Batten Institute

Walt Shill



Bio: Walt Shill is the founder and managing director of Brookgreen Capital, an independent advisory firm for start-ups and small businesses. A 20-year veteran of business and technology, Mr. Shill has worked with CEOs and senior managers worldwide to build businesses and improve operating performance. He began his career with five years as a production engineer on the factory floors at ALCOA. During his 13 years at McKinsey & Company, he led teams in the United States, Asia, and Europe to set strategy, improve performance, launch businesses, pursue acquisitions, and execute mergers for industrial and technology companies. During his eight-year stint in Japan, he was elected partner of McKinsey and launched the firm’s International Management Practice and Japanese Health Care Practice. In Washington, D.C., he led McKinsey’s Global Post Merger Management Practice. He has written numerous articles on Japan, alliances and joint ventures with Japanese companies, the Japanese health care system, and post-merger management.

In 2000, Mr. Shill became CEO of ReturnBuy, a venture-backed start-up providing reverse logistics services to the consumer electronics industry. ReturnBuy grew from zero to $30 million in revenues before being sold in 2003.

He serves on the boards and is an adviser to several technology start-ups and small businesses. He is currently writing a book on the tough issues entrepreneurs face in rapidly growing ventures. He has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech, an M.B.A. from Darden School of Business, and an M.A. in East Asian studies from the University of Virginia.

Expertise: Testing Personal Managerial Principles Through Business Simulation 


Fellowship Focus: The primary focus of this Batten Fellowship is for Walt Shill to work with his faculty host, Sherwood Frey, to develop and provide an experiential learning opportunity that will allow MBA students and executives to articulate, test, and refine their personal managerial principles.

In the course of their business education, most students adopt, often implicitly, a set of managerial principles that will guide their decision making and behavior. Yet often these principles are untested and can have limited effectiveness in the business world.

During this fellowship, Mr. Shill and Professor Frey will work together to develop and run a seminar course for second-year MBAs that will guide them to articulate the principles they believe are key to their business success. These principles will then be tested in two ways. First, students will assess and present the managerial principles of a diverse set of U.S. and international business, government, and military leaders. Second, students will participate in simulated business situations that will bring the intensity and ambiguity of a growing venture right into the classroom. The situations will be designed not only to highlight critical issues in an entrepreneurial venture but also to challenge students’ preliminary managerial principles. The case materials and technical notes developed for the course may be adapted for use in executive education programs.

While in residence, Mr. Shill will serve as an adviser and mentor to students and Darden Incubator participants, and he will conduct research and hold discussions with faculty and students for the development of his forthcoming book on the critical management lessons learned from high-growth companies during the Internet boom.

Contact Info


Appointment: 2004

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