If US presidential candidate Mitt Romney wins tomorrow’s US election, he will not be the first MBA graduate to occupy the Oval Office, nor even the first MBA graduate from Harvard Business School. This dual honour lies with George
W. Bush.

So, do HBS alumni have an advantage in pursuing political careers over MBAs from rival institutions? For 36 per cent of US MBA graduates polled by the Financial Times last month*, the answer is yes.

A total of 1,500 business school alumni – all US citizens and residents who graduated from the world’s leading MBA programmes between 2007 and 2009 – responded to the Financial Times survey. Of those who believed that HBS alumni have the edge when it comes to pursuing a political career, 91 per cent say that the HBS advantage is its alumni and the personal networks enjoyed by graduates.

However, only 50 per cent of respondents believed that Romney’s policies would be more favourable to US business than President Obama’s – 39 per cent believed that President Obama’s would be more favourable.

Mr Romney holds a dual degree from Harvard, graduating in 1975 from both HBS and Harvard Law School – the alma mater of presidential incumbent, Barack Obama.

But a career in politics would not appear to be the lifestyle of choice for many MBA alumni. Of those polled, only a quarter said that they would consider a career in politics. An unsurprisingly small number, perhaps, as 55 per cent of respondents believed that the skills developed during their MBA degree have allowed them to engage successfully with matters of public policy in their business careers. And 43 per cent said they felt their degree equipped them for a prospective career in public policy or politics.

*The Financial Times surveyed more than 4,000 MBA alumni who graduated from the world’s top MBA programmes in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and who participated in the FT MBA rankings.

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