Following the overwhelming success of Harvard Business School’s first-ever capital campaign, Yale School of Management administrators said they anticipate continued rises in future donations to Yale as well.
Last week, HBS announced the receipt of nearly $600 million from its capital campaign — the largest sum ever raised by a business school — exceeding the $500 million goal set at the campaign’s outset in 2003. While Yale SOM is not currently engaged in any official capital campaigns — in which schools contact alumni during an extended period of time seeking major investments in targeted projects — the school has also seen an upswing in recent gifts, Associate Dean Nevin Kessler said.
“Fundraising is one of the highest priorities for the School of Management,” Kessler said. “We’ve had a record-breaking year in fundraising. We’ve made twice as much in the past eight months as we have in any previous 12-month year.”
Kessler said he largely credits school pride with the recent increase in donations to SOM.
“I think you see a real commitment among alumni of both the school and the University to seeing the School of Management realize its full potential,” Kessler said.
According to SOM’s Web site, 52 percent of the school’s alumni made financial contributions during 2005, bringing SOM to second place among business schools nationwide in terms of the percentage of alumni donors.
HBS Dean Jay Light said he thinks the success of the Harvard campaign reflects the pride and extraordinary accomplishments of the school’s alumni.
“Our alumni … hold positions of leadership in a wide range of organizations around the globe,” Light said. “These funds will allow us to make critical investments 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.”
HBS Director of Media Relations Jim Aisner said Harvard’s situation is similar to that of Yale’s SOM in that both schools have a broad alumni base to solicit financially.
“Like Yale, we are an international institution,” Aisner said. “We have 66,000 alumni around the world, and 70 different countries are represented in our current student body, so we really do reach around the world, and I think our fundraising efforts reflected that.”
Kessler said Yale’s fundraising efforts have shared a similar global focus, requiring a substantial amount of work from SOM Dean Joel Podolny.
“Dean Podolny has probably spent 40 percent of his time on fundraising in the past six months,” Kessler said. “He’s traveled to Beijing, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and London in efforts to meet with potential donors around the world.”
Aisner said the HBS’s overall strategy was to solicit donations from as many alumni as possible during their campaign.
“There were lots of one-on-one visits made by Dean Kim Clark and other Harvard Business School professors, where the objective was to get the word out about the school and its needs,” Aisner said. “Similarly to Yale, this is an expensive school, and we’re proud of the fact that we’ve been able to increase the amount of money available for student fellowships.”
Kessler said areas that will be financed by Harvard’s funding campaign — including faculty development, technology, campus renewal, fellowships and financial aid — are the same areas that Yale SOM is seeking to fund in its own efforts to raise capital.
Still, there remain inherent differences between HBS and Yale SOM. While Harvard’s business school commands a $2.1 billion endowment — most of which is tied up in restricted funds, according to Aisner — Yale SOM’s endowment totaled $370.6 million as of 2005.
“From its founding in the late 1970’s, the School of Management has always been undercapitalized,” Kessler said. “But, then again, I think that’s one of the reasons so many people get excited about Dean Podolny’s vision for the school.”