Andrew Likierman

London Business School: Victim of its own success?

October 14, 2011: 8:37 AM ET

Top rankings have inspired more demand for an MBA from London Business School than it can meet, surely a predicament that other schools might envy. Dean Andrew Likierman discusses what's in store for the school.

By John A. Byrne, contributor

London Business School

London Business School

(Poets&Quants) -- London Business School is seeking to dramatically expand its size by acquiring a new building within walking distance of its campus near St. Regent's Park in London, according to Sir Andrew Likierman, the school's dean. The new building is expected to be the centerpiece of a major fundraising campaign as the school attempts to move closer toward a U.S. model of funding with far more significant support from alumni.

Sir Andrew, an accounting professor who became dean in January 2009, made clear that the school's single biggest challenge is that it has run out of space and currently has little money to fund expansion.

"We are absolutely full. We would like to be bigger, have more faculty, and do more as an institution," he says. "That means we need more money. That is a familiar cry. But we operate in the middle of London, and London is not cheap as a place."

London's current endowment is under 20 million pounds, or less than $31.5 million. By comparison, the endowment at Harvard Business School tops $2 billion. Even Babson College, a second-tier school primarily known for its entrepreneurship MBA program, has an endowment that is nearly eight times London's -- some $243 million. London's comparatively small endowment limits its ability to compete for the best students and faculty and to provide world-class facilities.

Sir Andrew concedes that convincing alumni to more consistently ante up won't be easy. "A lot of the people who came through here are from the early years when the state provided funds," he says. "There was no sense that people had to put their hands in their pockets for that." More

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