01 Oct 2002
Pearson Hunt Remembered
Professor emeritus Pearson Hunt, an authority on corporate finance whose research
helped shape modern financial management practices, died on June 30, 2002. An
advocate for improving the teaching and learning processes in business schools
worldwide, Hunt was 93.
Hunt was one of the first to bring to the attention of the academic community the
problems related to the management of working capital and to make constructive
contributions toward analyzing and solving them more effectively. He also contributed
to the theory of capital budgeting and to the development of a more realistic
application of the cost of capital to investment decisions. In the midst of this
work, Hunt coined the term EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes), a concept
familiar to students of finance everywhere.
Hunt was born in 1908 and raised on Staten Island, New York. He graduated magna cum
laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University in 1930, completed the first year at
Columbia Law School, and then studied economics for a term at King's College,
Cambridge University. He earned an MBA from HBS with high distinction in 1933 and
received a doctorate of commercial science — the precursor to today's
doctorate of business administration (DBA) — from the School in 1939.
Named an assistant professor at HBS in 1940, Hunt became a full professor a decade
later (and was the editor of this magazine from 1942 to 1946). He was appointed the
Edmund Cogswell Converse Professor of Finance and Banking in 1967 and took on the
title emeritus in 1975. During World War II, he served as an instructor in the Army
Air Forces Statistical School on the HBS campus, as well as a staff member in the
Radiation Laboratory at MIT. Although the School was his professional home from 1940
to 1975, Hunt also taught on five continents during his HBS tenure and after his
retirement from the School. In 1983, he received the HBS Distinguished Service Award,
which is the highest honor the School can bestow upon a retired faculty member.
He leaves his wife, Dr. Edna Homa (the first woman to receive a DBA from HBS), three
children, and four grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the
Pearson Hunt Fund at HBS, c/o Kerry Cietanno, Soldiers Field, Boston, Massachusetts