An MBA from Harvard is the path to the corner office and a six-figure salary right out of school, and also a place where entrepreneurs are born. Famous alumni include Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and NYC Mayor and Bloomberg LP founder Michael Bloomberg.
We found the most impressive students currently getting their MBAs — many of whom aren’t waiting to graduate to get their businesses going. One went to Princeton at 16 before joining Microsoft as an engineer. Another sold his successful startup for more than $100 million and published a book before enrolling.
And they’re just getting started.
Hometown: San Francisco, Calif.
Undergrad: UNC-Chapel Hill
Ryan Allis was 18 when he co-founded iContact, an email marketing company. As CEO, he built the company from its start in 2003 to over $50 million in annual sales, 300 employees, and one million users before selling the firm to Washington D.C.-based Vocus for $169 million in February, 2012.
Now, Ryan is balancing his studies with launching his next venture -- San Francisco-based Connect.com, which was recently accepted into the [email protected] Incubator Program in Menlo Park, CA. Before HBS, Ryan wrote a book on entrepreneurship called 'Zero to One Million,' was Chairman of the non-profit Nourish.org, and was selected as an inaugural member of the United Nations Foundation's Global Entrepreneur Council.
Ryan is also an angel investor, hoping to do whatever he can to use technology to create a sustainable world in which everyone has access to basic human needs. At HBS, Ryan is a member of the Section F Foxes and is a Spring 2013 fellow of the Harvard Graduate Student Leadership Institute.
Andrei Brasoveanu worked in high-frequency trading and venture capital before founding a retail analytics startup at HBS.
Hometown: Bucharest, Romania
Undergraduate: Princeton University
Before business school he worked in high-frequency trading at Knight Capital, building algorithms to predict future price movements in stocks and futures. Before that, he worked at a three-person quantitative startup with $6 million in funding in New York. He also had an exposure to venture capital at Siemens Venture Capital in Germany. He grew up in Romania where he was an active maths Olympiad contestant ranked in the top three.
He is part of Foundation Capital's Young Entrepreneurs Program, seeking to identify impressive entrepreneurs and promising ventures. On campus, he is co-president of the Entrepreneurship Club and co-chaired the Entrepreneurship Conference, with 500+ attendees and 50+ speakers, together with fellow HBSer Hande Altun. He is now working on a retail analytics startup called TrackMaze with colleague Teddie Wardi, seeking to build the next Google Analytics for small and medium-sized brick & mortar stores.
He will be spending this summer with venture capital firm Accel Partners in London.
Hometown: Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
Undergrad: Harvard University
Before heading to HBS, Jessica invented the sOccket: a soccer ball that harnesses the energy generated during play and stores it for later use as a portable power source. Her invention was widely regarded as a step forward for sustainable energy solutions. It earned her a seat as a panelist at the Clinton Global Initiative and landed her a spot in Fortune Magazine's Most Powerful Women in Business -- Next Generation Entrepreneurs 2011.
A Nigerian native, her soccer ball is a promising resource that could bring power to communities everywhere. She continues to develop different ways of combining play with cutting-edge technology to make the world a better place. Jessica also leads discussions on thought leadership on subjects including social innovation, the development of disruptive technology, and consumer behaviour.
Abhishek Agrawal went to Princeton at age 16, and he's developed an app with HBS classmates that brings pub trivia to the App Store.
Hometown: New Delhi, India
Undergrad: Princeton University
Agrawal started at Princeton at just 16, where he conducted cutting-edge research on biomedical applications of infrared lasers. After graduation, he worked as an engineer at Microsoft Research, where he helped build everything from 3D scanners to educational games.
A long-time trivia buff, Abhishek, along with classmates Jonathan Evans and Karen Tang, decided to bring pub trivia to the App Store. They developed and launched TrivPals, a free mobile game allowing users to challenge their friends across a variety of trivia categories. The game has grown rapidly, with over 400,000 questions answered in just eight weeks.
The trio were runners-up in the HBS micro-business competition for all first-year students, and kept working on TrivPals through their summer internships. They're now honing the game at Harvard's Innovation Lab.
Co-founder Jonathan Evans previously published a Chicken Soup for the Soul memoir and won a Truman Scholarship. Emily Tang won an Emmy award winner and was recently named an HBS Leadership Fellow. The three plan to continue growing TrivPals after school.
