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The 20 Most Notable University of Chicago Alumni in Business

According to its website, what sets the University of Chicago apart from the competition is a focus on inquiry and a commitment to impact… two things that certainly hold true for the University’s distinguished roll-call of past students. Whether today’s students will fare quite so well as their predecessors is a question only time will tell, but there’s certainly no doubting the successes of some of the many students who have passed through the University’s hallowed halls over the years. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the 20 Chicago graduates who have fared the best in business.

1. Andrew Alper

Andrew Alper received his A.B. from The College of the University of Chicago in 1980, and his M.B.A from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 1981. On graduating, Alper joined Goldman Sachs & Company as a corporate finance generalist before being promoted to the youngest partner in firm history in 1990. Alper enjoyed a stellar career at the company (including positions as Vice President, Managing Director and COO) before moving on to new pastures in 2002 with his appointment as President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. During his tenure, Alper worked in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office to promote industrial expansion, development and job prospects in the city, as well as assisting in the redevelopment plans for the former World Trade Center site.

2. Roger Altman

After earning his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 1969, Roger Altman began his career at Lehman Brothers, becoming the youngest general partner in firm history in 1974. After leaving Lehman in 1977, Altman served briefly as Assistant Secretary for Domestic Finance in the U.S. Treasury under President Carter, before returning to Lehman as co-head of investment banking in 1981. Altman continued to be active in politics, and returned to the national stage as Deputy Secretary during Clinton’s Presidency. In 1994, he resigned from the role following his part in the Whitewater Scandal, and returned to the private sector with independent banking advisory firm, Evercore.

3. Cliff Asness

After earning his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Cliff Asness accepted a position as managing director and director of quantitative research for Goldman Sachs Asset management. During his tenure, he was responsible for creating the Goldman Sachs Global Alpha Fund; a model that guaranteed a profitable return on investment, regardless of the direction of the market. Asness left the company in 1997, and the following year, launched AQR Capital Management. Since the creation of AQR, Asness has become one of the wealthiest hedge fund managers in America… as well as one of its most influential: in 2012, he was honored with a mention on Bloomberg Markets Magazine 50 Most Influential.

4. L. Gordon Crovitz

Media executive L. Gordon Crovitz has achieved spectacular success in the media industry since his graduation from the University of Chicago. He began his professional career in 1981 with a position as an editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal; over the following decades, he worked his way up the ranks and in 1998, he was appointed vice president of planning and development for Dow Jones. Crovitz’s stellar career has continued post Dow Jones as an adviser, director and founder of multiple media companies, including the hugely successful Journalism Online, which was sold to RR Donnelly in 2011 in a staggering $45 million deal .

5. Chey Tae-won

South Korean businessman Chey Tae-won earned his B.A in 1987, and his Masters in 1989. Following graduation, he carved out a hugely successful career as chairman of SK Corporation, one of the largest conglomerates in South Korea. Chey’s career has not been without its controversies: in 2012, the Chicago graduate was accused of embezzling over $40 million from SK affiliates in an effort to conceal investment losses. Despite pleading his innocence, Chey was found guilty and sentenced to 4 years imprisonment. The businessman was incarcerated until his pardon by President Park Geun-hye in 2015.

6. Brady Dougan

American banker Brady Dougan graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in economics in 1981, and from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with an MBA in finance in 1982. Dougan began his career at Bankers Trust, before joining Credit Suisse Financial Products in 1990. Dougan worked his way up the ranks at the company, eventually attaining the position of group CEO. In March 2015, Dougan’s resignation from the company was announced, and his departure from the company followed in June 2015. Outside of his career, Dougan is a noted philanthropist, and is credited with donating more than $25,000 to Vanderbilt University between 2011 and 2012 alone.

7. David G. Booth

American businessman David Gilbert Booth graduated with a B.A. in economics and an M.S. in business from the University of Kansas before rounding off his education with an M.B.A from the University of Chicago. While at the university, Booth met Rex Sinquefield, with whom he would later co-found the private investment firm, Dimensional Fund Advisors. Since the pair launched the company in 1981, it’s enjoyed phenomenal success: as of April 2019, it reports to have 14000 employees situated across 13 global sites and $576 billion in assets under management.

8. Larry Ellison

Billionaire businessman Larry Ellison studied computer design at the University of Chicago for one term before beginning his career at electronics company, Ampex. While working at Ampex, Ellison became aware of Edgar F. Codd’s research in the field of relational design… an awareness that would eventually lead him to launch Oracle, the company that would make his name and secure his future fortunes in one fell swoop. Ellison, who currently serves as both executive chairman and chief technology officer at the company, now ranks 7th richest person in the world by Forbes... not bad for a man who never got around to graduating.

9. Eugene Fama

Eugene Francis Fama earned his undergraduate degree in Romance Languages from Tufts University before completing his M.B.A. and Ph.D. in economics and finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Since graduation, Fama has carved out a highly influential career in economics: his work has seen him named the “father” of the efficient- market hypotheses, while the Research Papers in Economics placed him 9th on their list of most influential economists throughout history. In 2013, he received his biggest accolade to date when he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science.

10. Jacob A. Frenkel

Israeli economist Jacob A. Frenkel achieved his B.A. in economics and political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, before earning his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics at the University of Chicago. Following a stellar career in international finance (which included a stint as Governor of the Bank of Israel between 1991 and 2000), Frenkel currently serves as chairman of multinational bank and financial services giant, JPMorgan Chase. Frenkel’s successes have won him multiple accolades over the years, including the esteemed Israel Prize in Economics in 2002.

