Frances X. Frei

UPS Foundation Professor of Service Management
Senior Associate Dean for Executive Education

Frances Frei is a Professor in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at Harvard Business School and the Senior Associate Dean for Executive Education.  She is the best-selling author of Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business (Harvard Business Review Press). Her research examines how organizations can build service models that reliably deliver excellence.  Her work has been published in top-tier journals such as Management Science and Harvard Business Review.  In addition, she has published dozens of case studies across a variety of industries, including financial services, government, retail, software, telecommunications, and hospitality.  These cases include Zipcar, eBay, Southwest Airlines, Tiffany’s, Houston Rockets, Commerce Bank, Progressive Insurance, Orient Express Hotels and Zappos, among others.

Frances Frei is a Professor in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at Harvard Business School and the Senior Associate Dean for Executive Education.  She is the best-selling author of Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business (Harvard Business Review Press). Her research examines how organizations can build service models that reliably deliver excellence.  Her work has been published in top-tier journals such as Management Science and Harvard Business Review.  In addition, she has published dozens of case studies across a variety of industries, including financial services, government, retail, software, telecommunications, and hospitality.  These cases include Zipcar, eBay, Southwest Airlines, Tiffany’s, Houston Rockets, Commerce Bank, Progressive Insurance, Orient Express Hotels and Zappos, among others.

Many of those case studies appear in Managing Service Operations, an elective course she developed that investigates organizations’ efforts to diagnose and improve service experiences.  The course trains students on how to design operating environments that deliver on customer promises while creating value for broader stakeholders.  In support of this agenda, students learn to foster and manage organizational improvement, learning, and innovation.

Professor Frei led the development of the new FIELD curriculum at HBS, which focuses on learning experiences that are experiential and immersive, with the goal of advancing the School's mission to develop leaders who make a difference in the world.  In addition, Professor Frei teaches in Executive Education programs throughout the university.  Professor Frei has received multiple awards for teaching excellence.  Her teaching assignments at HBS include MBA required courses FIELD, Strategy, and Technology and Operations Management.  She has also taught elective courses on Managing Service Operations, Leadership Lessons from Ancient Rome, and Why You Should Care: Creating a Culture of Excellence; as well as the executive education Advanced Management Program

Professor Frei advises organizations on how to create the context for organizations and individuals to thrive.  In particular, she helps organizations address issues of customer focus, organizational change and how to scale inclusively and effectively.  She often works with family businesses on strategy, succession planning, and the development of next generation leaders.  This work stems from her research on service excellence, leadership, and strategy.

Professor Frei's recent work focuses on enhancing the gender diversity of organizations and Boards of Directors while increasing overall effectiveness. 

Professor Frei serves on the Board of Directors of pet food company Blue Buffalo and FinTech company Viewpost.  She previously served on the board of Advance Auto Parts.  She has a significant financial investment in GenePeeks, a genetic research company. 

Professor Frei received her Ph.D. in Operations and Information Management from the Wharton School.  She holds an M.E. in Industrial Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, and a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania.

  1. Received multiple HBS Student Association Faculty Teaching Awards.