Professor Bill Cockrum has won numerous teaching awards, including recognition as the top entrepreneurial professor in the nation in a survey conducted by Business Week in 1996. He has become a legend for a case-study entrepreneurial finance class he has taught for more than 30 years, in which students learn the ins and outs of acquiring and sustaining the financing for organizations.
Prior to joining the UCLA faculty, Cockrum spent 25 years in financial services, initially as a marketer and last as CFO/CAO and one of the top senior officers at Becker Paribas Inc., a 3,000-employee investment banking firm. When the company was sold to Merrill Lynch in 1984, Cockrum began his second career as a consultant to chief executive officers. He serves as a consultant in a variety of industries on issues such as organization structure, strategy, marketing, finance and administration.
Shortly after starting consulting, Cockrum joined UCLA Anderson and, in 1988, became a full-time professor, teaching students the business and finance skills needed to succeed as entrepreneurs. Cockrum has taught at UCLA Anderson for 36 years. He currently teaches Entrepreneurial Finance, Leadership and Business Ethics; Real-World Challenges Leaders Face; and Investment Management. More than 7,000 students have passed through his classroom for these courses. He also is a member of the school’s Board of Advisors, the Anderson alumni board, the advisory board of the Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and the advisory board of the Fink Center for Investment. He is a former member of the UCLA Foundation investment committee and a governor of the Foundation.
Cockrum was until 2019 a member of the advisory board of the Graduate School of Management of Cranfield University in Cranfield, England, as well as a visiting professor and a member of the advisory board of the Betteny Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies at Cranfield. From 2004 to 2013, Cockrum was a visiting professor at the Graduate School of Management at Warwick University in Coventry, England, where he won teaching awards each year from 2005 to 2012. Currently, Cockrum is a professor and member of the advisory board at the business school of Trinity College Dublin University, where he was awarded the top teaching award from students in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Cockrum is a trustee of Educational Housing Services in New York City, a not-for-profit providing 4,400 beds to university students in the New York City area. He is chairman of the board’s nominating, governance and compensation committee.
MBA Finance and Marketing, 1961, Harvard University
B.A. Economics, 1959, DePauw University