What does Indra Nooyi, Sundar Pichai, and Satya Nadella have in common? Besides being fabulously wealthy, they are also some of the most famous CEOs of the world, driving change through innovation. Their contribution now extends beyond their business, and they have become an inspiration to millions.
According to the Harvard Business Review, nearly a third of the top 500 best-performing CEOs have an MBA degree. It shows a consistent trend that an MBA degree helps anyone with knowledge and a network base and pushes them up the corporate ladder.
If you, too, are an aspiring entrepreneur, this blog is a must-read for you as we will be listing the top 10 CEOs having an MBA and the B-school they studied from. These CEO’s have regularly been featured as the most powerful men and women around the world. We hope their journey and life story inspires you to venture out of your comfort zone towards the life you deserve.
Satya Nadella is currently the CEO of Microsoft. Prior to this, he served as the Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group.
After pursuing his Bachelor’s, Nadella moved to the USA in 1990 to study Masters in Computer Science. He later received his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 1997. He would travel from Seattle to Chicago every weekend for two years to pursue his MBA dream.
Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 as a young engineer. In 2000, Nadella secured his first executive role as the Vice President of Microsoft bCentral, a set of web services for small businesses that included hosted website-hosting and email. He became the President of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business, and he was credited for bringing Microsoft’s database, Windows Server, and Developer tools to Azure cloud.
Known for his clarity of vision and keen listening style, Nadella always believed that an MBA helped him tackle complex business challenges.
Name: Tim Cook
Current designation: CEO, Apple
B-School: Know all about Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
After his graduation, Tim Cook joined IBM and spent the next 12 years serving as the North American fulfillment director.
It was during his time at IBM that Cook also earned his MBA from Duke University.
On joining Apple as a Senior Vice President for Worldwide Operation, Tim took the bold step of closing factories and warehouses and replaced them with contract manufacturers. It helped reduce the company’s inventory from months to days. Tim’s daring maneuver resulted in generating huge profits and keeping costs under control.
After Steve Jobs resigned as the CEO and became the chairman of the board, Cook was named the new chief executive officer of Apple Inc. on August 24, 2011.
Tim attributes his success to his MBA education, which helped him manage people, strategize new moves, and execute them for long-lasting success.
Also read: Fuqua School of Business MBA Essay Analysis
Jamie Dimon is an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School and currently holds the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) position for JP Morgan Chase, one of the largest American banks. He is also one of the few bank chief executives to become a billionaire.
Tracing his education, Jamie majored in psychology and economics at Tufts University. After graduation, he worked at a management consulting firm for two years before enrolling at Harvard Business School.
Known as a leader who has led the world during the financial crisis, he was one of Harvard Business School’s finest students. It is also reported that he never attended any class without prior preparation.
Also read: Harvard Business School MBA Essay Analysis
Name: Sundar Pichai
Current designation: CEO, Google and Alphabet
B-School: Know all about Wharton School of Business
Sundar Pichai is one of the world’s highest-paid executives and is currently the CEO of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google. Pichai secured his degree from IIT Kharagpur in Metallurgical Engineering. After that, he moved to the United States and completed his M.S. from Stanford University in Material Science and Engineering.
However, he did not stop here; he completed his MBA from another prestigious college, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named a Siebel Scholar and a Palmer Scholar, respectively.
Sundar joined Google in 2004 and led the Product Management and Innovation efforts for Google’s client software products like Chrome and Chrome OS. He was also primarily responsible for Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Maps. For all his brilliance, Pichai was selected to become the next CEO of Google on August 10, 2015.
Donning several noteworthy hats, Indra Nooyi is the former Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo. Currently, she is serving at the Board of Directors at Amazon. Indra received her Bachelor’s in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics from Madras Christian College in 1974. She received her first MBA degree from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta in 1976. Two years later, she enrolled at the prestigious Yale School of Management, moved to the USA, and earned her second MBA in Public and Private Management in 1980.
For her achievements, she was honored with the Padma Bhushan in 2007 and received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Yale University in 2019.
Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994 and was named CEO in 2006, becoming the fifth CEO in PepsiCo’s 44-year history. In 2014, she was ranked 13th on the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and was ranked the 2nd most powerful woman on the Fortune list in 2015. In 2017, she was ranked the 2nd most powerful woman once more on the Forbes list of ‘The 19 Most Powerful Women in Business’.
