William Cockrum

Profile photo of William Cockrum
"Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity. It's a process of taking an idea, putting management and resources around it, building it, taking it to fruition and having a harvest."

Adjunct Professor of Finance

(310) 825-2985

Areas of Expertise

  • Banking
  • Board Management
  • Brokerage Industry
  • Capital Markets
  • Corporate Finance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Ethics
  • Initial Product Offerings
  • Investments
  • Leadership
  • Startup Companies
  • Venture Capital




Professor Bill Cockrum has won numerous teaching awards, including 10 at UCLA Anderson, and was recognized as the top entrepreneurial professor in the nation in a survey conducted by Businessweek in 1996. He has become a legend for a case study entrepreneurial finance class he has taught for nearly 35 years, teaching students the ins and outs of acquiring and sustaining financing for organizations.

“I teach because I’m still able to,” Cockrum says. “I’m teaching things that are still relevant, that are not taught elsewhere in the school.”

Prior to joining the UCLA faculty, Cockrum spent 25 years in financial services, initially as a marketer and finally as CFO/CAO and one of the top senior officers at Becker Paribas Inc., an investment banking firm with 3,000 employees. When the company was sold to Merrill Lynch in 1984, Cockrum began his second career as a consultant to CEOs, and for 35 years has served some 45 clients. He serves as a consultant in a variety of industries on issues such as organization structure, strategy, marketing, finance, governance and administration.

Shortly after starting consulting, Cockrum joined UCLA Anderson in 1985 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 34 years. He currently teaches Entrepreneurial Finance; Leadership and Business Ethics; Real-World Challenges Leaders Face; and Investment Management. He has advised numerous field study projects in Anderson’s Applied Management Research and Business Creation Option programs. More than 7,000 students have passed through his classroom.

“One of the courses we’ve created, Real-World Challenges Leaders Face, builds on the optimization that we teach here in the school and all the case work. It brings in the law and regulation as another dimension, and finally adds three tools to bring a moral dimension to all the case work. It’s at the intersection of those three circles where leaders have to operate,” Cockrum says.

Cockrum is a member of UCLA Anderson’s Board of Advisors, the Anderson Alumni Network board and the advisory boards of the Price Center and the Fink Center. He is a former member of the UCLA Foundation investment committee and was a governor of the Foundation from 1997 to 2012. Cockrum is also a generous supporter of UCLA Anderson, where a classroom is named in his honor.

Cockrum is 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 in each year between 2005 and 2012. Currently, Cockrum is a professor and member of the business school’s advisory board at Trinity College, Dublin University, where he was awarded the top teaching award in 2016.

Cockrum is also 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, where 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


Supporting financial aid, encouraging giving back, and honoring Bill Cockrum’s 33+ years of dedication to students.

Bill Cockrum

Professor Bill Cockrum is dedicated to making an impact at UCLA Anderson by generously supporting fellowships, serving on advisory boards, donating his time to students and building an enduring culture of philanthropy. Bill has stepped up to support UCLA Anderson again and again. His fellowship will help students defray the cost of tuition while setting an example to a new generation of students.

To the 7,000+ alumni and students who have personally benefited from Professor Cockrum’s mentorship and wisdom, please consider a meaningful gift to support the next generation of exceptional leaders from UCLA Anderson.

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