8 Prominent Business Leaders Who Hold An MBA

8 Prominent Business Leaders Who Hold An MBA

As many of us understand first hand, achieving the Master of Business Administration (MBA) takes great dedication. When we admire the careers of prominent international business leaders, it is not often that we can compare ourselves with them in terms of our achievements. It is however comforting to know that the below eight leaders built their careers from the moment they achieved their MBA. With such a diverse range of leaders below, it is a great example of how the MBA can shape your career, and truly prepare you for all facets of business. Whether your passion lies in politics, tech or entrepreneurship – the AIB MBA can take you there.

 1. George W. Bush 

The former US President earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1973, making him the first American President to hold the prestigious degree. In his 1999 book, Bush stated that his MBA “gave him the tools and vocabulary of the business world”.


 2. Tony Wheeler

Founder of international travel guide empire Lonely Planet, Tony Wheeler built his success from a strong educational background. After completing his MBA in 1972 from London Business School, he went on to found Lonely Planet, and build it to the multi-faceted organisation that it is today.



3. Sheryl Sandberg 

Graduating her MBA with the ‘Highest Distinction’ in 1995, former Google employee and current COO of Facebook Sandberg has certainly achieved a lot. In her first year of business school, she won a fellowship, putting her above many of her male counterparts.



4. Sir John Sunderland 

As former Chariman of Cadbury Schweppes, and Barclays Board Non-Executive Director, Sir John Sunderland has had an admirable career. Holding a degree in Social Sciences as well as a MBA, he proves that a great foundation of knowledge can assist you in working your way up within an organisation.



 5. Gregg W. Steinhafel

A prime example of someone successfully working they way up, CEO of Target Stores Steinhafel has only been in the top seat for four years. Completing his MBA at Northwestern, the 56 year old worked for 29 years at Target before being offered the position of CEO.



 6. Phil Knight

Receiving his MBA in 1962, Knight demonstrates exactly how the degree provides the knowledge to start your own business. Whilst working his day job, he sold shoes out of his trunk at night, and developed his company into the world’s largest sports and fitness company of today – Nike.



7. Carly Fiorina

Well-known American business executive and Republican nominee Fiorina gained her MBA in 1980. Using her knowledge, she went on to serve as Hewlett-Packard’s CEO from 1999 to 2005, and served on several prominent business boards.



8. Indra Nooyi 

Beginning her career in India at Johnston & Johnston, Indra Nooyi has had a remarkable career after earning her MBA in 1976. In 2006, she became the fifth CEO in PepsiCo’s history, and was named the 3rd Most Powerful Woman in Business by Fortune in 2014.



What do you think? 

Do you believe that the leadership style of one person can impact the success of a business? I’d love to hear from people both for and against this topic, and delve deeper into the conversation. Comment your views below to take part.

This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: InvestopediaBloomberg; and Bloomberg Business


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