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Stanford University Notable Alumni | 17 Famous MBAs

From entrepreneurs to policymakers, here are 17 of Stanford University Graduate School of Business' most notable MBA alumni

Mon May 13 2024

BusinessBecause

It’s no secret that Stanford University has some notable alumni, and when it comes to choosing a business school, this kind of strong network really matters. 

In fact, building a diverse network is one of the biggest advantages of going to business school. 

Business school graduates can not only build lifelong friendships with their classmates, but also have the chance to build relationships with alumni across different programs and cohorts.  

A strong alumni network is one of the most enduring benefits of attending business school, and it’s a robust source of mentorship, support, and opportunities to collaborate. 

For the fifth year in a row. Bloomberg ranked Stanford’s Graduate School of Business as the best MBA alumni network. Stanford came out on top for the quality, range, and responsiveness of its alumni network, beating top business schools such as Chicago Booth and Columbia. 

Graduates of Stanford GSB have access to alum-to-alum job postings, events and networking opportunities, and alumni career services. They also have access to the alumni network from the wider university. 

This helpful and engaged network plays a huge role in the success of Stanford alumni. Across geographies and sectors, Stanford’s MBA alumni stand out as entrepreneurs, executives, philanthropists, and more.

Below are 17 incredible alumni from Stanford’s MBA program.


1. Penny Pritzker


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© Steve Jurvetson via Flickr, used under this license


MBA Class of 1984

Former US Secretary of Commerce, businesswoman and philanthropist 

Before serving a four-year tenure as US Secretary of Commerce under the Obama administration, Penny founded five companies including PSP Capital Partners and Pritzker Realty Group. 

She is also co-founder of Artemis Real Estate Partners, and is known for her philanthropic work centred in her hometown of Chicago.

Forbes estimated Penny’s net worth at around $3.6 billion, as of May 2024. 


2. Mary Barra


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© Joao-Pierre Ruth via Flickr, used under this license


MBA Class of 1990 

CEO of General Motors 

Starting as a co-op student on the General Motors assembly line in 1980, Mary has been CEO since 2014. 

In 2023, Forbes named her the ninth most powerful woman in the world. 


3. Victor Koo


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© Fortune Live Media via Flickr, used under this license


MBA, Class of 1994 

Founder of Youku 

Victor founded video website, Youku, in 2006 and became a billionaire when it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2010. 

After incorporating rival Tudou in 2012, Youku became one of China’s dominant video portals. Today it has more than 500 million monthly active users, and 800 million daily video views. 


4. Jeffrey Skoll


MBA Class of 1995 

First President of eBay, filmmaker and philanthropist 

Soon after graduating from Stanford, Jeffrey drafted the business plan that would take eBay from a start-up a multibillion-dollar corporation with operations in 30 countries. 

Jeffrey is now a noted philanthropist, and his company, Participant Media, produces highly acclaimed films and documentaries such as Syriana, An Inconvenient Truth and 2016’s Oscar winner for Best picture, Spotlight


5. Jacqueline Novogratz


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© Acumen Fund via Flickr, used under this license


MBA Class of 1991 

Founder of CEO and Acumen 

Jacqueline demonstrates how business expertise can make a difference. Her non-profit Acumen Fund promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to poverty. 

To date, Acumen has invested $135 million to build 136 enterprises across the world, and leveraged another $746 million to bring basic services to more than 308 million people. 


6. Miles D White


MBA Class of 1980 

Chairman and former CEO of Abbott Laboratories 

Miles joined Abbott in 1984 and was elected Chairman of the Board in 1999. As of 2019, he was the longest-tenured CEOs of an S&P 100 company and created approximately $200 billion in shareholder value. He stepped down as CEO of Abbott in 2020.

He is a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.


7. Sam Yagan


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© Fortune Live Media via Flickr, used under this license


MBA Class of 2005 

Internet Entrepreneur 

Best known as the co-founder of online dating site OKCupid, Sam also co-founded SparkNotes.com and Excelerate Labs.

He’s also led prominent online enterprises such as Match.com, eDonkey and, currently, ShopRunner. 

In April 2013, Sam was listed as one of TIME Magazine's '100 Most Influential People in the World'. 


8. Phil Knight


MBA Class of 1962 

Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Nike 

As of 2024, Phil was ranked by Forbes as the 36th richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $38.4 billion. 

