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

Reginald Lewis

Reginald Lewis


“(I admire) Steve Jobs for his ability to foster disruptive innovation by creating products that people don’t even know they want yet — that’s true creative genius.”  Sarah Esty, Yale School of Management

“John D. Rockefeller — he started from scratch and built Standard Oil to become one of the largest oil and gas distribution companies worldwide. John D. Rockefeller revolutionized the world of oil and gas today as we know it.” — Elias Bachir, SDA Bocconi

“I admire Reginald F. Lewis. He was the richest African American in the 1980s and the first to build a billion-dollar company. I do not admire him only for those reasons, however. I also admire him for his tenacity, and his focus. I read his autobiography several years ago and a quote of his resonated with me deeply. In the book he said essentially that success is a discipline, and in order to be successful you must do the work first. I try to emulate that mindset every day.” — Sam Edwards, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

“An entrepreneur I admire a lot is Dr. Venkataswamy (“Dr. V”), who founded the Aravind Hospital in India. He expanded the hospital from an 11-bed facility that offered sight-restoring cataract surgeries to a 4,000-bed hospital performing over 400,000 surgeries annually. I admire him for multiple reasons. First, his unbending drive to offer the poorest people high-quality medical care shows that it can be done in a financially sustainable way. Secondly, I admire him for his action-oriented mindset. Dr. V was all about getting things done, mindful that people needlessly living blind needed his help. Finally, he reminds us that it is never too late to follow your dream. Dr. V was 58 when he opened the first hospital. He is an inspiration to social entrepreneurs like myself who are driven to make a social impact in a financially sustainable fashion.” — Tom Vanneste, London Business School

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling


J.K. Rowling: While she may not be a traditional ‘executive,’ she is a prime example of building an empire from the ground up. She began writing the Harry Potter series while on welfare, but fought for what she believed in. I hope that, in a world with so much pressure on the ‘traditional’ life, I can still manage to fight for my passions in the way Ms. Rowling has.” — Sarah Sublett, Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business

“Right now, I admire Akon. He has been committed to giving back, especially with Akon Lighting Africa and Konfidence Foundation. He understands that his position in society (as a celebrity) gives him access to resources that can be hard to obtain. He knows how to leverage his personality and smarts to do good works for people.” — Lauren McGlory, Emory University, Goizueta Business School


Devi Shetty

Dr. Devi Shetty

“I admire Lars Rebien Sørensen, CEO of Novo Nordisk. I had the honor of visiting Novo Nordisk’s headquarters in Copenhagen during a short course in Denmark on Sustainability and CSR in Scandinavia. We heard firsthand how incredible Lars is and the impact he has made at Novo Nordisk. I repeatedly heard how humble, mindful, and cooperative he is. His passion for making a social impact is evident in the company’s integrated reporting system where social and financial metrics are reported next to each other (and indexed together). Novo Nordisk is an exemplar of sustainability and is one of a handful of companies that has its social mission written in its corporate bylaws. Lars sets the tone of the organization, and I admire him greatly.” — Libby McFarlane, Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

“I admire Dr. Devi Shetty, whose motto is to provide affordable health care to the patients worldwide. The doctor entrepreneur started off with a single hospital in Bangalore, India that has today grown to hospitals in more than 19 cities worldwide, profitable right from year one. His unique approach offers a high success rate for patients, while maintaining low costs. I would like to follow his footsteps to establish and work with businesses to deliver life-saving technologies to the people.” — Sagar Gupta, University of Missouri, Trulaske College of Business

“I was absolutely blown away by Swaady Martin, a South African entrepreneur who came to speak to us in my Economy and Development in Emergency Markets class with Loic Sadoulet. She is building a brand of high-quality products, starting with tea and gourmet foods. Her drive, poise, and vision truly inspired me. She said, ‘My timeline is not like a regular startup, I work with a time horizon of 15-20 years.’ With this, she takes her time to build relationships, ponder options and grow meaningfully, both professionally and personally — in Africa.” — Marie Renee B-Lajoie, INSEAD

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