The Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB) and Harvard Business School (HBS) have received a $25 million gift from Chris and Carrie Shumway (MBA 1993) to fund programs promoting leadership in life sciences, including the MS/MBA Biotechnology: Life Sciences, a joint degree offered by HBS and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical School through HSCRB. The gift will help bridge the worlds of business and science by fostering an environment of collaboration and innovation at HBS and across Harvard, supporting work on pathbreaking research and educating a new generation of leaders in the life sciences. The gift will provide support for curriculum development and programming, faculty research, and student financial aid.

“Every day we are contending with the challenges posed by a worldwide pandemic and seeing firsthand the importance of strong connections between the lab bench and the private sector,” said Harvard President Larry Bacow. “The Shumways have given us the opportunity to think deeply about how we train leaders at this intersection that will only grow in complexity and importance. We are grateful for their foresight and their exceptional generosity.”

“This gift will provide the University with the resources to support future leaders in life sciences, dramatically increase innovation and the commercialization of new discoveries, and efficiently and quickly take transformative discoveries from the laboratory to patients and the marketplace,” said HBS Dean Nitin Nohria. “The world needs more business leaders working at the intersection of science and society, with deep understanding of not only biotechnology and life sciences, but the management skills needed to help these important companies thrive.”

To meet this need, the MS/MBA Biotechnology: Life Sciences Program, welcomed its first cohort of students this past August. In supporting financial aid that will cover the incremental costs of the MS/MBA program for these students, this gift will enable Harvard to attract and support outstanding students who already have experience and knowledge in life sciences. To recognize this support, the students in this program will be known as Shumway Fellows and this program will prepare them to take on leadership roles in biotechnology and life sciences organizations.


Harvard has created an exceptional ecosystem that can develop and cultivate talented professionals across medicine, business and life sciences who are best positioned to tackle the world’s biggest global health challenges today and in the future.”
Chris Shumway

The program builds upon students’ existing biotech and life sciences knowledge and equips them with the latest business and scientific insights. This empowers them to launch, grow, and lead transformative organizations that will advance new drug discoveries or therapeutics. Students in the program study general management at HBS and life-sciences at HSCRB, which is a joint department of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and Harvard Medical School (HMS). They benefit from the leadership of program co-chairs Amitabh Chandra (Henry and Allison McCance Professor of Business Administration at HBS and the Ethel Zimmerman Winer Professor of Public Policy and Director of Health Policy Research at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government) Mark Fishman (Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University and Chief of Pathways Consult Service at Massachusetts General Hospital), and Douglas Melton (Xander University Professor at Harvard University and Co-Director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute).

“The MS/MBA program is a collaborative effort from several schools across Harvard to fill a unique need we see in the industry,” said Emma Dench, dean of GSAS. The program provides students with the opportunity to become conversant in both biomedical science and business, and this generous gift will help to ensure that we can prepare them to lead in the rapidly growing life sciences fields.”

“The future of life sciences innovation will increasingly require deep scientific knowledge coupled with targeted business acumen,” said George Q. Daley, dean of HMS. “With this joint degree, Harvard will be uniquely positioned to educate students to lead at this nexus.”

“Sometimes it is at the intersection of disciplines where we find opportunities to ask new questions that have the potential to completely change the way we think about a problem,” said Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay. “This gift will enable Harvard to attract and support talented scholars in the life sciences and equip them with the tools they need to work at the interface of business and life sciences, asking the new questions that promote discovery and innovation in this important area.”

“Harvard has created an exceptional ecosystem that can develop and cultivate talented professionals across medicine, business and life sciences who are best positioned to tackle the world’s biggest global health challenges today and in the future,” said Chris Shumway, managing partner and founder of Shumway Capital. “As Harvard is geographically situated at the epicenter of the life sciences community with access to some of the world’s leading hospitals, pharma and biotechnology companies, we believe a tremendous opportunity exists to foster cross-pollination of ideas by marshaling the resources of Harvard and connecting with industry leaders to quickly understand and solve problems.”

The gift will also support HBS as it engages and works closely with entrepreneurs and practitioners in the field on the creation of new research and the development of executive education training to serve their unique needs.

“The acceleration of global health issues, including the current pandemic, demonstrates the need for entrepreneurial thinking,” Chris Shumway added. “Leaders born out of these programs will be equipped to drive organizations at the forefront of groundbreaking discoveries with the mindset needed to solve complex problems worldwide.”

As an entrepreneur and Managing Partner of Shumway Capital, Chris Shumway has invested in, advised, and built growth businesses for over 25 years, including in biotechnology and life sciences. The Shumways are long-time supporters and advocates for philanthropic initiatives. As strong proponents of education reform, they established the Shumway Foundation with the primary goal of helping to break the cycle of poverty through better opportunities in education. The Shumway Foundation also actively supports other results-based non-profit organizations.

In this story

Photo of Mark C. Fishman

Mark C. Fishman, M.D.

Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology
Photo of Doug Melton

Douglas Melton, Ph.D.

Xander University Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology

This story was originally posted on the Harvard Business School website on October 20, 2020.