AACSB Reveals 2016 Influential Leaders

Individuals honored for efforts in innovation, education, entrepreneurship, diversity, sustainability, and healthcare.
LAST FALL, AACSB INTERNATIONAL announced its 2016 list of Influential Leaders. The annual initiative recognizes business school alumni who “apply their leadership, knowledge, and skills to address some of society’s toughest global challenges,” says Thomas R. Robinson, the association’s president and CEO.

The 2016 cohort of Influential Leaders includes 30 individuals from 11 countries and more than 15 industry sectors. Those chosen have made their marks on the world in a variety of ways. Here are just a few examples:

Jonathan Mildenhall, Airbnb’s chief marketing officer, earned his BA in business and finance in 1990 from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Faculty of Business and Law in England. Named one of the Financial Times’ top 100 Upstanding Leaders and one of the most influential LGBT leaders in the U.K., Mildenhall created Airbnb’s “Never a Stranger” campaign to ease users’ fears about staying at a stranger’s house. As chair of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) Diversity Community in the mid-2000s, Mildenhall worked to increase the representation of African Americans in advertising.

Nashwa Taher, chairman of real estate firm Al Hassaniah and a special assistant to the chairman at her family’s company Al Taher Group, earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting in the 1980s from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, before studying business for three years in the U.S. Ranked eighth on Forbes’ Most Influential Arab Women in Family Business in 2013, Taher has become a pioneer in the specialty foods market in Saudi Arabia. She also became the first woman to win elected office in Saudi Arabia when she became a board member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Analjit Singh graduated with his bachelor’s degree in business from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business in Massachusetts in 1977, followed by his MBA in 1979. In the 1980s, Singh founded Max India group, one of India’s first private health insurance companies. His company now runs 12 hospitals and advocates for affordable quality healthcare.

Zibu Mthiyane finished the management development program at the University of South Africa in Pretoria in 2009, before earning her MBA in 2013 from the University of Stellenbosch Business School in Cape Town. She then founded the Zoluhle Group, a supplier for South Africa’s Rail Agency, before starting MMC SA, a member-led women’s development club that provides entrepreneurial training to rural women.

H.E. Caitlin Wilson earned a bachelor of business management from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, a bachelor of arts from the University of Queensland, and a master’s in international development from Deakin University in Burwood, Australia. Wilson worked to re-establish the court system in the Solomon Islands and improve education in Papua New Guinea. As deputy head of mission for the Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, Wilson now works on the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The accomplishments of the 30 Influential Leaders fell into several broad categories: harnessing innovation, advancing education and employment through entrepreneurship, fostering diversity, creating a more sustainable future, and ensuring healthy lives.

To read more about the 30 honorees and the Influential Leaders challenge, visit www.aacsb.edu/influential-leaders.