Inaugural Influential Leaders Award

Kent State University Alumnus Receives AACSB’s Inaugural Influential Leaders Award

Sept. 22, 2015 - Today, Kent State University announced that AACSB International (AACSB), the global accrediting body and membership association for business colleges, revealed that M.R. Rangaswami, a Kent State College of Business Administration graduate, has been recognized as one of the first 100 AACSB Influential Leaders. Rangaswami’s work exemplifies the innovative mindset and meaningful contributions to society that Kent State University graduates display around the world and every day—whether they operate within large corporations, small businesses, or the nonprofit sector.

M.R. Rangaswami graduated from the College of Business Administration in 1978.  Rangaswami is a software business expert who participated in the rapid expansion of the Silicon Valley tech-industry during his tenure as an executive at both large and small software companies. In 1997, he co-founded Sand Hill Group, one of the earliest “angel” investment firms.  Additionally, he is the founder of the Corporate Eco Forum, an invitation-only membership organization for Global 500 companies that demonstrate commitment to the environment and business strategy issues. Rangaswami founded the non-profit Indiaspora in 2012 to unite Indian Americans and transform their success into meaningful impact worldwide. In 2013, Indiaspora hosted its first Indian American Ball for President Obama. The event had 1,200 attendees who joined politicians and policy makers to celebrate the accomplishments of the Indian American community.

Rangaswami joins individuals such as the CEO of one of the world’s largest global relief services, a technology pioneer who is working to cure cancer, the founder of a global e-commerce powerhouse and an enterprising president attributed with reviving an international toy industry favorite. More than 20 industry sectors, from consumer products to healthcare to nonprofits, across 21 countries, are present in this year’s group (

“M.R. Rangaswami embodies all the qualities of an influential leader.  Throughout his career he has shown not only an innovative mindset but an entrepreneurial spirit, impacting business around the globe.  As a Kent State alumnus he epitomizes the global impact we strive for as a business college M.R. Rangaswami  ds,” said Dean Deborah F. Spake, Ph.D. of the College of Business Administration.

For the nomination process, AACSB developed a short list of open-ended questions that provided a framework for expectations for nominees. From April to June 2015, AACSB-accredited schools submitted notable alumni who have made (or are making) an impact in the world. From the nominations, a selection committee reviewed and chose stories that showed a sampling of the positive impact that business school graduates have made on society.

“It is my honor to recognize for M.R. Rangaswami for his contributions as an Influential Leader, and to thank Kent State University for its dedication to providing a business education environment based on engagement, innovation, and impact,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and chief executive officer of AACSB International. “If told, the success stories of all business school graduates would fill unmeasurable volumes. AACSB is honored to celebrate M.R. Rangaswami —and the collective 100 Influential Leaders—as a representation of how business school alumni have positively influenced society, as well as the management education industry’s, past, present, and promising future.”

For the full list of recipients, visit AACSB's influential Leaders page.


About Kent State University’s College of Business Administration

Kent State University’s College of Business Administration is one of only 180 colleges or schools of business worldwide to achieve dual accreditation in both business and accounting from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International, the global accrediting body providing specialized accreditation at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. The college boasts a satellite office of Kent State University’s Career Services Center dedicated to business students, and operates the Global Management Center, the Center for Information Systems and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation all propelling scholarly research, establishing innovative industry partnerships and providing outreach to Northeast Ohio and beyond.

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About AACSB International

Founded in 1916, AACSB is an association of more than 1,450 educational institutions, businesses, and other organizations in 90 countries and territories. AACSB's mission is to advance quality management education worldwide through accreditation, thought leadership, and value-added services. As the premier accreditation body for institutions offering undergraduate, master's, and doctorate degrees in business and accounting, AACSB offers a wide array of services to the management education industry. AACSB's global headquarters is located in Tampa, Florida, USA; its Asia Pacific headquarters is located in Singapore; and its Europe, Middle East, and Africa headquarters is located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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