Can a new building make a big difference to a business school?
You bet. That’s why business schools have poured hundreds of millions into new modern buildings on their campuses. Just ask Frank Martinez, an MBA student at Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business. Broad formally opened the doors on the 100,000-square-foot Edward J. Minskoff Pavilion, the new home of its MBA program, in September.
“The building is outstanding,” raves Martinez. “There is a beautiful private MBA lounge and a Panera on the first floor. It is a bedrock for the institution of business academics. I’m truly excited to be part of this hallmark point on my institution’s history.”
THE HOLY GRAIL OF UNIVERSITY BUILDINGS: ON TIME, ON BUDGET & FULLY FUNDED BY PRIVATE SUPPORT
More than a draw for students and faculty, a state-of-the-art building, filled with the latest technology to assist learning, can also be a source of great pride on campus. And the efforts to raise money for a new structure, with a price tag of $62 million for Broad’s new building, can have a galvanizing impact on alumni.
For Broad Dean Sanjay Gupta, the new building also represents a major accomplishment. It took two years to select the architects, agree to the design of the Minskoff Pavilion, and find an ideal location for it is located on Shaw Lane, connected to the school’s Eppley Center and North Business Building. Then, it took construction crews another two years to build it.
“We were fundraising through all of this time and the final result is a wonderful trifecta which is often hard to achieve,” says Gupta in an interview with Poets&Quants. “The building was completed ahead of schedule, under budget and fully funded by private support. That is the Holy Grail. If you can get one of those right, that is a big deal.”
‘RAISING ALL THAT MONEY WAS NOT EASY’
In all, more than 1,500 individuals, organizations and corporate partners have contributed to the project’s final goal, including Edward J. Minskoff, a 1962 undergraduate alum and New York-based real estate developer who provided the largest gift from an individual in the university’s history: $30 million.
“Without a doubt, raising all that money was not easy, especially when you think of the times we were going through,” adds Gupta, an accounting professor who became Broad’s acting dean in 2015 until being named dean a year later . “The other hard part was how do we deliver on a lot of competing demands. You want to provide a student experience. You want to replicate the work environment they will be going into. And you want to have an inspirational space for both students and faculty. We bought into this notion of taking to heart what an inspirational service culture should look like. We have created this space with collaboration at the core of the experience. That sense of collaboration will permeate throughout the Broad College.”
After the teardown of another structure, the Minskoff Pavilion adds a net 75,000 square feet to the business school’s facilities. The collaborative and flexible spaces are in the form of classrooms, team rooms, laboratories, student lounges, a career management center, and an entrepreneurship lab. “We will attract students from all over campus to the entrepreneurship lab but the goal of that space is that it will host activities that will enable us to really supercharge our entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus,” explains Gupta.