The 25 Most Successful Harvard Business School Graduates

If you want to be an executive, billionaire, or US president, it's a good idea to graduate from Harvard Business School.

Founded in 1908, HBS was the first institution in the world to grant a Masters in Business Administration.

The Harvard MBA has since been a hallmark of the elite, with George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, and Michael Bloomberg all earning the degree.

We sifted through HBS's sterling history to find the most powerful, prominent, and financially successful grads that came out of Cambridge:


  • Walter Haas, Jr., Class of 1939, succeeded his father as the CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. He grew Levi's from a regional California brand to one of the world's biggest apparel companies.

  • 1939 MBA Robert S. McNamara served as the US Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War.

  • After nabbing his MBA in 1942, Philip Caldwell took over as the first non-Ford to run Ford Motor Company, where he led one of the biggest turnarounds in American business history.

  • Stephen R. Covey, Class of 1957, become tremendously influential after publishing his bestselling book 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.'

  • Robert Kraft, MBA graduate of 1965, is the chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, which most notably owns the New England Patriots. He's worth an estimated $4 billion.

  • Michael Bloomberg finished his MBA in 1966 and went on to found financial data company Bloomberg in 1981 and serve three terms as New York Mayor. He is worth an estimated $34 billion.

  • George Kaiser graduated from HBS in 1966 and is the chairman of BOK Financial Corporation. He's worth an estimated $10 billion and his foundation donates over $40 million a year, mostly to early childhood education.

  • Henry Paulson finished his MBA in 1970, and joined Goldman Sachs in 1974, working his way up to CEO. In 2006, he left the bank to become the US Treasury Secretary.

  • Stephen Schwarzman, Class of 1972, is the chairman and CEO of the Blackstone Group. He's worth an estimated $10.6 billion.

  • Ray Dalio got his MBA in 1973 and is the highly influential founder and co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater Associates. He's worth an estimated $15.2 billion.

  • After finishing his MBA in 1974, Mitt Romney had a long career with Bain Consulting. He was elected Massachusetts governor in 2002 and has since been a never-say-die presidential candidate.

  • George W. Bush graduated from HBS in 1975 before working in the oil business, owning the Texas Rangers, becoming governor of Texas, and then serving as US president from 2000 to 2008.

  • Jim Koch, Class of 1978, left management consulting to start the Boston Beer Company, which makes Samuel Adams. He's now a billionaire.

  • Anne Moore earned her MBA in 1978 and went on to the top of publishing, becoming the first female CEO of Time, Inc., in 2002.

  • Meg Whitman, MBA graduate of 1979, is the chairman, president, and CEO of Hewlett-Packard. She's worth an estimated $2 billion.

  • John Paulson got his MBA in 1980 and went on to found the investment management firm Paulson & Co. He's worth an estimated $13.7 billion.

  • After finishing his MBA in 1981, Chase Carey started an influential media career. He helped launch FoxNews and FoxSports, was CEO of DirecTV, and is now the president of News Corp.

  • Jamie Dimon graduated from HBS in 1982. He's the chairman, president, and CEO of JPMorgan Chase and No. 22 on Forbes' list of the world's most powerful people.

  • Jeffrey Immelt, Class of 1982, is the chairman and CEO of General Electric. He was selected as Jack Welch's successor in 2000.

  • Michael Lynton, MBA graduate of 1987, is the CEO of Sony Entertainment and the chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures. He also sits on Snapchat's board.

  • Abigail Johnson got her MBA in 1988 and is today the chair of Fidelity Worldwide Investment. She ranks among the richest women in the world, with an estimated net worth of $13.2 billion.

  • Bill Ackman has taken over Wall Street since his '92 MBA and turned Pershing Square into a $12 billion hedge fund.

  • Mark Pincus, MBA graduate of 1993, is the cofounder of social media gaming company Zynga. Today he's worth around a billion dollars.

  • Sheryl Sandberg is largely credited with making Facebook profitable. The 1995 HBS alum initiated a global conversation about women and work with her bestselling book 'Lean In.'

  • Sal Khan, Class of 2003, is the founder of the increasingly popular online learning site Khan Academy, which has received funding from the Gates Foundation and Google.




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