Former U.K. chancellor and current conservative candidate Rishi Sunak could very well be Britain’s first person of color to be elected prime minister; however, very few of the Stanford business school professors Sunak has deemed “inspiring” reportedly have any recollection of him.
Sunak, 42, has cited his MBA experience at Stanford business school as life-changing in several speeches.
In an episode of 20VC’s venture capital podcast last year, the former U.K. chancellor shared that Stanford “teaches you to think bigger” and that studying in the heart of Silicon Valley pushed him to embrace “a slightly bigger, more dynamic approach to change.”
He also stated in a business school lecture in London last year that Nobel prize-winning economist and Stanford professor Paul Romer was one of his “inspiring” professors.
In contrast, Romer told The Guardian that he has “no recollection of ever interacting with [Sunak].”
While Stanford is a full school, consistently ranked as one of the world’s top institutions of higher education, a dozen professors and lecturers told The Guardian that they have no memory of teaching Sunak.
Professor James Van Horne initially claimed he had not taught the prime minister candidate, but upon discovering that he had been enrolled in one of his corporate finance classes, responded, “He was a good student and participated well, but beyond that I do not have a lot of recollection.”
Professor of organizational behavior Jeffrey Pfeffer, who teaches a renowned course called “The Paths to Power” for MBA students, posted on LinkedIn that Sunak was a past student in the class, along with a list of several other notable alumni.
“I am hoping that students will learn the lessons in power to help them, as they do in the private sector, rise to positions where they can have the leverage to make a difference in the world,” he wrote.
When asked for specific memories, Pfeffer reportedly answered that he did “not have the bandwidth to respond to this query” due to travel.
The son of Indian migrants from East Africa, Sunak graduated from his two-year MBA program at Stanford in 2006 after receiving a Fulbright scholarship to study in the U.S.
With approximately 400 students in each graduating class, former dean of the business school Robert Joss insisted that it was not possible to get to know everyone on a deep level.