Harvard Business School has received a $25 million donation in support of its doctoral programs from Hansjoerg Wyss, a member of the MBA Class of 1965 and an entrepreneur who built Synthes, Inc., into a leading international medical device company specializing in orthopedic instruments and implants.
“One of the greatest challenges facing business schools today is a growing shortage of outstanding faculty,” said Dean Kim B. Clark. “This generous gift will enhance the experience of current students and allow us to strengthen the School’s doctoral programs in the future, so we can continue to produce world-class scholars and teachers who will go on to join the faculties of this and other universities around the globe.”
The gift, part of the School’s $500 million capital campaign, is the largest ever given to a doctoral program at a business school. It will be used to establish the Hansjoerg Wyss Endowment for Doctoral Education, which will support a broad range of efforts to strengthen HBS doctoral programs. Among the items that may be funded by the Endowment are fellowships and stipends for doctoral students; increased support for field research; new doctoral course development; teaching skills training; and the renovation of doctoral facilities on campus. To honor Mr. Wyss’s extraordinary dedication to Harvard Business School and higher education, Sherman Hall, which houses the doctoral programs’ offices on the HBS campus, will be rededicated as Wyss House, and doctoral candidates receiving support will be known as Wyss Fellows.
“Strengthening doctoral education is central to Harvard University’s commitment to building a pipeline of faculty who will educate new generations of students around the world,” said Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers. “Because of the interdisciplinary nature of management, this gift will support research and education in several key areas around the University.”
Harvard Business School grants the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree (www.hbs.edu/doctoral) in five areas of study: accounting and control, marketing, policy and management, strategy, and technology and operations management. In addition, in conjunction with Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, it offers programs in business economics; health policy; information, technology and management; and organizational behavior leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. At any given time, approximately 95 HBS doctoral students are completing course work or working on their dissertations at the School.
“The doctoral programs at Harvard Business School have a tremendous influence, not only through the candidates educated here, but through the thousands of students they eventually teach and the millions more who benefit from the research and new ideas they generate,” Mr. Wyss said. “I am proud to support this effort.”
The academic job market for HBS doctoral program students continues to strengthen and expand each year, with about 90 percent of graduates accepting a teaching position after graduation. Recent HBS doctoral candidates have received job offers from institutions such as the University of Chicago, London Business School, University of Michigan, MIT, Stanford and Wharton. In addition, some of the School’s most influential professors are also alumni of its doctoral programs. Michael Porter’s research on competitive strategy, for example, and Clayton Christensen’s work on disruptive technologies were both forged during their time in the HBS doctoral programs. Former HBS Dean John H. McArthur also received his doctorate from the School.
“This endowment will make possible a significant extension of the reach and impact that our programs have on research, teaching, and learning about management,” said Professor George P. Baker, co-chair of the HBS doctoral programs. “It also will assist us immensely in our continuing efforts to attract a remarkable group of young men and women who will become part of the next generation of university and business school faculty.”
Another benefit of the Wyss Endowment will be increased funding for research, according to Dr. Janice McCormick, executive director of the HBS doctoral programs. “We’ve always asked our doctoral candidates and faculty to contribute to both theory and practice,” she said. “That means going beyond software programs and data sets and getting students to anchor their work in real-world issues. This gift will allow us to better support the research goals of our students and help them share their results with both practitioners and the academic community at large.”
Currently the chairman and chief executive office of Synthes, Inc., Hansjoerg Wyss has had a distinguished career as a pioneer in the medical field, bringing revolutionary orthopedic devices to market and changing the surgical approach to healing broken bones. After graduating from the University of Zurich in 1959, he went to work for Chrysler Corporation, helping to set up manufacturing plants around the world. He then enrolled at HBS, graduating with distinction in 1965. After working for large multinational corporations for nine years, he decided to strike out on his own as an entrepreneur.
Joining forces with a group of four innovative Swiss surgeons who were working on new bone-setting techniques, Mr. Wyss agreed to help commercialize their “internal fixation” products in the U.S. market. Since establishing Synthes USA, Wyss has taken on leadership roles in both this country and Switzerland and grown Synthes into a major global corporation focused on the development, production, and distribution of orthopedic instruments and implants.
An avid pilot and outdoorsman, Mr. Wyss is particularly committed to conservation and other environmental concerns. He is a member of several environmental organizations, including the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Wilderness Society, and the Grand Canyon Trust. Involved in a number of HBS initiatives in the past, he has facilitated the development of environmental management cases for the MBA program and supported the School’s social enterprise efforts with the establishment of the Hansjoerg Wyss Visiting Scholars Fund in 2003. Marc J. Epstein, current scholar-in-residence, focuses on the use of new strategic management systems to help companies focus strategy, link to performance metrics, and drive improved performance in organizations.
Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School (www.hbs.edu) is located in Boston, Massachusetts, and offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as a portfolio of more than 40 Executive Education programs. With a faculty of more than 200 distinguished scholars, the School is dedicated to educating leaders who make a difference in the world. Its core focus is to shape the practice of business, build enduring knowledge, and effectively communicate important ideas