His stop-motion animation studio Laika has made several acclaimed movies (Coraline, Kubo and the Two Strings) and contributed to others on a contractual basis. He’s an active philanthropist within the realms of sports and education.


9. Sir Howard Davies


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© UK in Spain via Flickr, used under this license


MBA Class of 1979 

Chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland and the former Director of the London School of Economics 

Sir Howard (above, right) has filled executive positions in prominent companies such as Morgan Stanley and Prudential PLC, and advised regulatory and bodies in Britain, China, and Singapore. 

His intellectual interests go beyond economics, though: he’s also chaired the selection committee for the Man Booker Prize, been a trustee of the National Gallery, and served on the board of the National Theatre. 


10. Seth Godin


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© Gamerscore Blog via Flickr, used under this license


MBA Class of 1984

Business Guru

Founder of the online Yoyodyne and Squidoo, Seth (aka F.X. Nine) is better known as a powerhouse marketing and management guru: a blogger, podcaster, TED Talks presenter, and author of more than 20 books. 

His most prominent works include Free Prize Inside, (Forbes Business Book of the Year in 2004), The Purple Cow, and The Dip. He put his marketing prowess into practice in 2013, raising $250,000 via Kickstarter to finance The Icarus Deception: Why Make Art.


11. Stephen Luczo


MBA Class of 1984

Seagate Executive and philanthropist

As chairman and two-time former CEO of data storage firm Seagate, Stephen’s greatest achievement was increasing the value of Seagate’s stock by 1,600% in 2009, making it one of the S&P Index’s five best-performing stocks. 

As a philanthropist, his work with global environmentalism, at-risk children, and education has been honoured with titles from Italy and Malaysia, as well as a knighthood from the Vatican.


12. Jeff Bewkes


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© Steve Jurvetson via Flickr, used under this license


MBA Class of 1977

Media executive

Jeff (right) has had a significant impact on our culture, first as the HBO executive who shifted the channel’s focus to original series such as The Sopranos.

Rising to Chairman of Time Warner media from 2008 to 2018, Jeff oversaw HBO, Turner Broadcasting System, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, as well as the company's divestment from AOL, Time Inc. and Time Warner Cable. 


13. Ole Andreas Halvorsen


MBA Class of 1990

CEO of Viking Global Investments

At the start of his career, Norwegian-born Ole’s academic record was strong enough to net him a position at Morgan Stanley, before rising to director of equities at Tiger Management Corp. 

Today, he’s the CEO and co-founder of Viking Global Investments, a hedge fund with an estimate $46 billion of capital under management as of 2024.


14. Mariam Naficy


MBA Class of 1998

Founder and CEO of Minted.com and co-founder of Eve.com

Eve.com was the first major online store for cosmetics and was sold for a reported $110 million in 2000. 

Minted.com has expanded from a stationary store to a hub for crowd-sourced, competitively chosen custom design. Minted products are estimated to be in more than 75 million homes. 


15. Charles Schwab


MBA Class of 1961 

Founder and former Chairman of Charles Schwab Corporation 

From 1975 onward, Charles’ company pioneered the discount sales of equity securities and became the leader in the field. 

Charles retired in 2008, and in 2024 Forbes estimated his net worth at over $10 billion.


16. Vinod Khosla


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© indeedous via Wikimedia Commons, used under this license


MBA Class of 1980 

Tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist 

Vinod is a pioneer who co-founded the Silicon Valley-based Sun Microsystems. He now heads Khosla Ventures, a venture capital company that has more than $15 billion in assets under management. 

Vinod is also known for his climate activism, including heavy investment in the development of ethanol as a biofuel.


17. Rishi Sunak


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© Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Govt via Flickr


MBA Class of 2006

Prime Minister of the UK

Stanford MBA alum Rishi Sunak has had quite the journey since graduating from the M7 business school as a Fulbright Scholar. Notably, Rishi Sunak fell in love at business school, meeting his wife, Akshata Murty, at his alma mater. 

After his MBA degree at Stanford, Rishi followed a career path in finance at Goldman Sachs and hedge fund management at The Children's Investment Fund Management before entering the political sphere. 

In October 2022, he became Prime Minister of the UK, folllowing former PM Liz Truss' short-lived reign. He will remain as the PM until the UK government calls for the next general election.


This article was updated in May 2024.

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