MIT Sloan | Mr. Latino Healthcare
GRE 310, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Ms. Public School Teacher
GRE 325, GPA 3.93
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Army Officer
GRE 325, GPA 3.9
INSEAD | Mr. Future In FANG
GMAT 650, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Military MedTech
GRE 310, GPA 3.48
Wharton | Mr. Aspiring Leader
GMAT 750, GPA 3.38
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Advisory Consultant
GRE 330, GPA 2.25
Kellogg | Mr. Equity To IB
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Mr. Marketing Master
GRE 316, GPA 3.8
Darden | Ms. Marketing Analyst
GMAT 710, GPA 3.75
Harvard | Mr. Hedge Fund
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.82
Stanford GSB | Mr. Robotics
GMAT 730, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Artistic Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.49/10
Yale | Mr. Army Pilot
GMAT 650, GPA 2.90
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
INSEAD | Mr. Tesla Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Tech To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
INSEAD | Ms. Investment Officer
GMAT Not taken, GPA 16/20 (French scale)
Cornell Johnson | Mr. SAP SD Analyst
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Startup Of You
GMAT 770, GPA 2.4
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Admit
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Mr. International PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.3
Harvard | Mr. Policy Development
GMAT 740, GPA Top 30%
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
GMAT -, GPA 2.9
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Against All Odds
GMAT 720, GPA 2.9

Largest Donors To Business Schools

$40 million.

Most of us will not only ever make that kind of money over a lifetime. We’ll also never really know what it would be like to give that kind of money away.

Yet, only yesterday (Oct. 12), a Chinese immigrant, who in the words of Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria is the “embodiment of the American Dream,” pledged $40 million of his fortune to Harvard’s already well endowed business school.

Dr. James Chao made the generous gift in honor of his late wife, Ruth, even though they never attended the Harvard Business School. However, four of their six daughters, including former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chow, attended HBS.


The size of Chao’s gift makes it among the top 20 ever received by a school of business. By our calculations, the pledge is the 18th largest ever made to a B-school, though four other donors have also made $40 million gifts. They include Jon Huntsman who handed over $40 million to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1998 and former MacDonald’s CEO Michael Quinlan who earlier this year gave the same amount of money to Loyola University in Chicago which then named its business school after him.

But the Chao gift begs the question: What are the largest gifts ever made to business schools?


Four years ago, David Booth pledged $300 million to the University of Chicago’s business school, which promptly named itself after him. That remains the largest single gift ever made to a B-school. The gift was brought in by then Dean Edward Snyder who was also dean of the University of Virginia’s Darden School when Frank Batten Sr. made what was in 1999 the largest gift to a business school: $60 million. Snyder is now dean of Yale’s School of Management.

The second and third-largest gifts have gone to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business: last year’s $150 million pledge by Robert and Dorothy King in support of social enterprise and a $105 million gift in 2006 by Nike founder Phil Knight to help construct the school’s new campus.

Overall, some 25 donors have given business schools at least $35 million or more.

(See following page for our table of the largest gifts ever given to business schools)

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.