Yale | Mr. Tambourine Man
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
Wharton | Mr. Sales From Law School
GMAT 700, GPA 11/20
Wharton | Mr. Rural Ed To International Business
GRE 329, GPA 3.6
McCombs School of Business | Mr. CRE
GMAT 625, GPA 3.4
IU Kelley | Mr. Jiu-Jitsu Account Admin
GMAT 500, GPA 3.23
Berkeley Haas | Mr. LGBT+CPG
GMAT 720, GPA 3.95
Kellogg | Mr. Community Involvement
GMAT 600, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Air Force Seeking Feedback
GRE 329, GPA 3.2
Columbia | Mr. URM Artillery Officer
GRE 317, GPA 3.65
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer To PM
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0 (with Honors)
Harvard | Ms. Eternal Optimism
GMAT 720, GPA 4.0 (First Class Honours)
Harvard | Mr. Captain Mishra
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Ms. Lady Programmer
GRE 331, GPA 2.9
Ross | Mr. Double Eagle
GMAT 740, GPA 3.77
Stanford GSB | Ms. Eyebrows Say It All
GRE 299, GPA 8.2/10
Harvard | Mr. UHNW Family Office
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Certain Government Guy
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Hopeful B School Investment Analyst
GRE 334, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Stuck Consultant
GMAT 760, GPA 3.6
MIT Sloan | Mr. Mechanical Engineer W/ CFA Level 2
GMAT 760, GPA 3.83/4.0 WES Conversion
Wharton | Mr. Asset Manager – Research Associate
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Mr. International Banker
GMAT 700, GPA 3.4
MIT Sloan | Mr. South East Asian Product Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Ms. Hollywood To Healthcare
GMAT 730, GPA 2.5
Stanford GSB | Ms. Investor To Fintech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. Structural Engineer
GMAT 680, GPA 3.2
Darden | Mr. Anxious One
GRE 323, GPA 3.85

Elon Musk & Sheryl Sandberg Top List Of Leaders Most Admired By MBAs

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg


Knowing who top MBAs admire is one thing. If you’re wondering what principles will guide the next generation of business leaders, it helps to know why certain executives are so attractive to students. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, herself a Harvard MBA, is a case in point. According to the University of North Carolina’s Brittany Gulledge, Sandberg is an inspiring example of courage. “She saw a problem and did something about it even though people warned her not to do so,” Gulledge notes. “She made a decision about what to do as though she were not afraid (even though she was). Every major chance that I have taken has been terrifying, and the more terrifying, the more it paid off.”

Beyond her example, Sandberg also uses her celebrity to lend a voice to women everywhere, observes Wharton’s Justine Lai, who credits Sandberg speaking out as providing “a platform to raise awareness of systemic issues that women face across the world.”

Yes, the next wave of business leaders are likely to be as daring and outspoken as Sandberg. Chances are, they’ll carry a more altruistic streak as well. And you can credit Microsoft founder Bill Gates for taking the legacy of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller to the next level. His Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has doled out nearly $37 billion to charitable causes since being founded in 2000. While Gates’ innovation in the software market earns respect from MBAs, it is his personification of the “doing well by doing good” ethos that has won their hearts — and solidified his legacy.

“In deciding to apply his personal success to address global issues,” points out Caitlin Fross, who earned her MBA from the University of North Carolina, “Bill Gates has focused the world’s attention on neglected issues and coalesced enormous resources around the effort to address crises of global health and international development.” In doing so, Gates left a blueprint for how to stay relevant and successfully reinvent yourself when the time comes to pass the baton. “He is one of the most caring and genuine people I have seen in the spotlight,” adds Texas A&M’s Tyler Lorenz, a volunteer for organizations like Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity.

Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz


If you’re looking for the prototype of who MBAs aspire to be, you could start with Starbucks’ Howard Schultz. In fact, Tyler Erhorn credits Schultz’s example as one reason why he enrolled in Michigan State’s MBA program. For Erhorn, an entrepreneur himself, Schultz’s biggest contribution is reminding him that value comes before profit. “When Schultz came back to Starbucks,” Erhorn says, “he relentlessly focused on bringing the brand back to creating the value that customers had grown to love previously. He refocused the company on his core principles, proving that value is the ultimate long-term profit driver.”

Like Sandberg and Gates, it is Schultz’s commitment to speaking out and following his conscience that separates him from most other leaders. “Not only has he steered Starbucks toward historic levels of growth and success, he has done so while also expanding the impact the company has had socially,” emphasizes USC’s Rahul Sharma, who joined Starbucks as a product manager after earning his MBA at USC’s Marshall School of Business. “There is a very real sense of responsibility that guides the direction he has taken the company to empower its employees on a level unmatched in both size and impact.”

For Georgetown MBA Coral Taylor, Schultz is more than a role model. He is an inspiration. “I admire his courage to do what is right even if it is not the popular decision,” she says. “During the financial crisis, he refused to take away health care benefits for Starbucks partners even though it would save the company a tremendous amount of money. His support of gay marriage, hiring veterans and young people, access to education, and sustainable coffee-growing practices inspire me.”


It wasn’t only household names like Sheryl Sandberg and Bill Gates who stirred the imaginations of the 2016 class. Allison Davern, who transitioned from account management at Ogilvy to product management at Amazon during her stint at the University of Maryland, found herself drawn to more recent MBA graduates. In particular, she admires Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp, the founders of Birchbox, who earned their MBAs at Harvard Business School in 2010. To Davern, their example showed that her dream of finding a partner in school who could help monetize ideas wasn’t as far-fetched as some might think. “Although I know that Barna has recently stepped down as co-CEO,” Davern concedes, “it still remains a strong example of what can be accomplished when smart, ambitious women work together toward a common goal.”

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