Alas, the money will come in handy at the school. For starters, HBS spent $542 million in 2013 to cover operations. That said, the school will actually plow this money back into the students and faculty outside the operating budget. As reported by Poets&Quants last spring, HBS has already earmarked capital campaign funds to “student financial aid ($150 million), faculty research ($250 million), globalization ($150 million), and curricular innovation ($200 million).” In addition, HBS intends to increase its full-time faculty, which numbered 227 in 2013, by 5%-10% along with making upgrades to its buildings.
If you think this is empty talk, just look at HBS’ recent efforts. This year, the school started construction on a new executive education building. This spring, HBS also launched HBx, a state-of-the-art online curriculum that has already created 32 jobs. And the school doles out $32 million in fellowships to 1860 students annually, the largest scholarship fund among any professional school worldwide according to Poets&Quants.
Despite this generosity, many students still struggle with the HBS sticker price. The school admits that it costs $95,100 in tuition and living costs for a year at HBS. Despite steep tuition cuts over the past two years, 61% of its students graduate with a debt averaging nearly $74,000.
RELYING HEAVILY ON ALUMNI OUTREACH
You have to spend money to make money. And HBS is taking that cliché quite literally. For starters, the campaign has produced a splashy multimedia website, replete with testimonials from HBS heavy-hitters to play on visitors’ idealism, sentimentality, and pride. Cahill notes that the site has attracted over 267,000 unique visitors, up 73% from the previous year’s fundraising site.
Cahill also expects the school to host 27 events worldwide, designed to reach alumni from 167 countries. The Harvard Crimson reports that Nohria himself will travel to events in the United States, Canada, Asia, Europe, and Latin America over the next 18 months. And that’s not by accident, with HBS anticipating that international alumni will put them over the top in the capital campaign.
“Just looking at where we are to today versus in the last campaign, we are a much more global institution with our alumni all over the world,” Cahill tells The Harvard Crimson. “So, as we looked at the 27 events we are doing, we knew that for a good portion of those we would need to go to alumni internationally.”
A FUND-RAISING ARMS RACE
HBS isn’t alone is setting high fund-raising goals. But it certainly tops other institutions by a whopping margin. The school maintains an endowment of nearly $3 billion, nearly triple the level of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. To compete, many programs are playing catching up. For example, Columbia Business School, whose endowment is five times smaller than HBS, raised $209 million in fiscal year 2013 alone. And Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management has already raised 64.5% of its $350 million “Envision Kellogg” goal.
Still, HBS is steamrolling the pack. With the response they’re generating, you can expect them to set a $1.5 billion goal when the next campaign starts up in 2023. Until then, start saving your money if you’re a HBS alum. Family also needs a helping hand. Make no mistake, your alma mater is family for life.