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Faculty Directory
Noam Wasserman



Noam Wasserman is the dean of Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business.  Before becoming dean in mid-2019, he was a professor of entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School and a chaired professor and founding director of a center at the University of Southern California.  He has written two bestselling books that have won international awards, has had his research published in top academic journals (e.g., Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science), and has written multiple features and columns for the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Inc. magazine.

“State of Sy Syms, Summer 2022” (56-minute highlights session)

Dean Wasserman’s ‘From the Dean’s Desk’ newsletters



In his first year as dean, Dr. Wasserman led Team Syms in major collaborative initiatives to strengthen every part of the school, including the undergraduate program, graduate programs, post-graduation offerings, faculty hiring and development, and the Board of Overseers. 


  • Within the undergraduate program, he raised the first two multi-year donations to the Honors Program that enabled its course offerings to grow 50%, created a reinforcing cycle of entrepreneurship offerings inside and outside the classroom that enables students to get practical experience in both the investor and founder realms of startups, and developed and introduced a new Jewish Values curriculum that prepares students for the challenges they will face as Torah-grounded Jews acting with integrity in the workplace.
  • Within the graduate programs, he and the faculty led the launch of the new Mitzner MS degree in Real Estate; sparked a complete rethinking of the in-person, lockstep 2-year EMBA program that led to a new online part-time MBA program that includes electives/concentrations and the flexibility to do the program in as little as a year and a semester or to spread it out over three years; and started knitting together the disparate grad programs into a cohesive suite that shares electives and other resources.
  • Regarding post-graduation offerings, he introduced the concept of one-day bootcamps for YU alumni and other mid-career professionals, at which they dive deeply into a domain of knowledge and practice that is directly relevant to their current stage of life or career.  The first bootcamp was his well-honed Founder Bootcamp, which debuted in the YU Innovation Lab and then move to Israel for the first time, and will be followed by an Angel Investor Bootcamp and other offerings.
  • Regarding faculty hiring and development, he and the school’s department chairs rejuvenated the school’s research-faculty hiring by bringing into almost every department new full-time professors from top universities (Columbia, UC Berkeley, Yale, and Rutgers) and teaching the existing faculty how to broaden their teaching portfolios to include experiential, practice-oriented methods.
  • Finally, he led a complete redesign and reconstitution of the Sy Syms Board of Overseers, focused it on the hiring issues faced by the students (e.g., what skills are needed to prepare them for the next jobs and how can we pave a path for them to the best jobs), and introduced committees focused on the industries on which students either currently focus or should increasingly focus in the coming years.

In his second semester, sparked by the coronavirus outbreak, Dean Wasserman led the dramatic and rapid move of Sy Syms from being a full-online school to being fully online only 9 days later.  In anticipation that students would face major problems with summer internships as a result of the crisis, he created five major new Summer Initiatives that gave teams of dedicated and talented YU students opportunities to have substantive summer experiences while contributing to the strengthening of numerous non-profits and startups that tapped them to complete high-impact projects.


Before YU

Dr. Wasserman was a professor at Harvard Business School for 13 years, where his research focused on founders’ early decisions that can make or break the startup and its team.  His first book, The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup, was an Amazon #1 bestseller in Management, has spent more than half a decade on Amazon’s Strategy bestseller list, and won the Academy of Management’s annual Impact on Practice award.  He created HBS’s most popular entrepreneurship elective, “Founder’s Dilemmas,” for which he won HBS’s Faculty Teaching award, USC’s Golden Apple teaching award, and the Academy of Management’s Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy award.  In 2018, he was named to Poets&Quants’ “Favorite Professors of Business Majors” list.  He also taught Founder’s Dilemmas at Stanford Engineering and Columbia Business School, receiving perfect teaching ratings at both schools.

Noam’s second book was Life Is a Startup: What Founders Can Teach Us about Making Choices and Managing Change (Stanford University Press, October 2018), which became an Amazon #1 bestseller in Entrepreneurship and won the Gold Award from the Axiom Business Books Award (in the Success / Motivation / Coaching category).  In it, he translates to our daily lives the best practices he has unearthed in two decades of studying founders, showing how those practices can help us make much better decisions and manage change much more effectively – especially at key inflection points in our lives and careers.  The lessons apply to our personal lives and relationships, and to our professional lives in any type of role or organization.

At USC, Dr. Wasserman was the inaugural holder of the Lemann Chair in Entrepreneurship.  He was the founding director of the Founder Central initiative, which he grew into an $8 million center focused on research into the early decisions made by founders that tend to get them into trouble, and on educational efforts both on campus and off-campus in the larger community.  He was a founding board member of USC’s Institute for Outlier Research in Business (iORB).  He also has been the long-time chair of the committee that judges the annual Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy Award for the Academy of Management, and served on the advisory boards of Inc. magazine and the Kauffman Foundation.  He was founding chairman of the board of a boys high school in Boston and served as chairman of the board of a 270-student elementary school there.

Despite being voted “Most Likely to Become a CEO” by his MBA section, Noam decided to pursue academia as a career and to enter the PhD program (thereby giving up on ever becoming a CEO!).  Before coming to Harvard, he was a Principal and Practice Manager at a management-consulting firm near Washington, D.C., where he founded and led the Groupware Practice. He also worked as a venture capitalist at a firm in Boston.  

Noam received a PhD from Harvard University, an MBA from Harvard Business School (graduating with high distinction as a Baker Scholar), a BSE in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BS from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  He has eight children and six grandchildren and is in the midst of his third Daf Yomi cycle, which he aims to finish in double-time on the 100th anniversary of the founding of Daf Yomi on Rosh Hashanah 2023.

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Sy Syms School of Business

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