11. Agustín Carstens

Agustín Guillermo Carstens earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology before completing both his M.A. and doctorate in economics at the University of Chicago in 1985. Since graduating, Carstens has gone on to enjoy a career that’s highlights include a tenure as Governor of the Bank of Mexico between 2010 and 2017, secretary of finance under Felipe Calderon’s presidency, deputy managing director of the IMF, and treasurer of the Bank of Mexico. Carstens, who currently serves as general manager of the Bank of International Settlements, has received multiple honors throughout his distinguished career, including a mention in Blomberg’s 50 Most Influential in 2011.

12. Daniel L. Doctoroff

American businessman Daniel Louis Doctoroff received his B.A. in government from Harvard College before earning his J.D degree from the University of Chicago Law in 1984. After graduation, Doctoroff took on a position at global financial services firm, Lehman Brothers, before being appointed managing partner at private equity firm, Oak Hill Capital Partners. After a brief flirtation with politics, Doctoroff moved on to Bloomberg L.P, in 2008; his 6-year tenure with the company saw Bloomberg expand into emerging markets, and overtake traditional rival Thomson Reuters in market share. After leaving Bloomberg in 2014, Doctoroff has enjoyed success with the Google co-founded startup, Sidewalk Labs, and his 2017 book, Greater Than Ever: New York's Big Comeback.

13. James M. Kilts

James M. Kilts graduated from Knox College, Illinois, in 1970, before going on to earn his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. Kilts is primarily known as a former chief executive of The Gillette Company. During his time with the firm, Kilts was responsible for negotiating the $57 billion sale of the company to multi-national consumer goods corporation, Procter & Gamble- a deal he’s speculated to have earned over $165 million from.

14. Peter Peterson

American investment banker Peter George Peterson received an M.B.A from the University of Chicago before joining advertising agency McCann Erikson as director in 1953. Between 1963 and 1971, he held the position of company chairman and CEO. In 1969, he chaired the Commission on Foundations and Private Philanthropy (later to be renamed the Peterson Commission). In 1971, he was named Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs by Nixon, and the following year, he was appointed Secretary of Commerce. Outside of politics, Peterson served as Lehman CEO and chairman between 1973 and 1984, and is noted for his philanthropic works : between 2007 and 2011, he is believed to have contributed $458 million to the Peter G Peterson Foundation to promote fiscal prudence.

15. Gary Hoover

After graduating the University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Gary Hoover had a brief stint as a security analyst for Citibank, followed by 2 years as a buyer for May Department Stores Company. In 1982, the enterprising Hoover relocated to Texas, where he launched the first Bookstop. Over the following 7 years, Hoover expanded the business into a chain of book superstores, and by 1989, Bookstop was the fourth largest bookstore chain in the US. That same year, Hoover sold the chain to Barnes and Nobel in a $41.5 million deal. Hoover subsequently went on to success with business information company, The Reference Press, and currently serves as the entrepreneur-in -residence at the University of Texas at Austin School of Information.

16. Bart Becht

Dutch businessman Bart Becht earned his B.A. in economics at the University of Groningen before graduating with an MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. He subsequently went on to enjoy numerous high-profile roles in some of the world’s leading organizations, including a 16 year tenure as CEO of Reckitt Benckiser, the British multinational consumer goods corporation, and a 4 year stint as partner at JAB Holding Company, the German multinational conglomerate. Becht has also served as director for Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Pret a Manger, and Krispy Kreme, to name just a few.

17. Bill Browder

William (Bill) Felix Browder graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Chicago, before completing his MBA at Stanford Business School. After finishing his education, Browder entered the financial sector, and subsequently built a successful career as a financier and economist, culminating in the founding of investment fund, Hermitage Capital Management. In recent years, Browder’s career has taken a backseat to the political events that have unfolded around him: in response to Browder’s testimony to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential race, and his endeavors to see the Magnitsky Act (which aims to ensure the punishment of Russian human rights offenders), Russia has attempted numerous arrest attempts against Browder, none of which (to date) have been successful.

18. Diane Garnick

Investment manager Diane Garnick earned her Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, and has subsequently gone on to carve out a hugely successful career as an investment manager. Garnick currently serves as the Chief Income Strategist at the Fortune 100 financial services company, TIAA, and as a Board member at the CFA Institute Research Foundation. Along the way, she’s taken in roles at numerous international companies, including Deloitte, Touche LLP, Merrill Lynch, and Invesco, where she served as Chief Investment Strategist. Garnick is a familiar face to many, thanks to her regular appearance on CNBC, Fox and Bloomberg TV.

19. Scott Griffith

Scott Griffith, Former chairman and CEO of American car sharing company, Zipcar, Inc, graduated with a BS in engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1981 before earning his MBA at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business in 1990. Further to graduation, Griffith held a number of executive positions at companies such as The Boeing Company, Information America and The Parthenon Group, before assuming the position of CEO and chairman at Zipcar. Griffith remained at the company until 2013, when Zipcar was acquired by Avis. During his tenure as CEO, Griffiths was credited with developing the company into the world’s largest car sharing service- an accomplishment that was honored in 2009 when Griffith was named a Mass High Tech All-Star.

20. William E Conway Jr.

William E Conway Jr earnt his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 1971, before graduating with an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Conway began his career at First National Bank of Chicago in corporate finance, but subsequently tested his skills in many of the banks other activities, including commercial lending, workout loans, and general management. In 1981, Conway moved on to MCI Communications (the former telecommunications company), eventually being named vice president and chief financial officer of the business in 1984. In 1987, Conway branched out to co-found the multinational private equity firm, The Carlyle Group. The company has enjoyed prolific success since inception, and as of today, Conway can enjoy a personal fortune worth an estimated $.2.8 billion.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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