Among seven top-10 MBA schools, only the University of Chicago tapped a private equity leader as graduation speaker this year, reports The Wall Street Journal's DealJournal. Roger Altman, chairman of Evercore Partners, is delivering the keynote for the university's Graduate School of Business.
Meanwhile, Harvard, Wharton, Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business and Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management all feature corporate chieftans as their graduation speakers.
Harvard, for instance, slated Microsoft's Bill Gates (who attended Harvard as an undergraduate but didn't earn a degree) as university-wide commencement speaker on June 7. American Express Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault will speak at the Harvard Business School Class Day ceremony on June 6. Columbia Business School reportedly invited Robert Rubin, the former Treasury secretary and Goldman Sachs co-CEO, to address its MBA graduates. And Stanford's university-wide ceremonies will feature the poet Dana Gioia, chairman of National Endowment for the Arts.
It's likely that a sizeable contingent of the private equity world, both luminaries and rank-and-file, passed through one or another of those institutions. Harvard Business School, for instance, numbers Blackstone Group co-founder Steven Schwarzman and Apollo Management founder Leon Black among its alumni, DealJournal pointedly notes.