The Wharton community is full of hard-drivers, do-gooders and business revolutionaries. Students come to the School with the innate skills to succeed, sharpen them on campus and take in as much knowledge as possible, and then turn that into action, advancing societies and economies worldwide.
In this issue (as we did in last year’s spring “Special Class Notes Issue”), we interview several prominent community members who have had measurable impact upon their given field, accomplished singular achievements and/or created intangible benefits to the greater good. This is just a small measure of what occurs on campus and across the Wharton network every day.
Please find their faces and short descriptions of their pasts on the next page. Then on the pages that follow, let them explain their dreams and accomplishments in their own words. They were generous with their time and wisdom and answered a range of questions about their careers, their Wharton experiences and their personal lives.
Lindsay Beck. Now an MBA for Executives student at Wharton | San Francisco, Lindsay had been diagnosed with a rare tongue cancer when she was 22. When the malignancy recurred and she inadvertently discovered her chemotherapy could leave her sterile, she launched into an advocacy campaign that changed the face of American medicine. Through her charity, Fertile Hope (now part of the LIVESTRONG Foundation), she co-wrote the oncology treatment guidelines to protect the reproductive rights of young patients like herself. She then lobbied among the massive health insurers and countless self-insured employers to help fund the care.
S.A. Ibrahim, WG ’78. His business leadership credentials are impeccable. As CEO of Radian Group, he led his company out of the eye of the storm of the financial crisis and Great Recession, and did so through investment and growth. But what we recognize S.A. for is his commitment to interfaith dialogue. He has become the first Muslim to serve on any board of the Anti-Defamation League. The Obama administration called upon his assistance when crafting the president’s now-famous 2009 Cairo speech. And among his many other involvements, S.A. heads up the Nina and S.A. Ibrahim Foundation, which is devoted to increasing religious tolerance through student travel and exchanges.
Neel Kashkari, WG ’02. The nickname “the $700 billion man” has stuck with Neel even after he left the U.S. Treasury Department for investment giant PIMCO. As the world crashed around them, Secretary Hank Paulson entrusted Neel to implement the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). He essentially launched a giant startup at Treasury, hiring about 140 people, completing 600 transactions and putting $400 billion into the financial system before he left in May 2009. Indeed, Neel co-authored the plan to loan Uncle Sam’s money to the banks. The program has netted the U.S. government $46 billion in profits as of last count, yet Neel was lambasted from across the political spectrum. Perhaps most impressively, he is considering public service again.
Dr. Rajiv Shah, M’02, GrW’05. It was a whirlwind few months. Raj was confirmed as Under Secretary of Agriculture in May 12, 2009, only to be then confirmed as head of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Dec. 24. Days later, he was managing the American response to the Haiti earthquake. Since then, he has managed the response to one global crisis after another, while transforming the $22 billion, 10,000-employee global development arm of the U.S. government. Applying his Wharton knowledge, medical background and experience at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he has leveraged public-private partnerships with aims of improving diplomacy, reforming global agriculture and ending hunger, among other “modest” goals.
Jeff Weiner, W’92. LinkedIn has recently passed 200 million members. It has had tenfold growth in revenue over the past four years, an IPO success, seven consecutive quarters beating analyst estimates and, the latest, and greater than 1 billion uses of its newest functionality (endorsements). Though as CEO for the past four years, Jeff is too humble to take the credit, he does accept responsibility for articulating and implementing the social media firm’s stunning vision. Essentially, he has disrupted the talent recruitment business—and plans to stop nothing short of revolutionizing the labor market itself.