William Blair at a Glance


  • “Great culture and team of people that I work with every day”
  • “Great professional development opportunities—you take on as much responsibility as you can handle and will be client facing at a junior level”
  • “Outstanding client base, prolific deal flow”


  • “The firm’s name isn’t as recognizable outside of Chicago or financial circles”
  • “Lacking a balance sheet has disadvantages when competing with larger firms”
  • “For some individuals, work hours can be long”

The Buzz

  • “Great in Chicago middle market”
  • “Not well known outside the Midwest”
  • “Good research
  • “Closes a lot of sell-side deals”

About William Blair

William Blair is an employee-owned investment banking and asset management firm founded in 1935 and headquartered in Chicago. In total, it has 13 offices on five continents in cities such as Boston, Frankfurt, London, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Sydney, and Zurich. It also maintains a presence in Asia, taking an ownership stake in BDA Partners, which has offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Ho Chi Minh City, Seoul, and Tokyo. William Blair's investment banking group focuses on high-growth companies, executing advisory and financing services such as mergers and acquisitions, public equity offerings, and private capital raises. From 2010 to 2014, the investment banking group completed more than 330 M&A transactions, worth a total of $73 billion in value. These deals involved parties in 36 countries and five continents; nearly one-third of all transactions were cross-border. During that same period, the firm was an underwriter on more than 20 percent of all U.S. initial public offerings, and raised nearly $100 billion in public and private financing. 

In 2012, the firm was named "Investment Bank of the Year" by Mergers & Acquisitions magazine, and in 2013, it was named the "Mid-Market Financial Advisor of the Year" by the Financial Times and mergermarket. In addition, William Blair regularly receives M&A accolades, working for household-name clients such as Tumi, Pandora, Dunkin' Brands, and Caribou Coffee. For example, William Blair received "2013 North America M&A Deal of the Year" honors from M&A Atlas for advising Molex Inc. on its sale to Koch Industries for $7.2 billion. And in 2015, William Blair received "Global Deal of the Year" honors by M&A Atlas for the bank's work on Portfolio Recovery Associates' acquisition of Aktiv Kapital. 

The firm is also known for its equity research unit, which was named the "Most Trusted Research" in Greenwich Associates' 2014 survey of small- and mid-cap portfolio managers. In the 2015 survey, William Blair ranked No. 1, No. 2, or No. 3 in nine categories. William Blair is led by its CEO, John Ettelson, and of the firm's more than 1,300 employees, approximately 175 are principals.

William Blair

222 West Adams Street
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: (312) 236-1600
Fax: (312) 368-9418


  • Employer Type: Private
  • President & CEO: John R. Ettelson
  • 2015 Employees: 1,200

Major Office Locations

  • Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Shanghai, China
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Boston, MA
  • New York, NY
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • London, United Kingdom
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