According to Forbes Magazine, there are 7.1 billion people on the planet but only 71 who matter—the World’s Most Powerful People. We disagree with Forbes’ statement but acknowledge that at least five alumni cracked the list.
The annual ranking, which was first introduced in 2009, has one slot for every 100 million people on Earth. (A 7.1 billion population equals a 71-person list.) Recipients are chosen based on the magazine’s four dimensions of power: personal influence, sphere of influence, financial resources, and active use. President Barack Obama tops the list for the second consecutive year.
The definition of power is subjective so we’ll let you decide if the ranking truly constitutes the world’s most powerful people. Let us know your take—and whether any other alumni merit mention—in the comments below or on Facebook.
Ben Bernanke PhD ’79 (number 6), chairman, U.S. Federal Reserve
Bernanke, who has cracked the top 10 each year, is credited for the country’s recent economic growth and a near-record $2.9 trillion on the reserve’s balance sheet.
Mario Draghi PhD ’77 (8), president, European Central Bank
Number 12 in 2011, Draghi is the former governor of the Bank of Italy. As chief banker of the world’s largest currency area, he is working to create financial unity among the 17 countries that use the euro.
Benjamin Netanyahu ’75, SM ’76 (23), prime minister, Israel
According to Forbes, Netanyahu is a key figure in nearly every Middle Eastern crisis. In his second term as prime minister, he oversaw the merger of two competing political parties, Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu.
With $115 billion on sales, Koch Industries is the second-largest private company in the U.S. Their products include asphalt, chemicals, commodities trading, fertilizers, finance, natural gas, plastics, and petroleum.
Earlier this year, Forbes released its list of the world’s 100 Most Powerful Women, which included one MIT alumna.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala MCP ’78, PhD ’81 (81), minister of finance, Nigeria
Prior to her second stint as minister of finance, Okonjo-Iweala served as vice president and corporate secretary of the World Bank Group. She is credited with helping liberalize the Nigerian economy and building closer relations with the U.S. and Nigerian businesses.