Also read: Yale School of Management MBA Essay Analysis
Name: Ajaypal Singh Banga
Current designation: CEO, MasterCard
B-School: Know all about IIM Ahmedabad
Unlike other CEOs who have received additional education from abroad, Banga’s education is primarily from India. Banga received a lot of success, so much that, the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, appointed Banga as a member of the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. Previously, Banga has also served as the CEO of Citigroup Asia-Pacific.
Banga is also the former Chairman of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), representing more than 300 of the largest international companies investing in India. He is also the Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce and an active member of various other organizations.
In 2016, Ajaypal was awarded the Padma Shri for his contribution to the world of business and community.
Also read: IIM Ahmedabad PGPX MBA Essay Analysis
Name: Mary Barra
Current designation: CEO, General Motors
B-School: Know all about Stanford Graduate School of Business
LinkedIn: Know more about Mary Barra
Mary Barra currently serves as the CEO of General Motors, one of America’s largest multinational corporations. She graduated from the General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) in 1985 and pursued her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business on a GM fellowship in 1990.
She started working for General Motors in 1980 as a co-op student. Her primary job was to check fender panels and inspect hoods. She held several prominent engineering and administrative positions, including managing the Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly plant.
General Motors envisions a world with zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion under her leadership, which is a move towards a more sustainable future.
Name: Anand Mahindra
Current designation: CEO, Mahindra Group
B-School: Know all about Harvard Business School
LinkedIn: Know more about Anand Mahindra
A third-generation scion of the Mahindra clan, Anand Mahindra chairs the 21 billion Mahindra and Mahindra conglomerate. He is the mastermind behind Mahindra Group’s entry into new domains that include real estate and hospitality. Today, the Mahindra Group’s operations span 20 industries, from automobile to the IT industry.
However, initially, he studied filmmaking and architecture before pursuing an MBA at Harvard.
Anand Mahindra is included in the Fortune Magazine among the ‘World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’ and was among Asia’s 25 most powerful business people in 2011. For his contribution to business and his society, Anand Mahindra received the Padma Bhushan Award, the third-highest civilian award in India, in January 2020.
Also read: Harvard Business School MBA Essay Analysis
Alex Gorsky is a considerable influence on anyone in the business world. He started his career with Johnson and Johnson as a sales representative and advanced his career in several positions like marketing, management, sales, and finally, becoming the CEO in 2012.
He is also one of the oldest graduates from Wharton School of Business in 1996. He has remained very active in the Wharton community with the Leadership Advisory Board and a frequent guest lecturer.
Outside his job circle, he is also an advocate of diversity and inclusion and has been named one of the “100 Most Inspiring Leaders” by Pharma Voice. He is also the Executive Sponsor of two Johnson & Johnson employee resource groups, the Women’s Leadership Initiative, and the Veteran’s Leadership Council.
Name: Shantanu Narayen
Current designation: CEO, Adobe Systems
B-School: Know all about Berkeley Haas School of Business in Management
The CEO of Adobe, Shantanu Narayen, holds five patents and has earned a Masters in Computer Science. Before working for Adobe, Shantanu worked at Apple and would attend the evening classes at Berkeley Haas.
Narayen joined Adobe in 1998 as Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Product Development till 2001. Then for the next four years, he was the Executive Vice-President of Worldwide Products. In 2005, he was appointed the CEO and President of Adobe.
His world-class work ethic and business acumen led Barron’s Magazine to name him one of the Best CEOs in 2019.
Also read: Haas School of Business MBA Essay Analysis
These top-10 CEOs are just the tip of the iceberg. Every year, there are countless other CEOs who emerge from several business schools around the world. It is safe to say that an MBA degree binds many of these CEOs together and helps them make impactful decisions that affect their business, and positively affect the community at large.
Want to watch the video on the top-10 CEOs we have curated for you? You can check it out below:
We hope these brilliant minds have inspired you to pursue your business dreams with an MBA. We would also like to mention that CrackVerbal has several offerings: Live Online GMAT Prep, Online GMAT Prep, Advanced GMAT Course, and GMAT Personal Tutoring. With our dedicated mentors, we are confident that you, too, can achieve your dream.
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