BOSTON, MA -- (Marketwired) -- 08/29/13 -- To cap the first day of orientation, the Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2015 sat down with five outstanding individuals who were being honored with this year's Alumni Achievement award: Joanna Jacobson, cofounder and managing partner, Strategic Grant Partners; Andre R. Jakurski, founding partner and managing director, JGP Asset Management; Thomas A. James, chairman, Raymond James Financial, Inc.; Thai Lee, president and CEO, SHI International; Roger W. Sant, cofounder and chairman emeritus, The AES Corporation. In a panel discussion led by Senior Associate Dean Robert S. Kaplan in Burden Auditorium, the five honorees offered advice to the 932 first-year students, drawing from their experiences, both at HBS and in their careers.
Since 1968, with the help of suggestions from alumni, students, faculty, and friends, the School has annually named a select group of outstanding men and women to receive this award. Throughout their careers, these distinguished graduates have contributed significantly to their companies and communities, while upholding the highest standards and values in everything they do.
"These illustrious alumni have each, in their own ways, made very important contributions not just in the world of business, but to society as well," said Dean Nitin Nohria. "Encompassing the fields of education, health, poverty, and the arts, these distinguished alumni are truly dedicated to making the world a better place. We are pleased to honor and recognize their contributions."
Joanna M. Jacobson (MBA 1987)
Joanna Jacobson's marketing career is one that many HBS graduates dream about. As SVP of marketing for Converse during its bankruptcy, Jacobson saw the serious competitive threat being posed by Nike and led her team to help grow the company by $200 million. With Converse back on its feet, Jacobson left to join Keds as president, where she and her team reversed Keds' 25 percent annual sales declines with double-digit growth in sales and profits. When Keds' parent company, Stride Rite, wanted to promote her to COO, Jacobson knew it was time to make a change. The position would require working six days a week, and with three young children, it wasn't the life that she wanted. She chose to resign, then taught at HBS, consulted, and began to focus on philanthropy. She and her husband, Jon, were interested in finding ways to have an impact on society's most difficult problems. They co-founded Strategic Grant Partners (SGP), a coalition of 15 family foundations that also offers pro bono consulting focusing on nonprofit scale and systemic change, primarily in Massachusetts. SGP's track record speaks for itself, having helped to launch or scale many Massachusetts social ventures, several of which have expanded nationwide. In the past 10 years, SGP has completed four rounds of funding, the most recent totaling $36 million. Helping others do their best work is what drives Joanna Jacobson, whether she's turning around a failing sneaker company or coaching the CEO of a charter school management organization.
Read her award profile.
Andre R. Jakurski (MBA 1973)
As part of the Polish underground resistance during World War II, André Jakurski's family fled to Brazil where his father found success as an engineer, and his mother as an entrepreneur. Like his parents, Jakurski has achieved remarkable success seizing business opportunities in Brazil. After business school, Jakurski joined Unibanco, one of Brazil's top banks, where he spent 10 years rising through the company. With money markets in their infancy in Brazil, Jakurski and a colleague decided to strike out on their own to form brokerage firm Banco Pactual. By 1997, the once small Pactual had grown into a large institution and Jakurski decided to leave and launch JGP, a global hedge fund. Over the last 15 years, Jakurski and his team have grown the now 80-person firm into one of Brazil's top five independent asset management firms that includes credit and wealth management divisions. JGP is the only firm of its kind in Brazil that has been awarded an MQ1 rating by Moody's. Outside of his profession, Jakurski is a wine connoisseur, hiking enthusiast, amateur astronomer, sports fan, and historian. He and his wife, Maria, have raised five children and generously support various organizations in Rio de Janeiro as well as educational institutions, including his alma maters.
Most Popular Stories
- SpaceX's Satellite Launch Is 'Game-Changer'
- Reid Confident Congress to Pass Immigration Bill
- Maui Visitor Killed in Shark Attack
- Wisconsin Gov. Campaign Aide Fired Over Tweets
- Climate Change Early Warning System Urged
- Calif. Likes Christie, Says Tea Party's a Drag
- Donors Abandon GOP Over Gun Stance
- Fraud Potential Great With Health Care Subsidies, Treasury Says
- Brazil Braces for Street Protests at World Cup
- Newtown 911 Tapes Being Released Today