After 22 years at Microsoft, Satya Nadella was selected to replace Steve Balmer as the software behemoth’s new CEO. Lest anyone have any questions about Nadella’s discipline and devotion, he spent more than two years at Microsoft commuting from Seattle to Chicago every weekend, earning his Executive MBA at Chicago Booth (1997).
As Bloomberg Businessweek reports, Nadella—whose favorite classes at Chicago Booth were reportedly a leadership course taught by Marvin Zonis and “Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity,” taught by Steven Kaplan—had in fact originally set out to pursue a career in investment banking. Steven Kaplan recalls Nadella’s diligence, saying, “It was a good signal that he would do well because of the skills needed to succeed in my class—you have to be articulate, think clearly, be good on your feet. And that’s not a given for some students.”
Those same business skills will likely be put to the test as Nadella confronts Microsoft’s flagging sales revenue and slow growth. Still, with an expected $18M in annual compensation, it seems sacrificing all those weekends has ultimately paid off.