Onusa Chantanapongwanij was a physician in the Royal Thai Airforce before coming to HBS and working with Harvard's endowment fund.
Year: 2nd year
Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
Undergrad: Chulalongkorn University
Prior to HBS, Onusa started out her career as a physician in the Royal Thai Air Force. While working in public healthcare, she gained invaluable lessons from the dedication of her medical colleagues and mentors, who have contributed to Thailand's successful adoption of a universal healthcare coverage model. While in medical school, Onusa served as a youth ambassador for the Stock Exchange of Thailand. She was also a medical intern in France under the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations (IFMSA) scholarship.
Beside her medical career, Onusa also worked as an equity research analyst covering healthcare, retail, and property companies at Trinity Securities Group in Thailand.
At HBS, Onusa is a VP of the Asia Business Club and a section representative of the Women's Student Association. Last semester, she pursued an investment research project with Harvard Management Company, the university's endowment fund.
After HBS, she plans to continue her career in healthcare and developing market investing, areas in which she believes a sustainable form of capitalism can mobilize resources to create a positive impact on many people's lives.
Andrew Kinard lost both of his legs during his first tour in Iraq, worked at the Department of defence, and is pursuing both a law degree and MBA.
Year: 3rd of a three-year joint degree program with Harvard's Law School
Hometown: Spartanburg, SC
Undergrad: US Naval Academy
Just six weeks into his first tour of duty in Iraq in 2006, Kinard lost both legs in an I.E.D. explosion. His recovery was difficult, he had some 75 surgeries and 18 months of rehabilitation.
That didn't stop him. While recovering, he encountered Jim Haynes, then General Counsel at the Department of defence, who encouraged him to take an internship. That experience, and Haynes' advice, led him to apply to Harvard's Law School.
In his first year as a law student, Kinard realised that he wanted to understand the underlying economics of the deals he worked on as a lawyer, so he decided to apply for a joint JD/MBA program.
Kinard is active in the Wounded Warrior Project, which supports severely injured veterans as they transition back to civilian life. He's now a member of the organisation's board of directors. Kinard also spent time working for Senator Lindsay Graham as an assistant on millitary legislative matters.
Stephanie Frias and Shereen Khanuja spent successful years at Google and Intel before joining together to empower artists.
Hometown: Stephanie is from Miami, Fla. and Shereen is from Warren, Ohio
Undergrad: Stephanie went to Harvard and Shereen, to the University of Michigan
Stephanie spent more than seven years at the crossroads of entertainment, digital media and technology at both NBCUniversal and Google, where she realised the current talent discovery model is in need of a major overhaul. Born in the Dominican Republic, she has strong roots in Latin dance and music.
Shereen spent over four years working in tech at Intel and CoffeeTable. She's also been a dancer for over 20 years on stages big and small, including 'America's Got Talent,' experiencing first-hand the difficulties emerging talent face in effectively marketing themselves outside of their existing networks.
Their love for the arts and their personal experiences inspired them to join up to connect people looking to find work in entertainment with people looking to hire them. The two girls met while rehearsing for an on-campus dance performance, and realised they both wanted to create a resource to empower artists.
The two co-founded Hypeli, an online destination for all things entertainment. Their website supplies people looking to hire talent with all the information and tools they need to book them, and is run right out of Harvard's Innovation Lab.
Rotem Iram worked for Israeli intelligence and is now trying to kill roaming fees with his startup, DATAPiXY.
Hometown: Herzliya, Israel
Undergrad: Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Iram was a Captain in an Israeli intelligence unit where he learned a few things about telecommunications. As a consultant with McKinsey & Company he helped mobile carriers around the world think about their next generation strategy.
Based in the Harvard i-lab (Innovation Lab), Iram launched DATAPiXY, a service that connects your phone, laptop or tablet to the Internet while abroad, at local data prices. By working directly with local carriers in key markets, Iram helps his customers get around roaming fees. In his spare time, he plays for the HBS basketball team.
Nikhil Sachdev worked at the Treasury Department and Goldman Sachs, and founded adtime, a mobile advertising startup.
Hometown: Davis, CA
Undergrad: Stanford University
At 15 Nikhil left his home in northern California and moved to New Delhi for a year. That same see, think, do attitude has guided him through his career. Three years ago he founded a non-profit focused on building entrepreneurial capacity in post-conflict nations.
