Britain’s first non-white prime minister, Rishi Sunak, “is the first Stanford business graduate to lead the country,” says one of his professors, Jeffrey Pfeffer, who remembers the 42-year-old student in his class. Pfeffer teaches a Pathways to Power course at the university, which claims to have a panel on former students who have contributed to political office.

“I believe he is the first Stanford graduate to lead the country, but I certainly hope not the last, because in my Pathways to Power course I have a discussion about former students who have contributed to political positions, both elected and appointed. We need people trained in business, economics and, yes, government (Sunak was a student in my class) in leadership positions,” Pfeffer said in a LinkedIn post.

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“Rishi Sunak was a former student of this class. My hope is that students will learn lessons in government that will help them, just as they did in the private sector, rise to positions where they can have leverage to make a difference in the world. As I write in the 7 rules of power, if power is to be used for good, good people must master the skills and knowledge of power,” the professor added.

Sunak graduated from Stanford in 2006. Congratulating its graduates, the B-school tweeted: “On this historic occasion, Rishi Sunak, MBA ’06, will become the 57th Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. We wish the new prime minister and his wife, Akshat Murthy, MBA ’06, the best of luck as they begin this new chapter.” (yes)

Born in Southampton, England, Sunak’s father was a doctor and his mother ran a pharmacy. Sunak is the son of first-generation immigrants from India to the UK. He went to Winchester College, which is one of the most elite schools in the UK, where he was headmaster.

After that, he graduated from Oxford, went to Stanford, where he received a Fulbright scholarship and an MBA. He began his career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs before entering parliament in 2015. He became Chancellor of the Exchequer under Boris Johnson’s government from 2020 to 2022.

The 42-year-old won the contest to replace Liz Truss, who had been in office for just 44 days. His only remaining opponent, Penny Mordaunt, dropped out of the race after failing to secure the 100 votes from Conservative lawmakers needed to enter the Prime Minister’s race. More than 190 deputies supported Sunak.

Sunak became Britain’s third prime minister in seven weeks and the youngest in two centuries. He is the first Hindu to achieve this. He is married to the daughter of Infosys founder Narayana Murthy. Sunak and his wife Akshatha Murthy have two daughters, Anushka and Krishna.

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