The 20 most powerful Harvard graduates alive

From the President of the United States to the heads of some of the biggest financial institutions in the world, Harvard University graduates have established themselves in powerful positions.
Harvard — which is known as the university with the best reputation in the world — is known as being one of the best academic institutions in the America.

Both its undergraduate and graduate programs consistently top many higher education rankings.

For this list, we’ve included any living person who has a degree from one of Harvard’s schools. We looked for those who are currently in positions of major power and influence on both a national and global stage.

Alyson Penn contributed to an earlier version of this list.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN, earned an M.A. in public administration in 1985

Ban Ki-moon has held the title of Secretary-General of the UN since 2007, after being unanimously re-elected in 2011. For his second term he wanted to focus on empowering women and promoting sustainable development. Prior to his appointment, he was South Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Ted Cruz, US Senator, graduated magna cum laude in 1995 with a J.D.

Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Cruz was elected to the US Senate in 2012, making him the first Hispanic to serve as US senator in Texas. Since he made his way to Washington, Cruz became a major face of the GOP during the 2013 government shutdown battle. Cruz recently threw his name into the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Bill O'Reilly, host of 'The O'Reilly Factor,' received a M.A. for public administration in 1996

Fox News

The controversial commentator has been the host of his popular eponymous cable news show since 1996. He's also written several best-selling, non-fiction books and has managed to turn his polarising chatter into a full-blown brand.

Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, earned her J.D. in 1988

Getty Images/Alex Wong

She's the First Lady who wants the country's children to move. She's the head of the 'Let's Move!' campaign which fights to combat childhood obesity and promotes healthy eating.

Chief Justice John Roberts graduated with an B.A. in 1976 and a J.D. in 1979

Being a relatively young Chief Justice, Roberts will likely be able to shape and direct the court for many years to come. He has already written influential opinions on cases such as healthcare reform. Roberts graduated summa cum laude with his Bachelor's and magna cum laude with his Juris Doctor.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, graduated with an B.A. in economics in 1991

Facebook is one of the most widely used social mediums in the world and Sheryl Sandberg operates it -- making her net worth more than $US1 billion. Previously, Sandberg was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, and served as chief of staff for the United States Secretary of the Treasury. She graduated summa cum laude.

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