He completed an honours degree in Economics at Stanford where he spent his free time working as a policy intern for a gubernatorial candidate. He later worked at the US Treasury Department and as an economic policy advisor to a US congressional candidate.
Prior to HBS, Nikhil advised technology companies on mergers and acquisitions at Goldman Sachs. He also spent two years at Bain Capital where he evaluated new private equity investments and worked alongside management at the firm's existing portfolio companies.
At Harvard, he won the Rock Accelerator Prize and a Social Enterprise Grant to fund two start-up ideas he has worked on -- one is adtime, a mobile platform that rewards users for engaging with ads, and provides high value data to advertisers. The otehr focuses on mobile consumer health. He split his MBA summer between working for the CEO of a Sequoia-backed mobile marketing start up and investing in media stocks at a long-short equity hedge fund.
Michael Trejo spent a summer at The White House, worked at Merrill Lynch, then founded Harvard's Latino Student Alliance while pursuing a joint degree at Harvard's Kennedy School.
Age: 26 Year: 3rd year joint-degree Hometown: Phoenix, AZ Undergrad: Arizona State UniversityBefore coming to HBS, Trejo worked as an analyst in real estate investment banking for Merrill Lynch, which sponsored his MBA.
The oldest of five children, Michael was the first HBS student admitted under the 2+2 program to simultaneously pursue a joint degree with the Harvard Kennedy School.
He spent a summer working for the White House on education policy, and will seek opportunities to re-enter public service in the future.
Since coming to campus, Michael co-founded the Harvard Latino Student Alliance, was co-President of the Latino Students organisation at HBS, and taught a government class at Harvard College.
Michael is driven by his passion for helping others. Outside of campus, he serves as a Mentor in the Be A Leader Foundation in Arizona and as a Researcher for the Latino Donor Collaborative in Washington, DC.
Eric Chernoff triple majored at Duke and is now co-founder and CEO of Outbreakr, a digital marketing startup.
Year: 2nd year
Hometown: Tampa, Fla.
Undergrad: University of Florida
Eric graduated with a triple major in economics, marketing, and psychology, and as the valedictorian of all three schools. After graduating, Eric lived abroad in India studying intensive computer science working for a local outsourcing company, Infosys. With a 1 per cent acceptance rate, landing a spot working in Infosys is harder than getting into Harvard.
Eric's focus has been entrepreneurship from the first day he arrived at HBS. He is the co-founder and CEO of Outbreakr, a platform that rewards the most creative, influential, and biggest 'brand fans' to spread a message on a company's behalf in social media. By providing cash and non-cash prizes exclusively to the designers of the most impactful and far-reaching social media campaigns, Outbreakr ensures that its clients get the biggest bang for their buck.
Eric won the 'Minimum Viable Product' (MVP) award at Harvard for Outbreakr and earned the honour of a full-time spot as an i-lab resident. He was also selected as a Summer Fellow, through the Rock centre for Entrepreneurship.
Outside of HBS, Eric performs stand-up comedy and plays guitar -- he has performed at the House of Blues in Houston. He has written a sitcom pilot and even produced an album in college.
Prita Kumar left Morgan Stanley and private equity for HBS, and to launch an online platform for fitness videos.
Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas
Undergrad: New York University
Before HBS, Prita was a top-rated analyst at Morgan Stanley, and later became the only female investment professional at Irving Place Capital when she was recruited to the firm.
From a young age, Prita has always been passionate about fitness and how it can help people live better, healthier lives. That's why she came up with the idea to launch Booya Fitness Inc, an online platform for on-demand fitness videos created by high-end gyms and instructors.
She won a contest at an HBS Entrepreneurship conference that awarded her with funding and assistance to put her idea into motion. This January she got a Rock Accelerator grant that awarded her a $5,000 and mentorship. She is currently participating in the New Venture Documentary Series and working on building up Booya Fitness.
Hometown: Wilton, Conn.
Undergrad: Lehigh University
Blair was accepted to an engineering leadership development program with industrial technology giant Ingersoll Rand, working in operations, product development, and marketing. Then he moved on to FlexEnergy, a cleantech startup.
Blair and his wife Teva were taking care of their nieces one day when they realised that most of the clothes the infants owned were brand new, yet they had already outgrown them.They founded chillbaby, a subscription service that provides a curated selection of clothing to parents based on their child's age, style, and the season. Like Netflix, customers can return products as often as they want and there are never late fees. Parents can even create their own style profiles, so that chillbaby can select clothing that matches the parents' style preferences.
