12 Dec 2017
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Hal (MBA 1968) and Diane Brierley

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Hal (MBA 1968) and Diane Brierley

Hal (MBA 1968) and Diane Brierley

For Hal Brierley (MBA 1968), Harvard Business School changed the direction of his career. He arrived at Soldiers Field assuming he would combine his BS in chemical engineering and MBA to work in the oil industry. Instead, he embarked on a path that would lead him to become a pioneer in database marketing and customer engagement.

While working as a research assistant at HBS after graduation, Brierley agreed to help the headquarters of his undergraduate fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, find a firm that could automate their membership records. He couldn’t find one specializing in record keeping, so he and fellow research assistant, Tom Jones (MBA 1968), offered to serve as consultants and complete the project. That’s how Epsilon Data Management was born in the basement of Dillon Hall.

“HBS gave me the opportunity to start my own company before being an entrepreneur was a common thing to do,” explains Brierley. Within 10 years, Epsilon was working with more than 400 nonprofit organizations. After leaving the company, Brierley went on to pioneer customer engagement programs for top brands, including the world’s first airline loyalty program.

Brierley and his wife, Diane, who have called Dallas home for 30 years, have given regularly to HBS since his graduation, supporting the HBS Fund for Leadership and Innovation and creating both a professorship and a student fellowship. They have extended their generous support further by naming HBS as a beneficiary of their will. “HBS unleashed my entrepreneurial spirit. I feel compelled to give back to the place that set me on the path to a unique and satisfying career,” explains Brierley.

As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, Brierley has left his mark on both the field of customer engagement and on his community. In addition to HBS, he and Diane support many Dallas institutions, including the Dallas Zoo (the couple is pictured on the Brierley Giraffe Ridge), the Dallas Performing Arts Center, Baylor Health Care System, North Texas Public Broadcasting, and the United Way. “It’s very rewarding to be able to support the many organizations important to our community,” says Brierley.

Learn how you, too, can make a bequest to HBS.

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Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1968, Section B

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