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F. William Barnett.jpg

F. William Barnett

Adjunct Professor in Management


Bill Barnett is a business and career strategist and the author of The Strategic Career: Let Business Principles Guide You (Stanford University Press). He helps professionals, executives, and people seeking those careers discover their potential callings and develop plans to get there.

During his 23 years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, Bill advised business clients on top strategy issues. As leader of the firm’s Strategy Practice, he pioneered new ways to develop business strategy. Another of his McKinsey roles was on the people side – coaching partners on their own strategies to grow their impact in the firm. Later, while teaching business strategy at Yale, he found that students seeking his career advice got fresh insights when they deployed the business concepts from class to themselves. Bill researched this area and developed two fundamental insights: while the specifics are different, business and career strategy are conceptually identical, and using business strategy concepts can help people plot careers. He created a course to help MBA students develop their strategies. He now teaches that course at Rice.

The Strategic Career pulls this experience together. It shows readers how to set long-term direction to a field or role that may become a calling, turn that aspiration into a long-term action plan, find opportunities to get started, determine which opportunity to accept, and stay on track over time as things change. Bill has blogged on careers for Harvard Business Review.

Bill is a Director on the Boards of Eagle Materials and The Bridge (Dallas’ largest homeless assistance center), an Overseer of the International Rescue Committee, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Earlier, Bill worked at the US Department of State and the Office of the Secretary of Defense; was a member of the US delegation to NATO/Warsaw Pact negotiations; and was a Captain in the US Army in Vietnam. 

He has a BS from West Point and an MBA from Harvard. At both schools, he was in the top 5 percent of his class. 

He lives in Dallas and regularly spends time in Seabrook Island, South Carolina.

Area of Interest