Naming Rights for These 10 US Business Schools Fetched $1.2 Billion!


Last week, we noted that 25 out of the top 30 business schools in the US were named after an individual.  Here are profiles of 10 of them that raised the most money by selling the rights to their names.  Together, the money that they raised as part of their re-naming, amount to almost 1.2 billion dollars (in inflation-adjusted 2016 dollars).

1. Booth School of Business

Booth School of Business
Catarina Oberlander

Booth School of Business, also called Chicago Booth was formerly known as the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.  It was established in 1898 as College of Commerce and Politics.  In 1916 , it was renamed the School of Commerce and Administration.  It was renamed for the third time in 1935 as the School of Business.  It was shorty afterwards that they shifted the focus from their undergraduate programs to their graduate programs.  It underwent another name change in 1959 and became the Graduate School of Business and held onto this name until 2008, when alumnus David G.  Booth donated $300 million, the largest donation made to a business school, and rechristened it as The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

On a global ranking by The Economist, Chicago Booth’s MBA program is current number one.  Booth School of Business is one among the M7, an informal group of seven elite private business schools said to have the world’s best MBA programs.  It offers courses such as Full-Time MBA, Evening MBA, Weekend MBA, and Executive MBA.  Additionally, Chicago Booth conducts research in various fields such as accounting, finance, economics, and quantitative marketing research.  International students make up a third of the total number of students at Chicago Booth.

Location: Hyde Park, Chicago (main campus), London, and Hong Kong.

Davis G. Booth is the co-CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors, an investment firm based in Austin, Texas.  In addition to the $300 million, Booth and his wife had donated $10 million to the institution in 1997.  Their philanthropist activities don’t remain restricted to the University of Chicago alone.  In 2004, they donated $9 million to the University of Kansas.

2. UCLA Anderson School of Management

Anderson School of Management
Laurent Blondeau

Founded in 1935, UCLA Anderson School of Management was then known as the School of Management at University of California, Los Angeles.  It was renamed The School of Business Administration in 1950.  The name was changed again in 1955; this time it was called Graduate School of Business Administration.  A decade and a half later, this name was changed to Graduate School of Management.  In 1987, John E. Anderson, a 1950 alumnus, donated $40 million to the institution.  The school’s name was changed to UCLA Anderson School of Management shortly after this.  Years later, in 2015, John E. Anderson’s widow, Marion Anderson donated $100 million to the business school.

UCLA Anderson School of Management offers  MBA, Financial Engineering, and Ph.D. programs.  According to reports published by US News and Businessweek, UCLA Anderson has one of the best business school programs in the US.

Location: Los Angeles, California

3. Ross School of Business

Ross School of Business

Stephen M. Ross School of Business is associated with the University of Michigan.  It was established in the year 1924, but got its present name only in 2004, after its alumnus Stephen M. Ross donated $100 million to the school.  Stephen M. Ross is the chairman and owner of  The Related Companies, a real estate development company.  At the time when this donation was made, it was the largest amount that was gifted to a business school in the US.

Ross’s BBA, MBA, and Executive Education programs are among the finest in the country and in the world.  32% of MBA students and 11% of BBA students at Ross are foreign nationals.  Ross also welcomes around 100 exchange students from various other countries.

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

4. Owen Graduate School of Management

Owen Graduate School of Management
Vanderbilt University

The MBA program at Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management is consistently ranked among the top business schools in the US.  Founded in 1969, it was then called the Graduate School of Management.  Owen Graduate School of Management was named after Ralph and Lulu Owen.  Ralph Owen was an alumnus of Vanderbilt University who went on to become the Chairman of American Express.  The school received $33.5 million upon the death of the couple.  Their donations together add up to $62 million.

The most-sought-after programs at Owen School are the two-year MBA program, the Executive MBA program, Master of Accountancy, and Master of Finance programs.  A unique feature about Owen School is their low student to faculty ratio, which at 9:1 is one of the best in the world.

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

5. Tepper School of Business

Tepper School of Business

Tepper School of Business was previously known as the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (GSIA).  It was founded in 1949 as Carnegie Mellon University’s business school.  In 2004, David Tepper, founder of Appaloosa Management, donated $55 million to the school.  He had earned his MS in Industrial Administration from Tepper, which was still known as the GSIA in 1982.  The school was later renamed David A. Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon, to honor his generosity.

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

6. McCombs School of Business

McCombs School of Business
Kumar Appaiah

McCombs began as the School of Business Administration associated with the University of Texas.  It was established in 1922.  In 2000, Billy Joe McCombs, an alumnus of the University of Texas and the founder of Red McCombs Automotive Group donated $50 million to the university.  To honor him, The Graduate School of Business and the College of Business Administration were merged and given the name Red McCombs School of Business.

McCombs School of Business offers various undergraduate, Master’s, and doctoral programs in addition to executive education programs.  It is one of the top 25 business schools in the US.

Location: Austin, Texas (main campus), Dallas, and Mexico City.

7. UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

The Kenan-Flagler Business School was established in 1919 as the Department of Commerce of the University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill’s College of Arts.  It was renamed only in 1991 to honor two of its most important benefactors: Mary Lily Kenan Flagler and her husband Henry Morrison Flagler.  Over the years, the Kenan family has donated approximately $50 million to the University of North Carolina.

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School offers Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration, MBA for Executives, Master of Accounting, and Ph.D. programs.

