Harvard Business School honors five graduates with Alumni Achievement Award – News


BOSTON– Harvard Business School (HBS) today awarded its highest honor, the Alumni Achievement Award, to five distinguished graduates. Included as part of the school’s launch ceremony, the award highlights examples of outstanding leadership for HBS graduate students.

This year’s winners are Patricia C. “Tosh” Barron (MBA 1972)former President of Xerox Engineering Systems and Office Products Division; Salman A. Khan (MBA 2003)founder and CEO of Khan Academy; Naina Lal Kidwai (MBA 1982)former Chief Executive of HSBC Asia Pacific, former Chairman of HSBC India and Founder and Chairman of the India Sanitation Coalition; Robert L. Ryan (MBA 1970), retired senior vice president and chief financial officer of Medtronic; and Robert B. Wilson (MBA 1961, DBA 1963)Adams Professor Emeritus of Management at Stanford University and winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Economics for improving auction theory and inventing new auction formats.

Throughout their careers, these remarkable graduates have made significant contributions to their organizations and communities while upholding the highest standards and values ​​in all that they do. As such, they represent the best of the School’s alumni and are role models for all who aspire to make an impact in both business and society.

This year’s recipients of the School’s highest honor demonstrate how family, good fortune and a healthy appetite for risk can shape a life.

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Tosh Barron (MBA 1972) had a long career as a business leader. She spent six years at McKinsey and Company, as an operations practice consultant, focusing on global strategy and operations improvement for manufacturing and service companies. Barron then joined Xerox Corporation, where his first role as a multinational projects manager was leading the company’s entry into the Chinese market. She had a 21-year career with the company, retiring in 1999. As a leader, she served as President of the $600 million Xerox Engineering Division and President and Chief computer from the $8 billion office products division. Previously, she was Executive-in-Residence and Clinical Associate Professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, teaching MBA courses in Leadership and Corporate Governance. Tosh served as lead director and chair of the governance committee of Teleflex Corporation; Vice Chairman of the USAA Board of Directors; and Lead Director of Quaker Chemical Corporation. Other board members include Aramark Corporation, Frontier Corporation, Ultralife Corporation (Chairman), and Reynolds Metals Corporation.

Reflecting on her decades in senior management positions and as a senior director on numerous corporate and non-profit boards, Barron said, “When it comes to leadership, I think the most more important is to listen; the other must be decisive. You’re not the only one with a brain, so getting feedback is very important. And you can’t procrastinate.

image copyrightSusan Young

Salman Khan (MBA 2003) is the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a non-profit organization founded in 2008 with a simple mission: to provide free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. The online education business grew out of Khan’s experience tutoring his younger cousin in math while communicating over the phone and using an interactive notepad. He created software to provide practice problems and feedback and posted videos of his hand-scribbled tutorials on YouTube. When viewership for the videos took off in 2009, he quit his job as a hedge fund analyst to devote himself full-time to Khan Academy. Today, over 135 million registered users worldwide use Khan Academy in 190 countries and 50 languages. Students turn to the free site to learn math, science, and humanities. In the United States, Khan Academy works with more than 280 school districts to support teachers and provide district-level information to administrators.

Speaking about the impact of digital tools on learning, Khan said: “In fluency learning, a student advances at their own pace and takes as many shots on goal as necessary to master a concept, before to advance. If I am a teacher with 30 children, it is very difficult to achieve this; but if you have software tools and video on demand, it is possible.

photo credit Alice Carfrae

Naina Lal Kidwai (MBA 1982) began her career in investment banking in 1982 at British bank Grindlays Bank in India and took over as CEO in 1987 – the first woman to head an investment bank in India. She then moved from investment banking to retail banking as head of non-resident Indian services. In 1994, she joined Morgan Stanley, where, as head of investment banking, she returned to work in capital markets and mergers and acquisitions. In 2002, she joined HSBC India to lead their investment banking and capital markets business, and soon after took over as CEO of the bank. Eventually, she became president of the bank’s operations in India and executive director of the board of HSBC Asia Pacific. In 2013, she was elected President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Industry, the first woman to lead the organization in its 86-year history.

“The advantage of working in finance in India at the time was the opportunity to influence the evolution of financial institutions and regulatory structures in the country,” Kidwai said of returning to India at a time when the sector was undergoing dramatic changes. “Early on, I was part of the group that helped create a second, more modern stock exchange and developed the first policies on stock issues and insider trading.”

Upon his retirement from HSBC in 2015, Kidwai established the India Sanitation Coalition, an organization that brings together businesses, nonprofits, financial and government actors in a national effort to improve the health of citizens and reduce health risks. diseases by ending open defecation, treating wastewater and reusing treated wastewater.

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Robert Ryan (MBA 1970), the HBS Class Day 2022 speaker, is a business leader with a long and successful career in the industry. Prior to joining Medtronic, he was CFO of Union Texas Petroleum Corporation for ten years, overseeing the company’s IPO. Previously, he worked at McKinsey and Citibank, where as vice president he was responsible for overseeing corporate relationships in the nascent cable television industry. He is a former member of the board of directors of organizations such as General Mills, Hewlett-Packard, Stanley Black & Decker and UnitedHealth, in addition to being a trustee emeritus of Cornell University, where he holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering. . Ryan, a Detroit native and longtime philanthropic supporter of education, especially for people from underserved backgrounds, was honored by the African American Student Union HBS in 2000. In 2004, he launched the Robert L. Ryan Scholarship at HBS, which has supported 22 students since its inception.

On his decision to apply to HBS, Ryan explained, “I was nearly two years into a PhD in electrical engineering when I realized I was on autopilot. I said, “There’s more to life than having a guaranteed job for life. I’ve always been intrigued by finance and didn’t want to look back and regret not enjoying this moment, so I applied to HBS.

image copyrightSusan Young

Robert Wilson (MBA 1961, DBA 1963) has been on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business since 1964 and has published approximately 100 articles in professional journals and books since earning his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Harvard College and HBS. He is considered an expert on game theory and its applications and authored some of the seminal studies of reputational effects in predatory pricing, price wars, and other competitive battles. In addition to his Nobel Prize, his book on nonlinear pricing won the 1995 Leo Melamed Prize, awarded biennially by the University of Chicago for “outstanding scholarship by a professor of business.” He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow, former officer and board member of the Econometric Society. At various times in his career, he has advised the US Department of the Interior, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.

“There were a few times where I worked on a problem alone and it was a disaster,” Wilson said when discussing the value of collaboration. “I depend on an exchange of ideas with someone more precise and rigorous because I tend to be a bit of a vague and speculative thinker.”

More detailed information on each of the recipients follows and can be found on the School’s awards website.

The Alumni Achievement Award is given annually to a small select group of alumni who represent the school’s best traditions and highest aspirations. For more than 50 years, HBS has honored individuals whose strategic vision guides their work, whose creativity and innovation inspires those around them, whose character and values ​​are exemplary, and whose leadership – in their careers and communities – is an example for others to follow. They are truly leaders who make a difference in the world.


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