BOSTON—The Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2016 concluded their last day on campus as students this afternoon by seeing five distinguished graduates receive the School’s Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honor HBS can bestow upon an alumnus or alumna.
This year’s recipients are Mary Callahan, CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset Management; Alan F. Horn, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios; W. James McNerney Jr., retired chairman of The Boeing Company; Sunil B. Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises; and Thomas J. Tierney, former worldwide managing director of Bain & Company and chairman and cofounder of The Bridgespan Group.
Each year since 1968, the School has bestowed the Alumni Achievement Award on a select group of outstanding graduates who have contributed significantly to their companies, industries and communities, while upholding the highest standards and values in everything they do.
“These graduates are what I hope you graduates will become,” said Professor Bill Sahlman, the School’s Senior Associate Dean for External Relations, to members of the Class of 2016, as he helped Dean Nitin Nohria present the awards at a ceremony preceding the presentation of diplomas. “I hope that 25 or 30 years from now, you will be the people in these chairs coming onto this stage.”
The 2016 Alumni Achievement Award recipients are:
Mary Callahan Erdoes (MBA 1993)
Mary Callahan Erdoes is CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset Management, a global leader in investment management and private banking. Having begun her career at Bankers Trust, upon earning her MBA Erdoes returned to Wall Street as a portfolio manager at Meredith, Martin & Kaye. She joined J.P. Morgan in 1996 to head the fixed income group within its investment management division and held several leadership positions, including CEO of the firm’s private bank, before her 2009 appointment to her current role. Erdoes oversees more than 20,000 employees and is a member of JPMorgan Chase’s operating committee. A champion of women, she was named the Most Powerful Woman in Finance by American Banker in 2014 and 2015. Among the boards she sits on are UNICEF, the Robin Hood Foundation, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Investor Advisory Committee on Financial Markets. She earned a BS from Georgetown University, where she was the only woman in her class to major in mathematics.
Alan F. Horn (MBA 1971)
Alan Horn is chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. Among his successes in the entertainment industry are the television series Seinfeld, the Harry Potter films, and the 2015 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Horn, who served in the Air Force prior to HBS, worked at Procter & Gamble before joining Tandem Productions, the predecessor to Embassy Communications, where he served as CEO. Having displayed finesse with both the finance and the creative sides of the business, he went on to leadership positions at 20th Century Fox, Castle Rock Entertainment, and Warner Bros. before joining Disney. Horn currently oversees production, marketing, and distribution for films from Disney, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm as well as Disney’s music and live theater groups. A passionate environmentalist, he and his wife, Cindy, cofounded the Environmental Media Association, and he serves as vice chair of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Horn holds a BA in economics from Union College.
W. James McNerney Jr. (MBA 1975)
Jim McNerney is the retired chairman of The Boeing Company. He joined Boeing as chairman, president, and CEO in 2005 and retired earlier this year after restoring the company to its leadership position in the global aerospace industry. McNerney began his career at Procter & Gamble and McKinsey before spending 19 years at General Electric, where he held leadership positions in GE Aircraft Engines, GE Lighting, GE Asia-Pacific, GE Electrical Distribution and Control, and GE Capital. In 2000, he joined 3M as chairman and CEO, becoming the first outside hire to helm the company in its history. Among his accomplishments at Boeing are recapturing the company’s global market-share lead in commercial airplanes, maintaining a strong position in defense markets, and continuing Boeing’s historic leadership in human spaceflight, all of which led to significant growth and strong, sustained financial performance. McNerney was named CEO of the Year by Chief Executive magazine in 2015. He holds a BA in American studies from Yale University.
Sunil B. Mittal (OPM 27, 1999)
Sunil Bharti Mittal is the founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, which has interests in telecom, realty, financial services, and agri- and food businesses, among others. Bharti Airtel, the firm’s flagship company, is the world’s third-largest telecommunications company with more than 350 million customers across South Asia and Africa. Mittal began his career in 1976 when he founded a series of small-scale ventures, including a bicycle components manufacturing unit. Almost a decade later, he entered the communications business as a producer of telephone equipment. Mittal then joined India’s nascent cellular market in 1992, and by 1997 Airtel had become the first mobile service provider in the country to reach more than 100,000 customers. In 2000 he launched the Bharti Foundation to help underprivileged children realize their potential. Today the organization reaches 70,000 children and operates 254 schools throughout rural India. Mittal holds a BA in economics and political science from Panjab University.
Thomas J. Tierney (MBA 1980)
Tom Tierney is chairman and cofounder of The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit advisor for mission-driven organizations and philanthropists. With a practical focus, Bridgespan works with organizations on the frontlines of social change as well as with philanthropic entities, providing strategy consulting and leadership development to help them deepen their impact. Tierney began his career as a consultant at Bain & Company and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a partner at age 29 and leading a turnaround of the firm after being appointed worldwide managing director in 1993. He has been the subject of several HBS case studies, serves on numerous boards, and currently chairs the Advisory Board of HBS’s Social Enterprise Initiative. Tierney is the coauthor of Aligning the Stars (2002) and Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results (2011). A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, he holds a BA in economics from the University of California, Davis.