As future business leaders, you are certainly keeping an eye out for motivation and examples that will drive you towards success. Thanks to the rise of social media, you can follow your role models on sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn and stay on top of things. Here are 10 influencers whom you should follow during your MBA programme and even when you are finished with your course.
- Richard Branson: Branson is a well-known businessman and investor. Everybody knows him as the founder of Virgin Group, a powerhouse of hundreds of companies. His business acumen was evident from a young age when he started his first venture – a magazine called Student. He opened a chain of record stores and ended up launching the major record label Virgin Records with Nik Powell. From then on, there were a plethora of brands including Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Mobile. Reading Branson’s books is a great way to understand how he’s lead so many businesses and people without always following conventional norms like a stuck-in-a-cubicle environment.
- Mark Zuckerberg: Just around 30 years old, Zuckerberg is famous for bringing Facebook into our lives. He and his college roommates at Harvard University launched Facebook from their dorm rooms. At 23, he was declared a billionaire with the site’s success. And he isn’t sitting there complacently. Instead, he works on bringing constant innovation to his product like the popular Facebook ads programme. A 2010 movie called The Social Network even portrayed the rise of Facebook with an actor playing Zuckerberg.
- Evan Williams: Williams is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur who has founded several Internet companies. One of his companies led to the introduction of Twitter, the free micro-blogging site. Its popularity resulted in a new company in itself and Williams was appointed CEO in 2008. Although he stepped down as CEO a few years later, Twitter user statistics soared and he decided to try his hand at publishing too. And Medium (medium.com) was born.
- Arianna Huffington: She is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and was listed as the 52nd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes last year. She began her career path hosting TV shows and public radio programmes and proceeded to host a website called Ariannaonline.com before launching the Huffington Post. You can follow her on LinkedIn where she writes about success and shares professional insights.
- Guy Kawasaki: Kawasaki was one of the employees responsible for marketing the Macintosh in the 1980s. His time at Apple was followed by entrepreneurial ventures and lots of writing and speaking engagements. One of his software companies lead to the creation of the email product called Emailer and a list server product called LetterRip. He’s worked as a special advisor to the CEO of Motorola and has several books to his credit as well. His love for design is being enforced in his new role at Canva in Australia.
- Tony Fernandes: He is a Malaysian entrepreneur who gave his people their first budget airline, Air Asia. When Fernandes had stepped in, it was an ailing government-linked commercial airline. He also convinced the then-Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to introduce the idea of an open skies agreement with the neighbouring countries. So now Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia have granted landing rights to Air Asia and other budget carriers.
- Anand Mahindra: The chairman and MD of the Mahindra Group in India, Mahindra is in charge of an empire that enjoys market leadership in several business verticals including utility vehicles, finance and IT. He joined Mahindra Ugine Steel Company after acquiring an MBA from Harvard Business School and worked his way up from his initial position as executive assistant to the finance director. He’s typically featured in all lists of Asia’s most powerful business leaders.
- Oki Matsumoto: In 1999, when the online finance boom was in full swing in the United States, Matsumoto decided that Japan should be a part of it too. He left his investment-banking job at Goldman Sachs and launched Monex Group with help from Sony in the form of capital. It is now one of Japan’s leading financial services firms and Matsumoto has successfully built a global customer base that is growing every day.
- Hendy Setiono: Indonesian Hendy Setiono’s business idea came from holiday visits to his father in the Middle East. He realised that kebab shops were very popular and started his business empire with a single pushcart. The number of carts increased and Kebab Turki Baba Rafi began operations with the help of his wife and one employee. Today, they have expanded to other Asian countries and can say that they made kebabs popular in the region.
- William Bao Bean: William began his technology investment career two decades ago as a technology analyst in Taiwan. He joined SOS Ventures from SingTel Innov8 where he was managing director. A whiz at investments, he lead investments in major entities during his time there and was once a partner at Softbank China & India Holdings, an early stage venture capital firm as well. While at Softbank, he took care of major investments too. His tweets give you a look into life as a venture capitalist in China. He also gives the lowdown on innovation taking place in the region.
Part of being an MBA candidate involves knowing what is going on around the world and its industries. So be sure to follow!
Anyone you’d like to add to this list? Don’t forget to share the names in the comments below.