11 Jun 2019

Harvard Business School and Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Announce Gift of Financial Aid to Support Joint Degree Program Students

Gift accelerates transformation of Allston into an epicenter of research, technology, and innovation, and catalyzes collaboration between HBS and SEAS
(LtoR): Mark Nunnelly (MBA 1984) and Denise Dupré recently met with the 29 members, including Spencer Penn (MS/MBA 2020), of the inaugural cohort of MS/MBA in Engineering Sciences program.

BOSTON—Harvard Business School (HBS) and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have received a gift from Denise Dupré and Mark Nunnelly (MBA 1984) in support of student financial aid for the Schools’ joint MS/MBA program in Engineering Sciences. Launched in 2018, the degree program is integral to advancing the vision for Harvard in Allston and the expanding opportunities of collaboration and innovation between HBS and SEAS.

“The expansion of SEAS to Allston is a catalyst for collaboration that will propel and transform teaching and research at Harvard for decades to come,” said Nitin Nohria, Dean of Harvard Business School. “This generous gift will support future leaders who will bridge the worlds of business and engineering, spurring innovation and the commercialization of new discoveries to address many of society’s most exciting opportunities.”

The transformation of Allston is already underway with the construction of the Science and Engineering Complex, which will house SEAS when it opens in 2020, alongside the 36-acre Enterprise Research Campus. In addition, the opening of the Harvard ArtLab and the plans to move the American Repertory Theater to Allston will bring additional cultural vitality to the neighborhood.

“There are moments in the lives of institutions that alter the future in profound ways by creating opportunities for remarkable growth,” said Larry Bacow, President of Harvard University. “Our expanding campus in Allston will drive the University’s next century of achievement in teaching and research. Denise and Mark realized early the impact of supporting financial aid for students who are going to be leaders in the innovation ecosystem, and their foresight and generosity will amplify our efforts to attract some of the world’s best talent to HBS and SEAS.”

The plans for the Allston expansion were instrumental in inspiring the couple’s gift.

“We've both been enormous fans of the possibilities in Allston for many years,” said Nunnelly. “It's so incredibly important to the future of Harvard, the city of Boston, and the entire state of Massachusetts. When John Paulson made his transformative gift, the light underneath the project really started to come forward. We hope that our gift will be one of many catalysts that are launched by this inspiring and large vision that is Allston.” Dupré anticipates that the Allston expansion has a “ripple effect” on the city of Boston. “We hope that it underscores and magnifies all of the amazing things that are happening in the city, becoming a draw to bring people together in this cross-collaboration,” she said.

By developing future leaders of technology ventures as designers—of products, business models, and organizations—the MS/MBA program educates entrepreneurially-minded students who will drive the innovation needed to address societal problems and develop value-creating enterprises. The program aims to spur innovation and make it possible to efficiently and quickly take pioneering ideas to the marketplace. In supporting student financial aid, this gift will enable Harvard to attract and support outstanding students who already have technical knowledge and skills and prepare them for these leadership roles. Beginning in spring 2020, the program will also honor a select group of students who have shown exemplary leadership, academic success, and innovation during their time at HBS and SEAS.

“The MS/MBA program is a very tangible result of a spirit of collaboration between HBS and SEAS. We share the conviction that Harvard’s business school can be even better with closer ties to Harvard’s engineering program, and vice versa. Virtually every big societal need—the grand challenges that will define the future of our world—requires both business acumen and engineering savvy,” said Frank Doyle, the John A. Paulson Dean of SEAS.

The MS/MBA program welcomed its 29 inaugural degree candidates this academic year, 2018-2019. The joint degree, which confers an MBA from HBS and a Master of Science (MS) in Engineering Sciences from SEAS, is designed to fuse the strengths from both management and technology programs and create the next generation of inspirational leaders. The program focuses equally on engineering, design, and business fundamentals, developing the tools that are crucial for success in leading technology ventures. Applicants to the program have undergraduate degrees in engineering, computer science, or a related field, as well as at least two years of related full-time work experience.

“Education is the foundation and building block for making our future world better. Innovation and technology are clearly going to be an essential part of that future,” said Nunnelly. “The MS/MBA program will tap into that, making certain to develop capabilities and leaders that will be an important part of this exciting and changing future.”

On a recent trip to campus, the couple met with the first cohort of MS/MBA students, which affirmed their commitment to creating equal opportunity for the new collaborative program. “You couldn’t help but leave that room and say ‘Wow’—it was just an incredible assemblage of bright minds who want to change the world,” said Dupré.

Education has been at the heart of Dupré’s and Nunnelly’s philanthropic efforts and careers. Nunnelly was a managing director at Bain Capital and served as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and Special Advisor to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker for technology and innovation competitiveness. He most recently served the commonwealth as Secretary of the Office of Technology Service and Security. Dupré has taught at Harvard University and is a former dean and professor at the Boston University School of Hotel Administration. She is currently the managing partner of Champagne Hospitality.


Mark Cautela


Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 200 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 70 open enrollment Executive Education programs and 55 custom programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, HBS faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, shaping the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.


Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) serves as the connector and integrator of Harvard’s teaching and research efforts in engineering, applied sciences, and technology. Through collaboration with researchers from all parts of Harvard, other universities, and corporate and foundational partners, SEAS brings discovery and innovation directly to bear on improving human life and society. For more information, visit http://seas.harvard.edu