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London B-School Tops Fundraising Goal

London School of Business plans a major expansion that will increase its total teaching space by 70%. Courtesy photo

London Business School plans a major expansion that will increase its total teaching space by 70%. Courtesy photo

Before London Business School opened its campaign in 2013 to raise £100 million in five years, the institution, widely considered Europe’s top B-school and among the world’s best, had never had occasion to publicly seek out donations in its 49-year history.

But considering the success of its recent fundraising effort — which will close July 31, two years early, having already surpassed £125 million ($177 million) — it comes as no surprise that LBS Dean Sir Andrew Likierman has signaled an imminent round two, telling the Financial Times that the drive is “just the beginning of our fundraising efforts.”

Of course, fundraising is always easier when you have scores of volunteers and donors — the school’s 40,000 alumni have been credited with giving more than 95,000 hours to help the campaign; 70% of its staff volunteered their time in the effort — and when you can get big checks from a few donors. LBS got two £25 million gifts from a pair of alums: Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of chemicals business Ineos, and Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer, both of whom earned their MBAs from the school in the 1980s.

ROOM TO SPREAD OUT IN CENTRAL LONDON

Ofer’s pledge comes as LBS prepares to move into Old Marylebone Town Hall, a landmark civic building it acquired in 2012. Once the £40 million ($56.8 million) in renovations have been completed, the newly dubbed Sammy Ofer Centre, named after the benefactor’s late father, will expand LBS’s total teaching space by 70%. Lack of space has long been a problem for a school located in busy central London, as Sir Andrew told Poets&Quants in 2011. “We are absolutely full. We would like to be bigger, have more faculty, and do more as an institution. That means we need more money.”

More money has arrived. With it, LBS has announced plans to fund 800 additional scholarships and three new research centers, and hire new faculty and. Some £4 million ($5.68 million) will go toward technology upgrades.

But the centerpiece of the fundraising campaign is the new building, “It is a magnificent building and I am delighted to be able to help the school secure its future,” Ratcliffe told the Financial Times. “London has grown in stature in the last 30 years. It deserves to have a top-quality business school.”

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