BOSTON— Sunil B. Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, has received the 2016 Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award. Alumni Achievement Award is the highest honor HBS can bestow upon an alumnus or alumna.
Other recipients are Mary Callahan, CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset Management; Alan F. Horn, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios; W. James McNerney Jr., retired chairman of The Boeing Company; and Thomas J. Tierney, former worldwide managing director of Bain & Company and chairman and cofounder of The Bridgespan Group.
Each year since 1968, the School has bestowed the Alumni Achievement Award on a select group of outstanding graduates who have contributed significantly to their companies, industries and communities, while upholding the highest standards and values in everything they do.
“These graduates are what I hope you graduates will become,” said Professor Bill Sahlman, the School’s Senior Associate Dean for External Relations, to members of the Class of 2016, as he helped Dean Nitin Nohria present the awards at a ceremony preceding the presentation of diplomas. “I hope that 25 or 30 years from now, you will be the people in these chairs coming onto this stage.”
Sunil Mittal is the founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, which has interests in telecom, realty, financial services, and agri- and food businesses, among others. Bharti Airtel, the firm’s flagship company, is the world’s third-largest telecommunications company with more than 350 million customers across South Asia and Africa.
Mittal began his career in 1976 when he founded a series of small-scale ventures, including a bicycle components manufacturing unit. Almost a decade later, he entered the communications business as a producer of telephone equipment. Mittal then joined India’s nascent cellular market in 1992, and by 1997 Airtel had become the first mobile service provider in the country to reach more than 100,000 customers. In 2000 he launched the Bharti Foundation to help underprivileged children realize their potential. Today the organization reaches 70,000 children and operates 254 schools throughout rural India. Mittal holds a BA in economics and political science from Panjab University.