MBA News: WSJ Interviews Michigan Ross’s Fundraising Guru

Despite the steep price tag attached to top-ranked business schools, many MBA programs bank on graduates’ continued support to their alma maters long after graduation. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal this week, Eddie Sartin—the chief development officer for Michigan Ross—explained that outreach efforts often begin the moment students first set foot on campus, and more than 90% of the school’s donations come from generous alumni.

When asked by the WSJ whether MBAs feel that they have already contributed enough to the school by virtue of paying tuition and fees (which add up to nearly $60K per year for Ross’s out-of-state students), Sartin responded, “Absolutely. … It’s expensive to go to a top M.B.A. program. … We try to quantify, ‘Here are things that you experienced as a student that wouldn’t be possible without private support.’”

But applicants who are nonetheless daunted by the cost of business school should remember that the return on investment for MBAs is often not directly monetary. Citing the exclusivity of the professional network into which MBAs are initiated, Sartin adds that graduates give back to their alma maters in other ways—namely, through recruiting and establishing strong corporate relationships. Ross, for instance, has built recruiting ties with Amazon Marketplace largely because the company’s vice president, Peter Faricy (’95), is an alumnus of the program.

In short, if a program has generous donors and strong alumni outreach programs, this should serve, for the prospective MBA, as an indicator of a robust professional network. To learn more about notable alumni gifts and recruiting relations at Michigan Ross and 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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