HBS Campaign Pays Off

Breaking the record for the most money raised by a business school, Harvard Business School (HBS) amassed nearly $600 million in its first-ever capital campaign, the school announced yesterday.

In the three-year campaign, HBS collected $598.8 million in alumni donations to further fund financial aid, faculty development, global outreach, educational technology, and construction of new buildings.

“The costs of pioneering are very high,” said Malcolm S. Salter ’62, senior associate dean for external relations at HBS.

“These funds allow us to make critical investment in our research and teaching programs, and to launch initiatives that will prepare new generations of leaders to face the challenges of a dynamic, rapidly changing world,” acting dean Jay O. Light said in a press release.

Of the $600 million, approximately $114 million was raised for the financial aid program. Eighty percent of HBS students benefit from the program, which includes funding in the form of student fellowships.

As a result of the campaign, the two-year fellowships offered by HBS will double in amount from $16,500 to $32,000.

HBS values the financial aid program because it allows students to work in the not-for-profit sector, said C.D. “Dick” Spangler Jr., chairman of the campaign and also former president of Harvard University’s Board of Overseers. A student with debt “tends to have to go to work as an investment banker,” he said.

While the campaign officially kicked off in 2003, Salter said that the campaign was conceived five years ago by former HBS Dean Kim B. Clark.

To raise the funds, HBS held 28 regional conferences as well as one-on-one meetings with alumni throughout the year to outline the goals of the campaign, Salter said.

While the main purpose of the conferences were to inform alumni about the capital campaign, the events also had a distinctively intellectual element with HBS faculty presenting their research.

“Harvard students like substance, substance, substance,” Salter said.

Over a five-year period beginning July 2000, Clark alone had 563 one-on-one visits across the globe. Spangler, who is also a 1956 HBS graduate, made more than 200 personal visits.

HBS’ original campaign goal was $500 million, but Salter said the donations began to snowball as the campaign gained momentum.

Although he had “Six hundred [million] as [his] magic figure,” Salter said he never dared to mention this hope to anyone else. “It was always sort of a dream that we could do that.”

Although HBS did not officially announce its final figure until yesterday, the campaign has been closely watched by those who follow the school’s affairs, such as Sanford Kreisberg, an admissions advisor and founder of Cambridge Essay Service.

“It was a 60 month pregnancy and a huge and great baby, but not a surprise to those in the know,” Kreisberg wrote in an e-mail.

Alongside HBS’s success, another Harvard graduate school may soon be achieving a record-breaking capital campaign of its own.

“The [Harvard Law School] campaign goal is $400 million, which is the largest in the history of legal education,” Michael A. Armini, the school’s director of communications, said yesterday.

—Paras D. Bhayani contributed to the reporting of this article.

—Staff writer Madeline W. Lissner can be reached at mlissner@fas.harvard.edu.