Release Date: January 19, 2018
BUFFALO, N.Y. — As a graduate student choosing a PhD program decades ago, E. Han Kim, PhD ’75, took a risk that paid off.
Which is why he is giving back — a $1 million gift — to the place he bet on: the University at Buffalo School of Management.
After earning an MBA, Kim went on to pursue a PhD in finance. He was wooed by Columbia University and New York University — each offered him stipends — but he selected Buffalo for several reasons.
“I chose UB because when I visited Buffalo to check out the university, I felt most comfortable there,” said Kim, the Everett E. Berg Professor in Business Administration at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “They treated me very well.”
UB also offered Kim double the usual stipend for graduate students at the time, another factor in his decision. The generous stipend meant he could afford to focus on completing his research and publishing his dissertation, key factors in securing a job.
He had a positive experience pursuing his PhD at the UB School of Management and never forgot the place and people who helped him along the way.
In particular, he remembers his mentor, Frank Jen, professor emeritus in management, who pioneered the school’s executive education program in Dalian, China, which the Chinese Ministry of Education called “the best foreign degree program in management in China.”
Kim taught with Jen in China, and his experience “opened doors for me to sit on the boards of large Korean firms, including Korea Telecom.”
“After I got my degree, everything went so well. My first job was at Ohio State. Then the University of Michigan recruited me with an attractive offer, and I became a full professor here,” Kim said. “I feel I owe a lot of my success to the University at Buffalo.”
Kim’s gift will create an endowment to fund stipends, scholarships and financial offers to attract and help develop the best finance faculty members and doctoral students to UB.
“My goal is very simple and direct: I want to do my share to help the PhD program in finance in the University at Buffalo School of Management,” Kim said. “UB has a very strong finance faculty and good PhD program. With this gift, I want to make it stronger.”
His gift also will support students in their fifth year or later who are working to finish their research and prepare for successful careers of their own.
“I feel I owe it to Buffalo because I had such a good student experience,” he said. “I have a feeling of gratitude.”
Besides, he added, it felt so good to give.
Kim’s first gift was made after he and several of his finance classmates presented a seminar to graduate finance students at UB. Kim recalled one of the group members suggested they make a group donation to the school as well, and they all agreed to do so.
“We all felt that we owed it to UB for the good experience we had there, which launched our careers. We felt because we were treated well that we needed to give back,” he said. “Our feeling was very genuine and spontaneous.”
He recommends that his fellow finance alumni do the same.
“It made me feel so good,” he said, with a laugh. “They will not experience the joy unless they try it.”
Editor and Writer
Office of Donor and Alumni Communications
University at Buffalo Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement