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William Blair Overview

Chicago, IL
1001 to 5000 employees
Company - Private
Investment Banking & Asset Management
$1 to $2 billion (USD) per year
At William Blair, we believe that great talent can come from anywhere ­- that diversity of skills, capabilities, perspectives and experiences drives innovation and success, now and in the future.

We're a global investment banking and ... Read more

Company Updates

  • Fortune magazine recently named William Blair to its "30 Best Workplaces in Financial Services and Insurance" list for 2016. View the article here:

    William Blair

    "If you have a good idea here, the firm encourages you to run with it. They want to be kept informed but they don't micro-manage you. This is true for work related as well as with your community involvement. There is a lot of "informal flexibility" with our jobs.

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William Blair – Why Work For Us?

Invested in Your Vision.

William Blair is a premier global boutique with expertise in investment banking, investment management, and private wealth management. We believe that great talent can come from anywhere – that diversity of skills, capabilities, perspectives and experiences drives innovation and success, now and in the future. We are committed to building enduring relationships with our clients and providing expertise and solutions to meet their evolving needs. An independent and employee-owned firm, William Blair is headquartered in Chicago and, together with its strategic partners, operates in more than 20 offices worldwide.

Our Company – At a Glance

As of December 31, 2018

  • Founded in 1935 by William McCormick Blair
  • Independent and employee-owned
  • 1,500 employees worldwide
  • More than $81.9 billion in client assets
  • Investment Banking transactions have covered more about 40 countries, 900 companies, and $300 billion in value since January 2014*
  • Research coverage comprises over 600 companies*
  • Market maker for more than 1,775 listed stocks and 625 preferred stocks*
  • Limited third-party debt on our balance sheet; equity comes from capital investment by our partners
  • Memberships: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)*, Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)*, National Futures Association (NFA)**

*William Blair & Company, L.L.C.
**William Blair Investment Management, LLC

undefinedA History of Client Success

When William McCormick Blair and Francis Bonner opened their investment banking firm on January 8, 1935, the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression were still taking their toll. Across the country, the number of investment firms had decreased from 600 in 1929 to just 200 in 1935.

Amid this uncertainty, William Blair set out to build an investment firm that could help Chicago and the Midwest rebuild from the Great Depression by providing financing for the region’s most promising growth-oriented companies.

He sought to help restore investors’ confidence in financial institutions by creating a firm that was steadfastly and singularly focused on its clients’ success. “When our clients succeed, the firm’s success will follow,” Mr. Blair would say.

His would be a conservatively financed firm that stood for honest dealings, sound corporate advice, unbiased investment recommendations, and civic responsibility. His vision demanded that the firm recommend only investments that it could vouch for based on diligent research.

These uncompromising values and standards served investors and issuers well in the 1930s, and they continue to do so today. Our founder’s vision for providing unbiased investment advice and financing solutions now extends to investors, companies, and organizations across the world. Today we are a global investment banking and asset management firm based in Chicago with offices on five continents.

Throughout our history we have remained independent and employee-owned. This independence and the stability of our strong balance sheet and diversified business model allow us to put our clients first and foremost.

By building enduring relationships with our clients, we have helped institutional and private investors achieve their objectives and financed the growth of premier companies, such as Molex, CDW, and Concord. We provide expertise and solutions to meet our clients’ evolving needs while remaining guided by our founder’s vision and values.


Community Impact

We are committed to being a long-term partner to the communities in which we live and work. This is a legacy we inherited from our founder more than 80 years ago and proudly continue today. William Blair and its foundation provide financial support to hundreds of charities every year through its grants, sponsorships, and employee matching gifts program. We are also proud to support our signature Community Partners program, through which we provide meaningful financial support and volunteerism. Our current Community Partners are MAPSCorps and MetroSquash. Around the world, employees are active in their communities supporting food banks, environmental programs, and educational organizations. In 2017, $2.4 million was invested by the firm and its foundation to support more than 500 charitable organizations.


Our people are our greatest asset. 

As an independent, employee-owned firm, we place a high value on the quality and integrity of our people, the enduring nature of our client relationships, and the quality of our services. If you enjoy working in a dynamic environment that challenges you to think independently and deliver innovative solutions, then William Blair is the ideal place for you.

William Blair provides the opportunities and benefits of global organization along with the collegiality and entrepreneurial spirit of an employee-owned company.

Learn more about careers at William Blair.

William Blair Reviews

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William Blair President and CEO John R. Ettelson
John R. Ettelson
78 Ratings
  • Featured Review

    Helpful (1)

    "Great firm"

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at William Blair full-time (More than a year)


    Collaborative Work Environment. Everyone is super smart and driven, making everyone want to perform at a high level


    Some growing pains but I started relatively recently so its all good to me.

See All 152 Reviews

William Blair Photos

William Blair photo of: Our offices in Chicago
William Blair photo of: Networking and supporting one another
William Blair photo of: Colleagues from our Women's Alliance Business Resource Group (BRG)
William Blair photo of: Great colleagues, great conversations
William Blair photo of: Working together at William Blair
William Blair photo of: Thinking up great new ideas
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William Blair Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview




  1. Featured Interview


    Investment Banking - Summer Analyst 2019 Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview


    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at William Blair (Chicago, IL) in April 2018.


    Interview process was exceptional compared to a lot of other larger banks I was recruiting for. Began with reaching out to many different analysts prior to application opening. Once the application opened, immediately applied, completed the Koru questionnaire, and received email for first round phone interview about a month later. After a week, I was invited to superday at their Chicago office. Superday consisted of 5 back-to-back interviews with mostly partners and MDs. Fairly difficult interview, but all extremely nice people (and gorgeous office). Received a call about 2 hours later with my offer.

    Interview Questions

    • What are three words to remember you by when I walk out of this room? Why Chicago? Why WB? Must have an extremely strong and well-polished "tell me about yourself/walk me through your resume" answer.   Answer Question
See All 62 Interviews

William Blair Awards & Accolades

  • 2018 Best Place To Work In Money Management, Pensions & Investments, 2018
  • 2018 Top Workplace, Chicago Tribune, 2018
  • Top 40 Wealth Managers, Barron's, 2018
  • No. 2 in Top-10 Rankings, Vault, 2018
  • Investment Bank of the Year, Mergers & Acquisitions Magazine, 2017
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