David M. Dodson


David M. Dodson

Lecturer in Management

Research Statement

David Dodson’s area of research includes entrepreneurial acquisition, whereby one searches for, and acquires, a company that they intend to be the principal manager for; management issues around growing enterprises, small and medium sized acquired companies, and early stage enterprises.


David Dodson has been active for thirty years in the management and formation of new businesses. After graduating from Stanford GSB, as a case writer he wrote the original course material for search funds — then in its infancy. After one year as a case writer, Dodson raised his own search fund, which led to the purchase of a company in 1989. He subsequently raised two more search funds that resulted in acquisitions and has served as CEO of a technology manufacturer and Executive Chairman of a telecommunications firm. Dodson is an active investor, investing in over forty businesses, and Dodson has been a director in twenty-one companies.

In 2000 Dodson co-founded Project Healthy Children, which was later re-named Sanku, which has operated in eight African countries. With the help of Stanford’s Extreme Affordability program, Sanku invented the only successful technology to fortify grains in rural mills, and the award- winning technology has saved and improved the lives of millions of rural families in Africa. In 2018, out of concern for the state of our country, Dodson ran for the U.S. Senate in his home state of Wyoming. He is a frequent columnist for The Boston Globe and Casper Star-Tribune, and a regular guest commentator with CNBC and Fox Business News.

Believing that access to voting is a basic right, in 2020, Dodson founded StudentVotes.org, to safely empower students to vote safely during the pandemic. Targeting nine key races, StudentVotes was 61 times more effective than an established get-out-the-vote nonprofit (with stronger university ties) at enabling university students in key swing states to vote remotely in the 2020 presidential election, reducing viral spread while empowering students.

David Dodson teaches S355, “Managing Growing Enterprises”, S543, “Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition”, and S210 “Managerial Skills.” Dodson is a graduate of Stanford University (Economics ’83, MBA ’87), and a former case writer (1988).

Academic Degrees

  • MBA, Stanford GSB, 1987
  • BA in Economics, Stanford University, 1983

Awards and Honors

  • MSx Teaching Excellence Award, Stanford GSB, 2021
  • Amplifier Award (nominee), Stanford GSB, 2018 & 2019
  • MBA Class of 1973 Lecturer for 2015–16


Journal Articles

Stanford Case Studies

Teachings Materials

Airbnb CEO Layoff Announcement E794
Strategic Compensation E719
Letting People Go E718
The 360 Performance Review E717
Onboarding E716
Standardized Approach to Hiring E715
The Five Skills of Great Leaders E714
Acquisition Documents and Strategies E677
Guide to Investor Reports for Early CEOs E678
Compensation: Strategies for a Bonus Plan E679
A Note on Getting the Most Out of Your Board Meetings E631
Guide to Managing Your First 100 Days as CEO E629
Actions: Unpublish this revision 2016 Search Fund Study: Selected Observations E605
A Note on a Standardized Approach to Hiring Decisions E603
Search Funds - 2013: Selected Observations E521

Stanford GSB Affiliations

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