Stanford Pulls Out of Plans for NYC Campus

To the relief of many of the leading business schools on the east coast, Stanford University today (Dec. 16) pulled out of an ongoing competition to create a satellite campus in New York City.

Stanford, which had been in intense negotiations with New York for weeks, had planned to first offer an MBA if it gained approval from city officials. The initial idea was that the Stanford campus would start small, with 20 to 25 faculty members from the Graduate School of Business, the design school and the entrepreneurship center at the school of engineering, but ultimately it was to have as many as 100 professors there.

“After several weeks of negotiations with New York City, university leaders and the Stanford Board of Trustees have determined that it would not be in the best interests of the university to continue to pursue the opportunity,” Stanford said in a statement on Friday.

That’s particularly good news for Columbia Business School, Harvard Business School, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and New York University’s Stern School of Business. A Stanford-branded MBA in New York would have offered significant competition to those four programs in particular but also Cornell and MIT.

Stanford announcement came as a surprise. The university reportedly had spent more than a million dollars preparing its bid and had undertaken a very visible political-style campaign to build public support for its bid.

Stanford had said it would raise $1.5-billion to develop the new campus and, like four other finalists, had begun negotiations with the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But Stanford President, John L. Hennessy said he had withdrawn from the competition because the school believed it would not be able to proceed in a way that would guarantee success for the campus.

“We were looking forward to an innovative partnership with the City of New York, and we are sorry that together we could not find a way to realize our mutual goals,” said Mr. Hennessy in a written statement.

Sources told The Chronicle of Higher Education that Stanford had walked away because it believed city officials were trying to impose new conditions—and additional costs.

Stanford’s withdrawal seems to pave the way for an alternative plan from Cornell University, which has proposed a partnership campus with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. That plan envisions an industry-focused research-and-teaching venture on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island. The winner is expected to be announced in January.

The entire process began a year ago last December when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg invited universities worldwide to submit proposals for applied science and engineering campuses that would help “diversify the city’s economy and boost the growing technology sector.”

The New York City Economic Development Corporation had initially received 18 proposals from 27 universities, including Cornell, Columbia, and schools in India, Finland and South Korea. The University of Chicago submitted an expression of interest in the program as well but this summer Chicago officials “determined that the program did not fit the University’s needs, and the University of Chicago did not submit a proposal,” according to a spokesperson.

Only Cornell and the Technion are now vying for the 10-acre site on Roosevelt Island.


  • Nate

    I believe this article is incomplete, we need to go into why Stanford decided to pull out. It wasn’t just bout the GSB, it had to do with this:

    “When Stanford withdrew from the competition, several people familiar with the negotiations said the university preferred to quit than lose. Stanford officials saw the “writing on the wall,” said one person familiar with the negotiations.

    Stu Loeser, a spokesman for the mayor, declined to comment. Officials at Cornell did not respond on Sunday to a request for comment.”

    Stanford lost the bid to Cornell. Cornell will be leading the way to make NYC the future of ‘Silicon Valley’…

    I believe THIS was linked to the GSB. I love Poets&Quants, so lets continue to be unbiased here and give respect where it’s due.

  • Alois de Novo

    OK, a further further point. I looked at coverage of this in NYTimes and NYPost. There’s nothing about a b-school on Roosevelt Island. Bloomberg is looking to establish a new engineering school or science research facility in NYC. It would have been tragic if this were all about yet another business school. Cornell is already a huge presence both in NY State and NYC and it’s a very, very strong engineering school. This outcome makes sense, particularly if you consider the logic of Cornell’s fundraising effort to clinch the deal — their loyal alumni did it for them (John you should like that angle).

    I don’t see this as a story about Wharton/Harvard/Columbia/(and NYU!) breathing a sigh of relief. And, as I said above, Stanford wouldn’t be so formidable if they doubled their class size. Nah uh. They’d be good ole, chip-on-their-shoulder Columbia.

  • Alois de Novo

    A further point, GSB’s premium lies in its scarcity value. If they made it as big as Harvard or Wharton, the premium would be dissipated in an instant.

    Think about it.

  • Alois de Novo

    Actually, I find it impossible to believe that Stanford was ever serious about creating a hugely expensive satellite campus of GSB in NYC. This isn’t a real story except that the Cornell-Technion venture looks hopeful and intriguing. Andy Bernard would be delighted. I think there’s more in that than in the addition of a few more acres to the world’s inventory of real estate wasted on business education