America’s Wealthiest Business Schools

money, endowments


The most elusive yet revealing stat about a business school is the size of its endowment. Few schools disclose this number in any public way, though it’s fair to say that B-school deans put more focus on this one number than any other. After all, it’s the ultimate measure of a school’s true “wealth.”

And a wealthy school is more likely to attract and retain the best faculty and staff. It’s no surprise that business schools with the largest budgets devote at least half of their expenses to salaries and benefits. A wealthier school is also more likely to have better facilities, in the form of new state-of-the-art buildings or well-maintained historic buildings with the latest technology. Wealthy schools typically have more flexibility to fight for the best students in the form of scholarship money, which in turn improves the overall profile of an incoming class and ultimately the career outcomes of its graduates.

In fact, the size of a school’s endowment is far more important an indicator of a school’s power and impact than an individual ranking, location, facilities, acceptance rate, career prospects, network strength, or industry placement. Because a business school’s wealth typically comes from gifts and other donations from its alumni network, a school’s wealth is a good indication of the strength of its alumni base. So which schools lead and which institutions have some catching up to do?


With painstaking research, Poets&Quants has produced the most complete and up-to-date list of business school endowments ever published, with more than 50 top schools sharing their latest data. (Only two top U.S. schools declined to provide this information: Notre Dame University’s Mendoza School of Business and the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School). Not surprisingly, you’ll find a strong correlation between endowment and the rankings, the quality of a class profile, and career statistics. But the numbers pull back the curtain on overvalued and undervalued programs and provide a potential explanation as to why certain schools are climbing the rankings every year while others stay put or lose ground.

It won’t shock anyone to know that Harvard Business School is at the top of the endowment heap. More surprising is its lead over all its rivals. As of fiscal 2015, ended June 30th, 2015, HBS’ treasure chest totaled a whopping $3.3 billion, the size of many university and college endowments. The gap between Harvard and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business is now nearly $2 billion, given the GSB’s current $1.392 billion endowment. In the past four years alone, HBS has increased its endowment by 24.5%, or $658 million, from $2.7 billion in fiscal 2012, when the Great Recession walloped all endowments.

After the big two, you’ll find a predictable set of schools at the top: the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School at $1.289 billion, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management at $866.0 million, and MIT’s Sloan School of Management at $812.9 million. A big surprise is the endowment size of Yale University’s School of Management at $743.0 million, placing it sixth among the top business schools. And an equal surprise, in the other direction, might well be the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business which has an endowment of $734.0 million.

The Chicago Booth number, however, does not include investment manager David Booth’s $300 million naming gift in 2008 which can yield more annual income than the cash thrown off by the Booth endowment. If the grant from Dimensional Fund Advisors’ Co-Founder David Booth were included, the Booth endowment could be double its actual size, putting it behind only Harvard (see table for complete list). Explains Joe Buck, associate dean for the office of advancement, “The Booth gift is not part of our endowment because there was no transfer of assets. The gift is structured so that the school receives a cash flow each year based on the stock dividends of Dimensional Fund Advisors.”

  • pratap

    sir can i please contact u need to ask few things please sir

  • michael

    I think the private schools should be separate from public. Public have tax payer dollars as well as endowments

  • michael

    Should there be a distinction between private and public university endowments. Public U. receive tax payer money for operations while private U. are more reliant on endowments

  • Avishek Lahiri

    Hi Daniel, I am a PhD student at Robinson College, Georgia State. Is it possible to get the data. We are trying to see if Research plays a role in Business School Endownment generation. Any help greatly appreciated.

  • HBSAlum

    I am so proud to be an HBS alumnus (on a vacation for 2 weeks).

  • sherwinwill

    when you’re the top fund raising university 10 out of 11 years… and not even in a capital fund raising campaign.. Stanford is the one to beat

  • Daniel is off to Yale’s School of Management.

  • DanLemitt

    Daniel, what schools are you deciding between and which did you decide to go with.

    -Guy Perotle

  • Daniel J. Bonsoms, CFA

    Total U. Stanford does have one of the (if not the) strongest performing fundraising groups in the country.

  • Daniel J. Bonsoms, CFA

    Endowments support the business school in many ways: Faculty and Staff (for example, the “Alumnus” Dean or the “Corporate Sponsor” Professor), Centers (The “Sponsor” center for Innovation), Scholarships, Fellowships, and other kinds of support. As far as I am concerned, Part-Time and EMBA students have access to these faculty & staff, centers, and other forms of support.

    Because endowments provide this support, the schools are able to allocate more of their budgets to expenses or investments not supported by the endowment. So endowments indirectly support the entire school.

    I think your hypothesis that Part-time and EMBA students do not use a single direct or indirect $1 of the endowment distribution can be proven wrong quite easily.

    And how can you prove wrong the hypothesis that the endowment supports the Part-time and/or EMBA programs more than the MBA program?

    Schools do not function as separate program silos, they are an ecosystem of, in some cases, multiple different degree programs.

  • Steve

    the b-school or total U?

  • Guest

    Including part time and exec MBA makes no sense in the per capita numbers. Those programs pay for themselves and don’t utilize endowment money.

