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Harvard Business School Dean’s Pay Approaches $1 Million A Year

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria was the highest-paid dean at Harvard University, earning $904,506 in fiscal 2019, according to a recent university tax filing with the government. That sum, which includes the value of his residence on campus and some deferred compensation, reflected a 7.8% jump in pay over the $839,954 Nohria earned a year earlier.

By the time Nohria leaves the job at the end of this year, he will have made roughly $9 million since he took over the top leadership job at Harvard Business School in July of 2010. Nohria announced last November that he would step down at the end of the last academic year on June 30th, but agreed to stay until the end of this year due to the pandemic (see Due To COVID-19, HBS Dean Nitin Nohria To Stay Until Year End).

In the latest just-ended fiscal year, Nohria’s total compensation would most likely have risen to $962,394, based on an average of the increases in pay he has received in the past three years. If he stayed one more year, he would almost certainly have become the first HBS dean to earn $1 million or more in a year. For the extended six months of his deanship, his pay has been subject to a university-wide salary freeze and possibly a pay cut due to pandemic constraints on budgets at Harvard. In April, for example, University President Lawrence S. Bacow said that senior school administrators were expected to reduce their salaries or contribute to a support fund for employees experiencing hardship.


Nonetheless, Nohria’s compensation is among the highest received by a business school dean but still does not break records. Sally Blount, who stepped down as dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, earned $1,131,226 in her final year, making Blount in all likelihood the first business school dean to earn more than a million in a single year. Matthew Slaughter, dean of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, earned $870,205 in fiscal 2018, the latest year for which records are publicly available.

The latest compensation for Nohria was initially reported by The Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper from a Form 990 government filing. The documents require a university to list up to 20 current employees who satisfy the definition of a key employee and have reportable compensation greater than $150,000 from the organization and related organizations). Often times, that means the pay of many of Nohria’s peers goes unreported at such schools as the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and Columbia Business School.

Though there are times when individual business school professors pop up on the list, even ahead of their deans. At Yale School of Management, for example, Ravi Dhar earned $1,267,461 in the fiscal year ending in June of 2018. A professor of management and marketing, Dhar also is the director of SOM’s Center for Customer Insights. At MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Robert Gibbons earned total compensation of $1,167,145. A professor of applied economics at Sloan, Gibbons also holds a joint appointment in MIT’s Department of Economics and is the co-principal investigator for Sloan’s Program on Innovation in Markets and Organizations.


The latest filing by Harvard University also shows revealed that the top four highest-compensated faculty members at the University were all business school professors: Michael L. Tushman, Carliss Y. Baldwin, Francesca Gino, and Stuart Gilson, according to the Crimson report. Tushman and Baldwin both received tenure buyouts from the Harvard Business School’s voluntary retirement incentive plan, according to university spokesperson Jason A. Newton. Their compensation was not disclosed and the Form 990 was not readily available.

At Harvard University in the year ending in June of 2018, no dean was more highly compensation than Nohria. His closest competitor in pay was Dean of Harvard Medical School George Daley who earned $858,969, some $45,537 less than Nohria who estimated that his job required an average 61 hours a week of work.

Total compensation typically includes the value of perks, benefits, and deferred pay. For Nohria in the fiscal year ending in June of 2018, when his total compensation was $839,358, the value of his on-campus residence was estimated at $88,275 and termed  “a nontaxable benefit.” All told, his nontaxable benefits came to $114,264 that year along with an additional $34,140 in deferred compensation of $671,406.

In every year that Nohria has been dean, the university has given him boosts in annual pay, the largest of which was a 10.6% increase between fiscal 2018 and 2019 when his compensation rose to $904,506 from $839,358. In his first full year as dean, Nohria’s income from Harvard totaled $520,034 (see table below).