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

8. Kellogg School of Management

Kellogg School of Management
Jonathan Khoo

The Kellogg School of Management was founded in 1908 in downtown Chicago as Northwestern University’s School of Commerce.  It began as an evening program.  In 1976, the school expanded to its present main campus in Evanston, Illinois.  In 1979, John L. Kellogg donated $10 million to the institution.  Subsequently, it was named J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.  

Forbes ranks Kellogg at No. 3 and US News ranks it at No. 6 in their lists of the best MBA programs in the US.

Kellogg offers courses such as Master of Business Administration (MBA), MBA-JD, MMM programs, and Ph.D. programs.  The female student population is at a whopping 43% at Kellogg.

Locations: Chicago, Illinois, Miami, and Florida.

9. Haas School of Business

Haas School of Business
Prayitno Photography

Walter A. Haas School of Business is one of the top ten business schools in the world, according to The Economist, Financial Times, US News & World Report, and Bloomberg Businessweek.  Haas School of Business offers full-time and part-time MBA and Ph.D. degrees, executive education, Master’s in financial engineering, and undergraduate programs.

Haas School of Business began in 1898, as the College of Commerce of the University of California.  In 1955, the Graduate School of Business Administration was set up to offer a course in Master of Business Administration.  In 1989, $23.75 million was donated by the Walter and Elise Haas Fund towards the construction of a new building complex to house the school.  After the completion of construction in 1995, classes were moved there from downtown San Francisco.  The school was renamed the Haas School of Business in honor of the endowment which remains the largest in the history of the college.

Location: Berkeley, California.

10. Fuqua School of Business

Fuqua School of Business
Fuqua School of Business

Fuqua School of Business was called the Graduate School of Business Administration when it was founded in 1969.  It is the business school of the Duke University, North Carolina.  In 1974, the new dean initiated a campaign to raise money for the college.  Of the $24 million that was raised within a span of three years, $10 million was donated by J.B. Fuqua, a businessman and philanthropist.  To honor his magnanimity, the Graduate School of Business Administration changed its name to The Fuqua School of Business.

Fuqua is one of the top business schools in the US and is currently ranked 8th according to a report by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.  Fuqua School of Business offers courses such as MBA, Executive MBA, Master of Management Studies, a Ph.D. program, and joint degree programs in law, forestry, medicine, environmental management, public policy, and nursing.

When J.B. Fuqua was young, he used to borrow books from the Duke University’s lending library.  He credited the university with helping him to develop an interest in business techniques.  Donating to the fund raising campaign was his way of giving back to the university.  While his $10 million contribution was the single biggest amount he donated, his donations to the university throughout his life amounted to approximately $40 million.

Location: Durham, North Carolina.


Not included in the above shortlist are the Wharton School at U Penn and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College even though the naming donations they received were the highest ever to a US business at the time—$100,000 to Wharton in 1881 and $300,000 to Tuck in $300,00.

The reason for their exclusion: We don’t know of a way to adjust accurately for inflation prior to 1913!  Still, since the schools’ stories deserve mention, here goes:

Honorary mention #1. Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania


Wharton Business School is the first business school to come up in the US.  Joseph Wharton, a wealthy industrialist was inspired by the idea to found a school that would help teach students about the nuances of developing and running a business.  He donated $100,000 to the University of Pennsylvania and thus began the story of Wharton School of Finance and Economy.

Both Business Insider and QS have ranked Wharton’s MBA program No. 1 in the world.  36% of Wharton’s students are foreign nationals.  Notable alumni from Wharton include Elon Musk, Anil Ambani, Sunder Pichai, Warren Buffet, and Donald Trump.

Location: Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Honorary mention #2. Tuck School of Business

Tuck School of Business
Jay Collier

The Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, also known as the Tuck School of Business, is one of the six Ivy League business schools in the US.  It is the graduate business school of Dartmouth College, Hanover.  Tuck grants only one degree: Master of Business Administration.

In the early 1900s, the idea to build a school of business arose in the mind of Dartmouth College president, William Jewett Tucker.  He approached Edward Tuck, a wealthy banker whose father Amos Tuck had been an alumnus of Dartmouth.  Edward Tuck donated the capital to found the school in the form of stock shares amounting to $300,000 dollars.  The institution went on to become the first in the US to offer Master’s degrees in business administration.  The institution was known as Amos Tuck School of Administration and Finance after it was founded.  It was renamed Amos Tuck School of Business Administration in 1953.

Foreign students account for 43% of the total student population.  Also, 43% of the students are women.

Location: Hanover, New Hampshire.


Another special mention: MIT Sloan School of Management

MIT Sloan
Ian Lamont

The business school of Massachusetts Institute of Technology is called MIT Sloan School of Management.  Sloan is renowned for its full-time MBA course.  The school offers MBA and Executive MBA programs in addition to undergraduate courses in management science.

Although it was established in 1914, it received its current name only decades later.  In 1931, Alfred P. Sloan, an 1895 MIT graduate and a long-time chief executive of General Motors sponsored a program which was called the Sloan Fellows program.  In 1952, Alfred P. Sloane Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic organization donated more money to set up MIT School of Industrial Management.  In 1964, it was renamed Alfred P. Sloan School of Management to honor his generosity.  MIT Sloan School of Management receives annual funding from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, hence the special mention on our list.

A tidbit: MIT Sloan played a key role in founding the first Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta, back in 1960.

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