The First HBS Prof To Teach A MOOC

Booth MBA Satya Nadella is Microsoft's new CEO

Booth MBA Satya Nadella is Microsoft’s new CEO

Microsoft Hires Booth MBA As CEO

Gates. Balmer. Nadella.

On Tuesday, Microsoft named Booth MBA Satya Nadella as CEO. He becomes the third CEO in Microsoft’s history. Bloomberg Businessweek reports Nadella will earn $18 million dollars in total annual compensation.

A 1997 Booth graduate, Nadella is the first MBA to run Microsoft (Ballmer dropped out of the Stanford Graduate School of Business to join Microsoft). He joins Brady Dougan (Credit Seusse), John Watson (Chevron), Arnold Donald (Carnival), and Masaaki Tsuya (Bridgestone) as CEOs with MBAs from Booth.

Nadella started with Microsoft in 1990. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Nadella “has been an executive in some of the company’s fastest-growing and most-profitable businesses, including its Office and server and tools business.” Most recently, he served as an Executive Vice President overseeing Microsoft’s cloud computing initiative.

So what kind of student was Nadella? Dave Hemler, CEO of Revation and a classmate of Nadella’s, describes him as “a seriously smart (insert your favorite epithet here)” — it was never said in envy, but always in admiration.” At Booth, Nadella would take red eye flights from Seattle to Chicago to participate in Booth’s demanding weekend program, which earned respect from classmates and faculty alike. Along with his work ethic and smarts, Helmer believes Nadella’s tech savvy and people skills make him the right guy to run Microsoft: “He’s got a great combination of deep technical skill and business savvy, he “gets” the cloud and how Microsoft needs to continue to enhance its capabilities in online services, and he seems to be able to get along with anyone and everyone.”

Helmer also worked with Nadella at Microsoft and shared what Microsoft employees can expect from Nadella as the CEO:

“In the all-day business reviews we had that are a core part of Microsoft’s culture, Satya was as personable, tough-questioning, and detail-oriented as he was back in school. He knew his facts, didn’t act like he knew more than he did, and was willing to go toe-to-toe with any exec in the room – but always professionally and never personally.”

Nadella wasn’t necessarily destined to become Microsoft’s CEO. Although he owns Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science respectively, Nadella acknowledged that he was originally interested in investment banking. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, one of his favorite classes at Booth was Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity. However, he also cited Leadership as another favorite, which will come in handy as Microsoft continues to move deeper into devices and cloud computing.

And it won’t be easy. At a recent meeting with Booth students, Nadella outlined what it takes to succeed, which included hard work, developing strengths to make the greatest impact, and being patient enough to “play the long game.”

Sage advice from the man that Helmer dubbed as “the smartest guy in the class.”

Sources: Crain’s Chicago Business, Pittsburgh Business Journal, Booth, Bloomberg Businessweek

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.