In July 1997, HBS opened the first of its off-campus research centers – the California Research Center (CRC) in Silicon Valley. The CRC is run by Allison M. Ciechanover (MBA '02), Director. California is home to over 6,000 HBS alumni.

The charter of the center is to facilitate faculty research and case writing on West Coast companies, with an emphasis on California and the San Francisco Bay Area. Since its opening, the CRC has helped develop more than 250 cases that are used in the School's MBA and Executive Education programs. Cases have focused on topics such as the issues faced by very early stage companies, venture capital firms focusing on early stage companies, angel financing, sales force issues in entrepreneurial companies, acquisition-related manufacturing integration processes, the commercialization of technology, capacity issues at biotech companies, growth challenges for clean-tech companies, and people-related issues in companies of all sizes.

To further connect HBS Faculty to major business themes on the West Coast, the CRC hosts faculty "Immersion for One" visits for individual professors on subjects such as Big Data, Digital Innovation and Scaling Startups. Such programs include meetings with local businesses and area alumni. The CRC co-hosted a Silicon Valley Faculty Immersion trip for 22 professors with Entrepreneurship Professor Tom Eisenmann in the summer of 2015.

In addition, the CRC develops high impact programs for area alumni, students, and applicants in partnership with other areas of the school including the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, Admissions, Career & Professional Development and Alumni Relations. Sample events have included:

  • Week-long "Silicon Valley Student Immersion Experience" which expose students to area trends and business - "SF Startup Mixer Night" & “The Real Deal: Demystifying the Startup Job Search” which provide students insight into local job search and contacts
  • “The Rock 100 San Francisco Roundtable” which convene alumni entrepreneurs to exchange ideas important to them in small group setting
  • “The Rock 100 SF Council” a quarterly meeting of seasoned alumni entrepreneurs who provide support and guidance to each other

The CRC has a 35-member Advisory Board comprised of HBS professors, prominent alumni from the investing, corporate and entrepreneurial communities as well as representatives from Stanford's Graduate School of Business. The Advisory Board is currently chaired by Stephanie Schear Tilenius (HBS '96). The previous chairs were Arthur Rock (HBS '51), considered the "father" of venture capital; James Breyer (HBS '87), Managing Partner of Accel Partners; Doug Mackenzie (HBS '89), an Affiliated Partner of Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers; and Jason Green (HBS '94), General Partner and Co-founder of Emergence Capital Partners.


Select Center-Assisted Case Studies

Hyperloop One, William Sahlman, Ramana Nanda, Bob White, Allison Ciechanover and Jeff Huizinga, 2016

  • San Francisco, 2015 #tech #inequality, Clayton S. Rose, Kunal Modi and Allison Ciechanover, 2015
  • Andreessen Horowitz, Thomas E. Eisenmann and Liz Kind, 2014
  • Chegg: Building the Student Hub, Thomas R. Eisenmann and Allison Ciechanover, 2014
  • Google Glass, Thomas R. Eisenmann, Lauren Barley and Liz Kind, 2013
  • Reinventing Adobe, Sunil Gupta and Lauren Barley, 2014
  • Silver Lake, David J. Collis and Liz Kind, 2014
  • AngelList, Ramana Nanda and Liz Kind, 2013
  • Arthur Rock, G. Felda Hardymon, Tom Nicholas and Liz Kind, 2013
  • Omidyar Network: Pioneering Impact Investing, Michael Chu and Lauren Barley, 2013
  • LinkedIn Corporation, David B. Yoffie and Liz Kind, 2012
  • Sephora Direct: Investing in Social Media, Video, and Mobile, Elie Ofek and Alison B. Wagonfeld, 2012
  • The Clorox Company: Leveraging Green for Growth, Elie Ofek and Lauren Barley, 2011 revised 2012
  • Accounting for the iPhone at Apple, Inc., Francois Brochet, Krishna G. Palepu and Lauren Barley 2010
  • Warner Bros. Entertainment, Gary P. Pisano and Alison Berkely Wagonfeld, 2009, revised 2011
  • Qualcomm Incorporated 2009, David B. Yoffie, Andrei Hagiu and Liz Kind, 2009 revised 2011
  • Amazon Web Services, Robert S. Huckman, Gary P. Pisano and Liz Kind 2008, revised 2012
  • Keeping Google “Googly”, Boris Groysberg, David A. Thomas, Alison Berkely Wagonfeld 2008
  • San Francisco Giants, William Sahlman and Liz Kind, 2007
  • Texas Pacific Corporate Group – J Crew, Michael J. Roberts, William A. Sahlman and Lauren Barley, 2007
  • PayPal Merchant Services, Thomas R. Eisenmann and Lauren Barley, 2007 revised 2008
  • Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, Daniel C. Snow, Steven C. Wheelwright and Alison B. Wagonfeld, 2005
  • Pine Ridge Winery, Joseph B. Lassiter and Lauren Barley, 2005 revised 2007
  • Cisco Systems: Building leading Internet Capabilities, Richard L. Nolan and Christina Darwall, 2001
  • San Francisco Opera, John C. Sawhill and Liz Kind, 2000

California Research Center Staff

Allison M. Ciechanover

Executive Director

Senior Researcher

Senior Researcher