If you’re wondering where America’s top movers and shakers learned their skills, the answer in a lot of cases is “Carnegie Mellon University”. Since the University first opened its doors in 1900, it’s welcomed a steady stream of future Nobel Prize laureates, Turing Award winners, Members of the National Academies, Emmy Award winners, Tony Award laureates, and Academy Award winners. It’s also played host to a litany of future CEO’s, Presidents, CFO’s, Investors, and Hedge Fund Managers. To see which of its students have seen the greatest success, let’s look at a rundown of the 20 most notable Carnegie Mellon University alumni in business.
1. Paul Allaire
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Paul Allaire rounded off his education with a Master of Science degree in business administration from Carnegie Mellon University in 1960. After completing his education, Allaire began his career at Xerox in 1966. Over the following years, Allaire gradually worked his way up the ranks, eventually securing the position of CEO in 1990. During his time at the helm, Allaire’s most notable success was successfully moving Xerox away from its reputation as simply a manufacturer of copiers by re-branding the firm as “The Document Company”.
2. Kushagra Bajaj
Kushagra Bajaj’s educational achievements include a Bachelor of Science degree in economics, finance and political philosophy from Carnegie Mellon University and a master of science in marketing degree from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Since leaving his studies behind, Bajaj has flourished as chairman of the Bajal Group (one of the oldest conglomerates in Mumbai), as chairman and managing director of Bajal Hinusthan Group, and as chairman of Bajal Corp Limited. Bajaj’s varied and significant successes in business has seen him claim several awards, including the Young Achiever award at the 10th Rajiv Gandhi Awards.
3. Francisco D'Souza
Since obtaining his Bachelor of Business Administration from University of East Asia Macau and a Master of Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University, Francisco D'Souza has carved out a successful career in business, initially with Dun & Bradstreet, later at Cognizant (at which he held the position of CEO and vice chairman) and most recently at the NASDAQ-100 company. D'Souza joined the NASDAQ-100 in 1994, obtaining the position of CEO in 2007, and the vice chairman position in 2018. In addition to his duties with the NASDAQ-100, D'Souza serves on the Board of trustees for his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University, and is a member of the World Economic Forum.
4. Dina Dublin
Dina Dublin obtained her bachelor's degree in economics and mathematics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and her master's degree from the Business School at Carnegie Mellon University. Since leaving education, Dublin has served as the executive vice president and chief financial officer for the multinational investment and financial services company, JPMorgan Chase; co-chair of the Women’s Refugee Communion; and board member for Microsoft, Accenture and PepsiCo. Since her retirement from JPMorgan Chase in 2004, Dublin has held the position of senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. Her many achievements have seen her win numerous honors, including a ranking on Fortune’s list of the “50 Most Powerful Women in American Business.”
5. Mark Ewing
Since graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in 1992, Marc Ewing’s most notable achievement has been founding Red Hat, a multinational software company that specializes in opensource software products, including the hugely successful Red Hat Enterprising Linux. By 2018, the company was generating $3.4 billion in revenue… something that may have contributed to IBM’s decision to announce their intent to acquire the company in October 2018 for $34 billion. Ewing is not short of a little revenue himself; at the peak of the dot com bubble in the 1990’s, the businessman was worth a reported $900 million.
6. Yoshiaki Fujimori
After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering at the University of Tokyo, Yoshiaki Fujimori went on to claim his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. He’s subsequently seen success as the president and CEO of Lixil Group, the Japanese manufacturer of building and housing equipment. During his time with the company, Fujimori oversaw an expansion that would lead to a 30% increase in global sales, taking the company’s net sales to an impressive $16.8 billion.
7. Scott Griffith
Businessman Scott Griffith holds a BS in engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Griffith is best known as the former chairman and chief executive officer of the American car-sharing company, Zipcar. Griffith served at the company until its acquisition by Avis Budget group in 2013. His time at the helm won him multiple honors, including the title of Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 2010 Social Entrepreneur CEO of the Year, and a mention as one of BusinessWeek’s “Best Leaders of 2006.”
8. Cormac Kinney
Cormac Kinney’s educational achievements include a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Industrial Management, a Master of Science in Industrial Administration and Finance, and a half-completed degree in software engineering. His business achievements have been no less impressive: as well as seeing success as an entrepreneur (his start-up’s include the technology company Heatmaps, hedge fund consultancy Sentiment Strategies, and the social network New Corp), Kinney is also a respected inventor: his innovations in software development have been named in over 4000 patents and been implemented across numerous businesses on a global scale.
9. Alexander Knaster
British billionaire Alexander Knaster graduated with a B.S. in electric engineering and mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1980. He’s subsequently become one of Britain’s richest men thanks to his activities in Pamplona Capital Management, an investment fund founded by Knaster in 2004. Since its inception, the business has seen remarkable success: by the end of its first decade alone, it was managing over $6.5 billion in assets. In addition to his business ventures, Knaster is a noted philanthropist; his worthy endeavors have included founding The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research in 2014 and helping to fund the Knaster-McWilliams scholarship fund in 2011.