  • Daniel J. Bonsoms, CFA

    Not sure what you mean. Cornell Johnson’s enrollment is 1,197 and Cornell Dyson’s is 839. These schools are separate in both tables.

    The Cornell College of Business endowment would be approximately $316M and the enrollment would be 2997 if these schools had been merged together for FY2015. This results in an endowment per student of $105,439.

  • Gossler

    I guess what seems inconsistent is that in your second ranking you are summing students of Dyson and Johnson and only assuming Johnson’s endowment which makes the endowment per student much lower.

  • sherwinwill

    Stanford raised over 1.6 billion with a B last year more than Harvard and Yale combined… accomplished the same feat in 2012.

  • C. Taylor

    Awesome. Hopefully Rice, Penn State (Smeal), and Baruch will shortly provide the data.

    I do like Booth and HBS’s disclosure.

  • MidCareerMBA

    hello, you seem well informed. What do you think of Sloan fellows program or stanford msx compared to imd mba? for someone need an acceleration business degree..?

  • Daniel J. Bonsoms, CFA

    We did get UConn (Connecticut-Storrs) and Texas A&M.

    You’re absolutely right about the other schools. We reached out to more than 100 schools (including every school on the P&Q 100) and followed up at least twice.

    The schools that refused to provide or confirm the data were Notre Dame (Mendoza), Pittsburgh (Katz), Maryland (Smith), Northeastern (D’Amore-McKim), SMU (Cox), and Denver (Daniels).

    Schools that replied but ultimately did not provide the data in time, even when we followed up after this story was published, were LSO (Ourso), Baruch (Zicklin), Rice (Jones), Penn State (Smeal), Chapman (Argyros), and Colorado (Leeds).

    All other schools did not return our calls / emails.

    Our goal is to update the data for all 400+ schools in the USA. I feel that this data is an essential part of the MBA application due diligence process. I also feel that full financial disclosure is a necessity when selecting MBA programs, yet only Harvard Business School and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business provide such financial disclosures.

    If you want to help with a particular school’s data points, we would love to update the story. Help us by contacting the media relations team at the school and have them verify the numbers.

  • C. Taylor

    Hey guys, There are a few programs missing from the P&Q top 50 list. In particular, it would be nice to see data for Rice, Maryland (Smith), Penn State (Smeal), Texas A&M, and Boston University. Georgia (Terry) was also not listed.

    A couple programs outside the top 50 it would also be nice to get data for: Boston College and Connecticut. And possibly CUNY (Baruch).

  • Interesting

    Something’s off with the per capita numbers. Not all students consume school funds the same way. I think Part time and execs use less resources. Hence those programs are funded mostly by tuition.

    Undergrads are probably just as needy or worse than full time MBA.

    But I suppose this is hard to normalize so…

  • Daniel J. Bonsoms, CFA

    We will update UIUC, good catch. We reached out to more than 100 schools, but some did not want to be included in the story. If you want us to update the story with a particular school’s data points, we would love to. Help us by contacting the media relations team at the school and have them send us the verified numbers.

  • Daniel J. Bonsoms, CFA

    The Cornell Media Relations Office said “you should submit them separately (not one school).” Remember that these numbers are as of 6/30/15 (the cutoff date for the 2014-2015 FY accounting reports). We will have more clarity once the 2015-2016 FY is reported, but in the mean time you can add all 3 endowments to get an estimate of what the endowment and EPS at the Cornell College of Business would be.

  • Our understanding of the gift is that it is already worth something like $750 million. That is unconfirmed by the school but a number from a solid source.

  • MG

    Make no mistake about it…Chicago Booth is #2 on this list. The value of the Booth gift will ultimately be somewhere between $700M and $900M over time.

  • GEO500

    Why is UIUC listed in the rankings of endowment size but omitted in the endowment per student comparison?

    Was Saint Louis University left out for not reporting or not having a well-endowed business school?

  • george

    John, could you please write an update about the status of IMD MBA, many people believe it is no longer top school.

  • deferan

    They did not release the employment report for the class of 2015. Despite four month since graduation. It tells something..

  • Daniel J. Bonsoms, CFA

    The Office of Advancement reached out to us today with this statement, “The Booth gift is not part of our endowment because there was no transfer of assets. The gift is structured so that the school receives a cash flow each year based on the stock dividends of Dimensional Fund Advisors, where Mr. David G. Booth is Co-Founder and Co-CEO.”

  • The mashup is not yet a done deal. Once it is, then it would certainly make sense to combine all three endowments.

  • C. Taylor


    Yes, all those hitherto interested in the full time MBA at IMD should immediately drop the idea at the clearly well-informed behest of a guy who mixes up cash with profit and another who can’t navigate homepages/employment reports.

    Such tragedy.

  • Gossler

    Shouldn’t Cornell Dyson and Johnson be combined? Additionally, with the new College of Business, shouldn’t the Hotel School’s endowment also be factored in?

  • Markus

    True. I’ve noticed that they have removed it from the homepage and kept the EMBA. The recent graduates of 2015 stuggle in the job market and many returned to their previous jobs.

