overseas Presence Advisory Panel.

He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1956 and his M.B.A. in 1958 from Harvard Business School.

  1. A Case Study Approach to Teaching Real Estate

    William J. Poorvu has developed a casebook and instructor's manual for teaching real estate by the case method. Real Estate: A Case Study Approach elaborates a conceptual framework for viewing real estate and the real-estate process. The instructor's manual (which includes teaching notes for the cases) examines the implications of teaching real estate by the case method.
  2. The Real Estate Challenge: Capitalizing on Change

    William J. Poorvu has developed a new casebook and instructor's manual for teaching how to manage change in real estate. Two chapters that describe changes that are currently affecting the industry are followed by twenty case studies-approximately 60 percent of them new-that deal with attempts to meet market, technological, financial, and regulatory changes. Three technical notes explain current financial analysis techniques, income tax regulations, and legal forms of ownership related to real estate. The book will be used in the course Real Property Asset Management.