10. Jim Levy
After graduating with a BS from Carnegie Mellon University in 1965, Jim Levy served as a music industry executive before becoming the founding CEO of video game publisher, Activision, in 1979. While at the helm of the company, Levy helped orchestrate the acquisition of software company Infocom for $7.5 million. Levy resigned from Activision in 1986, following an integral shift in the industry away from his traditional focus on single- player gaming.
11. Frank J. Marshall
Since Frank J. Marshall obtained his BS in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, he’s carved out a successful career as a private investor and key member of the Silicon Valley Advisory Council. Marshall currently holds positions as General Partner of Big Basin Partners and Venture Partner at Sequoia Capital. He also serves on the board of directors of Doosan Fuel Cell America, Inc., MobileIron, Inc., and Aerohive Networks, Inc.
12. Gerald C. Meyers
Gerald C. Meyers obtained his Bachelor of Science in engineering in 1950 and a Master of Science in business from Carnegie Mellon University in 1954. Since graduating, he’s built a successful career as an industrialist, author and management consultant. His numerous business achievements include obtaining the position of Director of Manufacturing at Chrysler Corporation, Director of Purchasing, Chief Executive Officer and President for American Motors Corporation, Ford Distinguished Research Chair and Professor of Business at Carnegie Mellon University's Graduate School of Industrial Administration, and President of Gerald C. Meyers Associates. In addition to his many business activities, Meyers is also an in-demand public speaker and author of several publications on business crisis management.
13. Ted Nierenberg
After graduating with a BS in 1944, Ted Nierenberg built a stellar career in business, culminating in the creation of Dansk International Designs, a distributor and retailer of tableware, cookware, and other household accessories. After founding the company in 1954, Nierenberg quickly built Dansk into one of the biggest retailers in the country, with the New York Times crediting it with creating “some of the most popular accessories found in American homes." The company was eventually sold to Dansk Acquisition Corp in 1985. Nierenberg died of pancreatic cancer at the age 86 on July 31, 2009.
14. David Tepper
David Alan Tepper earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1978, and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University in 1982. Since graduating, Tepper has enjoyed remarkable success as a hedge fund manager; his accomplishments as founder and president of global hedge fund Appaloosa Management have seen him claim 3rd position on Forbes 'The Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers 2018', as well as the title of “golden god." In addition to his day-to-day business activities, Tepper is the owner of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL and a minority stakeholder in the Pittsburgh Steelers.
15. Madhavi Vuppalapati
Since earning her master's degree in Computational Mechanics at Carnegie Mellon University, Madhavi Vuppalapati has seen extraordinary success in business. In 1998, Vuppalapati created Prithvi Information Solutions, a multinational telecom and IT services company that within less than a decade of its launch was pulling in an annual revenue of $60 M. As the CEO of Prithvi, Vuppalapati enjoys the distinction of being the only female CEO of the top 50 Indian IT and telecom services companies.
16. Romesh T. Wadhwani
After obtaining his bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Romesh T. Wadhwani earned his master's and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Since graduating, Wadhwani has seen success as the founder, chairman and CEO of Aspect Development, Inc, and as executive chairman of Symphony Teleca Corporation, MSC Software Inc, Symphony Health Solutions Inc and Shopzilla Inc. In addition to his notable business achievements, Wadhwani has been recognized for his philanthropy: in addition to serving on the board of trustees for both the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Wadhwani has helped further the cause of economic development in emerging economies through his charitable trust, the Wadhwani Foundation.
17. Charles Erwin Wilson
Carnegie Mellon University graduate Charles Erwin Wilson served in numerous positions of note throughout his lengthy career, including United States Secretary of Defense from 1953 to 1957 and chief engineer, sales manager, and president of General Motors. During his tenure at General Motors, Wilson was responsible for overseeing the company’s sizable defense production effort, a superlative achievement that won him a coveted Medal For Merit in 1946. In recognition of his service with both General Motors and as Defense Secretary, President Eisenhower awarded Wilson the Medal of Freedom on October 9, 1957.
18. Sulajja Firodia Motwani
Since graduating with an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, Indian entrepreneur and businesswoman Sulajja Firodia Motwani has developed a successful career as Vice Chairperson of Kinetic Engineering Limited and as founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kinetic Green Energy & Power Solutions Limited, a company specializing in green mobility and electric automobiles. Motwani’s achievements have led her to be named the "Face of the Millennium" by India Today, along with earning her a position in the magazine’s list of the top twenty-five business entrepreneurs in India.
19. Sunil Tekchand Wadhwani
Indian born businessman Sunil Tekchand Wadhwani graduated with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and a master's degree in industrial administration from Carnegie Mellon University. Since graduating in 1976, Wadhwani has become known as the co-founder of Digital Transformation services company, Mastech, Inc. and IT services company, IGATE. Wadhwani currently serves as managing partner at SWAT Capital, and is the founder of several charitable foundations, including the Wadhwani Institute for Sustainable Healthcare.
20. Keith Block
Since graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems and a Master’s of Science degree in Management and Policy Analysis, businessman Keith Block has served as a senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, as Executive Vice President of North America Sales and Consulting at Oracle, and most recently, as Co-Chief Executive Officer of Salesforce. Block is as noteworthy for his philanthropy as he is for his business acumen: in February 2018, he founded the Block Center for Technology and Society at Carnegie-Mellon University, and is also an active member of Boston Partners in Education.
Written by Garrett Parker
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