Stanford Doesn’t Remember This MBA Who Could Be Britain’s Next Prime Minister

Stanford MBA power couple: Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty, who met while studying at Stanford Graduate School of Business
Could the next UK Prime Minister be a Stanford MBA graduate? If Conservative candidate Rishi Sunak, son of Indian migrants from East Africa, succeeds Boris Johnson, that could well be the case.
At least that's what reporting from The Guardian, one of Britain's leading newspapers, found recently.
Despite Sunak's claims that Stanford Graduate School of Business changed his life path and encouraged him to take "a little bigger, more dynamic approach to change," few at Stanford remember him.
Sunak, who resigned as Chancellor of the UK government last month, said his MBA experience taught him to "think bigger" rather than having "a more incremental mindset". He received his MBA from Stanford in 2006 after receiving a Fulbright scholarship to study in the United States.
"While Stanford clearly left his mark," notes The Guardian, "it's less clear that Sunak made a big impression at Stanford, ranked number one in the world by Poets&Quants. one of the top ranked business schools in the world.”
The newspaper noted that a dozen professors and lecturers from the two years he spent on the MBA program "had no memory of tutoring the man vying to be the next British Prime Minister". In fact, former business school dean Robert Joss said he has stronger memories of Sunak's wife Akshata Murty, daughter of Infosys' founder, whom Sunak originally met at Stanford. Joss chaired the class's graduation and presented diplomas to 366 MBA graduates in the Class of 2006.
Sunak was not listed among the students in his 2006 MBA class, which received awards upon graduation because he was among 37 MBA graduates named Arjay Miller Scholars who were in the top 10% of the class for services to the university or for contributions to school social culture and sense of fun. Dozens of his classmates either didn't respond to The Guardian's request to share memories or declined to comment.
"I don't remember ever interacting with him"
However, the newspaper contacted teachers of some of the school's key courses to ask about Sunak, including entrepreneurship guru Irv Grousbeck, innovation teacher Andy Rachleff, leadership professor Charles O'Reilly and "feel good" teacher Carole Robin.
“While delivering a prestigious business school lecture in London last year, Sunak, now 42 and also an Oxford University graduate, quoted one of his “inspirational” Stanford professors, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer, and described the impact by Romer's talk on innovation," wrote The Guardian. "I don't remember ever interacting with him," Romer told the newspaper.
Another now-emeritus professor of banking and finance, James Van Horne, initially told The Guardian that he did not teach Sunak. However, after Van Horne searched his corporate finance class records, he discovered that Sunak was enrolled in one of his classes. "He was a good student and participated well, but beyond that I don't have much memory," Van Horne wrote in an email to the newspaper's reporters. Van Horne also took an active part in closing the class.
"You remember the students who get into trouble"
Joss, who was dean of GSB at the time, said he barely remembered Sunak but vaguely remembered a "very intelligent and very good student". "My impression of all our students was that they are great," Joss told The Guardian.
With around 400 students per GSB graduating class, Joss added, it is not possible to get to know everyone in detail. "You remember the students who got into trouble or the students who won the big prizes," he told the newspaper.
Joss said he has a stronger memory of his wife. Akshata Murty, who Joss recalled as "very smart, very smart". The Guardian pointed out that Joss knew her parents because Narayana Murthy, her father and the billionaire founder of Infosys, was a member of the Stanford Business School advisory board. The two married in Bangalore the same year that they completed their MBA. Sunak says he even changed his schedule in Stanford's MBA program "to be in a certain class" to sit next to Murty.
The post Stanford Doesn't Remember This MBA Who Could Be Britain's Next Prime Minister appeared first on Poets&Quants.

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