Annual Report 2011

From the Chief Financial Officer


Providing faculty with the support they need to create ideas that have power in practice typically consumes more than 20 percent of the School's operating budget. After peaking prior to the recession, the School's research investments declined in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 as the faculty reined in their use of research resources in an effort to help the School conserve cash during the downturn.

Returning to a prerecession level of research investment was a key budget priority for fiscal 2011, and the School made solid progress toward this objective. Although the total number of faculty full-time equivalent (FTE) positions remained essentially level with the prior year at 217, the School's total spending for faculty research support grew by $5 million, or 5 percent, to $96.7 million—within 5 percent of the record high recorded in fiscal 2008.

In addition to providing the faculty with increased levels of direct and indirect research support in fiscal 2011, the School made an initial investment in launching the U.S. Competitiveness Project, through which HBS faculty, working with partners from other institutions, will focus on reversing the decline in the ability of firms operating in the United States to compete successfully in the global economy. Highlighting the project in fiscal 2012 will be a special issue of Harvard Business Review, and a summit of leaders in business, labor, government, and academia, as well as a program of outreach with key decision makers.

With a novel and challenging research agenda taking shape on the horizon at HBS, recruiting new faculty was a top strategic priority for fiscal 2011. The School was successful in recruiting and on-boarding 14 tenure-track and eight practitioner faculty during the year. As a result, net of planned and unplanned departures, the total size of the faculty stands at 231 FTEs as we begin fiscal 2012. In light of the School's ambitious agenda for knowledge creation, the increasingly global scope of research activity at HBS, and growth in the size of the faculty, our total research investment for fiscal 2012 is budgeted to rise 15 percent from the level spent in fiscal 2011.  

Campus Renewal and Expansion

HBS regularly makes capital investments in facilities renewal and maintenance, infrastructure and I.T. upgrades, and construction of new facilities based on a comprehensive long-term campus development strategy. After investing an unusually modest $14.2 million in fiscal 2010, the School planned a 57 percent increase in capital spending for fiscal 2011. Actual spending more than doubled from the prior year to $34.3 million, focusing on long-anticipated as well as opportunistic renewal and maintenance projects designed to preserve the integrity and enhance the quality of the campus.

The School's largest single capital investment in fiscal 2011 was the previously mentioned renovation of 125 Western Avenue, housing the Harvard Innovation Lab on the first floor. The second and third floors of the building, which formerly housed public broadcasting's WGBH, are now providing HBS with new and much-needed space for field-based MBA learning. As well, the School addressed numerous deferred maintenance issues; upgraded life safety systems in Baker, McArthur, and Kresge Halls; and implemented sustainability and energy efficiency measures across the campus. To date, these initiatives have reduced fuel and power consumption at HBS by 20 percent, bringing the School back to 2001 energy usage levels.

Income for Operations

Executive Education successfully managed campus space limitations and constraints on available faculty in fiscal 2011, resulting in higher enrollments across its program portfolio. Driven by newly launched open enrollment courses and the first increase in custom program participation since the onset of the recession, Executive Education tuition revenue grew by $19 million, or 17 percent, from the prior year, exceeding the School's fiscal 2011 budget by 16 percent. Reflecting improved capacity utilization and operational efficiency gains, Executive Education's margin contribution for fiscal 2011 significantly exceeded both the School's forecast and actual results for the prior year.

Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) also outperformed the School's expectations in fiscal 2011. HBP's revenue for fiscal 2010 had come in substantially higher than initially planned, and in light of the increasingly challenging competitive environment in publishing, it did not seem reasonable to anticipate another year of significant revenue growth. We were equally cautious in our expectations for HBP's bottom-line performance in fiscal 2011, given that executing on HBP's long-term competitive strategy would require further investment in the business's digital technology platform, online product offerings, and sales organization.  

Although Publishing expenses did ultimately increase as planned, fiscal 2011 turned out to be a year of solid top-line growth, as revenue increased by $17 million, or 13 percent, from fiscal 2010, exceeding our forecast by 16 percent. This growth was fueled by higher sales in all the HBP market groups. Demand for the School's latest release of Harvard ManageMentor was particularly strong, as was advertising revenue at Harvard Business Review.

Gifts from HBS alumni and friends have long played a crucial role in the School's economic model. Fiscal 2011 was no exception. In a highly successful year for fundraising, total cash received from gifts increased by $30 million, or 51 percent, from the prior fiscal year, to $89 million—a level not seen since the School's last capital campaign nearly a decade ago.

Fiscal 2011 was also a strong year for class reunion and annual giving by the HBS community, as revenue from unrestricted current use gifts grew by $4 million, or 29 percent, from fiscal 2010, to $17 million. This matched the all-time record that HBS set prior to the recession in fiscal 2007, providing the School with additional funds to nurture innovative programs that are not endowed and to support new strategic priorities for research and teaching. At the same time, cash giving for capital projects increased from zero in fiscal 2010 to $25 million, reflecting the first $25 million of a $50 million pledge from philanthropic entities of India's Tata Group for the construction of the new Tata Hall Executive Education facility.

Based on the 27 percent drop in the value of the endowment in fiscal 2009, the School's fiscal 2011 financial plan assumed that endowment distribution income would decrease for the second consecutive year. However, efforts to maximize the use of investment income from existing endowment funds, combined with the new distribution from fiscal 2010's $50 million transfer to the School's endowment reserve, enabled HBS to mitigate this decline.

As a consequence, the School's endowment distribution for fiscal 2011 exceeded the budget by $4 million and declined by only $1 million from the prior year. Including the endowment distribution and revenue from unrestricted current use giving, total income from gifts to HBS in fiscal 2011 exceeded the School's forecast by $7 million, or 6 percent. The School transferred an additional $50 million to the endowment reserve in fiscal 2011, positioning HBS to further enhance income from endowment funds in fiscal 2012.

In addition to revenue growth, the School's bottom line in fiscal 2011 benefited from numerous expense reduction measures that cumulatively added significantly to overall operating margins. These included savings in the cost of travel, classroom supplies, and salaries related to open positions, as well as deferral of a portion of the spending associated with Dean Nohria's strategic priorities until fiscal 2012.

One of our key financial goals is for the School to serve as a living model of what we teach. Delivering an annual operating surplus is key to our responsibility as stewards of the School's resources, and fiscal 2011 was a successful year in this regard. HBS generated $53 million in cash from operations, compared with $52 million in fiscal 2010, and remained solidly cash flow positive.

At the same time, HBS funded ambitious education and research initiatives and invested in increased capital project activity on campus while, in an effort to maximize return on total assets, also transferring the aforementioned $50 million to the endowment reserve. After making these investments, the School concluded fiscal 2011 with a strong balance of unrestricted reserves that, we believe, provides operations at HBS with an appropriately sized buffer against the impact of future economic downturns.