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John Harvard's Journal

Bolstering Business

May-June 2006

The first Harvard Business School (HBS) capital campaign, launched publicly in the fall of 2002, ended on December 31, having raised at least 20 percent more than its half-billion-dollar goal. Proceeds are “over $600 million,” said Robinson professor of business administration Jay O. Light, the school’s acting dean.

Consistent with a high priority enunciated at the outset of the fund drive (see “Capitalism Campaign,” November-December 2002, page 55), the school raised $112 million for 150-plus new fellowships. Light called that accomplishment “among the really important things we’ve done.” The rising cost of business education has made it more difficult for students to attend, he said. Moreover, the traditional dependence on debt financing “overly constrains what people can do” upon graduation. Fellowships make it much easier to enroll international students—one-third of the HBS population. But Light indicated that such aid was also “particularly important for students who are interested in social enterprise,” who launch immediately into entrepreneurial ventures, or who pursue a variety of innovative careers with limited initial remuneration. The new funds also make it possible to offer experimental fellowships to students at the end of their schooling while they explore, for example, a public-service enterprise in Latin America.

In terms of intellectual capital, HBS endowed its doctoral program—the source of future faculty—which had previously been funded through unrestricted resources. Light said the endowed doctoral fellowships and extra resources for faculty involvement will enhance the program. A new teaching and learning center will strengthen faculty members’ skills in the school’s distinctive case-teaching method, which is increasingly integrated with interactive multimedia tools and systems. Sixty-five new research funds underwrite faculty scholarship, and additional professorships were endowed.

Substantial sums supported extensive new construction (Spangler Center, the M.B.A.-program and student-campus center; Hawes Hall, a classroom building) and renovation (the overhaul and expansion of Baker Library; a “commons” created there serves as the venue for collaborative research seminars, a key goal of HBS’s faculty-development plan, Light said). The new Hawes classrooms and a separate program of retrofitting Aldrich Hall (“technological repurposing,” he said) equipped each class with multiple screens and projectors, allowing simultaneous, integrated video conferencing, video projection, and use of spreadsheets or other tools for vivid multimedia case presentations—another reason for the faculty to use the teaching center.

The campaign also provided a permanent foundation for HBS’s increasingly global research and case-writing, which is now conducted through a half-dozen field offices from Buenos Aires to Hong Kong. The newest outpost, in Mumbai, was formally opened with a series of faculty presentations and Harvard events in India during the third week in March. Unlike the revenue-generating focus of other business schools’ international outreach, Light said, HBS’s goal is “intellectual capital”: research for cases the faculty can “bring back to Soldiers Field” for education on campus. HBS has also entered into partnerships to train the fledgling business-school faculties of indigenous institutions in China, especially, and in Spain and Latin America.

Finally, although HBS is among the least endowment-dependent of Harvard’s schools (M.B.A. student and executive-education tuition, revenues from its publishing operation, and current-use gifts provide more than 80 percent of operating revenue), campaign donors gave about $60 million in unrestricted and undesignated gifts—a substantial source of funding for future ventures that lack specific endowment support.