Joe launched chillbaby in November after winning an award from the Rock Accelerator program at HBS. Joe is currently preparing for HBS's New Venture Competition and hopes to continue with chillbaby after graduation.
Kristen Jones is blogging at Bloomberg Businessweek as she creates a new version of Pad Mapper for students looking to sublet.
Age: 26 Year: 1st Hometown: Columbus, Ohio Undergrad: Harvard UniversityBefore attending HBS Kristen worked as a business analyst and buyer at Sears Holdings and at DrJays, and was already blogging about entrepreneurship, giving people advice on everything they needed to know to take the plunge and launch a startup. She dedicated her life to telling fellow entrepreneurs that anyone can build a website without learning how to code, anyone can work on their startup in the evenings after work, and anyone can do it without having to move to Silicon Valley.
She now writes blog posts at Bloomberg Businessweek about entrepreneurship and her experience at HBS.
Kristen began to put her thoughts on entrepreneurship to work by developing her own business, Rentern.co, a service that will help students who are looking for a room to sublet with other students looking for roommates.
David Snider, a former Bain consultant, launched a startup that gets professional chefs to cook for customers in the privacy of their own homes.
Hometown: Boston, Mass.
Undergrad: Duke University
Before business school, David worked at the management consulting firm Bain & Company and was an investor in the private equity group at Bain Capital. While he was working he wrote 'Money Makers,' a book about the landscape of finance and business. The text featured interviews with leaders in the field, including Jamie Dimon, David Rubenstein and Seth Klarman, and was published by Macmillan in 2010.
At HBS, David and his classmates David Werry and John Feeney came up with an idea that aimed to revolutionise the experience of dining-in. They created Chef'd Up a company that enables people to bring chefs from top Boston restaurants into their homes for unique culinary events. The site features chefs whose experience spans some of the best restaurants in Boston and throughout the world. Launched with seed funding from Harvard, their company provides a unique spin on the catering concept, allowing professional chefs to cook for costumers in the privacy of their own homes.
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Undergrad: Rollins College
By the time Miller was an undergrad, he had already worked on a presidential campaign and launched a disaster relief organisation for Hurricane Katrina. The organisation is still operating and has sponsored hundreds of volunteers on more than a dozen different trips to rebuild greater New Orleans.
At Harvard Business School he manages a 20-person team as president of a business group HBS calls a 'section.' He is also the founder of Tiggly, a platform that combines physical toys with iPad apps. His son inspired him to found the company after recognising the need for toys to help young toddlers to better combine the digital and physical worlds.
Yasi Baiani launched her first business in Iran and is now working on a platform that connects people to local sports and fitness activies.
Hometown: Iran and San Francisco, Calif.
Undergraduate: UC Berkeley
Yasi Baiani was born and raised in Iran. Her first crack at entrepreneurship was starting a successful jewelry business in her home town. After a couple of years as an analyst at Citigroup, Yasi moved to Silicon Valley in 2008 she experienced first-hand just how badly many entrepreneurs got hit by the recession.
When she saw downsized startups and jobless graduate students, she saw an opportunity to match MBA students with startups for consulting projects. Through the VentureXchange program, she helped startups access talent, while helping students get work experience.
Now at HBS, she's a co-founder of ActivePepper, a business that helps people find sports partners, fitness classes, and local sports activities. Yasi and her team have won multiple prizes at Harvard including the Minimum Viable Product Award and a Rock centre Summer Fellowship, which helped them fund their venture.
Andrew Haller, former McKinsey consultant and Teach For America volunteer, developed Ripple Concerts, a platform for bands to book performances at untraditional venues.
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Undergrad: Stanford University
Before HBS, Andrew worked in New York as a consultant with McKinsey & Company and spent three years with Teach For America helping to lead expansion efforts and develop innovative systems for managing growth.
At HBS, he co-founded and serves as CEO of Ripple Concerts, an online platform enabling music artists and fans to book live performances in non-traditional locations from office spaces to warehouses to community buildings. Andrew is building new infrastructure to support emerging artists on tour and create authentic experiences for listeners.
