12. Sheryl Sandberg
Harvard MBA, 1995
Ranked 12th on the Fortune list, Sandberg once thought she would never work in the for-profit world. “I never thought I’d work in a company,” she once told a reporter. “I was sure I’d end up in nonprofits or in the government.”
Sandberg received a B.A. summa cum laude in Economics from Harvard University and was awarded the John H. Williams Prize for the top graduating student in economics. She received an MBA with highest distinction from the Harvard Business School in 1995, using the degree to land a job at McKinsey & Co.
Now as Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, Sandberg oversees the firm’s business operations including sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy and communications. Prior to Facebook, Sheryl was vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, where she built and managed the online sales channels for advertising and publishing and operations for consumer products worldwide. She was also instrumental in launching Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm.
18. Abigail Johnson
Harvard MBA, 1988
She started out as a poet, earning a degree in art history from William Smith College in 1984 and soon converted herself to something of a quant that helped to make her one of the wealthiest people in the world. Before getting her MBA at Harvard, Johnson did a stint as a management consultant at Booz Allen. Once armed with the MBA, however, she joined her father’s company, Fidelity Investments, as an equity portfolio manager from 1988 until 1997. She was promoted to an executive role in Fidelity Management and Research (FMR) in 1997 and has held various senior executive posts inside FMR, Fidelity Institutional Retirement Services and Fidelity Investments since then.
She’s the wealthiest of the most powerful women on the Fortune list and certainly one of the richest MBAs in the world: According to Forbes, Johnson is the 22nd richest person in the U.S. and 48th in the world, with a net worth of $11.3 billion in September 2010
19. Sue Wagner
Vice Chairman & COO
Chicago Booth MBA, 1984
Four years after graduating with her MBA from Chicago in 1984, Wagner co-founded BlackRock, an offshoot of the Blackstone private equity group, headed by Pete Peterson. Her first job out of Chicago was at Lehman Brothers, however, where she apparently spent time “inventing mortgage securities – the forerunners of the stuff that triggered the credit crisis.
In 2006, BlackRock took over Merrill Lynch’s fund business, “a move that doubled its assets and staff,” the paper said. “Then the credit crisis struck and BlackRock emerged as the largest publicly traded fund management firm with $1.4 trillion in assets and a market capitalization of $26 billion.”
With 70 percent of the firm’s clients located in North America, BlackRock is looking to develop a presence in emerging markets, Wagner said, noting that it will be hard to find a deal like the Merrill Lynch buy. “We don’t want to take over things that are broke. Life’s too short,” she told a reporter from the International Herald Tribune.