Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. Operations Analyst
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Ernst & Young
GMAT 600 (hopeful estimate), GPA 3.86
Kellogg | Mr. Innovator
GRE 300, GPA 3.75
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
GMAT 780, GPA 3.63
Yale | Ms. Biotech
GMAT 740, GPA 3.29
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Marine Executive Officer
GRE 322, GPA 3.28
Stanford GSB | Ms. Global Empowerment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.66
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
Stanford GSB | Mr. Infantry Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Armenian Geneticist
GRE 331, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 1st Gen Grad
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
Ross | Mr. Travelpreneur
GMAT 730, GPA 2.68
London Business School | Ms. Numbers
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
IU Kelley | Mr. Fortune 500
N U Singapore | Mr. Naval Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
INSEAD | Ms. Spaniard Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 8.5/10.00
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31

The Wealthiest International B-Schools

INSEAD's endowment of $213.9 million puts it more than $3 billion behind Harvard Business School

INSEAD’s endowment of $213.9 million puts it more than $3 billion behind Harvard Business School

It’s no secret that American universities have long been the beneficiaries of generous philanthropic support. Endowments at U.S. schools tower over all the institutions of higher education anywhere in the world. The income from those treasure chests is poured into superior faculty, the best and brightest students, and state-of-the-art facilities that make a U.S. higher education a formidable world competitor.

That’s especially true within the business school community. Consider this simple factoid: INSEAD, with multiple campuses in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, is the wealthiest business school outside the U.S., with an endowment of $213.9 million, or €189.7 million. That compares with the top U.S. contender, Harvard Business School, with a staggering endowment of $3.3 billion. In fact, 22 U.S. business schools boast endowments that exceed INSEAD’s totals, including Babson College and Bentley. No less revealing, the five business schools outside the U.S. with the largest endowments boast a combined total of less than $750 million vs. the five combined U.S. B-schools total of $7.7 billion.

Bottom line: Non-U.S. business schools are far behind their American counterparts when it comes to resources. U.S. business schools are quite efficient at raising money from corporations, sponsors, loyal alumni, and friends, while international schools have lagged behind in building their cash treasure chests. This is perhaps the biggest institutional level difference between the U.S. and the international schools.


As a rule, international B-schools have relatively small endowments or none at all. This makes them much more reliant on revenue from tuition and fees, annual funds, and government support which in turn means that international business schools are relatively constrained in their ability to fund new initiatives and invest in the development of their programs. The larger endowments held by U.S. business schools not only provide them with a greater capacity to grow and develop for the long term, they also provide a cushion of support that makes them better prepared to survive the effects of any shocks to the business school industry.

The endowment gap is largely a function of history and culture. Outside the U.S., educational philantrophy is far less common. The spirit of giving in the U.S., on the other hand, has a long tradition and many benefactors. Several of the leading European business schools are trying to change this. At the London Business School, for example, Sir Andrew Likierman has made it a priority of his deanship to solidify the school’s financial model by setting a target to raise £100 million by 2018.

All this matters, concedes Likierman, “because we need to be able to attract the best talent, whether students or professors, and for students we’re competing with some institutions that can often offer much more money than we do.” Currently, LBS’ endowment is valued at €65.0 million.


Another reason why endowments at international business schools have not grown at the same pace has to do with the greater acceptance of graduate management education in the U.S. The largest employers of MBAs tend to be U.S. multinational organizations. The recognition of the value of an MBA is also stronger in the American culture. An important outcome of that acceptance is both corporate and executive financial support for business schools.

Still, after INSEAD, the international school with the second largest endowment is the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) in Berlin, with €137.6 million. Rounding out the top five are No. 3 University of Toronto Rotman School, with €95.9 million, No. 4 EDHEC Business School (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales du Nord) Business School in France, with €95.0 million, and No. 5 HEC Montreal, with $81.1 million.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article reported that Copenhagen Business School was among the schools with the largest endowments. Copenhagen, however, erroneously provided income numbers to P&Q and not the value of its endowment. The school has no endowment.

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.