  • Federac

    That is why IMD leadership prefer to abandon its full time MBA program, and integrate it with the executive one. It is no longer profitable and the recent fall in its quality and reputation affected the school overall reputation in the executive programs.

  • C. Taylor

    Fantastic, P&Q. A worthy scoop well done.

    Significant endowments definitely provide programs with staying power to weather the storms of change. At some point, small endowments are likely dwarfed in impact by the scale of university budgets.

    One point about IMD: I understand IMD stays cash-flow positive. This is related to its being run as a business–research focused on real world applications, and no tenure for professors, for example–which is likely a result of its roots. Hopefully we get to see a chart for international programs.

  • Frederick

    Interesting to not include the Booth naming gift. I suspect it is because disclosing it may mean unintentionally disclosing DFA’s performance at the time of disclosure… which is fraught with rules and regulations.

  • Read The Article

    “The Chicago Booth number, however, does not include David Booth’s $300 million naming gift in 2008 which yields more annual income than the Booth endowment. If it were included, the Booth endowment would be double its actual size, putting it behind only Harvard”

  • Daniel J. Bonsoms, CFA

    We had some technical difficulties with the graph and we fixed it. If you catch any others please let us know.


    I sincerely appreciate the great work you have been doing here John and Daniel. Thank you for revealing many of the financial drivers for higher education. Please double check the Yale SOM Endowment Per Student calculation. Many thanks!

  • mdel9098

    Very interesting, great job!

  • abinboston

    Why is MIT showing up at ~81 M on the first table, and ~813 M on the second?

  • Bluejay

    Thanks for the clarification!

  • Dave1988

    It is really confusing to see the ranking for some prominent schools. I am pointing particularly for Vanderbilt’s Owen, and Wisconsin, those two schools have every thing needed to be top 15 or more, and this list just confirmed that. Look at Vanderbilt, the school is a GRADUATE school, its class is small, something like 170 or so, its parent university one of very prestigious universities, highly ranked undergraduate program, very successfully in placing its students good jobs, and now its endowment is ahead of many despite having less alumni, yet it ranked in 20s , I strongly believe that Vanderbilt is a top 15 material school.

  • You actually made the case for including undergraduate students in the calculation. It’s because the endowment supports the entire school, not just MBAs. That support covers all the graduate students, including those who are in specialized business master’s programs, and all the undergraduates when a business school has an undergraduate program. In many cases, in fact, the MBA program is tiny compared to these other programs.

  • LowVerbal

    It says it “yields more annual income than the Booth endowment.” Not “it’s already been spent.”

  • Hillary2016!

    You did not consider scale in your rudimentary math, and the endowment per student #’s should be taken with a huge grain of salt.
    For instance, why are you including undergraduate students (which usually dwarfs the # of MBA students) in your endowment per student category? The endowment pays for the same overlapping facilities and professors (used by all at the schools, both undergrad and MBA). Many professors teach both undergraduate and MBA courses – and merit-based scholarships play a larger role at the MBA level versus the undergraduate level. Also, what’s to say that the MBA level doesn’t receive more attention endowment-wise (pound for pound) than the undergraduate level?
    These assumptions should be reevaluated.

  • Booth not so fast

    no, the naming gift was already spent. See above.

  • Daniel J. Bonsoms, CFA

    Hi Daniel,

    My name is Aaron Trent, and I manage the analytics team in Chicago Booth’s Strategic Initiatives department. I’m writing to correct the Booth “B-School Endowment” number in the table below. Our endowment is $734M, not $1,034M. The difference likely stems from counting the David Booth gift as a part of our endowment, which is incorrect.

    Please let me know if you have any questions or need additional information to update the table.

    Best wishes,


    Aaron Trent

    Associate Director, Strategic Initiatives

  • Daniel J. Bonsoms, CFA

    Hi Daniel—

    Sorry for the delay in getting back with you. The endowment figure you cited is not correct. The Carey Business School endowment is $10 million and not $100 million. Of course, the Johns Hopkins University is much larger.


    Tim Parsons

    Director of Communications

    Carey Business School

  • BlueJay

    Hey guys can you go back and check your numbers? Many of the first page numbers dont match up. On the back charts, if stanford has a 1.3 BN endowment and 1000 students that would be 1.3MM per person, not 1.0.

    Also as a JHU alum I’m pretty sure the hopkins carey endowment is $100MM, not 10- I believe it was 50MM from carey himself matched with 50MM from the rest of the university.

  • There aer major differences between the numbers in the text of the article and those in the table. Perhaps the editors of P&Q should stick to poetry.

  • BSG

    You got a bunch of numbers wrong on the first page of the article.

    You also forgot to stick an asterisk beside Yale because Indra Nooyi’s donation wasn’t publicly disclosed.

  • ed

    sorry, why would the Booth number not include the Booth gift? every other estimate I’ve seen of it includes the gift putting it well over $1bn.

  • bwanamia

    How ’bout that h-bomb!!!

  • StanfordOrBooth

    So if the David Booth Endowment is added, Booth has the second biggest endowment – bigger than Stanford by 100million? Nice