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Business Schools Build Multi-Million Dollar Facilities to Attract Faculty and Staff

According to the annual Graduate Management Admission Council's 2010 survey of business schools, only 44 percent of full-time business schools saw an increase in applications. Across the country, many universities and colleges are undergoing significant budget cuts. Yet, in light of these cutbacks, business schools across the country are experiencing a building boom.

Business Schools and the Arms Race for Expanded Facilities

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that leading business schools continue to construct larger, elaborate, technologically advanced campuses in order to attract more applicants and faculty. For example, Yale is in the process of constructing a $180 million structure designed by famous British architect Lord Norman Foster. Says Sharon M. Oster, dean at Yale, "You can't be in a dump if everyone else is in a spectacular building."

This thinking is fostering a building race throughout the business school community. More office space and larger classrooms means more faculty and students -- students who pay up to $80,000 per year to attend business school. During the past decade business schools have constructed new facilities, including:

  • University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business - $140 million Jon M. Huntsman Hall
  • University of Chicago, Booth School of Business - $125 million Charles M. Harper Center
  • University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business - $145 million facility

Business Schools: Affording the Building Boom

How can business schools afford to construct new campuses? Ronald G. Ehrenberg, an economist at Cornell University has an answer, "Graduates of business schools are often the wealthiest alumni. It's easy to raise funds to build buildings from donors to those schools."

  • In 2004, Stephen M. Ross, real estate entrepreneur, provided the University of Michigan with a $100 million dollar endowment for its business school.
  • In 2006, Phil Knight, co-founder and Chairman of Nike, donated $105 million dollars to the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
  • In 2008, David Booth, co-founder and CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors, donated $300 million dollars to the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

With schools like MIT, Columbia University, and Northwestern University all raising funds for campus expansions, there seems to be no end in sight to the building boom.