Ripple has been accepted as a finalist in the Deans' Cultural Entrepreneurship Challenge at Harvard, and is validating its model through a pilot with select artists.
Landon Dickey is another Teach For America alum who now manages a foundation with a $1.2 million endowment.
Hometown: San Francisco, Calif.
Undergrad: Harvard University
Landon joined Teach For America's 2009 corps in New York to work first-hand with the communities he hoped to serve. He spent two years teaching students with learning disabilities in the South Bronx, while co-leading the design and implementation of several school-wide initiatives as a member of his school's leadership team.
Eager to learn how to build sustainable organisations that could impact more people, Landon enrolled in Harvard Business School to receive an education in managing organisations and leadership. Since enrolling, he has served as co-president of the Harbus Foundation, the only MBA-student-run foundation in the country and an organisation with a $1.2 million endowment, where he manages 30 first-year MBAs in distributing over $50,000 in grants to Boston nonprofits.
As a recipient of Harvard Business School's Leadership Fellowship, Landon will be working in Boston city government next year. During his one-year tenure, he plans to continue developing and executing a vision for strengthening low-income urban communities.
Todd Rudnianyn and Rebecca Greene are using experience from Amazon and a startup to revolutionise self-storage.
Age: Todd is 31 and Rebecca is 28
Hometown: Todd is from Ocala, Fla. and Rebecca is from Hollywood, Fla.
Undergrad: Todd went to the University of Pennsylvania and Rebecca went to Columbia University
Rudnianyn and Greene met as section mates at Harvard Business School, and the two quickly teamed up to work on a business idea.
Rudnianyn, a self storage entrepreneur prior to business school, saw major customer channels became displaced by the internet. He rapidly changed his business to focus more on the web, but transitioning to a technological model proved difficult and conversion rates for online customers still lagged.
After a summer internship at Amazon, Greene, a former management consultant, saw an even greater opportunity in optimising data on the back end. Using data analytics and behavioural science, the two are developing an online tool that they hope will not only increase the number of renters a self storage facility gets, but the spend of each customer. The two have received funding from Harvard Business School's Rock Accelerator Program to test their hypothesis.
Todd serves as Chair of the 2013 Harvard Business School Real Estate Club Symposium and Rebecca is Director of Large Cap Companies for the HBS TechMedia Club.
Arick Morton and Shana Hoffman are creating a more personalised care plan for senior-care givers, allowing loved ones to track their care more closely.
Age: Shana is 26, Arick is 27
Hometown: Shana is from West Hartford, Conn. and Arick is from Raleigh, N.C.
Undergrad: Shana went to the University of Pennsylvania and Arick went to UNC-Chapel Hill
Both Arick and Shana previously worked in health care; Arick helping hospitals increase operational efficiency at The Advisory Board and Shana helping to improve the lives of dialysis patients at DaVita. After meeting at HBS, their conversations immediately focused on the opportunities for innovation in health care. They both felt there was a huge need for change in the senior care-giving space and came up with the idea for their startup, CareSolver.
Centered around a personalised care plan, CareSolver directs caregivers as to the right action steps to take, while providing them with the resources they need to successfully complete these tasks. Since starting CareSolver, they have been recognised repeatedly at HBS, recently winning the Rock Accelerator Award, participating in the New Venture Competition, and receiving residency in the Harvard Innovation Lab. Shana was also selected for the Women's Founders Forum.
Kunal Modi used experience from a career in public service to co-found a program that connects students to local non-profits.
Year: 3rd of a three-year joint degree program with Harvard Kennedy School
Hometown: Naperville, IL
Undergrad: Northwestern University
Kunal began his career advocating for low-income families as an AmeriCorps service member before becoming a management consultant for McKinsey & Company. He later applied his consulting training towards education reform with Teach For America, focusing on teacher training and evaluation.
Perceiving that early career paths his peers faced existed in largely private, public, and social sector silos, Kunal co-founded Campus Catalyst -- a program that engages students in pro bono consulting for local non-profits while providing cross-sector career training. The organisation has engaged over 500 students and nearly 100 organisations to date.
On campus, Kunal was elected Co-President of the Harvard Business School Student Association. Previously, he served as an Opinions Editor for the Harvard Citizen and interned at the White House National Economic Council. Most recently, Kunal joined the launch team of Sheryl Sandberg's leanin.org. He plans to re-join McKinsey & Company in San Francisco after graduation.